I went to Yarmouth NS looking for great restaurants but in the end I fell in love with the people. I do believe they might be the friendliest in Nova Scotia.
Yarmouth and Acadian Shores has become my favourite region in Nova Scotia and I’m thrilled to share what you should see, do and eat in this southwest Nova Scotia region!
It is home to Mi’kmaq, Acadian and English cultures under some of the darkest skies in North America.
Unbelievably, I hadn’t visited Yarmouth until this summer. I grew up only two hours away but never felt a reason to go.
I think most locals believed that Yarmouth was just a gateway to take a ferry to Maine. But there is so much more to this region.
I went overnight the first time and loved it so I returned again in the autumn for two nights and still feel like I’ve scratched the surface.
So I’m actually planning another trip back! I feel like I’ve become an official ambassador, because I rave about the region so much and want others to see how great it is.
Planning a trip in Nova Scotia? Check out these posts:
- Best Things to Do in Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia Wine where all ships rise with the tide
- Dining on the Ocean Floor
- Magic Winery Bus
WHERE TO STAY IN YARMOUTH NOVA SCOTIA
Many accommodations in Yarmouth refer to the region as the French Shore.
This has changed to Acadian Shores recently to reflect that the Acadians have a history and culture uniquely different from the French in France or say the French in nearby Quebec.
As it is a relatively new term don’t be confused if you see references to the French Shore, you’re in the right place!
The Argyler Lodge
Perhaps the biggest regret of my trip was not spending more time here. The Argyler isn’t simply a place to sleep, but to enjoy.
Several people described experiences of eating dinner at sunset there so vividly you would have thought it was just the night before.
Unfortunately we arrived just after dark. Not only was I upset about missing the view but also Chef Jon’s food. He may be the most underrated chef in Nova Scotia.
And I don’t make a statement like that lightly.
So far I’ve had his lobster roll and lobster chowder at Cape Forchu , which is unbeaten as the best in Nova Scotia (my opinion) and his smores cheesecake and lobster omelet with hash browns made with peppers and herbs from his greenhouse are incredible.
At this point I would trust anything he makes is going to be great.
I wish I had stayed longer but I know I’ll be back to have dinner at sunset.
52 Ye Old Argyle Rd, Glenwood, NS B0W 1W0
Trout Point Lodge
A luxury wilderness lodge like no other located in the Tobeatic Wilderness Area in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.
Trout Point Lodge is a nature retreat and luxury wrapped all into one, this is my kind of outdoors.
It makes for a perfect romantic getaway or… a fun mother daughter adventure as we discovered another mother/daughter soaking it all in.
We were welcomed with a glass of wine and immediately went to the wood fired hot tub to relax before dinner, which started with house made bread, duck prosciutto and seasonal butters followed by a four course meal.
We had breakfast outside with a view of the river. Then back to the hot tub!
While it’s a bit of a splurge, but there are currently mid-week promotions to encourage locals to visit.
And once you’re on site there are great included activities such as guided barefoot forest bathing and star gazing in Yarmouth and Acadian’s shores famous dark skies.
I didn’t realize how dark a sky could be until I came to Yarmouth. You have to see it to believe it.
189 Trout Point Rd, East Kemptville, NS B5A 5X9
As soon as I heard there was a boat Airbnb rental in Yarmouth I knew I had to stay there.
The boat is downtown, just beside Rudder’s in Yarmouth and it was such a fun experience. There is a primary room and then a smaller secondary room.
I loved having a glass of wine at sunset looking out onto the water and then waking up to coffee with a view.
This is a special experience and I think kids would also think it is fun as they can sit in the captain’s chair with all the controls.
You can see more of it on this video I shared of my first trip to Yarmouth NS. I shot a walk through so you could see all of the facilities.
WEATHER IN YARMOUTH NS
Yarmouth is known as the banana belt of Atlantic Canada for its mild winters and cool summers.
It makes for very comfortable travel.
Summer Weather in Yarmouth
On the shore expect an average of 16.9°C and ocean breezes. It gets warmer as you go inland.
If you’re looking to go to the beach, the Atlantic Ocean and Bay of Fundy get warmer as summer in Yarmouth progresses. So early autumn often is full of beautiful days as well.
Winter Weather in Yarmouth
Winter is typically quite mild with an average temperature of -2.7°C. However, they can be a bit wet and windy so dress accordingly.
FAMOUS YARMOUTH FOOD
Yarmouth has two distinct attributes that makes its food and restaurants in Yarmouth a bit different than others in Canada or even Nova Scotia.
1) It has the largest Acadian community in Nova Scotia.
2) It is home to the largest and most diverse fishery in Atlantic Canada.
But there are four dishes you absolutely cannot miss, even if you only have one day!
