We’re back with Restaurant Roundup for 2015! This year’s theme: Where To Eat This Weekend. Every other week we’ll be profiling a different city in Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out – from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! Today food and travel writer Marie Asselin takes us on a tour of Quebec City restaurants to check out this weekend in this historic city!
People frequently ask me for Quebec City restaurant recommendations. As I was making a list for a hungry visitor recently, I realized that there’s probably never been a better time to dine in Quebec City than right now. Over the past few years, many new restaurant concepts have popped up, and a new generation of chefs has completely transformed our culinary scene.
Niche and creative options abound, especially in the low- to mid-range pricing points, which especially delights us locals. While the city is deservedly renowned for its many fine dining restaurants, I believe you should visit as many bistros and casual cafés as you can when you visit. You’ll leave with not only a full belly but also a full wallet.
Quebec City Brunch and Lunch Options
Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire
Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire’s status as an enduring local favorite despite its location in the heart of the Old Port, one of the city’s most touristy areas, speaks volumes. This diner’s secret is its no-fuss cuisine, which reminds many of us of the food our grandmothers and mothers used to make. Visitors might want to try Québécois classics, such as meat pie or Cipaille, but locals go for the generous, quickly served breakfasts, which are perfect to jumpstart your day when you’re hungover.
As the only place to get an authentic, steaming bowl of ramen in Quebec City, a meal from Hosaka-Ya Ramen hits the spot on colder days. Owned by two Japanese-Québécois brothers, the place is, of course, well known for its soups. However, the à la carte snacks also make it worth a visit, including the crisp, tender, slightly spicy Kara-Age Chicken or the more nuanced Agedashi Tofu. Make sure you come early — the place fills up quickly.
Café Crack Grilled Cheese
Québec’s cheeses no longer need an introduction, and visitors should try to taste as many as they can. Café Crack Grilled Cheese is located inside a gourmet grocery store managed by a local cheesemaker, so it may be the best place to receive a crash course in gooey decadence. Sandwiches are filled with top-quality ingredients, such as confied duck, truffles, foie gras, and, of course, some of the best local cheeses. These filling lunches will sustain you during a full day of exploring the city.
Quebec City Dinner Destinations
Nina Pizza Napolitaine
When visitors ask me what led to Quebec City’s culinary revival, I tell them it was the arrival of niche restaurants such as Nina Pizza Napolitaine. The two women who opened this local favorite trained with a master pizzaiolo and imported their oven straight from Naples, allowing them to produce the best pizza the city has to offer, bar none. If you’re lucky enough to visit, you should have pizza and only pizza — preferably more than one pie — but it’s worth noting they also serve delicious salads and homemade desserts. Everyone, including families, feels at home at this trendy, popular spot.
Le Renard et la Chouette
This off-the-radar spot is the first in a string of new wine bars that opened in Quebec City, and it’s still the most interesting of them all. Located at the entrance to the quickly gentrifying Saint-Sauveur neighborhood, Le Renard et la Chouette is a coffee shop by day and a buvette by night. Daytime visitors are welcomed by a mouth-watering selection of homemade pastries and treats (the buttery scones are a must), while night owls will be delighted by the huge plates to share and the carefully curated selection of wines available by the glass.
The brainchild of the winner of a Top Chef-like competition in Québec, La Planque’s opening was preceded by quite a bit of hype. Two years later, chef Guillaume St-Pierre has clearly won his wager as his restaurant still exceeds all expectations. The cuisine, combining classic techniques with terroir ingredients and modern presentations, is creative and reliably excellent. The service and decor are just casual enough, and the cheque just reasonable enough to allow many of us to be regulars. It is, as one visiting food lover recently put it, a “soul-satisfying” place.
Fun Odds and Ends to Try
Crêperie du Pain Béni
This newcomer is as close to a food truck as you’ll find in the Old City. This outdoors, take-out crêperie is located a few steps from historic Château Frontenac, bang in the middle of it all. The menu features a dozen decadent savory and sweet crêpes — including gluten-free and vegetarian options — which are served rolled and set into a cardboard holder, taco-style. It’s the perfect snack to grab before exploring the atmospheric streets in the city’s heart.
Panache du Parc
While this destination is slightly outside the city’s center, it’s a worthy, charming detour. Located in the heart of the 60-acre, manicured Bois-de-Coulonges Park, the Panache du Parc teahouse serves generous sandwiches and intricate pastries. This summer, they’re also serving English high tea every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As its name indicates, the teahouse is managed by Auberge Saint-Antoine’s renowned Panache Restaurant, so the food served is undoubtedly worthy of five stars.
Not long ago, local gourmands completely avoided Quebec City’s Grande-Allée as a dining destination and the bars in the area were getting stale. L’Atelier is a recent newcomer that helped turned this around. L’Atelier is mainly a cocktail destination. Its long list of creative cocktails reinvents classics and even turns the concept on its head (poutine Bloody Mary, anyone?). Because you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach, the restaurant also serves a range of tartars, burgers and other savoury treats that go down easy.
Where Else To Eat This Weekend
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Vancouver Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Edmonton Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Toronto Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Calgary Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Montreal Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Winnipeg Edition
This article was written by Marie Asselin, a writer, translator, web designer, and passionate cook who loves to indulge in Quebec City’s burgeoning food scene. She is the author of the food and travel blog Food Nouveau, the artistic director of Quebec City’s online food magazine, Fou des foodies, and Travel+Leisure’s Quebec City expert. Find her on Twitter @foodnouveau and on Instagram @foodnouveau.