Quebec offers a food scene like no other in North America. Between real life castles and the sound of French floating in the air, you’ll be transformed to another time and place. Quebecois cuisine originated from the French settlers cooking with local game, herbs, and vegetables. Throw in a homegrown poutine, a meal from rural Quebec to tide through the hard times, add some liquid libations like maple whiskey, ice wines, and craft beers, and you’ll realize why eating is the number one tourist activity in Quebec City.
There are any number of Quebec City food guides that speak with put on heirs about how posh Quebec is, as they discuss French Cuisine and french fries smothered in brown gravy in the same breath. That ain’t us baby. We’re an adventurous couple who had a blast eating our way through old Quebec. Simple. Easy. Fun. Come with us as we take you on a foodie tour of our favorite eats in Quebec City.
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Bistro Le Sam
Our Quebec gastro tour begins at Québec’s (and the world’s) most photographed, prominent, castle on the hill Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Château Frontenac is the most recognizable building in Upper Town Quebec City. You come for the views and stay for creative cocktails at Bistro Le Sam. I had a charcuterie board so good I thought I was in Paris. Fun fact – hives on the roof of the building contain over 70,000 honey bees that produce 650 lb of honey per year that gets served in the three restaurants on the property.
Speaking of honey, Bistro Tournebroche has a live hive inside the building. I was handed a piece of honeycomb dripping with fresh, sweet goodness that melted in my mouth. For the more keto conscious, Tournebroche prides themselves on their rotisserie and gravy made through reduction instead of a flour base.
Delices Erable & Cie
Keto be damned when you visit Quebec’s sweet shops. Delices Erable & Cie is all about maple products (in your best Forest Gump voice…) maple syrup, maple pearls, maple vinegar (surprisingly good). The list goes on and on. They even have a maple museum on the second floor. Did you know that 70% of the world’ maple syrup is in made in Quebec? (The province, not just the city).
Erico Chocolatier makes it worth breaking your diet. They have chocolates that melt in your mouth with rich creamy goodness, and a chocolate museum on premise too. You can say you are there for an education, which just wouldn’t be complete without a little taste.
You know what goes good with chocolate? More chocolate. You know what else? Champagne. Guess what? Champagne Chocolatier has them both. Whodathunkit with a name like that? I visited as part of a tasting tour, but I seriously could have stayed all day.
Fromagerie Des Grondines
Another stop on my Quebec tasting tour was Fromagerie Des Grondines or the cheese shop of Grondines, a village in the Quebec countryside. Their provincial masterpiece was the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life. Something about freshly toasted bread and gooey high-quality cheese warms the cockles of my heart.
Noctem Artisans Brasseurs
The first beer in Canada was brewed in Quebec City in 1668 and Noctem continues that tradition today with locally brewed craft beer. They also feature cat-themed decor for all you crazy cat ladies out there (just own it). I’m not going to lie. This is my kind of place.
Bar Le Sacrilège
Sacrilege is relative. For example, not only did the French import their language but a vast majority of the Quebecois are Catholic. Quebec is full of beautiful Catholic Cathedrals including the St. Jean Baptiste Church. Across the road is the aptly named Bar Le Sacrilège, where all of the seats are church pews. This goes over just fine with the locals who enjoy dancing and affordable drinks. We did find several ways to commit food sacrilege while in Quebec, which we’ll talk about next.
Poutine is Quebec’s native food… French fries with brown gravy and squeaky cheese (good poutine will actually squeak when you bite it). The most famous poutine purveyor is Chez Ashton, a local chain of fast food restaurants made famous by free samples of poutine and poutine discounts when the temperature drops below -30c. Much like regional burger chains in the US (I’ll take In-n-Out for the win), Quebec City loves Chez Ashton.
Chic Shack offered my favorite poutine. Their Poutine 2.0 aka La Braisee Poutine featured red ale braised beef, parmesan cheese curds, pickled onions, fresh Herbs, and horseradish aioli. There is a certain French expression where you exhale in disgust. Some sort of Pfffft. Used in a sentence – Pffft, that isn’t real poutine. Too much stuff in it. Sacrilege.
