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Ask a Local: Halifax Businesses That Make You Feel Good


There’s no better way to experience a place than by living like a local. Discover cool coffee shops, live music venues, and secret beaches with tips from locals who make Halifax an amazing place to live and visit. Each of these Haligonians are passionate about this place, and have a story to tell. Get to know them and experience Halifax like a local.

Abady Alzharani: Local Businesses That Make You Feel Good

When I immigrated to Halifax about 15 years ago, it was challenging to find good food that wasn’t standard pub fare. While I loved living in Halifax, I was always craving a taste of home. Over the years, the city has grown tremendously, and with that has come more diversity in people, food, and businesses.

Supporting local businesses has become increasingly popular in recent years, with consumers and business owners looking to make a positive impact in their communities. Not only does it contribute to the local economy, but it also fosters a sense of community and pride. Today, I am proud to be one of any local business owners who are adding to the exciting experiences that make Halifax one of the best places to live and visit in Canada.

These are a few of the amazing local businesses in Halifax that not only provide quality products and services, but also create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, making you feel good about supporting them.

eat & drink

There is no better way to experience a city than through its food. Start your day at one of my favourite Halifax cafés: stop by Bird’s Nest Café for a panini and a mocha latte with chocolate ganache, made in-house. If you’re in the North End, check out Suda Table, a café that offers delicious Asian snacks like egg tarts and dumplings. If you’re a brunch fan, try Bliss Caffeine Bar in Halifax’s South End. Their focaccia and donuts are what dreams are made of.

If you’re downtown for lunch, stop by Verano for a taste of Halifax’s best Latin food. In the North End try a sandwich from The Osney, or head over to La Rozzi Bistro in Bedford for delicious Filipino comfort food (fried chicken and spaghetti is the combo you never knew you needed).

For dinner, Kofuku in the North End is the place to be. They make all their delicious Japanese and Thai cuisine from scratch. If you’re downtown and looking for something casual for dinner, try 902 Restaurant & Catering just off of Spring Garden Road – you haven’t lived until you’ve tried Syrian shawarma or fried chicken. For a fancier night, try Gio. Don’t let any hotel restaurant stigma fool you, the food and cocktails at Gio are some of the best in the city.

Speaking of cocktails… Dear Friend Bar in downtown Dartmouth is an award-winning cocktail bar that I always recommend visiting. I love their Filipino-inspired cocktails with flavours like ube and pandan. For the boba fans, check out Swee Tea House in downtown Halifax for delicious bubble tea made with fresh fruit. After a night out, you must try a poutine from Willy’s. Pro tip: order it with stuffing and Halifax’s famous donair sauce.

move & groove

I love getting lost in a new city. Head across the harbour to Dartmouth, then walk east along the Trans Canada Trail. Just a short walk from the Alderney Landing Ferry Terminal you’ll find Dartmouth Cove, a hidden gem walk where you can enjoy stunning murals on one side, and waterfront views of the Halifax Harbour on the other. Head back through downtown Dartmouth to Sullivan’s Pond to meet local celebrities: the Dartmouth geese. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch them crossing the road.

Back in Halifax, drop in for a dance class at my studio, House of Eights Dance Studio. You’ll make new friends and learn from some of Halifax’s best instructors; we offer classes for beginners and advanced dancers. Whether you’re an adult beginner or a seasoned professional, everyone is welcome. We are committed to providing a safe, professional, and fun space for dancers to develop, create, and inspire. We are always happy to see new students!

Take your dance moves from the studio to the club. Halifax has lively nightlife, including amazing drag shows. Follow one of the many talented local drag artists hosting shows all over the city, like Anna Mona-Pia, Zara Matrix, and Mya Foxx.

Meet the local

Abady Alzharani (he/him)

Abady is an artist, entrepreneur, and dance educator in Halifax, Nova Scotia, committed to creating safer and supportive spaces where people from all walks of life feel celebrated and equipped to achieve their goals through dance. He is the founder and director of House of Eights Dance Studio, a drop-in dance studio in Halifax for adults to dance, make friends, and feel empowered in a safe and judgment-free space. Abady grew up between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, but now calls Halifax home.

Follow @houseofeights on Instagram to learn more about House of Eights Dance Studio and check out Abady’s choreography.