local yummmy casual Quebec City restaurants
I am excited about my visit to Quebec City for the Winter Carnival, I am a New York foodie and I am overwhelmed with the amount of restaurants!!! I made a reservation at Patriache and Lapin Saute. Are they good choices are there any others I should look at?
SeanB, I have heard good things about both Patriarche and Lapin Saute, but I have never been. But I will report on our meal today....
I am currently in Quebec City, and we just had a very nice meal at L'Échaudé. The room is very cozy, but loud. We had arrived for our reservation at 8:30 pm, but there was a problem. We had to downsize from 4 people to 3, and the third person had been delayed on the train to Quebec City, and could only arrive at 9:30. The waiter who greeted us and served us was very understanding and gracious, and we never once felt like we were putting them out. I was very impressed at how gracious he was, given how difficult we were being!
We started with appetizers while waiting for our friend. I had a roasted quail served with a filo wrapped crab dumpling, The quail was good, but not memorable. But the crab pastry was outstanding. The crab was fresh and flavourful, and the whole thing reminded me of a crab spanikopita. Hubbie had a scallop tartare seasoned with piment d'Espelette. Again, the scallop was very fresh and delicious, and the piment went much better with the raw scallop than I thought it would. The scallop was so fresh it did not get overwhelmed by the spice.
Hubbie had a delicious deer main course, the deer was tender and not overly gamey. I had the best duck confit I've had in a long time. The confit was very hot and the skin was crispy. The meat was tender and moist. The salad was simple but delicious, and the frites were skinny and crispy on the outside, and were wonderful dipped in mayonnaise. I was very impressed at the perfect execution of this very basic bistro dish. Our friend had the poussin, which she felt was a bit dry, but tasty.
Desserts were ok, but not memorable. I had a mascapone "bombe" that reminded me of a deconstructed tiramisu without the expresso, and hubbie had vanilla ice cream that had been made in house, very good but again, not memorable. But the desserts were beautifully garnished with fruit and sugar art. Our friend had the fig tart, which she enjoyed (I did not ask to share, as I didn't want to share this stupid cold!)
Wine list is adequate, and mark-up is about 2 to 2.5 times. But it has excellent variety, the usual selection of French wines, but a reasonable selection of American, Italian, French, Austrailian, Spanish, even a couple of Canadian wines. The selection is much broader than many other Quebecois bistros, so that impressed me. And they have wines ranging from $30 and up, so it is possible to keep the wine costs low. The choice of bottles was nice, there were many bottles that I would have happily drunk. They also have wine by the glass and a nice selection of half bottles.
Overall, I really enjoyed this bistro. Service was attentive and friendly. The food has the odd miss, but they can deliver the classics with exceptional skill. I would recommend it if you are looking for a classic French bistro meal.
Cost with wine tax and tip for all the above: $260. So it wasn't cheap. But this includes a $70 bottle of wine and aperatifs (single malt scotch - Tallisker - $14, and a Muscat for $7).
We just returned from our first Winter Carnival--only three days but experienced the snowstorm on Friday--fantastic! Our restaurant plans that night were canceled, but we were able to blow down the street from the Frontenac to a pub that was open--Le D'Orsay--and happily settled in at the bar with mussels, soup, good local brews. Actually, our favorite meals were breakfasts at Le Cochon Dingue. Looking forward to hearing your dining experiences since we plan to return.
In a couple of weeks I will be able to speak more authoritatively on Quebec City restaurants - planning a trip there myself - but from the extensive research and inquiries I have done thus far, I would say you must, must, must try Café du Clocher Penché (203 rue St-Joseph E.) and I've heard many good recs for Toast! in the Hotel Le Priori (17 rue du Sault-au-Matelot). I think it might still fit the "casual" bill, but perhaps someone else can clarify that. I am also anticipating great things from the croissants at Chez Temporel (25 rue Couillard).
re: lait cru
Yes, for a casual restaurant you must try Café du Clocher Penché (bistro style - maybe you can skip Lapin sauté). Le Patriarche is a great choice, not so casual (more fancy than casual), but definitively very good, Try the lobster "bisque" and the "caribou".
There is also to new wine bar that worth a visit : Le moine échanson and Le Cercle.
re: lait cru