Butter tarts are small pastries consisting of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filling. The filling goes on top of flaky pastry, and once baked, the tart’s filling will be crunchy on top and mostly solid. The tarts are quintessentially Canadian, but their origin is hazy. Some believe the history can be traced back to the 1600s, while others think the tarts resemble America’s pecan pies and Quebec’s sugar pies.
Where to try: The Maid’s Cottage
Securing first place for the best butter tart at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, The Maid’s Cottage is obviously the top place to try an authentic butter tart. A family-owned business, stop by to try their secret recipe.
The Maid’s Cottage, 223 Main Street S, Newmarket, ON, Canada, +1 905 9454 0202
Another dish people can thank French-Canadians for is split pea soup, a winter specialty in Canada. The most authentic version includes whole yellow peas, salted pork, and herbs. Newfoundland Pea Soup is another variation, which usually has more vegetables — such as turnips and carrots — and is topped with doughboys, or small dumplings.
Where to try: By the Sea Inn and Café
This Newfoundland café says that “pea soup and dumplings have been a tradition for us Newfoundlanders on Saturdays,” so they keep with tradition and only serve the soup on Saturdays. It’s also located right by the sea, with the dining room over the water.
By the Sea Inn & Café, 18 Bayside Drive, King’s Point, NL, Canada, +1 709 268 2181
A variation of the original doner kebab, which is of Turkish and Greek origin, the donair was introduced to Halifax in Nova Scotia in the early 1970s. The Halifax donair is characterized by its use of beef instead of lamb and its sweet sauce, made from sugar, garlic, condensed milk, and vinegar. In 2015, Halifax named the donair the city’s official food.
Where to try: King of Donair
King of Donair was the first place to serve donairs in Canada when it opened in 1973. Together with traditional donairs, they also serve donair subs, egg rolls, panzarotti, poutine, and pizza. Just about every donair combination you can think of!
King of Donair, 6420 Quinpool Rd, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 421 0000
Montreal-style bagels vary greatly from the traditional New York bagel. Firstly, they’re always cooked in a wood-fired oven. Secondly, they’re smaller, thinner, and sweeter, as they’re boiled in honey-sweetened water prior to baking. The Montreal bagel has a larger hole, and there are two common toppings: poppy or sesame seeds.
Where to try: St-Viateur Bagel
One of Montreal’s most popular bagel stops, St-Viateur has been baking the city’s best bagels since 1957. Made with 100% natural ingredients, they say their bagels “are the ones your grandparents enjoyed, made with ingredients your children can read.” Flavors include cinnamon and raisin, flax, rosemary and sea salt, and all-dressed.