pilgrimme on Galiano Island is a foodie dining out discovery. It may be off the beaten path, but even so, it’s not easy to get a reservation. It has been voted in Canada’s 100 TOP Restaurants for good reason. I called a couple weeks in advance and was considered lucky to get a table for four during my recent stay on Galiano. And what a dining experience it turned out to be.
For years, Galiano remained a well-kept secret, its charms known mainly to the farmers and artisans who called it home. The cozy wood cabin previously existed as a much loved French restaurant for years before present owners Leanne Lalonde and Jesse McLeery put their name above the door. Leanne had previously worked for Rosewood’s King Pacific Lodge in the great bear rainforest where she first met Jesse.
Jesse made the inspiring journey to Denmark to spend the winter in the kitchen of Copenhagen’s acclaimed Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant . Returning west with new ideas and a reinforced vision, Jesse, with Leanne, opened pilgrimme working with the growers and artisans of Galiano Island. Everything is made fresh from scratch, locally sourced, farm-to-table, creatively plated and extremely tasty. Even the ceramics are made on the island. They have a nicely curated wine list too.
Here’s the thing that impressed me the most. The restaurant created an all vegan menu which was absolutely delicious because out of our group of four people, two and a half of us are vegan. I must admit that I had my reservations about that at first because I thought that vegan food would be less tasty but everything turned out to be surprisingly excellent. As good or better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant all year. And it made me change my mind-set. In a perfect world we would all be vegan and everything would be better off. Although I’m not quite ready to totally live up to that. I’m not perfect just yet.