For the record, I also enjoyed my Le Chic Burger with maple smoked bacon, local cheddar, and chic sauce paired with a boozy shake of french vanilla ice cream and Bailey’s Irish cream.
For real sacrilege, we need to move on to dinner and not just any dinner, but dinner at one of Quebec’s cornerstone restaurants L’Échaudé. L’Échaudé features classic French fares like tartars, blood budding, and bone marrow. We couldn’t pick just one, so we went with a throng of digital influencers (or would that be a fancy of ‘fluencers?). We ordered just about one of everything, and all shared when it came to the table. It was heavenly.
The sacrilege apparently wasn’t sharing food. It was the photo session beforehand complete with off camera lighting. The natives were restless, and let us know of their displeasure with a French retort that was undoubtedly scathing. We let them know we didn’t speak French and they responded in English that they expected as much. Sacrilege perhaps, but at least we have a story to tell and a reason to get a camera with better low light sensitivity.
My favorite French curse has to be ferme la bouche – Shut Your Mouth!!! This is the ironically the last thing we wanted to do when visiting La Buche, a restaurant that is decorated like a rustic hunting lodge. Warning! If you are vegan, look away. There’s nothing for you here. If your willing to jump in full bore, try the rabbit wings and venison tartar. Be sure to try the Kalibu (a house specialty of regional Caribou mulled wine) and don’t forget to check out the bathrooms in the basement. Kind of random but the basement decor reminds me of the insanity that somebody must be experiencing to go out for poutine in – 30-degree weather.
The French love for food naturally makes them fabulous hosts. I was hosted for not one but two beautiful dinners in Quebec City. My first hosted experience was at Chez Boulay, which ironically features Nordic-inspired cuisine. The Norse came to the region first, and the abundance of game meat at fresh vegetables makes Nordic food in Quebec something special.
To quote ourselves from Quebec City Getaway – Recipe for Spring Romance. – “We started with cappuccino onion soup. Its deep, rich flavor comes from generous amounts of caramelized onions and melted cheese. For a main, may we suggest the braised beef cheek marinated in red currant vinegar and slow cooked until it melts in your mouth? Of course, no romantic meal is complete without dessert. We feasted on sea buckthorn and meringue pie. “
Chez Muffy, located in a historic 1822 warehouse attached to the beautiful Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel. They feature a farm-to-fork concept where almost everything is locally sourced. Their green beans knocked my socks off and the foie gras melted in my mouth. Of course, nothing could have prepared me for the dessert sampler with maple pecan pie, meringue bites, berry tarts, smores, and chocolate cake and the choux pastry filled with chocolate pudding and topped with Bailey’s Irish cream (notice a pattern?). I could go on and on, but if you want to hear more, you can just read about our experience at Chez Muffy. Final thoughts, we have to come back for their Sunday Brunch!
We are just about done with our Quebec food tour. There is just one final stop. I think the Violent Femmes said it best – ‘Vague sketch of a fantasy, laughing at the sunrise like he’s been up all night’. You have now eaten your way through Canada’s, ney North America’s finest food city. Perhaps you are going to bike to Montmorency Falls, or you just are wandering back to your room or waiting for your flight home. Should you choose just one more meal, you choose Paillard.
They feature classic French pastries including savory ham and cheese croissants with a Hollandaise Sauce. Kind of like eggs Benedict in pastry You know, Benedict Arnold spent some time running around Quebec too so it kind of makes sense in a weird historical way. No matter what, everything tastes better with Hollandaise Sauce.
Wrapping up our Quebec City foodie tour
I remember picking these fifteen best restaurants for our weekend in Quebec. There were so many good eateries in the city we had a hard time deciding on our fifteen faves. My mouth still waters at the memory and I can’t wait to go back and try some more delicious food. The hardest part will be deciding if I want to repeat any of my previous venues or go for something entirely new and different. Every meal in Quebec was a culinary adventure. I only wish that I had more time and a higher metabolism.
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Chez Muffy and Chez Boulay. As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely my own, regardless of who is picking up the tab.
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