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Montreal AND Quebec City

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Howdy! I will be traveling to Montreal and Quebec City
in September and would like some restaurant
recommendations in the middle price range. I already
read the recommendations posted a few days ago for
Montreal. I'm looking for either second opinions on
Montreal places or any opinions at all for Quebec City.
Thanks!

Alex

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  1. In Quebec city, we have very much enjoyed both the
    food and the atmosphere of Aux Anciens Canadiens,
    which should have felt touristy but didn't at all.
    They have an excellent prix fixe lunch deal which, I
    believe, goes on all the way to 6pm. Very traditional
    french canadian food, and an especially delicious
    maple sugar pie.
    Le St.-Amour at 48 rue Ste.Ursule looked good and is
    highly regarded, and friends I recommended it to found
    it excellent.Apsara, a southeast asian restaurant run
    by a Cambodian nearly is well-regarded locally and
    included in Where to Eat In Canada.

    We drove past several times, but unfortunately (we had
    kids in tow and were camping) didn't visit Auberge La
    Camarine on Boulevard Ste Anne in Beaupre, 20 minutes
    or so east of Quebec City, which is one of the most
    highly regarded restaurants in all of French Canada.

    A drive in the direction of Beaupre, which is itself
    of interest for its massive pilgrimage basilica of Ste
    Anne, has its interests, and if you travel beyond
    there, to the east of Quebec just an hour or so more
    of driving takes you into the lovely Charlevoix
    region, with glorious scenery both wild and tame
    (complete with painters with their easels) and Le
    Mouton Noir in Baie St. Paul and other good
    restaurants. Very few anglophile tourists penetrate
    this far into quebec, but the guest book at that
    pleasant, riverside restaurant (also with a good lunch
    deal) recorded many visitors from france, guadeloupe
    and other french-speaking zones.

    In Quebec, a trip to the supermarket can produce a
    rewarding meal, with excellent pates, meat pies
    (tortiere), apple and berry pies of surprisingly
    decent quality, little pastries with raspberry
    filling, local and french cheeses (including Oka and
    the migneron de Charlevois, both soft ripened cheeses,
    and very good), Canadian fruit, including local
    "bluets", and often pretty good french bread from the
    in-store bakeries.

    For further recommendations in Quebec and Montreal,
    look at a recent copy of Where to Eat in Canada, an
    excellent guidebook which I have recommended over and
    over on this site, and at the Quebec provincial dining
    guide (most frequently available only in french)
    produced by their liquor authority and available from
    provincial tourism offices. Both are very good for
    guiding you to excellent places in different price
    ranges which are esteemed by locals, but less known to
    the US guidebook writers, which, for Canada, do a
    particularly terrible and superficial job.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      While I wish that I could remember names, it's been ten years since I was in La Ville du Quebec (Quebec City), but I can tell you that that la vie gastronomique is superior there to any other place that I have ever been on the face of the earth. I would dearly love the chance to go back: To wit -- the banquet food in the hotel where I stayed was better than that served in many restaurants in the states. That should give you some indication of the standards. (I did, however, gather that Aux Anciens Canadiens catered more to tourists than to gastronomes, and suggest that you might want to look elsewhere).

      As to specifics: There are innumerable restaurants off the Grand Allee -- in the area of the Loew's Hotel (assuming that it still is such) -- that are absolutely superb. I had venison that I can still taste, and the quail that I had the second night was one of the most memorable meals of my life. My wife also had a tomato soup -- made from green tomatoes and served cold -- that was exquisite. From the reports that I got from others in the group, the food elsewhere was equally remarkable.

      Unfortunately, I cannot offer anything about Montreal. (Hull -- across the river from Ottawa, is another story -- if you are going there, let me know, and I will make appropriate suggestions).

      1. re: bluefrog

        Quebec City is perhaps the only European City in North
        America. The Old City (inside the wall) is mostly
        touristic rather than real-life at this point, but it
        is still enormously charming and atmospheric - stay
        inside the wall if you can, there are many small,
        pension-like hotels in old houses behind
        Chat.Frontenac, on streets like Ave. Ste. Genevieve
        which to my mind are infinitely superior to the larger
        hotels lining the grand allee (that is the best way to
        get into the Old City however, through the St. Louis
        Gate.)I found the Grand Allee Scene, with its scads of
        tourists, tour busses and sidewalk cafes offputting.

        I will defend Aux Anciens Canadiens to the end. It
        does have a touristic appeal, being in an old house,
        with waitresses dressed traditionally, but the
        building and decorations are real, not fake, and the
        food is real, interesting French Canadian food of a
        high quality, not French French, and not at all fakey.
        It is also a mellow, comfortable place for a long
        lunch or dinner, a welcome respite from the touristic
        bustle.

