I’ve been to Québec City three times in the past nine months! The only season I have yet to experience is Spring.
Although the city feels more traditional than Montréal, there are inspiring, visionary meals happening just as well.
Legende offers a hyper local menu, only serving items that are in season. They are so committed to serve what is local that they don’t offer olive oil…because olives don’t grow there.
No worries! This is a wonderful point of view and you can taste its genius in the food. The experience brought a new term into my life: boreal (northern) cooking.
We ordered the chef’s seafood platter and it was exciting to try so many different items! Our fruits de mer adventure included smoked salmon, trout, oysters with homemade tabasco, cod with fruit paste, sea snail and pearl onion salad, razor clam salad, mussels, sturgeon in mayonnaise, and fermented roe puree.
On our way out of town we stopped by Le Clocher Penché to catch lunch. The owner of one of our favorite restaurants in Montréal (Nora Gray) suggested it and they were very welcoming even though we literally squeezed in the minute before lunch was over.
The decor is warm and the attention to detail is inspiring.
Being from Texas, I was curious to try Québécois gazpacho, which was a special the day we visited. I was not disappointed! The addition of shrimp was a nice touch.
I followed up with their salmon tartar, which is a very popular dish in the region. It was one of the best I’ve ever had.
I wish we could easily go back to enjoy dinner in this beautiful space. I know it would be stellar.
Every chef, sommelier, waiter, and restaurant owner we spoke to in Montréal suggested L’Affaire est Ketchup when we asked where to eat in Québec City.
Unfortunately they were not open until our day of departure. (Closed Sunday and Monday) We attempted to show up for a small bite on our way out of town, even though we had just eaten at Le Clocher Penché a couple of hours earlier.
We had several hours of driving ahead and quite honestly, we didn’t want to leave Québec.
We were an hour early for their first seating and all reservations were booked for the night. They suggested we visit their sister restaurant, just down the street, Patente et Machin.
Both L’Affaire est Ketchup and Patente et Machin are casual experiences, even though the cuisine is modern.
The vibe reminds me of Austin or Brooklyn (or Montréal).
Patente et Machin has a bit of a punk rock energy to it and my husband is convinced they have shows in the basement. There are flyers lining the stairwell to the washrooms. I can’t imagine they have room for such things, but it’s fun to think about.
I enjoyed a delicious medley of foraged mushrooms while my husband had a fiddlehead and asparagus salad. Everything was local and super fresh.
June in Québec introduced me to fiddleheads! What a gorgeous vegetable!
Restaurant Toast! has worked with my limited diet each time I’ve had dinner there even though I forgot to give them a call beforehand to let them know what to expect. Gracefully, they work with the ingredients they have on hand and come up with incredible alternatives. If you are vegetarian or have an allergy, be sure to call ahead so they can make something extra special for you!
On my most recent visit in June, the chef whipped up a lobster risotto that I’m still dreaming about.
Sister restaurant SSS is open for lunch and dinner. They offer a beautiful take on salmon tartar with a nice crunch.
Le Cercle is not only a restaurant and wine bar, but also a performance space and art gallery.
You could easily spend the entire evening without leaving the premesis. Dinner and visual art followed by seeing a live band sounds like a great night to me!
If you are looking for more upscale dining options check these places out:
Do you have a favorite Québec City restaurant? If so, share it with me in the comments section below! I can’t imagine it will be too long before I make my way back.
May your journey be your muse,