Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good Eats on PEI


In the past, I've posted about Prince Edward Island and how much I love spending time out there.  I realised on my most recent trip that although I've said a lot about beaches, of which there are many excellent choices, and goat soap, which I seriously loaded up on this time, I'd never remembered to take photos of the best restaurants to share.  Ergo, this post shall attempt to rectify this omission.  I hope you like seafood!

Lobster


Yes. Lobster.  Every. single. day.  There is definitely no lack of lobster on PEI, and there are really a lot of great places to eat it in all kinds of different ways, but I'm just going to say for the record that Water Prince has the best whole cooked lobster and best lobster roll you can find in Charlottetown.  This totally unassuming, cute, compact place is easily missed because it's not on the main street.  It's at the intersection of Water St. and Prince St. (see what they did there?) and looks like a corner store.  HOWEVER, do not be deceived.  This little spot serves up an amazing lobster roll with french fries, or really darn good potato salad if you like.  We go here every visit for whole lobster, and picked up a lobster roll as soon as we got to Charlottetown.  Priorities!  For the lover of fresh seafood, Water Prince will even cold-ship lobster and mussels to you, across the country.  No big deal.


Fish and Chips

 

The very best fish and chips is even easier to miss than the best lobster for the uninitiated traveller to PEI.  Rick's Fish'n'Chips, in the town of St. Peter's, is truly a hidden gem.  It's busy enough as it is, since there's only a small amount of seating in this very small restaurant, and patio seating is at a premium on nice days, so try not to tell anyone about this place.  To get there, take route 2 east from Charlottetown and keep on trucking.  You can't miss St. Peter's Bay, full of mussel stakes, with two white churches overlooking it.  Go there, order the two-piece fish and chips, and be prepared to be blown away by the crunchiest batter, juiciest fish, and fresh-out-of-the-frier fries.  I recommend a strawberry milkshake (served in the silver milkshake mixer) as the perfect pairing.

Beer

 

OK, I guess this is not really a food, but no list of places to eat on PEI would be complete without mentioning the Gahan House pub and brewery.  Responsible for producing such memorable pints as the Blueberry Wheat, Sir John A Honey Brown ale, and Beach Chair lager, Gahan House is worth making a stop and purchasing a tasting flight of the season's beers.  New beers are always popping up, making it a fun repeat-destination for the beer lover.  In fact, the blueberry wheat beer is new this year, and it's so good that I hope they decide to continue it.  Gahan House is more than just a brewery, though; a big old mansion with numerous rooms of comfortable seating and a multi-level patio at the back makes this place a great spot for a meal.  The food is great, and the menu changes from time to time for greater selection.  That said, if you really can't make it to the restaurant, Gahan beers are also available in PEI liquor stores.  Stock up!

Pizza 

 

One may not choose to travel to PEI for pizza, but should one wish to eat some pizza, or is suddenly struck by a mad craving for wood-oven creations, remember this:  Route 3 Eatery.  This has got to be the most difficult-to-find restaurant that I'll ever recommend, but you will find it.  Trust yourself, and your stomach, to lead you there.  Route 3 Eatery is a small shanty-like building, of grey wood, like an old west saloon, with a small porch on the front of it.  It's on route 3, so that's easy, between Charlottetown and Montague, near a village called Vernon River.  This pizza could stand up to the best of the gourmet pizzaiolo-style places in Toronto or Montreal.  There are other things on the menu as well, but the pizza is what we went for, and it's definitely what we'll go back for.

Fancy Shmancy

 

Date night!  When you really want to treat yo'self, since it is a vacation after all, there's one spot that's open year 'round and offers truly incredible culinary delights.  This place is called Lot 30 - named for its lot number on the original plan of 400 lots in the city of Charlottetown some many years ago.  I do believe that I ate the best scallops of my life at this restaurant.  They offer fresh PEI oysters, or oysters Rockefeller for the raw-averse person, and an ever-changing menu of fresh fish, mussels, lobster, and meats from around the island.  After feasting on oysters, I had the lobster bake on this trip, which was a combination of lobster and quahogs (giant clams) in a garlic cream sauce, served with spinach-ricotta cornbread and seasonal greens (baby white beets, scapes, kale, leeks, etc.).  HOLY GOD.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.  Drew had the surf 'n' turf, which included braised lamb shoulder with cremini mushroom gravy, scallops fried in garlic butter, white navy beans, and seasonal greens.  YUM.  I had a peaches, ice cream, and scone dessert, while Drew had a molten chocolate cake.  So gluttonous.  So good.  Additional awesomeness: there's a tv screen over the bar that focuses on the plating area in the kitchen, so you can see your food being plated, and you can see that it doesn't sit there under warming lights for 10 minutes before you get to eat it.  Nice.  Ask for Kevin as your waiter, and tell him some folks in Ontario are thinking of him.

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