Wendake in Quebec is a special place. Wendake is the reservation of the Hurons-Wendat people, who have built a hotel, museum, and restaurant of the First Nations people (Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations). While the Native Americans in the USA tend to have casinos as their means of income, Wendake is very different. It's an elegant hotel that I feel really embodies the values and traditions of the first nations people, while incorporating modern comforts and amenities.
At Le Traite, you have the choice between ordering a la carte, or partaking in one of the two prix fixe menus. We were treated to the Premieres Nations experience which is $55 for a 4-course meal. I'm listing the individual a la carte prices, but these dishes were all options on the 4-course prix fixe menu.
Now, on to the rest of dinner. Of course, I always have to order the most unusual items on the menu when I find it, so I couldn't resist when I saw this dish: Seal rillettes, bannock bread with blueberry jam, apple and nut crispy puff pastry ($17)
Being an upscale restaurant, La Traite also always have vegetarian options, like this Wild mushrooms sauteed with apples, warm goat cheese with honey and clover ($15)
At Wendake, you can also get a special corn beer that is made by the microbrewery Arhibald in Quebec specifically for Wendake. It's a 4.8% ABV beer made with corn and malt (and hops, of course) that's easy to drink and pairs well with food. The word "kwe" means "welcome" of sorts in the Hurons-Wendat language.
One of the second course options: Granita with root flavors
I opted for the more traditional dish: The three sisters' soup ($6)
So I did say I have to order the most unusual things ... the entree that I got is definitely not a native Canadian dish: Kangaroo loin, molasses marinade, sweet gale seeds sour cream ($37)
More vegetarian option, if you're so inclined: Quinoa, small dried fruits, goat cheese, maple dressing ($29)
I only tried a small bite, but my friend really enjoyed them. It is certainly a unique preparation with the goat cheese and dried fruits, though.
Desserts were equally beautifully prepared and presented: Apple donut with apricot coulis
Small fruits and nuts with maple ice cream
They also offer a variety of Inuit herbal teas with cloudberry, juniper, or a blend.
Dinner at La Traite is definitely a unique experience, but as I mentioned, Wendake is a hotel and a museum. The hotel is gorgeous and seems to a tranquil place to stay, I would definitely consider staying here next time.
Guests can sit around the fire in the lobby and look out onto the stream and trees.
In fact, the hotel is built following the stream so that every room has a view of the river. Yes,every room. After all, when the native people build their homes, they would also want to build it facing the river.
The most special room at Wendake is the longhouse. The longhouse is the traditional home of the Hurons-Wendat people before they came into contact with Europeans. They've built a replica of it at Wendake that guests can rent overnight.
The museum is small but very well done and well-designed. We didn't have much time to go through the individual exhibits, which talk about the history of the people .
I originally did not really pay much attention to the first nations culture when I was planning my trip to Quebec City, but I wanted to try dining at a first nations restaurant since I thought it would be different, but I am glad I came to Wendake! Both La Traite and Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations are really a special place that preserves and promotes the native culture and traditions in a way I had not seen or experienced before. I hope more native tribes in the US and beyond will take a similar approach instead of banking on casinos.
l'Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations
5, Place de la Rencontre
Wendake, Québec G0A 4V0