Eating in Baie St Paul
I just spent a few days in Baie St. Paul. Before my trip, I searched Baie St. Paul on chow and didn't find much, so here's my 2 cents about the restaurants I tried.
Hotel Maison Otis: We stayed here, and had heard that their restaurant was the best in town.
The decor is quaint/cozy/80's -- think overstuffed sofas, wallpaper and lots of fake flowers. Breakfast came with the room. It was delicious. I had waffles one day, crepes the next, and muslix the last day. The breakfasts were served with really good ham or sausage, and if you ordered the egg breakfast, you also got a mini meat pie. I tried my husband's -- it was in nice pastry but a little dry. The waffles came with 'seasonal jelly' which turned out to be finely diced fresh fruit in firm gelatin -- interesting.
For dinner, they only offer table d'hote -- appetizer, salad, soup, main course, and desert. The appetizers were better than the main course. I had rillettes, which were nice, and came with a jelly similar to the jelly on the waffles. Strangely, it didn't come with crackers or toast or anything to put it on. But there was bread on the table. Other appetizers included stewed young goat with melted Hercule cheese (delicious, but not really hot enough) and seared scallops that I didn't get to taste.
Salad -- OK, a little maple overkill in the dressing.
Soup -- salty, but good.
Main -- Very old-school meat dishes -- I had rabbit escalope (boneless), others had ginea fowl and pork. They all came with a similar, thickened brown sauce, a cylinder of dry mashed potatoes, a smear of pureed parsnip (delicious) and some limp veggies. Most meats were a little over-done. The plates, sauce and potatoes were smoking hot, which makes me think they got it all ready well in advance and waited until the meat was done before plating it.
Very formal, but friendly service -- good English too.
Next night -- Cafe Orange
A way more casual environment -- almost a pub atmosphere. It is in a beautiful old building. Great beer on tap identified only by "microbrew -- blonde, red, or white" and my french is not good enough to investigate. The menu is translated into English, but we stumbled through mostly in French. Good onion soup, pasta with delicious fresh trout, yummy veal burger with amazing freshly made potato chips, average mussels with frozen fries!
This is a fun place to eat. Like most restaurants in BSP, there was a big focus on ingredients from the Charlevoix region. They also offer Raclette (using cheese from Charlevoix) and fondue.
Cafe Boule Creperie at the summit of Le Massif (you have to ski there!) -- the best lunch I have ever had on a ski hill. 4 kinds of savoury crepes and about the same number of sweet crepes. I had mushroom and leek with cheese, topped with a cheesy beschamel. Yum.
Last night -- Mouton Noir
The atmosphere was lovely -- not too formal, very pretty, not too dark, but nice lighting... Again, a focus on Charlevoix ingredients.
The best food we had in BSP. They offer most of the menu as a table d'hote, hard to resist when the apps sounded so good! Excellent onion soup. Delicious smoked and fresh salmon tartare with a sushi restaurant standard seaweed salad. My dad had the best app -- asian flavoured beef tartare. It was chopped to the perfect consistency and the slightly spicy asian dressing didn't overwhelm the beef flavour.
Mains were also delicious. I had bison bavette -- perfectly cooked with a nice crust. It came with a nice jus and really flavourful caramelized onion mashed potato. Others had shrimp risotto (perfectly grilled shrimp -- just done) but slightly bland risotto, and cassoulet with sausage, duck and chicken. Really good! And it came in the cutest little dutch oven thing.
We had tarte tatin and 'juste cuit' for dessert. I had never heard the french name for molten chocolate cake before, and it is such a nice name. The apple part of the tarte tatin was good. The crust was just ok.
Service was 100% french (I was getting bolder) and very understanding. The restaurant was very busy. I highly recommend this restaurant!
I hope this helps anyone travelling through Baie St Paul!
We recently spent a few days in the Charlevoix around Baie St-Paul, so here's our experience...
Le Bouquet in BSP - This place was recommended by a local gallery owner. It calls itself eco-bistro - not sure why... The service was okay, but after a nice amuse-bouche the rest of the food was mediocre. Our "Tuscan" trout was buried under a layer of olive-caper-tomato mishmash that was at least twice as thick as the fish and totally overpowered any flavours the animal may have had. All main courses had exactly the same vegetables around them. No need to go back.
Mouton Noir in BSP - definitely the best overall experience we had. We didn't manage to eat dinner there, but we saw some of the dishes and they looked and smelled very good. Had lunch there the next day and enjoyed it very much - good food, nice setting, relaxed atmosphere, terrace by the river. Two thumbs up.
Auberge Beausejour, St-Joseph-de-la-Rive - Stayed there and ate dinner twice. Part of the Route des Sauveurs, but rather outdated and stuffy. Some dishes were okay, others less so. Again, all main courses come with the same veggies laid out the same way - boring!! Service was slow and completely unable to handle any special requests. No need to go back either.
Auberge de la Rive, quasi next door - Ate some fantastic Eperlan there for lunch. This is probably not the most fancy gourmet place you'll ever go to, but I would definitely go there again and try more of their food!
I'm sure there is a lot more good food in the Charlevoix. Hopefully someone can help us out here so we can better plan our next trip?
43 Rue Sainte-Anne, Baie-Saint-Paul, QC G3Z0C8, CA
We recently spent a few days in La Malbaie, with some visits to Baie St. Paul. I agree that Mouton Noir is top-notch; we had lunch there and found the ingredients to be superb. We had the charcuterie plate and the merguez sausage, and the vegetables that came with the sausage were wonderful.
For dinners in La Malbaie, we went twice to the Auberge des Peupliers (where we stayed) and once to Vices Versa. I understand that the chef at Auberge des Peupliers was one of the first to concentrate on Charlevoix ingredients. The foie gras at Auberge des Peupliers is amazing. It comes from La Ferme Basque in nearby St. Urbain. Everything at Auberge des Peupliers was put together very well, with the side dishes being just as flavorful as the main part of the dishes.
If you are a fan of foie gras, you should visit La Ferme Basque and get a tour (the proprietress speaks excellent English and the little ducks are very cute).
My companion and I were divided on Vices Versa. It was good and a little more creative than Auberge des Peupliers, but my companion didn't think that some of the flavor combinations worked very well. That said, the star of that meal was a variation on Shepherd's pie that contained some spectacular lamb.
Another favorite spot was Pains d'Exclamation, a bakery in La Mabaie. We took only one breakfast at the hotel and the other ones at the bakery. The pastries and coffee were as good as any we have had in France. We also got sandwiches there to take on our whale-watching trip and the sandwiches were terrific.
43 Rue Sainte-Anne, Baie-Saint-Paul, QC G3Z0C8, CA