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Ah la vache !: A delicious bring your own wine micro-bistro in Baie-Saint-Paul, Charlevoix

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Ah la vache ! is a delicious bring your own wine micro-bistro in Charlevoix! This address is one of our suggestions for good restaurants in Baie-Saint-Paul!

If you’re a French speaker, when you hear the expression “Ah la vache”, it’s impossible not to hear a deep voice with a French accent mixed with a sense of excitement. The mission of this Swiss restaurant is to encourage customers to shout “Ah la vache!” as they leave the location after a pleasant meal. The two owners – Nicolas Bellon and Sophie Essiembre – can congratulate themselves, because it has been mission accomplished!

The first thing that strikes you in the small location on rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste is the decor, which transports you directly into a wooden chalet at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Nicolas, who was born in Switzerland, is behind the decor as he literally lined the interior of the location with his origins. Wooden walls, red and white curtains and alpine skis are affixed to the walls. The whole thing is crowned by an imposing cowbell placed in front of the open kitchen! The place exudes conviviality, while the 28 seats available (a dozen on the terrace open all year round) give the impression of being part of the team and that the evening is an après-ski between long-time friends.

As for the menu, Nicolas is in the kitchen where he prepares his specialty: the cheese fondue. In an effort to offer his clientele the most authentic experience possible, he sources his cheeses directly from the country known as the water tower of Europe. The house also prepares a few revisited recipes made with local cheeses.  The menu is a reflection of the couple, as Sophie’s Quebecois origins blend with Nicolas’ Swiss background. Nicolas’ reputation for fondues dates back to 2003 when he was the head of P’tit Resto Suisse. When the couple announced that they wanted to open a creperie, many former customers begged them to return to their roots and start offering delicious bowls of melted cheese again. And so, Ah la vache ! is a fresh start, under a new name, and in a new location, but it has everything that made the first success. Nicolas jokes that they would like to change the menu, but that his customers wouldn’t let them!

As a bonus, you can enjoy your cheese fondue with your favourite bottle of wine, as the address is a bring your own wine restaurant! This formula was missing from the Baie-Saint-Paul culinary landscape, and contributes to the unpretentiousness of the approximately 250-square-foot location. The address promises “moments of happiness every night”.

Ah la vache ! offers a Swiss experience in the heart of Baie-Saint-Paul. A small address brimming with personality, it is also on our list of the best addresses in Baie-Saint-Paul.

Be sure to make a reservation, and don’t forget your wine!


Photography by Ah la vache!





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