Rappie pie is a traditional Acadian casserole where grated potatoes are dehydrated, then rehydrated with a rich stock and combined with meat.
It is also called râpure, pâté à la râpure, and with similar ingredients to Acadian paté râpé and chiard. Its name is derived from the French “patates râpées” meaning “grated potatoes”.
I have learned SO much about rappie pie in Yarmouth.
Prior to visiting I heard some nightmare stories, that only Acadians could like rappie pie. Friends described the texture being similar to wallpaper paste or snot.
But that’s not true!
Rappie pie varies from town to town, and even from family to family. Some say that the Acadians in PEI like a much more dry dish, than those in Nova Scotia.
And the photo above is a rappie pie from Comeau’s Farm Market in Meteghan. But it looks completely different from the one I had at the Dinner Plate in Yarmouth, which seemed similar to a shepherd’s pie.
And I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t as people had described.
Some people will only eat homemade rappie pie, but there is also D’Eons, which has been around three generations and is well respected in the region.
You will not find rappie pie in Acadian homes in Cape Breton, they eat meat pie instead. And you will not find it in New Brunswick.
This is the part where I geek out about how food can shine a light on how cultures are not homogenous.
Even amongst the Acadians in the Maritimes there are subtle differences because of history, ingredients and experience.
Creamed lobster was invented in Yarmouth. I hadn’t even heard of it until a year ago because I had never seen it in the Annapolis Valley.
It was invented by Clara Harris, at Quick ‘n Tasty, which is under new ownership and now known as Jo-Anne’s Quick N Tasty.
This is a dish of sustenance. It’s almost a lobster twist on a hot hamburger sandwich which you can find in local diners and local spots in Nova Scotia.
Some say it is just seafood chowder poured over bread, but that misses the nuances of the dish Clara Harris created.
Creamed lobster isn’t chowder. Lobster is cooked in butter, with a bit of vinegar and then cream is added.
The lobster between two pieces of buttered toast with more lobster in a cream sauce on top.
It is very decadent and if you have never tried creamed lobster I suggested sharing a dish.
Eel Lake Oysters
And of course there are many more great dishes, don’t worry I’ll share them below in the Yarmouth restaurants section.
Molasses on Brown Bread
I have never had better brown bread than in Yarmouth.
In fact, despite so many people telling me to go to Edna’s Bakery just for the brown bread I had no idea how it could be.
I had a bite expecting nothing but let out a guttural sigh. Memories of childhood bread flooded back to me.
So Edna’s ruined me for life because now I need to drive to Port Maitland to buy it. No other bread compares.
Molasses is a very Maritime thing to eat. While it was once a common ingredient in North America most people stopped eating it with the invention of refined sugar.
But Crosby’s Molasses in Saint John, New Brunswick continues to thrive. And it is a common ingredient in many Nova Scotian baked goods.
In Yarmouth it is very common to have it on brown bread with rappie pie.
Bring your stretchy pants to Yarmouth, you don’t want to say no!
INCREDIBLE YARMOUTH RESTAURANTS
On the whole Yarmouth restaurants really impressed and surprised me.
In Nova Scotia I always prefer local diners and cafes that serve seafood. I think the quality is usually better than a high end tourist restaurant.
But while everyone wants to know where to go to have a lobster dinner, locals actually eat lobster at home.
Usually on old newspapers so when you’re done you can throw everything into the compost bin and not worry about getting the table sticky.
Because a lobster dinner seems far too expensive when you know the guy who sells it on the dock – or in my case the guy who sells it in the parking lot across from the movie theatre.
Or in Yarmouth it’s probably your buddy or family who is a fisherman and will bring it to you.
So if you want a lobster dinner you have a couple choices:
- Check your hotel – The Argyler Lodge has a couple packages that would have an incredible view.
- If you’re staying at a cottage go to the grocery store. Places like Sobey’s will steam it for you. Or ask your host. They may be able to bring cooked lobster over. Make sure the place has lobster crackers.
- Go to a restaurant. You don’t need to stay at the Argyler to eat there.
The Dinner Plate
You cannot beat an old school diner. You don’t need to dress up, you just need to show up.
Filled with locals eating local seafood, westerns and every kind of hot sandwich you can imagine this is very good value for a great Yarmouth restaurant.
I loved the rappie pie here, and they serve it with Edna’s brown bread.
You can sit inside in these great booths. Or if the weather is great take your food across the street as they have picnic tables overlooking the river.
2 Cann St, Yarmouth, NS B5A 1L8
Normally I would NEVER recommend eating on site at a tourist location.
Keeper’s Kitchen is on site at Cape Forchu Lighthouse and it’s home to the best seafood chowder in Nova Scotia.
