Le Bic, Canada

Photo: Restaurant Chez St-Pierre

A snowy drive along the gray St. Lawrence River. Icy coves in Bic National Park. Pine trees drooping with thick snow line the road into Le Bic. A cozy wooden cottage on a hilltop. Delicious smells wafting from a warm open kitchen. Are you ready for an amazing dinner?

Chez St-Pierre is one of the best restaurants in Canada. It’s helmed by Colombe Saint-Pierre. She’s a self-taught chef who writes about Québécois cooking and terroir in a local newspaper. Elen Garon, another strong woman, is the sommelier who pairs carefully selected Canadian wines with Saint-Pierre’s farm-to-table dishes. The resulting tasting menus (three, five, and seven courses) are seasonal, simple, and sophisticated.

This cozy restaurant is in Le Bic. The quaint village has brightly colored wooden houses and views of a small national park where grey and harbor seals live. A decade ago, Le Bic merged with Rimouski, a university town to the northeast. They’re both part of Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Québec City is nearly 200 miles away.

So you’ve been planning this meal for a while. You timed your trip to coincide with both the holiday season and the weeks before Chez St-Pierre closes for a winter break. The menu highlights regional producers, locally reared meat, wild fish, and foraged herbs and roots. Each dish is described by two ingredients: crab and lobster, lamb and algae, strawberries and wild tea, radish and black garlic. They’re crafted into snow crab risotto, steamed lamb loins, chia and strawberry meringue pie, and black garlic butter. Don’t even think about ordering less than seven courses. You want to taste everything that Chef Saint-Pierre dreams up.

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