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!
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