It’s also where I met Chef Jon from the Argyler Lodge for the first time. Everyone there is so down to earth and lovely.
And the best part is that the prices are VERY reasonable.
Most tourist restaurants would add at least $5-10 more for chowder or a lobster roll. But not here!
And if you’re planning to come eat here set aside some time to explore the grounds. It’s not like other lighthouses in the province.
Sure there is the lighthouse that you can look at and snap a couple photos.
But also, there’s a short trail and with interpretive signs about the region, history and sea vegetation that is edible!
Cape Forchu, NS B5A 4A7
Dennis Point Cafe
It’s a great spot full of locals, friendly servers and great food. All of the seafood is recommended as it is literally across the street from the wharf.
But most recommended items were the lobster roll, creamed lobster and oddly enough, the veggie burger.
I had the creamed lobster And what I didn’t realize at first was not only is there lobster on top, but also in between the bread slices.
It’s a good thing I decided to split this monster with my mother.
It was delicious!
214 Dennis Point Rd, Middle West Pubnico, NS B0W 2M0
Yet another opportunity to gush about Chef Jon, please understand this is a culinary crush nothing more.
Some people just know how to make tasty food.
This may be the best restaurant in Yarmouth. I did not eat dinner here but I’ve heard that a sunset dinner on the porch is something you never forget.
You can eat here even if you’re not staying at the lodge.
But make sure you save room for dessert. The smores cheesecake tastes like it came right off the campfire.
52 Ye Old Argyle Rd, Glenwood, NS B0W 1W0
BEST YARMOUTH RESTAURANTS I MISSED
- Red Cap Restaurant: Includes lots of Acadian dishes, ask for the Acadian sampler. But check hours as I was devastated it wasn’t open on Wednesday.
- Small Fry’s: A great seafood spot next to the Tuna Museum, head here before going on your Tusket Islands tour. I only missed it because of hours.
- Lickity Split: I’ve had a lot of great ice cream in Yarmouth but this place does soft serve and is sooooooo cute.
YARMOUTH BAKERIES + SWEETS
I don’t know if Acadians are the best bakers. But I have noticed that some of the best bread and baked goods comes out of Acadian regions.
Cape Breton is the home of incredible bakeries, and I don’t know if anyone makes better brown bread than in Yarmouth Nova Scotia.
This photo is from the first time I tried to visit and they were closed. I came for brown bread and ginger cookies. As my dress matched the exterior I plopped down for a photo.
Since then I’ve heard you just need to knock on the door if you’re there before 3pm. The storefront isn’t open but they’ll sell you bread out the door.
Also you can get it at the Dayton Red and White grocery store, they deliver on Tuesdays.
3151 Evangeline Trail, Yarmouth, NS B5A 4A5
I cannot believe how low the prices at Bailey’s Bakery are considering the quality of their products.
I went in looking for cream puffs but ended up bringing home these pastries which were like high end Vachon Billot Logs, bread and peanut butter cookies.
It’s not only a bakery but also a restaurant. I’ve heard they have fantastic seafood chowder so I think I’ll be heading there again.
582 Nova Scotia Trunk 1, Hebron, NS B5A 5A2
Honey Bee Ice Cream Parlour
One of the first Yarmouth restaurants I visited and it remains one of my favourite.
On the outside it looks like an old school ice cream parlour but inside is modern and absolutely spotless. I am sure you can eat off the floors here.
Yes they serve Scotsburn ice cream, like many places around Nova Scotia. However, people drive from all over to try the bubble tea, I recommend the piña colada.
And if you’re lucky enough you’ll talk to Sonia, who moved here 7 years ago from South Korea.
She is one of the most positive, energetic people and she adores living in Yarmouth.
Also she’s going to start serving sushi, which may end up being the best in Nova Scotia with access to the region’s diverse seafood.
582 Nova Scotia Trunk 1, Hebron, NS B5A 5A2
Hakuna Matata Ice Cream
Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is home to so many great ice cream shops but you cannot find ghost pepper ice cream anywhere else!
They have Scotsburn ice cream but skip that and get their custom flavours, with local favourites like peanut butter and seasonal peaches.
But the ghost pepper was an experience worth driving for. The cream helps tame the heat and makes it bearable and delicious.
354 Hardscratch Rd, Yarmouth, NS B5A 4A8
There’s no shortage of caffeine in Yarmouth, here are a few great coffee shops.
Perky Owl Cafe
Located in downtown Yarmouth they offer a great selection of specialty tea and coffee from Guysborough.
I love the large shaded patio, both the London fog and chai tea latte were fantastic.
255 Main St, Yarmouth, NS B5A 1E5
I didn’t stop in at SIP because I had already had so much caffeine.
