Going to Quebec City for the weekend
I am going to Quebec City for the weekend and was wondering if you guys could recommend any restaurants for me! I am open to any type of food. I'm only going to be there for 1.5 days and was wondering what the "must go" places were for food, drinks, dessert...anything! Thank you for your help!! :)
Whatever you do, don't eat at Bistro Hobbit!
It's been recommended countless times on this forum so I tried it out for lunch a few weeks ago and it was total crap. A tourist mecca outside of the old gates and the food was awful. I should've known better when the waiter tried to talk me into a canaloni. My girlfriend's meal was inedible. We walked up the street to Billig for a proper meal afterword!
I was there a few weeks ago with my girlfriend and we ate high end, so I can only comment on that sort of dining, if interested.
First night was at Le Saint Amour. I enjoyed the meal very much but my girlfriend hated it and didn't feel well after. Some dishes were better than others. Sampled two of the worst tasting glasses of rosee I'd ever tasted and sent both back. Service was very friendly and attentive. Don't remember what was ordered but you can check out their menu for a better idea. Regionally sourced dishes in a modern French style, some molecular gastronofoams for the amuses bouches and stuff. It gets controversial feedback here and I don't understand that because I've always ordered pretty well and left satisfied. My girlfriend didn't enjoy this meal however.
Had one brunch at Le Lapin Sautee and it was excellent. I highly recommend this restaurant for any meal of the day. As you might guess by the name, rabbit is the star of the show and featured prominently in various dishes, mostly reflecting hearty Quebecois regional comfort foods; tartieres and omelettes, etc. prepared always with fresh local and seasonal ingredients.
Our next dinner was at L'Echaude, I think. This is my favorite restaurant in Quebec City. It's classic French bistro fare done exceptionally well, in a chef driven kitchen. Great salads, seasonal soups, cheese plates, and local meats. I had a trilogy of pork from one of the local farms- done 3 ways. It was outstanding! Everything is so fresh and perfectly prepared.
We had lunch another day at Le Cafe de Clocher Penche, and I'd say it was the closest to L'Echaude in terms of freshness and creativity int he kitchen, however this was has got to be the best bang for buck hands down in Quebec City. I probably won't be back up there anytime soon, but I will definitely make it a point to reserve for dinner on my next visit. My girlfriend and I both ate full 3-course meals (the entire weekend all a blur, but I think I had a dish with duck and she ate fish) and the total was something like $40 tax-in with tip. We both left in awe, wondering how they could even turn a profit at those prices. Again, this one is classic French bistro, a notch down in terms of refinement and maybe fussiness to L'Echaude. It's a slightly more casual atmosphere, little less elegant my prefered L'Echaude, but this lunch came very close and I'd enthusiastically recommend it!
Our last two dinners were at Panache and Le Patriarche, respectively. Both amazing atmosphere but Patriarche came out on top. I had the tasting menu at Patriarche and the wild game trilogy at Panache, which I wasn't crazy about. I've been to both before and enjoyed both meals very much in the past. This past meal at Panache was really hit and miss though. The desserts were exceptional and all out of this world. We had great affordable wine pairings. But some of the mains felt very tired. My girlfriend went with the guinea fowl trio and was served the equivalent of a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing. It was quite disappointing. My venison, wild boar, red deer, etc. fared much better. Some of the selections were outstanding and unique, however most seemed like an experiment that should've stayed in the kitchen, or at least been refined before making it to the table. The complete opposite of my experience there 2 years ago, when I declared it my favorite restaurant in Quebc City. I'd give it another chance, however a few of the dishes were really very boring and 'retro' for a restaurant that sells itself as a modern and innovative kitchen. Le Patriarche on the other hand, was outstanding. The service was second to none. After a full week in Montreal, the Laurentians and then Quebec City, my girlfriend was in a bit of a food coma and only ordered a starter. The kitchen was all too accommodating in offering the degustation to me, despite the restriction on the menu that it should be reserved for the table as a whole. On top of that, they brought our several of the amuses bouches, apps, inbetween palette cleansers, and even dessert plates for two and presented them to my girlfriend despite her having only ordered a starter! It was incredibly thoughtful. They also have amazing cocktails and libations, which I indulged in.
I would most recommend L'Echaude (lunch or dinner) but preferably lunch - Le Patriarche for an upscale fine dining meal - and Cafe de Clocher Penche for a great and shoickingly affordable lunch!
For crepes, Le Billig is the best in town.
We also shared a few bites of a bebe poutine from Ashton before driving home.
And several orders of room service from the kitchen at the Chateau Frontenac, including a gastronomic breakfast feast of french toast, belgian waffles, syrups, yogurts, creams, fresh fruits, sausages, potatoes, bacon, etc. And some latenight maple creme brulees. Surprisingly quite good for a hotel restaurant, in fact its probably the best room service I've had not counting trips overseas!
On my next visit, I'd really like to try the Relais&Chateaux restaurant L'Initiale, right near the musee de civilization. Can't comment on the lower to midrange budget stuff, but then QC is a city to visit for undulgence!
Oh and if you have the time, definitely spend an hour at the rotating restaurant/bar Le Concorde on the top floor of the Lowes Hotel, just outside of the old city. They make a decent martini (ask for extra olives) and if you're there by about 7pm, you can enjoy the sunset over the St Lawrence. And the best part is you'll fill the room spinning (literally!) after only a couple of drinks. Don't bother with the menu or any fancy cocktails. Stick to martinis, scotch and wine, and enjoy the alternating views of the city at the twilight hour, when the sun drops just below the horizon and the soft glowing light fromt he sky is reflected on the river and old city. It's really beautiful!
The St Laurent Bar in the Frontenac Hotel is also a good choice for late afternoon cocktails, with atmosphere to spare!
Thanks for your report, very very interesting. Similar taste L'Echaudé and le Billig, love the food at Initiale but atmosphere so on the cool side.... really we go there for food only! Went again to Pain Beni my husband deer was outstanding and took 2 entrées foie gras and sweetbreads : out of this world! This time stayed at Auberge Place d'Armes instead of Auberge St-Antoine we where so pleased!
PS - what's up with those tiny orange cherry tomatoes??
are they local in spring or something? is it tomato season in quebec?
I swear there wasn't a single meal that these weren't featured... even room service!
my girlfriend and I joked that we'd start saving them and open up a tomato stand to pay for the weekend.