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What is the best restaurant in the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleine) Quebec? The response from most visitors and locals is La Table des Roy (address: 1188 Chemin La Verniere, L'Etang-du-Nord).

Chef Johanne Vigneault
Chef Johanne Vigneault
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Located on the west coast of Cap-aux-Meules island, the gourmet restaurant specializes in Iles de la Madeleine foods and drinks, especially fresh seafood. Johanne Vigneault is the chef and owner of La Table des Roy.

La Table des Roy menu

Our meal at La Table des Roy began with an amuse-bouche of salmon tartare on a crispy cracker. Butter, adorned with charcoal, clay and bamboo salts from Hawaii, enhanced the warm rolls.

Chutney made from cranberries grown on Pointe de l'Est, on the eastern end of the Magdalen Islands, accompanied an outstanding appetizer of parfait de foie blond (light liver paté) and foie gras crème brûlée. Served on a curved glass plate with bread crisps and green sprouts, it was as appetizing to view as it was to eat.

Foie gras creme brulee, cranberry chutney and liver pate
Foie gras creme brulee, cranberry chutney and liver pate
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The à la carte menu at La Table des Roy features delicious appetizers like veal carpaccio (Veau de Nathael), topped with large flakes of Tomme des Desmoiselles cheese.

Main course dishes on the restaurant menu include a delectable lobster, scallops, mussels and Reggiano cheese risotto and an exquisite halibut, encrusted with chorizo from Les Cochons Touts Ronds (a deli on Havre-Aubert island).

We enjoyed a truly memorable ris de veau, served from a white casserole by our attentive waiter. The ragout was a tasty combination of lobster, scallops, sweetbreads, wild mushrooms, onions, peppers, asparagus and lobster ravioli, cooked in a port reduction sauce.

La Table des Roy also features several dishes for two people to share. These include the catch of the day from local fishermen, terre et mer (surf & turf) and bouillabaisse.

Sweetbreads with lobster, scallops, wild mushrooms, vegetables and lobster ravioli
Sweetbreads with lobster, scallops, wild mushrooms, vegetables and lobster ravioli
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

According to Johanne Vigneault, the bouillabaisse gourmand is the signature dish on the Table des Roy restaurant menu. Croutons and aioli garnish the Marseilles-style seafood stew, made with lobster, scallops, mussels, crab, halibut and other fish.

During our visit, dessert was a mouth-watering brownie, made with beer from the A l'abri de la Tempete microbrewery, and a refreshing lemon meringue parfait.

Gourmet cruise

We didn't have to make reservations at La Table des Roy because we were booked on a Flavours package on the CTMA Vacancier cruise to Iles de la Madeleine.

The package included not only dinner at the gourmet restaurant, but also shuttle bus transportation between the CTMA Vacancier and La Table des Roy.

We also booked a Taste of The Islands theme cruise on the CTMA Vacancier. Johanne Vigneault was one of the guest chefs. On the return cruise from the Magdalen Islands to Montreal, she prepared a scrumptious six-course feast for passengers.

Johanne Vigneault prepares scallops on CTMA Vacancier cruise.
Johanne Vigneault prepares scallops on CTMA Vacancier cruise.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Best scallops

It included princess scallops, in their shells, prepared three ways. During the cruise, Chef Vigneault conducted a scallops demonstration.

She explained how scallops are cultivated in the lagoon on Havre-aux-Maisons island in Les Iles de la Madeleine. We learned that small scallops are two-to-three years old, while very large scallops are seven-to-nine years old.

Passengers eagerly gathered around Johanne Vigneault to learn how to remove scallops from their shells. She then showed us how to serve scallops with a squeeze of lemon juice and sea salt to enjoy "the taste of the sea." They were so good, one passenger ate a dozen.

La Table des Roy restaurant history

When we had dinner at La Table des Roy, we sat next to the piano in what felt like the living room of the wooden frame house.

The 48-seat restaurant felt like a home because it was the home of Johanne Vigneault's parents. In summer 1978, Andre and Francine Roy, two restaurant owners from Quebec City, decided to move to Les Iles de la Madeleine and open a gourmet restaurant.

Johanne's parents sold the house to the Roys when Johanne was only 13. When La Table des Roy opened in 1979, the couple hired Johanne Vigneault as their assistant.

Johanne learned a lot from Francine, who worked as the chef, while Andre worked in the dining room. When Francine and Andre Roy decided to sell the restaurant in 1986, Johanne Vigneault bought back her family home and became the owner and chef, at the age of 22.

La Table des Roy restaurant is open for dinner, after 6 pm on Monday to Saturday, between mid June and late September. To make reservations, phone (418) 986-3004. La Table des Roy has free outdoor parking.


La Table des Roy: www.latabledesroy.com

CTMA Vacancier: www.cruisesctma.ca

Iles de la Madeleine Tourist Office: www.tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com

Le Quebec Maritime Tourist Office: www.quebecmaritime.ca

Tourism Quebec: www.quebecoriginal.com

More things to see & do in the Magdalen Islands/Iles de la Madeleine:

Lobster Season in Grande Entree Magdalen Islands

Domaine du Vieux Couvent Le Refectoire Restaurant - Havre-aux-Maisons