Quebec City over the holidays...
What's QC like around Xmas time?
Is it a total zoo and do restaurants and shops stay open over the 24th/25th to accommodate tourism (probably a big weekend there) or is everything closed? I'm thinking of driving up with my girlfriend and spending 4 nights but have never been at high Christmas season so any feedback would be very much appreciated.
Also, I enjoyed our dining choices so much last time that I'm going to be boring and return to all the same places. I'm also interested to see what's changed and what's offered around Christmas time. However I booked an extra night this time around and need to add one more dinner selection. Here's what I've got so far...
Le Saint Amour (dinner)
J.A. Moison + Paillard (lunch)
Le Lapin Sauté (brunch)
Le Patriarche (dinner)
Restaurant Pain Béni (brunch)
I've never been to Toast! yet and have heard mixed things. There's also Louis-Hebert, Le Cremaillere and L'Initiale. A big part of being in QC for me is atmosphere so I'd rather not venture outside the fortified walls of the old city until it's time to drive home. I love the historic otherworldy setting of dining rooms like Le Patriarche and Panache. It's going to be a romantic getaway with an out-of-towner who's never been to the city before (part of the reasonw hy I want to revisit all of my favorite restaurants) but the pictures I've seen of Toast! look a bit too St-Laurent neon lights scene for me. I could be completely wrong though. Any help with suggestions for this last meal would be very much appreciated. It would be for December 25th btw, if that makes any difference. Thanks!
Hi Oliver B,
I realize that my reply is rather late and that you have already made dinner reservations for your "spare" evening. However, I feel so strongly about one of the restaurants you were considering that I wanted to voice my opinion. Without a doubt, I would choose Le Continental! It was our absolute favorite restaurant on our previous trip at Christmas 2007 and is our first choice for our upcoming trip this Christmas.
It is not only "set in a beautiful old heritage building with tons of charm" as you correctly stated, but the food and service are outstanding. We originally chose Le Continental because we love clubby restaurants that specialize in flambe. Our waiter executed all our flambe choices to perfection.
The ambiance is perfect - romantic, muted lighting, perfect level of hubbub, nicely decorated for the holidays, and a great bar! And a great excuse to dress up and celebrate the holidays in style.
By the way, our other restaurant choices this trip for dinner are Le Saint Amour (New Years Eve), L'Échaudé, Marie Clarisse, Le Patriarche , and Gambrinus.
Okay, I just called all of the above restos to make reservations but learned that Panache only offers an exsclusive $45 tasting menu on Thursday nights (chef's choice and no menu options) and since they were also open for Christmas dinner on the 25th and it's such a lovely room, I decided to switch that meal to the 25th.
Now I just need to figure out where to eat on the 23rd. I'm considering Le Continental but would love to get some feedback from other Chowhounders... I really don't like the sterile atmosphere of the other selections like L'Initiale, Louis-Hebert, etc. and would prefer not to venture out of the old city. Toast! seems a bit too trendy. I'd love to find a really fantastic meal (I'm willing to go for something different on this night) in a cozy and intimate dining room somewhere in the old town. Food is of course, still the priority though but not exclusively!
Okay, after reviewing all options I think that my last remaining meal will definitely be a toss-up between Restaurant Pain Béni and Le Continental.
I've read some very mixed reviews of Pain Béni on Yelp which were a bit concerning. Hopefully not a reflection of the general experience at this restaurant. Food-wise, which of the two is more interesting and 'special'?
Thanks so much but didn't you say that Beni would not be open during that week other than dinner? Are they serving breakfast as well?
Finally, is it worth heading outside of the walls to Le Hobbit? I've read such great reviews and wonder if it's worth trying for breakfast?
Between Le Petit Cochon Dingue and Le Hobbit, which do you prefer?
Can anyone suggest some not to be missed spots for holiday activities i.e. Choirs, musical performances, plays etc... that take place on December 24-26th? Perhaps a link to QC holiday special events? Don't mean to hijack the thread but you have to do something between all the dining! No?
the CH mods will probably intervene with a warning about non-food related discussion... but Dec. 26 onwards in the festival lumiere at the aquarium which is a colorful and supposedly amazing light show displayed against the side of the towers across the river which Im told is not to be missed with all the ice and snow sculptures lit up at night. It's supposed to be really great. You can always go skating at Place dYouville(sp?) but that's not really Xmas related. Just walk around the Old Town and admire the holiday displays and lights adorning all the shops and architectural buildings. I'm not really a fan of plays or musicals so there's not much more I can add but if you visit the QC tourism website there's an events calendar with complete listings by date. Nothing that I found particularly appealing though. Back to food for a moment- I did hear that all of the above restaurants have special holiday menus prepared that week. Unfortunately for me though, I changed my reservations and am instead coming a week before Christmas instead because I wasnt satisfied with the room we were stayin in at the Frontenac and there was limited availability and no vacancies in upgraded rooms. So I'm now missing out on all the special holiday menus.