The Place: Tucked into a little strip mall in Chelsea, Quebec, Le Resto is an endearing cross between country diner and neighbourhood bistro. It is also the brainchild of Line Boyer and James Hargreaves, the boisterous local food-loving couple behind the Boucanerie Chelsea Smokehouse, the artisan seafood smoking facility and retail shop that happens to be located just up the road.
The Deal: The menu here benefits from the use of the freshest local ingredients and all the hard work that happens at the Smokehouse to create such delicacies as silky gravlax, sweet smoked mussels and scallops, hot smoked salmon, and maple syrup- and sherry-saturated salmon jerky.
The Crowd: Local fish and seafood fans as well as day-trippin’ visitors to the Gatineau Hills. Kids are not only welcome but doted upon by charming servers who offer up magnetic drawing boards and Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.
The Dish: A blackboard of daily specials reflects the “catch of the day” so you might find line-caught halibut, fresh tuna sashimi, or a Nicoise salad loaded with smoked mussels, smoked tuna and shrimp, crunchy yellow beans, roasted potatoes, and properly hard-boiled eggs. However, the signature dish is undoubtedly the fish ‘n’ chips, with its traditional light golden coat that envelops a moist slab of Nova Scotia (sustainable quota fished) cod. A pile of delicious fat fries, homemade tartar sauce, and a few forkfuls of minty mushy peas complete the honest-to-goodness British experience. The newsprint-lined plate is a cute touch. Homemade desserts here (mocha cheesecake, apple crumble for example) may cause you to rethink your impulse to save room for a scoop of homemade ice cream at nearby La Cigale.
The Cost: Fish and chips (3 0z., 6 oz., 8 oz.): $7, $12, $14. Salad nicoise special: $20
Boucanerie Chelsea Le Resto, 528 Route 105 , Chelsea, Quebec (it’s the stripmall with the Freshmart), 819-827-5559. Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wed.-Sat., noon – 9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.