        In addition to the places I mentioned previously, my
        WTIIC guidebook (a little out of date) also mentions
        for Quebec City Laurie Raphael, in the Vieux Port, Le
        Continental, Le Melrose (in Sillery), Primavera,
        Michelangelo and Le Taniere(both in Ste. Foy).

        Other good choices for good cuisine and pleasant
        atmosphere in the province include Le Mouton Noir (a ,
        in Baie St. Paul, Auberge Hatley (much recommended as
        a lunchtime stop (or overnight, if you can afford it),
        their lunch is also a wonderful three-course deal, in
        beautiful surroundings, overlooking the lake in North
        Hatley - a convenient stop if you are heading north or
        south via I-91 in Vermont, indeed a strong reason to
        go that way), Gite du Mont Albert in the Gaspesie (a
        wonderful place to stay by the way, in a comfortable
        chalet with a kitchen, and fireplace, with delicious
        french cuisine, including game dishes, and great
        hiking and scenery in the Chic-Choc mountains, all at
        a reasonable price). Auberge du Fort Prevel near Perce
        is particularly recommendable to sports fanatics(we're
        not) , with a beautiful site in an area with many
        natural attractions, its own lovely golf course and
        quite good French food in the restaurant.

        There are many other good places recommended in Where
        to Eat in Canada, as well as in the excellent
        apamphlet publication called "repertoire de Bonnes
        tables au Quebec" [put out by the Societe des Alcools
        du Quebec and available, from Quebec Tourism]. If you
        haven't already, obtain their detailed Tourist Guides
        to the province's major cities and touristic regions;
        food is taken very seriously throughout Quebec, and
        many of these guides (they differ somewhat from region
        to region in contents) will indicates restaurants with
        characterist regional cooking or those using local
        products, agro-tourism sites, including wineries,
        cheesemakers and specialty farms).
        Finally, I can't resist suggesting your stopping and
        having a pancake or "crepes" breakfast, served with
        maple syrup, sometime during your trip, or giving a
        try to poutine. Both are great favorites and readily
        available at roadside places.
        Have a great trip, and tell us what you find!

        1. re: jen kalb

          Jen:

          Thank you so much for your thoughtful recommendations -
          you really went above and beyond the call of duty!! Aux
          Anciens Canadiens sounds interesting - I really have
          no idea whatsoever what qualifies as "French Canadian,"
          so that might be a good introduction. As far as
          accommodations (seeing as you mentioned it), we'll be
          staying in an old converted monastary (?) from the
          early 1800s called Apartments B&B, located inside the
          wall. Your description makes it all sound so romantic
          and enticing - can't wait to get there! Thanks once
          again for everything!

          Alex

          1. re: Alex Ray

            Fr. Canadian cooking has its distinct regional
            specialties, of which 3 of the most commonly found are
            tourtiere (meat pie with spices) and yellow pea soup,
            and the maple sugar or syrup pie (tart au sucre or
            sirop d'erable). They also like very sweet baked beans
            (feves) for breakfast and at other times.

            I forgot to suggest that if you get tired of the
            touristic area of Quebec, you can follow the main
            artery called Rue St. Jean out through the Port St
            Jean and into the St. Jean Baptiste neighborhood.
            Ignoring a couple of ugly commercial blocks you come
            soon into a somewhat bohemian and charming mixed
            residential and commercial community with some
            interesting shops and, perhaps places to eat. We would
            have liked to have explored this area further. It was
            wonderfully devoid of tour groups and gift shops.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Re recommendations from Where to Eat in Canada (which
              is an excellent guidebook, I agree) posted by Jen Kalb:
              Had a very good dinner at Laurie Raphael 2 yrs ago,
              innovative cooking, delicious fish, particularly skate
              - and an interesting atmosphere - a window onto mid-
              to haute-Quebecois bourgeoisie. Very welcoming staff,
              also. Prices not bad considering the level of the
              cooking and the general experience.
              Used to go quite often to Serge Bruyere when QC was a
              relatively convenient refuge from 2 yrs enforced exile
              in far northern NY (Potsdam...helas). When he was
              alive it was great - the best French restaurant in the
              US in my experience up to that point - but went back
              on the same trip 2 yrs ago and it was ho-hum at best.
              Anybody been there since?
              Aux Anciens Canadiens is agreeable and less hokey than
              one would expect.

        2. re: bluefrog

          Thanks for the recommendations - the Grand Allee sounds
          like the place to head.

          Alex