24 Hours of Eating in Quebec City Restaurants
Quebec City is for eaters. While Montreal is on everyone’s gourmand radar (and for good reason), but the Quebec City restaurants scene is far from the underdog with its culinary cornucopian of Québécois dishes, European flair and modern Canadian cooking, along with great pizza and vegan food. Take that Montreal!
Quebec’s provincial capital might not be the place one thinks of when picturing an Easter weekend escape — personally, palm trees come to mind. But anything is better than Spring here in Newfoundland so off we went to La Vieille Capitale. Adam and I joined his parents for an extended long weekend stay at the historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (major bucket list moment for me, I mean this iconic hotel is basically on every Quebec City postcard). What started as a quick weekend break became an eating marathon through the best of Quebec City restaurants (I know shocker) from multi-course menus to multi-stop food tours. Whether you have a week to explore or only have 24 hours to devour all the foie gras you can muster, you should eat at the best Quebec City restaurants.
Breakfast in Quebec City restaurants
There are myriad breakfast options available in Quebec City ranging from Starbucks to the beloved Le Buffet de L’Antiquaire offering up traditional Québécois dishes like tourtiere. After taking a 5am flight from St. John’s, Cochon Dingue was the first place we stumbled upon after checking into the hotel, and what a fortuitous stumble indeed. This small-scale chain with five locations across the city has Parisian bistro flair on overdrive. The whole place is decked out in red, white and blue with a charming cafe feel, slightly tacky but totally pleasant. Giant lattes, huge plates of food, and come on, anywhere that serves a side of toasted baguette with their eggs benedict is good with me!
Lunch on the run
During our weekend in Quebec City, we didn’t spend much time long lunching — it was more of a brunching and food touring kind of trip (more on that later) — but we did stop into Cafe Maison Smith on several occasions for caffeine and food on the run. The Rue des Jardins location is a great spot for a slice of quiche, a galette or pressed ham and cheese sandwich along with delicious coffee made with their own roasted beans.
The best Quebec City food tour
On the second day of our trip, we really ramped up the Quebec City restaurants marathon on the Old Quebec City Food Tour. This three-hour walking tour visited five restaurants as we weaved through Old Quebec, our guide pausing periodically to tell us about the fascinating history of the city. Stops included Le Chic Shack for poutine with taters, braised beef, and cheese curds delivered daily from the farm with shaved Parmesan, pickled onions with horseradish cream and gravy, as well as the ever-popular Restaurant La Buche where we sampled a bunch of traditional Québécois dishes — smoked salmon with maple syrup vinegar, Quebec-style yellow split pea soup and Pâté chinois, a traditional dish akin to Shepherds Pie with beef, corn and potatoes. We also got to pull maple syrup right from a trough of snow at the restaurant.
Like any city, there are many ways to “do dinner” in Quebec City restaurants. From craft brewery burgers to creperies options run the gamut, but unlike other Canadian cities the options for French food prevail, and we totally took advantage. During this particular trip, we opted for a French-style bistro meal at D’Orsay on the first night and a splurge-worthy dinner at Le Champlain inside Fairmont Le Château Frontenac on the second.
There are lots of bistros to choose from in Old Quebec. D’Orsay is a pub and restaurant. We started with all the classics like French Onion Soup, country pate and crackers as well as a freaking deadly deep-fried cheese (called the fondue de maison) with seabuckthorn jam. Steak frites, burgers and tartare followed, and we all had creme brulee to finish (because what else would you have at a French bistro?).
Dinner at Le Champlain was whimsical and luxe. The hallway of perfectly-lit wine fridges centres the dining room of this historic hotel and as we walked in we were greeted by delicious smells and a host offering us a glass of champagne. Oui, merci. You can choose between the chef’s tasting menu or a la carte — we went with a la carte this particular evening but it felt like a tasting menu because of the progression of the meal. Warm bread and salty butter came just before the amuse-bouche beef croquette skewered and placed on a wooden block making like a delicious deep-fried balloon. Plates of hare stew with pumpkin ravioli, Quebec foie gras, roasted duck and caribou were placed before us by impeccably discreet servers and we finished the meal with the best dessert tray of all time to share!
Beer and cocktails at bars, oh my!
Post-dinner at Le Champlain we had drinks in 1608 Bar a Vin, the gorgeous bar at the Chateau Frontenac ranked one of the best in the country — and now I know why. The beautiful circular bar, the perfect lighting and the expertly crafted cocktails made the phrase ‘just having a drink at the hotel bar’ feel sarcastic!
We also spent one rainy afternoon at Korrigane craft brewing in the trendy Saint Roch neighbourhood. This cozy brewpub offers up small-batch beers and is totally worth the stroll (and a bite or two) in this cool area of the city.
Our marathon of Quebec City restaurants may be ended, but my taste for the city hasn’t yet been satiated. I can’t wait to go back (maybe next time in warmer weather) and tick off more spots on the bucket list. Merci!