After I had my first baby, I felt self-conscious about nursing in public, but I wanted to get used to it. “Go to Local Jo Café & Market”, my doula told me, because, in Halifax, “it’s the café that embraces family like no other.” Cafes that make you feel comfortable, serve great food and offer amazing coffee are worth talking about! Here are 6 Halifax cafes that stand out from the crowd.
Pavia Gallery – Espresso Bar and Café
5440 Spring Garden Road, Halifax
Pavia has several locations, but for parents, I recommend the one on the top floor of the Halifax Central Library. There, while drinking your coffee, you can enjoy the library’s green roof and view of the city. Another option is to get your coffee to go and take it to the children’s section of the library on the second floor where there is a large play area. Besides coffees and teas, Pavia offers soups, sandwiches, and sweets. They use local, organic ingredients whenever possible, and they tend to look to Italy for their recipe inspiration. Personally, I can’t get enough of their Ricciarelli, authentic Tuscan cookies that are like chewy almond clouds.
Cortado Tasting Room
50 Gary Martin Dr. #140, Bedford
At Cortado, a fabulous coffee laboratory, the preparation options go way beyond cappuccino or drip. Personally, I enjoy ordering my java made using a Hario syphon, which as Joe Dunford, one of Cortado’s owners, puts it, “relies on heat and pressure to create steam and force water to do your bidding, that is, to make great coffee—light bodied and smooth.” Other brewing options include the balancing syphon, AeroPress, and Turkish. I love how Dunford is always keen to understand what each person wants in a cup of coffee and help them choose the right bean and right brewing method so that they get exactly that. Cortado hosts coffee workshops for those who want to learn more about the beverage.
Dilly Dally Coffee Café
6100 Quinpool Rd., Halifax
Bright and cheerful, Dilly Dally is chockablock with huge windows, aqua accents, vintage curios, and whimsical cacti in teacups. For flavoured lattes, they make their own syrups, which allows them to push the envelope of what flavours they can offer. Last fall, they had carrot spice latte on as a seasonal special, and it was so popular that it’s now on the regular menu. This year, try their ginger molasses latte. For food, go for the avocado toast with pickled shallots and greens or any of their baked goods, which are made in-house and change daily. Think treats like party-coloured cereal bars, gingerbread doughnuts, and absolutely magnificent muffins. Dilly Dally is licensed, so there are wine and beer on offer, as well as shots of liquor for your java. In the summer, enjoy your beverage (iced or otherwise) on the patio.
Local Jo Café & Market
2959 Oxford St., Halifax
This doula-approved cafe remains a favourite for our family. It has a play area choc-a-block with toys, books, and chalkboards with a rainbow selection of chalks, and it has a kid-friendly menu. There are kids pizza, kids drinks, and a kids lunch, which is apple slices, marble cheese, raisins, and organic bread—all served in a boat! In addition to dishing up their homemade soups on the spot, they also sell them frozen. (A godsend for busy parents!) The vibe at Local Jo Café & Market is pleasantly crunchy.
The Other Bean
6220 Quinpool Rd., Halifax
The Other Bean is a tight squeeze for a stroller, so I don’t recommend taking one there. That said, I wheel mine in all the time because I can’t get enough of their twenty-two stellar sandwich varieties. My personal favourite is Gobble Gobble, which features smoked turkey from Sweet William’s, a local butcher par excellence, plus goat cheese, garlic mayo, sprouts, and black pepper. Another popular choice is the spicy peanut, which is filled with guacamole, peanut sauce, and diced chicken roasted in-house with sriracha. To wash it all down, try the spicy hot chocolate with its kicking-hot blend of cayenne, chilli, nutmeg, and cloves, along with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
1536 Brunswick St., Halifax
The thing to do is to go to Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino for their weekend brunch and order the scrumptious huevos rancheros—sunny-side up eggs on corn tortillas loaded with smashed kidney beans, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, and sour cream, and—for a truly hearty meal—add the guacamole and seasoned chicken. Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino has been a Halifax institution for more than twenty years and touts itself as a pioneer in the specialty coffee movement in the Maritimes. As the name would suggest, this is a café that consistently serves an exceptionally well-balanced cappuccino.