We had incredible meals at every restaurant we visited in Quebec City. We seemed to always spend C$50 regardless of which meal we ate. Restaurants in Old Quebec tend to be a little more expensive depending on when you dine. One strategy we used, thanks to the concierge at our hotel, was to try to eat at restaurants within the old section of the city before dinner hours. This allowed us to take advantage of la formule (fixed-price multi-course meals).
The menus in Quebec often contain wild game such as pheasant, bison, wild pig, and caribou. At times, we had to ask for a descriptions of some dishes. For example, there was something called sweetbread that sounded like dessert but it is actually made of animal innards such as throat, heart, stomach, etc.. We did not try it. There were some local specialties such as poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). I would have liked to have tried it but I never got around to it. Of course, being in a country whose flag contains a maple leaf, it was not uncommon that the food contained delicious sweet maple glaze.
I’m not sure how this started, but my wife and I normally have a ritual pizza meal whenever we leave the U.S.. On our first night in Quebec City, we took our hotel concierge's advice and made the 10-minute walk to La Piazzetta. It turned out to be one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time. My wife postponed our little tradition that evening because she was intrigued by the Alpine Rolls containing Swiss cheese, grilled Westphalian ham, red onions, chives, apples, white wine and Alfredo sauce. She ordered the Alpine Rolls and loved them.
We had lunch at Cafe Buade where I had pizza again and my wife tried the three-course lunch special. The entree was General Tso's chicken but with a Quebecois twist. It had a maple glaze which was delicious.
The Café Au Bonnet d'Âne (The Dunce Cap Cafe or The Donkey's Hat Cafe) was also a dinner suggestion from the concierge at our hotel. Its menu used a school theme with sections like Geography, Biology, etc.. My wife finally had pizza and what an exotic pizza it was. It contained sliced apples and bacon among other ingredients. As for me, I enjoyed the almond-crusted halibut that evening.
Le Cochon Dingue (The Crazy Pig) is located in the Lower Town and was about a 15-minute walk from our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott. We dined at Le Cochon Dingue twice during our stay - once for dinner and once for breakfast. For dinner, my wife and I shared a full rack of maple-smoked baby back ribs with potato skins - delicious. For dessert, we thoroughly enjoyed the maple sugar cake with thick vanilla cream. Breakfast the next morning at Le Cochon Dingue was filling and scrumptious. I especially enjoyed the hot chocolate with 64% Belgian chocolate.
Our final dinner was at Aux Anciens Canadiens. We arrived at 5:30 and was able to take advantage of the 3-course fixed-price menu. If we had arrived after 6 PM, everything would have been a la carte and potentially more expensive. Our meal was excellent. I stepped out a little and tried the Lac St-Jean meat pie. This was a hearty meat and potatoes dish that included wild game such as bison, caribou, and elk. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife had the Neptune’s shell that contained shrimp and scallops in white wine sauce and au gratin. It was excellent as well. For dessert, we went with the maple syrup pie - slammin'.
As for whether or not I could recommend one restaurant over another, I am not sure I could do it. Each was able to offer us great meals, be it pizza or fine dining. We never had a bad dining experience during our stay in Quebec City.