Dining in Quebec City
My wife and I just returned from a week in Quebec, with part of the time spent in Montreal and the rest in Quebec City. I posted our dining experiences in Montreal on the Montreal board, and now I want to post our Quebec City experiences here.
We stayed three nights in QC (at the Chateau Frontenac where we had a fabulous experience). Our first night we had dinner at Serge Bruyere, which is situated on Rue St. Jeanne, just down from the Chateau. We had been out walking and stopped in front of Serge Bruyere to inspect their menu when a young lady popped out and invited us in. She then gave us a tour of the place, which is on a couple of levels. The upstairs houses two rooms, one a bistro and the other the "grand table", the most formal area. The downstairs is more like a lounge that serves food (at least that was our impression).
We ate in the bistro part, which was enjoyable enough, given that we were the only diners for the first half of our meal (but it was a Monday night in the off-season). The food was not spectacular, but it was good and with a reasonably priced bottle of wine we felt that the meal was worthwhile. The room itself was beautiful in a snowy, cozy kind of way, and we could imagine sitting and looking out the window at snow falling, sipping a hot drink.
As we left, we noticed that the formal room was about half full, so we were perhaps a little disappointed we hadn't chosen that room instead, but we really had no complaints.
So, based on ambience, friendliness and reasonable cost, we would recommend Serge Bruyere as a worthy stop.
The next day we walked out along Grand Allee to Rue Cartier, where we found a neighborhood place called the Pub Java. We had a very informal lunch there with some local beers and enjoyed ourselves immensely, especially as it was raining hard outside. I'm sure we were the only tourists in the place. It probably isn't worth seeking out, but if you're in the area, you could do worse than Pub Java.
That night we had a light dinner at the Pub D`Orsay, a traditional pub/bistro. We liked the ambience and the wine we had, but the food was mediocre at best. We both had mussels, Maureen's with a tomato sauce and mine with a cream and shrimp sauce. We thought neither sauce was up to par. However, we really enjoyed the maple pie and ice cream dessert.
The last night we were there we had the best meal of our entire trip, including Montreal. We ate at the fabulous Laurie Raphael which is in the Lower Town. We had read about Laurie Raphael on Chowhound, but even the excellent reviews here didn't prepare us fully for the fine meal we had that night.
First, let me point out that Laurie Raphael is a first class restaurant, not a bistro (which I had thought it was). It has three dining rooms, each different in design and ambience. One room is in the bar area and is the least formal; another is more formal than the lounge area but not as formal as the room we were in. The tables are well spaced and it is a very comfortable room. Laurie Raphael is not only a beautiful restaurant, the staff is very professional, the wine list is large and varied, and the food is superb. We rated it slightly better than Toque, where we had eaten in Montreal. The manager was thrilled when we mentioned this to him.
If you are lucky enough to get some time in Quebec City, do yourself a real favor and have a meal at Laurie Raphael. It won't be inexpensive, but it really will be worth your while.