Canada’s 100 Best

Bar Kismet

- 2733 Agricola St., Halifax, N.S. barkismet.com

BAR KISMET is refined, relaxed and a little bit retro. Dark wood and white beadboard, milk glass light fixtures, mix-and-match china and potted plants give the dining room a comfortabl­e feel that falls somewhere between your grandmothe­r’s dining room and a farmhouse inn in rural France.

Chef and co-owner Annie Brace-Lavoie oversees a menu with influences drawn from Mediterran­ean and French regional cuisines. Seafood and vegetables are charred, grilled, braised and torched. Handmade pasta is cut into curls and ribbons, pulled, rolled and folded into pouches, tubes and shells.

Depending on the season, you may find blackened octopus or plump whelks served in knobby, coiled shells. Oyster, clam and mussel shells clatter on plates like castanets. Ahi tartare with allumettes fries is a regular feature. Smooth yellowfin tuna is prepared with a hint of citrus, diced capers and shallots, a quail egg yolk and a quenelle of spicy mayo.

Brace-Lavoie’s husband, co-owner Jenner Cormier, is an award-winning bartender who oversees the exceptiona­l beverage program, which features cocktails imbued with flavours ranging from spruce tip and balsam fir to brown butter and smoked absinthe. There are also carefully chosen wine and beer options, spotlighti­ng Nova Scotia labels.

With no reservatio­ns available, it’s a good idea to show up just as the lock clicks open on the front door at 5 p.m. By the time the night is in full gear, Bar Kismet is, too.

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