A bit of France on the West Coast
During our week on the boat, we anchored in Montague Harbour off Galiano Island. The island is long and narrow, with houses dotting the length of it. We took the dinghy ashore and wandered through the marina, which was just closing at 7:30 pm. Wanting to exercise a bit, we wandered up the road away from the harbour and watched the evening light filter through tall fir trees and lush ferns. About 5 minutes up the road we saw this sign.
"Oh, I remember reading about this place, " said Mr. Handyman. "A woman moved here from France a number of years ago and started a restaurant."
We ventured onto the property and there, tucked among the trees, we saw a wooden building with soft lights shining through the windows. The clink of silverware and glasses drifted on the air, and murmuring voices.
We walked in and saw a room full of small tables and happy diners. We'd already eaten dinner but made reservations for the following night.
The menu is different each evening. There is a choice of two entrees - our choices were mushroom stuffed chicken breasts or halibut with a tomato ginger sauce. I had the halibut, Mr. Handyman the chicken. Included in the $31 price were soup, salad, entree and dessert.
Our meal began with cream of cauliflower soup - delicately flavoured with a little chopped mint garnish. Then salad or artichokes - we chose the artichokes which came with a sesame oil/balsamic vinegar dipping sauce. Then the entrees - with vegetables and potatoes (with the chicken) or rice (with the halibut). For dessert, Huguette, the restaurant owner, brought us one creme caramel and a slice of cake with strawberry sauce. We had ordered a glass of wine, house French, with the meal, and I had mint tea with my dessert.
We talked with Huguette Benger after the meal. She grew up in Avignon and moved to Paris as a young woman. In the 1970's, she said Paris was full of unrest. Her apartment was noisy and she wanted to get away. In her charming accent she said, "So I came to the woods."
The restaurant was not full on Sunday evening, and after she had served the dessert, I could see into the kitchen where she filled a plate with the same food we had eaten and sat down with a glass of red wine to eat her own dinner.
If you ever get a chance to visit Galiano Island, be sure to make a reservation and have dinner at La Berengerie.