But I love the decor, it’s the kind of place that I would love to plop my laptop down and work there.
357 Main St, Yarmouth, NS B5A 1E7
I wanted to include this Tusket coffee shop because so many people rave about it. If anything I think it should be considered a Yarmouth restaurant as it’s busy in the evening and is licensed.
Unfortunately I was not able to eat or drink anything here because when we walked in no one was there!
I think someone forgot to lock up, and yet I’m sure people are so honest here they just walked out like we did.
4106 highway 308 south, Tusket, NS B0W 3M0
YARMOUTH CRAFT BEER
There are three small but mighty craft breweries in Yarmouth. They have fantastic beer but also have three unique atmospheres.
Heritage Brewing Company
Located right downtown Yarmouth, it has a great patio in the front and so many options for beer, wine and cider. My favourite was the jalapeño, with just a bit of spice at the end.
It’s a small batch craft beer company, but they also have nightly events and trivia is one of the most popular so get there early.
250 Main St, Yarmouth, NS B5A 1C9
Tusket Falls Brewery
Tusket Falls Brewing website does not do this place justice – it is gorgeous!
It felt like the perfect warm autumn day on the patio. I tried a flight and loved the “I Park for Free” Blackberry Cinnamon Sour IPA as well as the “A Diversion in Life” Hazy IPA.
We heard the food here was great so we tried the pear, fig and goat cheese pizza. Mine had arugula because I thought that was a topping so they said they could add it anyway!
We loved how light and crispy the pizza was, not too heavy and great with beer. Arancini balls are also very popular.
I would definitely come back!
20 Slocomb Crescent, Tusket, NS B0W 3M0
Rudder’s Brew Pub
This is a popular spot serving traditional pub food, it has a large patio it gets packed quickly. In peak times you may need reservations.
96 Water St, Yarmouth, NS B5A 4P5
BONUS: Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival
Celebrating craft beer in Nova Scotia, this festival was last held in June 2019 at the Rodd Grand Hotel. Maybe it will return in 2021?
There are a number of different package levels and seems well worth planning a weekend getaway.
FOODIE THINGS TO DO IN YARMOUTH NS
Although I initially came to the region to share the best Yarmouth restaurants, I spent a lot of time doing so many other things that I loved.
The region is stunning, and while there are authentic fishing villages and coastal views the interior provides so many opportunities.
UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is considered a living laboratory for testing sustainability while maintaining heritage and biodiversity.
Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos
I’ll be honest, I normally avoid museums.
But I had the BEST time at the Pubnico Acadian Museum.
Bernice lured me in with the promise of nasturtium butter and the Acadian garden.
But she was such a great resource to explain how the Acadians settled, resettled after being expelled and why you’ll find different Acadian last names in towns.
She was careful to share as much as I wanted, but not overwhelm with details.
I learned what people ate BEFORE potatoes (sunchokes!)and how rappie pie is different from one town to another.
This was one of my favourite visits and really sparked a desire to learn more about Acadian history….and to eat nasturtium pods!
898 NS-335, West Pubnico, NS B0W 3S0
Tusket Island Tours
Why does everyone love the Tusket Islands Tour?
Because it’s an amazing time.
I had no idea that most of the guests of the tour are usually from Nova Scotia, often bringing out of province friends.
Simon Leblanc is an amazing host, sharing stories of generations of his family’s lobster business.
He explains the era when his grandparents lived on the islands and caught lobster off the shores, to the more modern method that comes with modern challenges as they go farther out to sea.
I had a great time in our group of seven enjoying Simon’s songs, chowder, stories and incredible views.
This tour is a MUST.
142 Jacquard Rd, Arcadia, NS B0W 1B0
Le Village Historique Acadien
Simon from Tusket Islands Tour warned me that a visit to Le Village was dangerous. He said no matter how long I had allocated to visit I would spend twice the amount of time.
As a non-Acadian I didn’t think this was possible.
I have already been to villages with blacksmiths and restored homes. How good could it be?
But what makes this place different is the people.
They were all so enthusiastic and interesting. Our guide had such a love for the region and Simone showed me how to eat rosehip!
Although many would think this museum is for children with the animals on site I really enjoyed it as an adult.
I think part of the reason staff are so happy and friendly is because they work in such a beautiful spot.
There’s also a cafe with seasonal food and rappie pie along with picnic tables to enjoy the view.
There’s also a beautiful walking trail along the water. I would schedule two hours to walk on the trail and really enjoy the area.
91 Old Church Rd, Lower West Pubnico, NS B0W 2C0
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Disclosure: This post about Yarmouth NS was created in partnership with the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association. They did not require I write a positive review or report back that I really do like rappie pie!