A few days in a city does not make anyone an expert on its restaurants but a short visit can point you in the right direction. That is what I hope to do in this brief piece.
Most visitors to Quebec City spend most of their time in Old Town so it’s not surprising that many of the city’s better hotels and restaurants are also in this area. Let’s start with something cheap and friendly. Casse Crepe Breton is at 1136 St Jean Street in Upper Town. This warm and friendly restaurant in the heart of the town has savoury or sweet crepes and a cheerful ambience at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late at night. You can select a standard crepe or make your own then add maple syrup, salad or soup to complete a good meal. If you don’t want crepes, there are sandwiches and desserts to satisfy your hunger. We sat at a table with a nice view to the street and had soup, salad and crepes and the meal cost less than $10 each.
The Paillard Café-Boulangerie is a nearby alternative at 1097 St Jean Street. It is buzzing at lunch time as customers enjoy soups, tasty gourmet and fresh salads while sitting at a long wooden table. The attached bakery tempted us with its delicious tasting delights. There are several more expensive options in Upper Town but we gravitated to the Lower Town for these.
L’Échaudé, at 73, Rue Sault-au-Matelot, is a reasonably expensive classic little bistro in Lower Town. Most French classics are on offer together with a few more unusual options. What we ordered was well presented and quite flavoursome, which perhaps explains why there seemed to be as many locals as tourists. If you go after 9 PM, the entire bistro menu is 20% off, making it a fairly good value considering the quality of the restaurant. The extensive wine list favours bottles from France.
Buffet de L’Antiquaire, at 95 Rue Saint Paul, is a convivial little diner with an atmosphere somewhere between a dinner and a pub. Locals and tourists alike crowd in for hearty breakfasts, savoury meat pies and other simple but good comfort fare. Menu items are posted on a chalkboard with the daily specials included. We sat inside at the narrow counter but when the weather is warm there are sidewalk tables out front. There is nothing special about their food but it was cheap and the staff was friendly.
Panache, at 10 Rue St-Antoine in Lower Town, is a classy restaurant, inside the museum-like Auberge Saint-Antoine. The decor and ambience, with attractive wooden floors and exposed beams, is superb and the service was friendly and flawless but we were somewhat disappointed with the food. It was not bad but we had expected something special from a restaurant with a good reputation and high prices and we didn’t think it was. They have a big wine list with emphasis on Canadian wines.