A small island has many advantages from community involvement to hyper-local food sources. The deep blue waters around Prince Edward Island provide lucky residents with fish, lobster, oysters, mussels, and a variety of other shellfish. The rich clay soil is ideal for certain types of produce and the short travel distances between farm and market mean fresher food on the plate. Award winning chefs combine the best resources of PEI into local delights that tantalize the taste buds and invite visitors to return not only for the natural environment, but also for the food. With fresh produce running the gamut from Brussels sprouts to apples to maple syrup, the combinations are endless at any time of year and some local eateries are doing their best to provide local, in-season dishes that are quintessential PEI – and also happen to be delicious.
Terre Rouge Bistro Marche
Tourism PEI/ Stephen Harris
Dedicated to supporting small, local producers, Terre Rouge believes that the best food is created by buying from people you know. Although the owners appreciate the low-carbon impact of providing farm-to-table meals, the chefs point out that a great meal is only as good as the ingredients – and fresh is always best. They will happily provide you with the names and locations of every farm, all on the island, that provided the food on your table. The menu changes daily and is designed around the ingredients that have been harvested for that day.
The Brickhouse Kitchen and Bar
The Brickhouse is an unexpected find in an unassuming old warehouse in Charlottetown. Forget the fancy trappings; the restaurant believes that food should speak for itself with aroma, presentation and flavour. The chefs at Brickhouse are committed to sustainable agricultural practices and source their ingredients from local farmers and the waters around the island. Everything is made in-house, and they proudly list the local suppliers that have provided the ingredients for the meal.
Kitchen Witch Tea Room
Take a break from the ordinary in this charming teahouse that even offers tea readings. Perhaps they read their own future years ago, because Kitchen Witch has been dedicated to using local products since they reopened in 2007. They proudly label menu items that are locally sourced and make their own jams and pickles from local fruits and vegetables when they come into season. One of the highlights of a meal is the Soup du Jour, an ever-changing recipe that’s created daily from the fresh vegetables the island has provided that day.
Carr’s Oyster Bar
Oysters don’t get any fresher than the ones served at Carr’s. With their own oyster beds, the restaurant harvests the day’s supply in the morning and has them on a plate within a few hours. If your previous oyster experience has been at inland restaurants, you’ll be amazed at the difference in flavour that a newly-harvested oyster has. In addition to fresh oysters and seafood from local fishermen, Carr’s serves a full menu, all locally sourced. Look for locally grown poultry and beef, island potatoes and in-season vegetables and herbs. Located on the Stanley River, the view from the dining area is as fresh and ever-changing as the menu.
Canada’s oldest family-owned inn is only a few metres from the longest dune system in the western hemisphere. The land between the hotel and beach that stretches off into the distance is family farmland that produces the food that fills the dining tables in the restaurant. The menu includes not only locally sourced, farm-raised produce and meats, but also wild-foraged products and traditionally caught seafood that adheres to Ocean Wise guidelines. Dinners are beautiful as well as delicious, often created with edible flowers and freshly-picked herbs as highlights.
This delightful restaurant serves Italian-style meals with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The waterfront location is perfect for a romantic dinner although the atmosphere is friendly enough for the family. Choose your meals from a menu that changes with the seasons, adding in produce as it becomes available and including additional seafood when in season. During lobster season which runs roughly May to October, Sirenella offers fresh lobster dinners on the patio. Pair your meal with wine from an island winery and you are set!
Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant
Kelsey McMaster Photography
Serving only the freshest, in-season seafood, Clam Diggers closes during the winter when many of the shellfish aren’t available. Choose from three different settings; the Clam Diggers Room, the Beach House or an amazing sunset dinner on the deck overlooking the ocean. The chefs here create luscious meals that blend fresh seafood with traditional recipes creating island favorites that are only found on PEI. Where else can a discerning diner find pan-seared scallops on a Caesar salad, or a traditional lobster supper made with PEI potato salad?
The Catch Kitchen & Bar
The Catch Kitchen & Bar is located in West Point and is loved by many for its delicious meals served overlooking a bustling marina. If visiting in the warmer months take advantage of the outdoor patio. Enjoy steamed mussels, lobster rolls or order from the raw bar. Diners looking for a break from seafood should order steak or one of the many gourmet burgers on the menu. Beer lovers will appreciate the Catch's selection of locally brewed craft beer. After you've eaten, stretch your legs by strolling the short distance to the West Point Lighthouse.
Olde Dublin Pub
Enjoy a bit of old Ireland in the heart of Charlottetown, complete with live entertainment on the weekends. Who would have thought that Irish and Canadian cuisines could be combined to make such a unique and decidedly delicious new style of food? The menu changes seasonally and each week features a selection of delights built around locally available items. Oysters are frequently available and the clever chefs at the Pub have found ways to use maple syrup that will have your taste buds dancing for joy. Call ahead or check online to see the week’s offerings, or show up and enjoy whatever’s on the menu.