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Our server, Alex & Chris Hawes, from Bear River Winery

Taste of the Town - The Five Fishermen Restaurant

As I struggle to decide which restaurant to sample for our monthly Taste of Town, I look to the Savour Festival website to see if any restaurants are offering special menus. I discover a list of restaurants offering a very affordable “Dine Out” menu. Along with the Dine Out menu, The Five Fisherman Restaurant is also offering Nova Scotia Wines at winery prices and my decision is made.
As I walk through the doors of the Restaurant I am warmly greeted by Gray MacDonald, the Five Fisherman’s long standing Manager. As I await my dinner companion I take in my surroundings and I am reminded of the building’s rich history. First opened in 1816, this dining room was filled with children attending the Church of England’s National School. Later it housed The Victoria College of Art, known today as the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. In 1884 the Art College moved and this historic building had many uses from funeral home to warehouse, until the winter of 1974 when it was renovated and reopened as The Five Fishermen Restaurant.
As our hostess leads us up the grand staircase to the dining room we are reminded of their world famous Salad & Mussel Bar, we also learn that Chris Hawes from the Bear River Winery is on hand, offering samples of their Riesling and Gamay Nouveau wines. We are escorted to the main dining room, which exudes old world charm with its dark wood, brass accents and a beautiful stain glass window that was designed and fabricated in France at the turn of the century. Our server, Alex, promptly greets us with a glass of sparkling wine and prosciutto wrapped scallops, courtesy of the Chef Dafydd. The Scallops are a little morsel of perfection, served on greens with champagne vinaigrette.
We make our way over to the salad & mussel bar, helping ourselves to pates, bocacinni, an assortment of salads, and of course a hot plate of mussels. Chris, from Bear River visits our table offering us a sample of their Meguma Terrane Riesling. As we sip the lovely wine, we peruse the “Dine Out” menu offering a choice of Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut, Spice Rubbed Lamb Rack, Pan Seared Haddock or Cider Marinated Pork Chop. I decide on the Halibut and my companion decides on the Lamb.
As we continue to nibble on our pates we seek the assistance of Avery Gavel, the Five Fishermen’s Assistant Manager and resident Sommelier, in choosing our wine. The Five Fishermen has just received the Wine Spectator designation for the fourth year running. They pride themselves on actively supporting local wineries and food providers, thus there is no shortage of Nova Scotia Wines to choose from. For that matter, there is no shortage of wines from every region imaginable to choose from. Avery greatly enjoys assisting diners in finding the perfect wine to compliment their meal. For us he recommends a bottle of the Blomidon Chardonnay and serves it in a Pinot glass, so that we may truly appreciate its bouquet.
Their Executive Chef, Renee Lavallèe is currently on maternity leave, though she remains actively involved with the creation of the menu. However, Renee’s absence need not be a worry, for when our entrees arrive it is apparent that we are in the very capable and accomplished hands of Head Chef Dafydd Williams-Jones. The Halibut is neatly wrapped in prosciutto, served atop Cherry Tomato and Caramelized Onion Risotto, while the Spice Rubbed Lamb Rack is accompanied by Smoked Maple Syrup and Oranges with Arugula Mashed Potatoes.
The Halibut is cooked to perfection, with the sweet risotto perfectly complimenting the savoury prosciutto. The Lamb is divine, with the sweet and smoky sauce of orange and maple creating a perfect finish to a succulent dish. We cannot finish there, for we must try their fabulous desserts. I order the Pot de Crème, rich chocolate custard served with a chewy macaroon. It is more than a dessert; it is an experience, one that I will look forward to enjoying again. My companion orders their delicious homemade Raspberry Ice Cream. Avery brings us two glasses of Borealis Ice Wine, from the Benjamin Bridge Winery. It is the perfect finish to a truly inspired dining experience.
The service was impeccable & the food was divine. It is no wonder that The Five Fisherman was voted Restaurant of the Year in 2007. A special thank you to Gary, Avery, our Server Alex and Chef Dafydd for providing an unforgettable experience.
The Five Fisherman is located at 1740 Argyle St. (corner of Carmichael) and is open 7 days a week. For hours of operation, a complete menu and other information visit their website at or call 902-422-4421.

Photos by Emily Haynes

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