5 places for seafood chowder

Posted on May 26, 2021 | Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

Let’s be honest, the weather doesn’t always co-operate early in the season. Then again, even deep into the summer, a day boating at a clip or hiking to a hilltop can leave you with a chill, where a bowl of hot chowder can be the perfect, enticing and ultimately satisfying warm-up. One of the great things about Atlantic Canada is our ready access to fresh shellfish and finfish and you’ll find great seafood chowders here as a result. Here are just a few, prime stops.

Just a quick reminder here that availability is going to be tied to COVID-related precautions and protocols. Temporary closures or reduced menus are not unusual, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead.

Bangbelly Café, Fogo Island, N.L.

Bangbelly Café-Fogo, N.L.
Bangbelly co-owners Caitlyn Terry and Ian Sheridan want to offer up some of the best Fogo Island has to offer in food, service and hospitality, and their love for local is infused into their seafood chowder. The broth is creamy, with potato, onion and celery, but the star is the seafood pulled from the waters around Fogo. Chef Sheridan said the chowder recipe involves both fresh cod and traditional salt fish, finished off with cold-water shrimp. Sheridan previously worked as a sous chef at the Fogo Island Inn but went his own way to open the Bangbelly with Terry in summer 2018. Their reviews feature words like “yummy,” “delicious,” and “wonderful” for all dishes, including other seafood options from calamari to cod au gratin and hearty, non-seafood fare like falafel, baby back ribs and brunchtime chicken and waffles. The restaurant is running Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and has online ordering and takeaway options.


Evan’s Fresh Seafoods, Dartmouth, N.S.

Evan’s Fresh Seafoods-Dartmouth, N.S.
Per the company’s website, namesake Evan d’Entremont has been a fisherman for over 20 years. Beyond the catch, he is producing fresh, frozen and cooked direct-to-consumer products at his plant in Pubnico, N.S. In 2011, a restaurant in Dartmouth was opened as a co-owned venture with his daughter Joline d’Entremont and son-in-law Oussama Ait Oumenni. The latter has built a strong base of regulars with, among other things, his takes on seafood chowder including a haddock and leek, and corn and cod version. Evan’s regulars are always looking for the freshest of product, straight from Pubnico. The business is a rare crossing overall of fish harvester, processor, chef and shop (with an online store and ability to buy fresh, raw fillets of all kinds at the restaurant, so you can experiment with your own chowder recipes).


The Caves, St. Martins, N.B.

The Caves-St. Martins, N.B.
Bruce and Nancy Huttges have owned and operated The Caves for nearly 40 years now, since 1982, when they started as just a small canteen on the beach. Now up and running for the 2021 season, they offer their well-known, clear view of the Bay of Fundy tides, rolling in and out of the St. Martins’ Sea Caves (hence the name). The couple pride themselves on their “world famous chowder” with a homemade biscuit and other, fresh seafood dishes using lobster and scallops from local fish harvesters. The Caves does also offer salads, sandwich and burger options. It has expanded over the years and the restaurant as it stands can accommodate hundreds at a time, though with reduced seating for now per COVID regulations. The meals are no longer all served by the Huttges, but “I have amazing staff who care as much about what leaves our kitchen as I do,” Bruce Huttges said. Regular day travelers coming through, to walk the beach and see the caves up close, have notably inspired conveniences at the restaurant like free Wi-Fi and a children’s menu option.


Point Prim Chowderhouse, Belfast, P.E.I.

Point Prim Chowderhouse-Belfast, P.E.I.
If you’d like a side of breathtaking, ocean view with your meal, this is just the spot and perhaps the ultimate spot. The Chowderhouse is set to open June 17. There are take away options, but the restaurant is geared to the memorable dine-in experience. “Dine in” is maybe not the way to describe it, as all seating is outside but for all the right reasons, with full table service. Chef and owner Paul Lavender caters to foodies with a love for seafood, incorporating P.E.I. lobster, mussels, clams and oysters in a menu featuring creamy, clam and bacon, and Acadian chowder options, to name a few, plus rolls, steamer pots and seafood pastas. There’s always a smoked turkey and swiss melt, pasta rustico, or sweet potato and chickpea stew if you’re more interested in admiring the seafood from afar. The restaurant is right out on the Point, at the end of a red dirt road, not far from the oldest lighthouse on the Island. Walk-ins are welcome and, given the outdoor seating, it’s best to layer up just in case.


Captain Kat’s Lobster Shack, Barrington Passage, N.S. (photo from captkatslobstershack.weebly.com)

Captain Kat’s Lobster Shack-Barrington Passage, N.S.
Being entirely honest about it, Nova Scotia has no shortage of places for good seafood chowder. A few years back, Taste of Nova Scotia celebrated (and promoted) this wealth by declaring the “Nova Scotia Chowder Trail,” encouraging visitors to try a bowl from The Chowder House in Neil’s Harbour, Charlene’s Bayside Restaurant in Whycocomagh and the Mateus Bistro in Mahone Bay, to name a few. But if you’re looking for a location with the strongest of ties to those who make their life on the water, Captain Kat’s in Barrington Passage is quite special. The restaurant offers lobster chowder in addition to regular favourites like the lobster fondue. But history is everything. The restaurant is named after 21-year-old Capt. Katlin Nickerson. It was opened by his mother, Della Sears, after Nickerson’s boat Miss Ally capsized and was lost in February 2013, along with all hands aboard: Nickerson, Joel Hopkins, Billy Jack Hatfield, Steven Nickerson and Tyson Townsend. The South Shore has never forgotten the Miss Ally, and Captain Kat’s is in many ways a tribute to the memory of captain and crew, and all who make their living from the Atlantic.

The crew lost in the sinking of the Miss Ally (l-r): Captain Katlin Nickerson, Billy Jack Hatfield, Joel Hopkins, Cole Nickerson, Tyson Townsend. (Photo from Nov 2017 feature, The price per pound)

About our “5 Places” series
It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected].

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