the single best restaurant in Quebec City
I will be in Quebec City in a few weeks between Christmas and New Year's Eve with my 2 younger sisters, 21 and 11. I'm crazy about food and don't think twice about spending hours poring over reviews and menus to make sure I make the absolute best selections possible. I want to experience the best of everything (on a budget of course!). I''m budgeting for *one* big, expensive, fancy dinner. I was leaning toward Toast, but it is very expensive and I was concerned that it might be a little fussy and over-the-top for my two non-foodie sisters, who are however, open to try almost anything. Is it really worth it? Now I might be leaning more toward Le Saint Amour, especially since I think I've read that there is a children's menu (would anyone have any idea what's on that children's menu anyway?).
My question is, if you only have one shot to eat at the most memorable spot in Quebec City, and considering our demographics (I'm under 30), what is the best way to go???
I have posted before about L'Echaude as I love it, but I should qualify that this is a Bistro- not necessarily Haut cuisine or overly inventive...just solid bistro fare. I love their onglet...and that is why I go. Toast is at another level- perhaps one of the best meals I have had...much more inventive, smaller plates, a dining experience. But I return again and again to L'Echaude; having been to Toast once was enough. So it depends what you are looking for...a Paris style simple Bistro done right or a special night- best to do both ! You say the most "memorable"- that would definitely be Toast; the most authentic simple Bistro- that would be L'Echaude.
PS if you are there longer, I recently went to a neighborhood resto just outside the walls on St Jean called Le Hobbit. Much cheaper and better than 99% of the resto's in the old town. I had a duck confit for 19$ that was perfection; the best french onion soup at 7$ as well. A true neighborhood gem!
i'm actually doing the same thing with my friends! I made reservations for l'echaude, since there are lots of good reviews here amongst the board. My friends went to Laurie Raphael: although it's very pretty looking, my friend said, after his dinner: "i could go for a good sub at subways". So unless you're a big eater, i don't think LR would be a good choice
With the closing of what i thought was the best restaurant in Quebec (l'Utopie) a couple of weeks ago i think you can sum up Quebec restaurant scene like that (i'm gonna forget a few place but it might help you out a bit)
St-Amour (more traditionnal but still quality cuisine)
Initiale (really quiet restaurant not a lot of buzz about the place but probably one of the most talented chef in Quebec)
Laurie Raphael (personnaly not my favorite, expansive and fussy)
Toast (creative chef and solid food but also expansive and not for the big appetite)
More fun place with quality food
Clocher penché (always a favorite for bistro food and ambiance, great wine service)
Moine echanson ("bistronomie" with the best sommelier in town and coolest wine by the glass offering)
Échaudé (well priced wine list and good classic french menu)
Yuzu (very talented chef, the sushi part is ok but if you're going with the "menu degustation" you're going to be in for a threat)
La tanière (our version of molecular gastronomy, very modern twist on food great experience for a curious foodies)
so it all depends about what you want to go for but being about your age (35) and since i'm a bit like you thinking about budget i'm not sure about the high end offering i mentionned since most of those place are for a older crowd. If you want to go for tasting menu i migth try Yuzu or La tanière, but if your more on a budget i'll would go for the bistro and maybe indulge on an extra plate of cheese, foie gras or a more expansive bottle of wine
good luck and hope you enjoy your meal
Ooh thanks everyone! That was my first Chowhound post and it's really cool to see all the helpful replies coming in!! I've read good things about Cloche Pencher so that was on my list also. I hadn't heard about La tanière. I will have to look into that because I love molecular gastronomy-type food, although I would think it's quite pricey. Gah! I'm still undecided! But I will try to post my reviews of the restos I do visit!
Toast is good, so is Laurie Raphael; haven't heard much of "L'initiale".
But remember that even if they are good and very good restaurants; none are really "fussy" and can be very fun and "casual" but I'd dress smartly (i.e. fashionable if possible) for any of them.