Perhaps it was not the wisest geographical location to go to for my birthday dinner, down on the waterfront on one of the coldest nights in Halifax Nova Scotia, but it was worth it! My dear friend Kelly had found coupons for Salty’s Restaurant for all of us a little while ago which inspired me to select it for my birthday. I had heard so much about Salty’s, it truly is a seafood dining touchstone in downtown Halifax. It was only a matter of time before I went for dinner there. Why not for my birthday? I simply had to test the restaurant’s reputation for good seafood at reasonable prices. For us, upstairs at Salty’s was a warm and cozy winter oasis on such a biting evening.
Growing up as a little girl in Toronto, my mom took me once to the Lobster Trap for my birthday. It was a magical experience for me and ever since then, I crave lobster on my birthday. One of the best benefits of living in Nova Scotia is I am now living in the land of lobster and so I went for it last night and not only ordered lobster for dinner, I also ordered the Lobster Chowder. The vegetables were diced quite fine but underneath the creamy broth lay large chunks of lobsters, waiting for me to discover with my greedy spoon.
For dinner I order the surf and turf dinner, mashed potatoes, green beans and half a lobster. I was hesitant to order this entree at first because of my recent extreme hand pain so I mentioned my situation to the waiter and he promptly asked me if I would like the chef to remove the lobster meat for me? I looked up at him with excited but relieved and happy eyes and said, “Yes please.” This alone was a birthday gift for me and made this foodie a seriously grateful and happy woman, moved that the staff would take my special needs into account without hesitation or judgment.
Here is my birthday dinner in all its glory and completely pain-free. I was beyond impressed and satisfied. The steak was tender and grilled to perfection. The lobster delicate and luscious, gleaming after I dipped it into the melted butter. My eyes rolling around in my head, once again the happy little birthday girl, this time dining with good friends by the ocean side.
For dessert I ordered the Cadix, a dessert I had never heard of before. It is their signature dessert and the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate made it irresistible. They dessert was very light but I was not anticipating the crisp layers inside. It took me a while to adjust since I thought that this was going to be a more mousse-like dessert but it ended up reminding me of a very fancy chocolate bar. Even though I did warm up to the dessert the raspberry sauce on the bottom was not super complimentary, a Grand Marnier reduction or orange sauce would have worked better. That said, I still loved every bite.
Upstairs at Salty’s is cozy yet elegant. At night the big windows around the entire restaurant reveal the lights around the harbour and every now and then a tug boat or ferry will float right by making the evening magical. In comparison to more expensive restaurants in the area, the food was comparable and the service the best I have ever had. I nicknamed my waiter The Ninja because I would be talking with a friend one moment only to discover food in front of me. Dishes whisked away at a blink of an eye. We had quite a large crowd and yet the wait staff were patient, professional and very, very helpful. Even when we all took out our coupons at the end of the meal the ninja waiter took it all in stride and reprinted our bills with the noble grace of a gentleman.
Those who indulged in non-seafood dinners also adored their dishes which makes me very happy. My husband (far right) detests shellfish and finding a place to go out to dinner that appeases him and makes his catered-at-home-tummy happy which is not easy to do. If he is happy with a restaurant, then I am over-the-moon happy since there will be a very good chance we will go there again. It is clear to me from the smile on his face that he was very happy with his pumpkin soup, chicken dinner and giant and divine-looking apple crisp!
It is very challenging to get me out of my house in the winter and only on my birthday do I tackle the highways and dare to walk along the brutally cold waterfront from the parking lot to anywhere. The combination of such a lovely restaurant with fantastic staff and food mixed in with amazing friends who came out celebrate with me made the walk back to the car a little less chilly. When the world warms up I will go back to Salty’s in the summer sunshine and try out their more casual downstairs restaurant and indulge in their seafood casserole. Until then, this foodie is barricaded back in her house until her next culinary adventure.