Quebec City Anniversary Dinner, Game On
Hello, Quebec. My husband and I will be in Quebec City in May to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. It will be my first time in Canada and I am super-excited. For our anniversary day celebration, on a Friday night, we are looking for a place specializing in Quebecois cuisine. We both love game. Any price range is fine. We prefer a la carte ordering for this meal, not a tasting menu, as I find those to involve too many interruptions to present and explain dishes, and for this meal we want to focus on our time together. Atmosphere is not a huge factor; good service is. We will be staying at a condo in Upper Town, although willing to go anywhere in the city that does not require driving. Thank you.
I will leave the quebec experts to speak for their city (I'm a Montrealer myself and doesn't have the same knowledge of Quebec City) but:
I have heard good things about:
Le Cochon Dingue
(there seems to be many instance of this place. I don't know where the one I ate last time was)
L'affaire est Ketchup
I have heard great things about:
Le Moine Échansson
(amongst other things this hilarious tweet from english food critic Giles Coren:)
Don't forget to visit La Barberie for great local beer (no... really... Quebec City native living in Montreal I know are always whistfull of that place:
I seem to remember L'oncle Antoine wasn't bad either:
Oh. And they will ask you if you ate a poutine at Ashton. That's their place of reference.
The cochon dingue didn't blow my mind last time I went but I have to mention it based on feedback from people who went there more than me.
I would choose Le Moyne Échansson based on the current buzz. but its not "typical québécois" but more a "french/alsatian" place.
If you want to go more "Québecois" than Le Moine Échanson, more adventurous, new wave, a bit more trashy/local/eclectic l'affaire est ketchup might be a better bet.
If you want to go more "frenchy french french/classic répertoire" than "Le Moine Échanson" a visit to Le Continental might be a good idea.
Oh, and try the barberie if you can... they really make good beer (no joke) and if you ever try poutine chez ashton... the code word is "I tried a poutine in Montreal and I preferred the one at Ashton!" (lie if you must :P)
Tasting menus are really good though!
Regardless, a few more high-end places in the Upper Town.
Le Panache (Hotel St-Antoine, Old Port). Great room, may be tasting-menu only though but I believe they do a-la-carte.
L'Initiale. Tasting-only, but a great table. Heading there in late March myself.
Le Saint-Amour. A standby in Quebec, but I was disappointed last time I was there. I know their tasting menus are always a bit inventive, but I felt the a-la-carte was just a bit winded... hasn't changed much over the years.
Le Toast. One of my best meals ever was there, but they since moved to an a-la-carte only mode that I'm not too fond of. Then again, as stated I'm a tasting menu fiend and you want a-la-carte, so it may work out still!
Laurie-Raphael in the Old Port. The flagship restaurant from one of Quebec's celeb chefs - actually very good. I also believe it may be a tasting menu only.
Outside of Upper Town, especially in St. Roch and Limoilou, you have the newer, hipper places like L'Affaire Est Ketchup, Pantente et Machin, Le Pied Bleu, La Planque, some of them garnering national and international acclaim. A ton of good bistros too like Bistro B, Bistro Boreal, etc. Quebec is slowly moving away from its stodgy old school Continental roots and has a nicely brewing younger restaurant scene. Still, the old school maintays listed above still serve exceptional faire.
I know you won't have a car, but you might consider renting one and going to Ile d'Orleans which isn't far away. It is a beautiful drive around the island, full of interesting shops (my fav is the coop craft shop near the church on the north side) and food choices (wonderful ice cream place on the west side), and there is a great restaurant out there that serves all local cuisine with goose, duck, wild turkey all from their farm grown in an organic manner.
Table champetre Ferme au gout d'autrefois (Farm country cooking with tastes from the past). Quite traditional Quebecois cooking updated to be gourmet and local.
Thank you all for your thoughtful and detailed responses. I am now reconsidering my moratorium on a tasting menu for this meal. I really have nothing against them (am a season ticket holder at Next here in Chicago, and am looking forward to my first meal at Eleven Madison Park in a few weeks), it's just that for romantic celebrations, at times I have found them a bit intrusive. Based on the options and knowing we only have limited time to try the best of Quebec City though, I'm done placing any parameters on this meal. I have turned the reservation process over to my husband, and he always makes good decisions! ;)
Here is a quick check-in and sincere thank you as we are less than two weeks from our trip to Quebec City. Largely due to your posts, we now have a car reserved. We know we want to go to Montmorency Falls, Sainte Anne de Beaupre Basilica, and and Ile d'Orleans. Should we spread these out to two days? Thank you for the above suggestions regarding the Ile d'Orleans. Now that we are definitely visiting, are there other not-to-be-missed stops there? We would also like to explore at least one winery or cidrerie in the region. Are there any you Chowhounds prefer? We arrive late afternoon Friday (so no significant time to explore once we check into our condo and go to dinner), and depart Tuesday afternoon. We made two restaurant reservations, Patriarche for our anniversary Friday, and L'Affaire est Ketchup on Sunday. We will cook dinner with ingredients from local markets one evening. Thank you so much for your time and insights. We are very excited!
