Ma Belle’s Cafe delights tandem tea-sippers with afternoon high tea served in welcoming surrounds that include a cozy fireplace. Nibbling duos can engage in Pythagorean theorizing as they chomp through a roster of triangular, crustless sandwiches that enfold fillings such as egg salad, cucumber, and tuna in a delicate breaded hug. Individual pots of tea prevent arm wrestles for the last sip, and quaffers can choose to melt mouth-cave icicles with one of 30 varieties of flavoured infusions including pumpkin spice, coconut-mango, and Earl Grey. Alternatively, a cup of filter coffee affords drinkers the piping-hot temperature of tea without the dangers of accidentally divining each others’ futures. As a dulcet epilogue, a flock of assorted house-made treats including mini scones and mini cupcakes serenade sweet teeth with mini ballads.
Nectar is all about the senses and all things sensual.....the decor, the music, the leather dining chairs, heavy flatware and gorgeous wine glasses....The food is local, seasonal and created with the highest quality. A tremendous amount of thought and care has gone into every aspect of your dining experience.
In 1976, Glen and May Young established the first May Garden Restaurant—a tiny take-out restaurant fixed along Beaverbank Road in Lower Sackville. Just under two decades later, Glen and May's nephew, Eric, bought the restaurant, and has since reproduced the success of the original mom-and-pop shop at three other locations.
Eric quickly expanded May Garden to a second location in Bedford, then a third in Dartmouth, and a fourth in Halifax. Even with that continued growth, the original restaurant sticks to its roots. When Eric bought the first May Garden in 1993, he retained the original open-kitchen policy so diners could watch chefs tangle with dancing flames as they fry Dop Woey Almond Ding or do the moonwalk after they form the perfect eggroll. Guests get a front-row seat as the varied menu blooms into colourful dishes, including curries, Szechuan offerings, and chef specialties.
The chefs at Caribbean Twist import near-meridian flavours all the way up the globe to Halifax with their spicy jerk chicken, stewed oxtail, and vegetarian curry potato roti wraps. The staff expects some confusion from those who are new to Caribbean food, but have taken measures to preemptively stave off any anxiety. They included a short FAQ section to the menu to answer such important basic questions as "What's ackee?," "Is everything hot and spicy?," and "What animal does oxtail come from?" Their insistence that every bite and sip be true to its Jamaican roots extends all the way to the dessert menu, which is drawn up by resident baker Fatima Adam. Fatima crafts all desserts in-house, including mango cheesecake, coconut cream pie, and basbousa, a sweet cornbread-like cake soaked in syrup.
This commitment to crafting exotic dishes and fresh jamaican patties has earned Caribbean Twist an army of avid fans and awards, including Best Desserts Category for Eastlink Magazine's "Nova Scotia's Best" and their jerk chicken winning the 2011 North-End Community Cook-Off. When a zoning issue threatened to permanently close the café in 2010, these loyal patrons rose up and helped save the modest eatery.
Established in 1938, Java Blend is a small-batch family-owned roastery and café located in the heart of Halifax. Like a reclusive film director, Java Blend has accumulated decades of experience resulting in an avalanche of accolades, including the Krups Kup of Excellence award for best espresso in Halifax. Java Blend sources fair trade and sustainable beans for its eclectic collection of coffees, including six original blends, which, like an insult comic stuck in an infinite loop, are roasted fresh each day. Snag a bag of fair-trade-certified Organic Mexican Nubes de Oro ($11/lb.) for a medium-bodied morning brew with vanilla and caramel notes, or explore new terrain with a batch of earthy Organic Northender Blend ($12/lb.).
According to her recent profile in East Coast Living, Sawadee Tea House owner Mie Mie Sein travels to her native Thailand every year to tour plantations and explore new blends of tea. The fruits of these annual trips are on display at her two-level shop along the Granville Mall, where she constantly replenishes labelled jars with more than 250 loose-leaf varieties from regions as far-flung as Thailand, Kenya, and China. The aromas of black, green, herbal, floral, and specialty teas pervade the shop as they steep, luring passersby in for a calming mug or a rejuvenating splash in the face. Sawadee Tea House also serves as a boutique; beside the neatly stacked rows of jars sit accessories such as stainless-steel infusers and glass vessels for storing tea leaves.:m]]