Prince Edward Island is a beautiful maritime destination that showcases some of Canada's best virtues, like its friendly people and alluring natural landscapes. It's a great place to visit for just about anyone, but if you're a seafood lover, this tiny island is truly paradise.
Prince Edward Island, which is surrounded entirely by saltwater, is literally awash in lobster, crab, mussels, oysters, shrimp, clams and many types of fish. With its long proud tradition serving fresh seafood both locally and selling it abroad, Canada's smallest and greenest province has some of the finest opportunities to eat delicious seafood.
The Best Places to Eat Seafood on Prince Edward Island
One of the great things about the abundant, tasty, fresh seafood on Prince Edward Island (PEI) is that it doesn't have to be ostentatious or expensive. In fact, Maritimers (the name ascribed to those Canadians living on Prince Edward Island and in other Eastern provinces) are a pretty casual bunch. Lobster, crab and oysters are usually associated with fine dining, but on PEI, these delicacies are mainstream, often served at informal eateries. There's even a McLobster!
When you go to PEI, be sure to keep your expectations in check. The seafood is fresh and expertly prepared but service — though friendly — may not be the quality you'd expect in metropolitan centers. You may have to endure plastic table cloths and wait more than you think is reasonable, but, hey, you're on island time. Just enjoy.
Also keep in mind that many of the most acclaimed restaurants and eateries cater especially to tourists and prices may reflect this. If you want excellent value (delicious food at reasonable price), do a little research beforehand to discover where the locals go.
And one final note: Prince Edward Island is very much a seasonal destination. Many of the lobster supper diners and other seafood focused eateries shut down between November and May.
The PEI Top Five
Just want a reliable list of the best restaurants on Prince Edward Island? Here are five assuredly delicious, longstanding favourites, serving fresh, succulent seafood.
New Glasgow Lobster Supper, New Glasgow: Serving up fresh lobster, simply and affordably. See below for more of the best lobster suppers on PEI.
Blue Mussel Cafe, North Rustico: Charming Atlantic maritime atmosphere includes string lights, bleached wood and even blankets for chilly evenings. This harbour restaurant, known for its casual but attentive customer services, offers a wide variety of seafood in a bright and airy atmosphere.
Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound, Charlottetown: Arguably the province's most popular restaurant, Water Prince is an adorable, unpretentious corner store turned eatery. Prices reflect the city setting but service and food standards are consistently high.
Richard's Fresh Seafood, Stanhope: Located on scenic Covehead Wharf within Prince Edward Island’s National Park, Richards is both a casual eatery and a fish market. It opens June 1st annually and serves tasty seafood, hot fries, cold beer, all good enough to cause an enduring line-up that's worth the wait.
Lots of Lobster
Prince Edward Island is steeped in history and tradition. Take part in one of the province's tastiest culinary customs by strapping on a bib at a lobster supper.
Lobster suppers are a no-fuss affair held approximately from mid-June through mid-October in church basements, community centres or restaurants and offer the best chance to sample fresh local lobsters and more at affordable prices.
Typically on the menu is a bowl of soup, coleslaw or potato salad, roll, mussels, lobster and dessert. Everything homemade. Prices vary but will run about $35 to $50 per person for everything (plus tax and tip). Prices as of 2017.
The most famous lobster suppers include New Glasgow Lobster Suppers in New Glasgow, which is an all-you-can-eat event, the Fisherman's Wharf, in the fishing Village of North Rustico, overlooking Rustico Bay, and Cardigan, a family operated business on Wharf Road in Cardigan that has been serving the tasty crustaceans since the early 1900's.
Rock and Roll Lobster
Finding the most divine lobster roll is a quest many visitors to Prince Edward Island undertake with fervor. But what is a lobster roll? It sounds more sophisticated than what it actually is, which is basically a lobster sandwich.
Though some are fancy and involve herb infusions or emulsifying, most lobster rolls - and arguably the *best* lobster rolls - consist of a white bun or bread, maybe toasted, filled with lobster chunks mixed with mayonnaise. The sandwich may be accented with any number of ingredients, such as chopped celery, onion, parsley or cabbage.
Lobster rolls will run you up to $18 but generally will be closer to the $10 range. Really on a budget? Try the McLobster, sold exclusively at McDonalds.
This maritime delicacy is widely available at restaurants, pubs and fish and chips shacks.
The Chowder is Always On
Seems there is a pot simmering at every eatery on Prince Edward Island. Seafood chowder is a staple of this maritime province and the recipes vary from hearty traditional to elegant fusion.
The standard seafood chowder served on PEI is a thick soup —sometimes almost like a stew — comprising chunks of lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and salmon (or some combination of seafood), broth, celery, onion, potatoes and whipping cream. Some may also include bacon.
In the same way that foodies seek out the best lobster roll or fish and chips on PEI, so too are they in pursuit of the most divine bowl of seafood chowder.
Make your own seafood chowder with these recipes from The Spruce.
Seafood Culinary Tours
Want a more interactive or educational culinary experience?
Joining a culinary tour on Prince Edward Island allows you not only to eat yummy food but gives you insight into an important part of the island's culture — the fishing industry — and to meet the people behind all the delicious seafood.
Hop on a boat and go lobster trapping with genuine PEI fishermen and indulge in your catch.
Consider the Oyster Lovers Experience, an afternoon of digging for clams and shucking oysters with local experts, John and Jackie, right at their home. Benefit from your hosts knowledge as you forage first-hand for shellfish and then eat the spoils of your labour.
Gorge Yourself at a Seafood Festival
The Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival is four days of culinary demos, celebrity chefs, food sampling, music, and culinary competitions that include seafood chowder judging and oyster shucking competitions.
The September annual event is held in the provincial capital of Charlottetown at the Eastlink Centre and celebrates the yummy edibles that come out of the ocean around PEI, like mussels, oysters, lobster, and the huge industry that supports their procurement.
Since 1964, the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival has been shaking things up for five days every August with music, food and a whole lotta shucking. In case excessive oyster consumption wasn't enough of a draw, the tiny town added a day-long music gala, bringing in big name artists and local talent.