If you also want to visit the town of Quebec City, its quite a program for two days!
Still, the bridge for Ile d'Orleans is just in front of the Montmorency Falls, so i guess you can do that in one day as there is not that much to see after watching the falls in itself.
There is a winery in Ile d'Orléans : http://www.isledebacchus.com/vignoble...
I am not a big fan of local wines, so i let others give more recommandations.
In my view, your best bet are the local brewery. There is one in Ile d'Orléans : http://www.microorleans.com/
There is also La Barberie (downtown Quebec City), the terrasse is great and you can bring your own food : http://www.labarberie.com/
Hello/bonjour, thought I would submit a mid-trip report.
Our flight from ORD to YQB was cancelled Friday, after multiple delays, so we had to cancel our Patriarche reservation and booked our last minute anniversary dinner at Arun's in Chicago. We finally arrived in Quebec Saturday late afternoon.
While exploring town, we had a poutine snack at Ashton, the bebe regular for me, and bebe avec saucisson for my husband. While I have only had poutine a handful of times, this certainly seemed to be a good version, with crispy fries, well-seasoned gravy, and very squeaky cheese curds. We each drank the one beer available (it had been a long two days of travel), which I do not recall by name (it was automatically poured from cans into cups for us) but seemed to be the Canadian equivalent of Budweiser, i.e., simple and not very flavorful.
We were pleased to happen upon Épicerie J. A. Moisan, and picked up some provisions for the apartment, including milk, cheese, pate, and (not Canadian) wine. I love this type of shop, and if we were not going to be gone as long or walking as far, we would have bought much more.
We walked to dinner at Le Geule de Bois. Because it was Saturday night and we did not have reservations, we were thrilled to be accommodated with two seats at the bar. We sometimes prefer bar seating anyway, as it gives us more of a chance to interact with staff. DH had a glass of red wine and I had a draft cider. We shared entrees/appetizers of the rillette of the day (halibut), gnocchi with sweatbreads (our favorite dish of the night), and what was billed as "bison gravlax", a tasty carpaccio served with truffle oil cream, parmesan, and slivered almonds. We thought we would order a main course, but were full enough (must have been the poutine) to move on and continue to see the city.
On our way home, we stopped at the Musée du Chocolat Bromont. It was fun to joke with our Facebook friends that we do more than just eat on vacation, we also go to museums. We stopped at the Chateau Frontenac, and hoped to get a drink and maybe a cheese plate there, near the windows, but we were told they could not seat us at the open tables and this time we declined the bar seating. We finally stopped at Louis-Hebert, and shared a foie gras torchon and half-liter of red wine. While the neighborhood seemed to cater to bachelor and bachelorette parties, the food was good and we were pleased to be sitting outside on a pleasant May evening.
Sunday we drove to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and had a nice walk around the park. It was a beautiful way to work off some calories before continuing our culinary tour.
We next drove to the Île d'Orléans. Just across the bridge we were greeted by the Friterie de l’Île, so shared an order of regular frites (I'm not a fan of gravy of any type, so poutine really isn't my thing). We had tastings at Cassis Monna & Filles (enjoyed the creme de cassis and madeira the most) and Vignoble Isle de Bacchus (our purchase was the ice wine). Lunch was at Le Moulin de St. Laurent. While my duck confit salad was fine, the restaurant is not very daring and clearly old school, as evidenced by the groups of cruise-ship passengers they entertain every weekend.
Despite telling me in a phone call earlier in the week that the restaurant was still closed for the season but the shop would be open Sunday 1-5, we arrived at Au Goût d’Autrefois around 3:30, and it was closed. This was particularly disappointing as we were looking forward to buying products to cook in our QC apartment tomorrow. We drowned our sorrows in a couple of beers at Microbrasserie de l'Île d’Orléans. We headed home to relax a bit before heading to dinner this evening at L'Affaire est Ketchup.
Thank you again for all of the recommendations and suggestions! We are having a wonderful visit!