Magnolia’s Grill – Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
We’ve been hitting Magnolia’s Grill for years . Magnolia’s Grill is a small café located in old town Lunenburg – a picturesque town on the south coast of Nova Scotia. The tiny café is littered with kitschy salt and pepper shakers and the walls are decorated with pictures of celebs friends that have dined at the café over the years – Candice Bergen, Kathy Bates (café owner Nancy Lohnes played her body double in Dolores Claiborne), and of course the restaurant’s most regular celeb visitor – Tom Selleck! Nova Scotia has become wildly popular for television and movie projects (Hollywood of the North so to speak) – thus the reason for so many celeb visits, not to mention the fantastic food! This place is tiny (part of its charm) – about seven tables in all. Think cozy 1950s diner…minus the jukebox…and add funky wooden banquets (sorta like church pews).
Mag’s, as many affectionately refer to it, is a favorite with both locals and visitors to the popular UNESCO designated town of Lunenburg. Among the plethora of wall decorations to keep your eyes entertained, are colourful chalk boards listing the café’s BEST feature – it’s mouth watering menu items.
Magnolia’s food is simple and delicious. No amuse bouche, no molecule gastronomy, no jus d’anything – just fresh, simple, delicious food perfectly prepared. The menu features many local dishes as well as standard fare such as pastas and burgers. There are always fresh soups and chowders, plenty of fresh local seafood…oh and of course the most AMAZING desserts!! Large enough to share, some of our favs: key lime pie, rhubarb crisp, hummingbird cake and peanut butter pie! Oh – and the freshly squeezed lemonade is killer!
Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you our real reason for hitting this restaurant so frequently. Mag’s serves the undisputed, hands down, best fish cakes evah! Some folks might argue that “real” fishcakes are made with salt cod, but Magnolia’s are made with haddock, and we don’t mind telling you that these fish cakes own! Fresh flaky haddock, combined with mashed spuds, onions and many other secret ingredients, then pan fried to a golden brown! Chef Anne Burrell (Food Network – Secret’s of a Restaurant Chef) isn’t kidding when she says “Brown food is good food!”. It doesn’t end there of course; Mag’s has a secret weapon – Rhubarb Relish! If you’re not from Canada’s east coast, you’re probably thinking – Rhubarb? – Relish? Wha? Oh yeah, you read it correctly – fishcakes aren’t fishcakes without Rhubarb Relish. Its sweet and tangy flavor is the perfect compliment to any type of white fish based dish. It’s so good we recently made our own rhubarb relish; you can find the recipe on our blog The Dutch Oven Diaries.
To give you an idea of how good this local hot spot really is – it will soon be featured on a new show coming soon to Food Network Canada. The show will be called “You’ve Gotta Eat Here” and will feature fantastic restaurants from across the country – sorta like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (US Food Network) meets the great north – minus host Guy Feiri and his bad roots. So when we tell you – you’ve gotta eat here – you really do!!!
So…a few tips for when you plan your visit to Magnolia’s Grill; try to avoid peak dinner hours – lineups are often out the door (or make a reservation, they just started taking them this season). Oh…and Mag’s is only open seasonally, April through October – so be sure to hit it early, cause you’ll wanna go back again before the end of the season!