Country food and fall colours: 6 restaurants a road trip away from Montreal

Celebrate the beauty of the season with a quick drive and some tasty bites.

Les Sucreries de l’Érable owner Josee Blais behind the counter serves maple sugar pie and other comfort foods. Christinne Muschi / MONTREAL GAZETTE

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The dropping temperatures may be disheartening, but they’re also the harbinger of a beautiful time in nature. Let’s get out there and see some fall colours! Hop in the car and hit the road to soak up some country air on the way to one of these destination restaurants, all within an hour (or so) of Montreal.

Les Sucreries de l’Érable

This small bakery and café is in the centre of Frelighsburg, one of the Eastern Townships’ prettiest towns, and serves a breakfast and lunch of home-baked croissants, quiches and salads that draw passing cyclists. The woodsy atmosphere of Les Sucreries de l’Érable is nearly as warming as the smoked salmon eggs benedict, made with salmon cured in the village. Grab a maple sugar pie (or five) to go. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

16 Principale St., Frelighsburg, lessucreriesdelerable.com

Les Sucreries de l’Érable is a small bakery and café is in the centre of Frelighsburg. Christinne Muschi / MONTREAL GAZETTE

L’Oeuf

The first time my family ended up here was happenstance — we got lost going apple picking, which might be part of the magical discovery feeling that has drawn us back since. L’Oeuf is a lovely, little chocolate shop set in a beautifully maintained general store and is one of the only businesses in this tiny Townships town. The hot chocolate is luscious, the perfect companion to a chocolatine. You can also make a reservation for a full meal at the restaurant. Closed Monday through Wednesday.

229 Chemin de Mystic, St-Ignace-de-Stanbridge, restaurantloeuf.wixsite.com

Au Petit Poucet

Enjoy a drive to the Laurentians for the biggest, most copious brunch you can probably handle. The cretons are great at this large and lively chalet-style family restaurant, and Au Petit Poucet’s baked beans — sold in takeout containers at the front of the restaurant, too — are famous. Taxidermy fans, look up: There’s a veritable bestiary displayed in tableaux in the various ceiling nooks. That said, vegetarians will be well-served by lots of menu items like fluffy waffles and maple-drenched crêpes.

1030 Route 117, Val-David, aupetitpoucet.ca

Taxidermy fans, look up: There’s a veritable bestiary displayed in tableaux in the various ceiling nooks at Au Petit Poucet in Val David. Dario Ayala / Montreal Gazette file photo

Restaurant Muñoz

Who would have thought Shawbridge is the place to find authentic Mexican homestyle cooking? Restaurant Muñoz is a warm nook for an evening destination (it’s closed at lunch), with a festive air courtesy of Mexican music, multicoloured chandeliers and heartwarming dishes like totopos, enchiladas or fried and crunchy tacos dorados filled with chicken and green salsa. Pick a designated driver, because the margaritas are big enough to drown any cold-weather sorrows you may have. Closed Tuesday.

3029 Curé-Labelle Blvd., Prévost, Shawbridge, Restaurant Muñoz on Facebook

À L’Abordage

Enjoy the last moments of terrasse eating, temperatures permitting, at this dog-friendly Sutton microbrasserie, set in a green clapboard house. À L’Abordage serves tall stacked organic-beef burgers and casse croûte-style fries, all caramelized and toothsome. Bonus points for the selection of homemade dipping mayos and the special daily-menu poutines, served with piping-hot sauce on the side so you can watch the cheese melt before your eyes. Pair with a pint of Hoppy Family, an American pale ale mixed with oats for that mellow mouth feel, or a flight of four beers. Closed Monday.

10 Principale Sud St., Sutton, brasseriealabordage.com

Café Bistro Starca

This emporium of flavour may seem unassuming from the outside because it still has the look of the hardware store it used to be. But inside, it’s cute and sunny, painted yellow and lined with shelves and displays full of the cookies and macaroons they distribute to health food stores all over Montreal. Located near the Petit Train du Nord bike trail, Café Bistro Starca is popular with cyclists who tuck into the duck salad with Quebec raspberry dressing or warm up with the French onion soup —­­ worth the trip in its own right. Get some great terroir goodies like pickled beets or ground cherry syrup to go. Closed weekends.

1395, St-Joseph St., Ste-Adèle, Café Bistro Starca on Facebook.

Don’t forget to take a look at the restaurants’ websites to confirm their opening hours before you go.

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