We will be making our annual visit to Quebec City between Christmas and New Years. Two of our dinners are decided - L'Initiale and Toast. For the third dinner we would like something a little less formal and quite frankly, less expensive! We were considering L'Echaude. From its website/menu, it looks like a classic bistro. Any opinions would be welcome. We're aiming to spend approx. $150 including house wine. Thank you!
Either L'Echaude or Pain Beni should work for you. We ate at both on a recent trip and, for my two cents, I actually enjoyed Pain Beni more. L'Echaude is slightly more elegant, but I liked our meal better at Pain Beni and it was cheaper. Both have bistro-type menus and both have a choice of a sort of "market" menu and more classis bistro dishes.
L'Echaude is a good choice. I haven't eaten at Pain Beni myself, so I can't comment, but another suggestion is Le Cafe du Clocher Penche, which is casual with very good food, and should be well under $150 for two.
We travel to Quebec City 2-3 times per year and always try to hit up L'Echaude. More basic bistro fare than Toast or L'Initiale- and far less expensive. I personally go for the steak frites.....Last rip we went to Pain Beni based on Tripadvisor reviews and apparently are in the minority, as we found it very sub-par. Terrible service (where did she go this time?), weird ingredient combinations that just didn't work, and questionable value. The filet/shortrib dish was the tastiest, but even that consisted of about 1/3 of a filet mignon and a single-yes single- short rib, along with about a 1" square piece of potato. That's it. Personally, I'd stay in lower town where things seem a bit more authentic or even venture into the St. Roch area- heard great things about L'Utopie but haven't yet been.
We ate at L'Echaude on a Monday night in November, and the place was comfortably busy with more locals than tourists enjoying the food and the wine. So we knew we were off to a good start. I think the food is more than simpy classic bistro, although I'm not sure the descriptions in the menu really matched the food on the plates. I was surprised, however, that we were billed for the amuse bouches. It was delicious, mind you, but since it's not an item you order, and since there was no prior notice, it seemed a bit cheeky to be adding an extra $4 per person to the bill. Nonetheless, I'd recommend the restaurant.