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What: Fish cakes are another super popular menu item at lots of South Shore restaurants, though the fish to potato ratio clearly varies a lot. Typically made of salt fish (like haddock or cod) and potato, fish cakes are easy to like, but the best ones actually taste, you know, like fish. It’s traditionally an Acadian dish, so it comes as no surprise that the Acadians seem to do it best.
Where: Café l’Acadie (8369 Peggy's Cove Rd., Indian Harbour, map), newly relocated from Bedford, Halifax to the South Shore, is a wonderful spot for real-deal Acadian food, fish cakes included. It’s well worth seeking this place out to taste the culture’s hard-to-find traditional foods and chat with knowledgeable chef-owner Gary Le Blanc, who can trace his own Acadian family history back to 1602. It’s also one of the only Acadian restaurants in this area; most seem to be concentrated in the far west of the island.
When: Daily, 7am-8pm
Order: We recommend trying lots of Acadian food here—the meat pie, the potato pancakes, the chicken fricot soup, the rappie pie on Sundays—but definitely try the fish cakes ($11.95). They were by far the best ones we tried in this part of Nova Scotia, full of salted fish flavor, studded with both potato and carrot, and served with the traditional Acadian condiment, chowchow, a chunky green-tomato chutney that adds the perfect amount of sweet and tart. (Do ask for the chowchow, as it doesn’t automatically come with it.) The café’s homemade baked beans and marinated carrots also accompany.
Alternatively: About a half-hour east of Halifax, you can try the Acadian fish cakes at La Cuisine de Brigitte, aka the Acadian Tea Room (79 Hill Rd., Head of Chezzetcook, map), which is open 9am-4pm on the grounds of the Acadian House Museum/L'Acadie de Chezzetcook, a historic site. Otherwise, many of the area seafood restaurants—including Shaw’s Landing (6958 Peggy’s Cove Rd./Prospect Rd., map) in West Dover, near Peggy’s Cove—offer fish cakes, with varying levels of salt fish flavor.
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