There are so many great restaurants on les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, choosing a place to celebrate a special event might seem like a very daunting task. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, I don't eat a lot of fish or seafood so that narrows it down quite a bit. When Sylvain asked me to pick a place for my birthday dinner, I immediately thought of Le Refectoire since its menu offers a really nice variety of local dishes and island-made products. And I don't think I could have picked a better spot! Located in an early 20th century convent, this restaurant offers a refined and yet very causal atmosphere with lovely views of the island. From start to finish, service was impeccable and friendly, and everything on our 4-service table d'hote was absolutely scrumptuous (I highly recommend the four cheese fondue as an appetizer and the orange and cranberry creme brulee for dessert!). The restaurant also offers a really interesting wine list, with a good selection of wine by the glass, and those who prefer beer can't go wrong with a pint of home-brewed "Vieux-Couvent". Le Refectoire is open from May to October and reservations are recommended, especially on the weekend.
This little bistro is located in an area called l'Etang-du-Nord, on the island of Cap-aux-Meules. The cafe's patio offers a great view of the sea and, if you happen to be there for dinner, great sunsets. The menu at Cafe La Cote includes an interesting selection of local and international dishes, along with daily specials. I sampled three items on the menu - grilled vegetable and Pied-de-Vent panini, thai shrimp soup and sausage pizza - and all three were good. Of course we washed it all down with a pint of local beer, but there were also other drinks available such as sangria and mojitos. Definitely a good place to be on a warm, sunny day!
This little restaurant located at the heart of Cap-aux-Meules is very popular, mostly thanks to its rather unique artsy atmosphere. We ate there twice during our short stay at les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, once for breakfast and once for dinner. The first time, our waitress was quick and super friendly; the second time, service was slow and definitely not as nice, but the place was packed so that may be part of the reason. For breakfast, there weren't that many items to choose from on the menu, but there were still quite a few interesting options - the eggs benedict were really good. For dinner, the linguine carbonara made with local cheese was amazing, but the other dishes I sampled (fajitas and linguine with grilled vegetables) were just OK. To be honest, given the popularity of this restaurant, I thought the food would have been better, but I did enjoy the atmosphere very much so I wouldn't hesitate to give it another shot.
Favorite Dish: You can't go wrong with the linguine carbonara au Pied-de-Vent!
With so many restaurants specializing in local food, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from an Italian restaurant in les Iles-de-la-Madeleine. As it turns out, we had an excellent dinner at l'Italien des Iles! The restaurant is mostly popular because of its pasta bar, a concept that allows you to pick all the different ingredients (vegetables, meat, seafood, sauce, etc.) you want to put on your pasta. However, I was in the mood for some pizza so I ordered the chicken and roasted pepper one, and it was really good. But perhaps the best part of our meal was that there was a folk singer playing at the restaurant that evening. He sang mostly French songs by the likes of Jacques Brel, Joe Dassin, Georges Brassens and Charles Aznavour, which made for a really nice atmosphere. This is a place I will definitely go back to next time I make it to les Iles!
We got caught in the rain as we were riding our scooters and decided to stop by this little bakery to warm up. La Fleur de Sable specializes in traditional products and recipes, offering a wide variety of breads and pastries. It's also possible to order different sandwiches (all made with local products) at the bakery's cafe. Our waiter was incredibly nice and laidback, and didn't seem to mind the fact that we came in soaking wet, to the point where there was a huge puddle on the floor by the time we finished our coffee! It was also nice to see all the locals stop by towards the end of the afternoon to pick up fresh bread for their evening meal - at some point there must have been at least a dozen people waiting in line at the counter, a sure sign of the quality of this nice little bakery!
Located in the old General Store of La Grave, the Cafe de la Grave offers a nice selection of local dishes and other light fare served in a really nice ambience. The place can get quite busy but it's truly worth sticking around to get a table. We sat near the back of the cafe at one of the old wooden tables and had a great time just soaking up the friendly atmosphere of the place, which was made even better when a young customer was invited to play a few songs on the piano. We made sure to start our meal on the right foot by ordering a pint of local beer (usually served in a Mason jar), and as it was a rather chilly day I ordered a bowl of lentil soup - it was soooo delicious and it warmed me right up! I also tried a bit of the croque-monsieur and European hot dog, and both were really good. For those who'd like to try more local dishes, the menu also offers salted cod cakes and "Pot-en-Pot", a Magdalen Islands specialty.
Favorite Dish: That lentil soup was the best I've ever had!