Québec City is one of the most “European” of the major cities in North America, mostly thanks to its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and joie de vivre. But does that continental personality apply to the food as well? Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love food. When I travel, the first thing I want to know is “What’s the best restaurant in [city]?”
Luckily, Québec City is heaven for a gourmande like myself: The city’s foodies know wine, organic farming, and has been doing “locally sourced” well before it became a trend. Farm-to-table isn’t just a buzzword in La Vieille Capitale’s culinary scene – it’s a way of life.
The cuisine in Québec City ranges from French-Canadian specialties like tourtière and poutine to more contemporary styles like molecular gastronomy (think food and chemistry experiments, but tasty). Young chefs with something to prove are heading to the region in droves and bringing a new attitude to the city’s foodie scene. Here are some of the best eating experiences in Québec City.
Crémaillère is French for housewarming party, and this restaurant in the heart of Old Québec offers typical Québécois dishes with an adventurous spin. For example, the crêpe Suzette is flambéed right at your table. Besides the classic meals like seafood stew and escargot cassoulet, people head here because it’s one of the most prestigious wine bars in the city. La Cremaillere won the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence more than 10 times and Restaurant of the Year for the sixth time in a row.
La Gueule de Bois
Another French name I’m pleased to translate for you all: gueule de bois is the French way of saying hangover. The owners of this restaurant completely focus on food and the dining experience. They do slow food but in a far more literal way: The servers at La Gueule de Bois want you to take your time when ordering and eating. Lobster risotto, rich chocolate fondant, and refreshing lime and basil sorbet are top on my list.
The Charlevoix Flavour Trail
If you really want to get to know about Québec cuisine, the Charlevoix Flavour Trail truly can’t be missed. The 143-kilometre road trip brings together the best farms, restaurants, and artisanal food producers in the region. You’ll be able to taste cider and beer, pâtés and cheeses, and spices and chocolate all originating from the province. I would recommend Le Boisé in Saint-Siméon – there is nothing more Canadian than a traditional maple grove and farm in the countryside.
Québec City is a place where its residents and the products from the region’s produce are in perfect harmony, which is probably why Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Québec City as 10th among the World’s Best Food Cities. The Québécois have a true foodie culture: They talk about wine pairings, the importance of farming, and the terroir. It isn’t by accident that Québec City does food so well – it is an exigence, an expectation and lifestyle of the city’s residents.
Planning a foodie trip to Québec City? You can find cheap hotels in Québec City from $88 per night on Hipmunk.