I have found myself doing a lot of new things in my “old age”. I have never thought of myself as health conscious until recently, and I didn’t think of myself as a foodie until I was recently the guest of Québec Region for a 3-day tour of Québec City and the opening of the Holy Door at the Notre Dame de Québec Basilica (I’ll be sharing more on that later this week.)
Québec City was voted one of the World’s 20 Best Food Cities in 2015 and a visit there, as I found out, could turn anyone into a foodie! You won’t be disappointed as there is a grand french feast awaiting you behind every restaurant and bistro’s open door. Here is where to eat in Québec City:
Our guide had planned quite the culinary tour beginning with Le Pain Béni where they cater to gluten free folks and treated me like royalty. It was my first time to try sushi (the salmon and egg appetizer) and I don’t think I’m quite the sushi type, but the main course was the softest beef tips I’ve ever eaten, with the choice of a huge créme brûlée or decadent Valrhona chocolate mousse for desert. I think I could have eaten that meal for dinner every night we were there.
Le Pain Béni is tucked away along the rue Sainte-Anne, just one up from the Basilica and might be something you missed if you weren’t looking for it. Once inside however, you will realize it is also a small boutique hotel with just a few rooms tastefully maintaining the balance between modern decor and the vintage building it is housed in.
A late evening walk for a ride down the city wall on the funicular on our second evening found us at L’Échaudé (73, rue du Sault-au-Matelot) which was another unimposing delight. Off the beaten path, this restaurant was packed the entire night. And I must say, the people of Québec City still know how to enjoy a lengthy 3-course meal. Nothing was hurried, but not in a bad way. It was relaxing to enjoy a leisurely dinner with our newfound friends also on the tour. Here we were treated to Acorn Squash Fondue and Pancetta appetizers, Braised Pork Cheeks with Apple Cider and Foie Gras and Sugar Pie for dessert.
The restaurante at le Monastére has fabulous gluten free dishes and desserts as well, and I enjoyed a birthday dinner of duck stuffed quail, salads, gluten free bread and a blueberry pudding and chocolate fudge. The staff was very attentive and our waiter quite entertaining. And I love that the restaurant features mismatched chairs for seating all donated by local friends of the Monastery.
Right up the street from our accommodations at the Manior Victoria some of our group found breads, pastries and soup and salad with live accordion music at Café-boulangerie Paillard on St. Jean Street. (A note to gluten-free friends, most french créme soups do have gluten in them. Best to opt for the salad option just to be safe. I did not and was sorry.)
Another day for lunch a couple of us ventured out on our own to enjoy the repurposed ambiance at Batinse dining while seated at a table with a porch swing for chairs (above). The pigs in a blanket sausage was a delight (since I don’t get good sausage at home in Mexico), the Shepherd’s pie was superb, the Snow Taffy (caramel which hardens over your ice cream) wonderful, and we especially delighted in the uniqueness of the decor and the serving dishes:
The Christmas market behind City Hall offers some delicious tastings while out exploring in the evenings too: spirits, waffles, and fondu (which I did not try), hot cocoa, jams, jellies, honey, vineagars, sausages, pickled quail eggs, patín and so much more!
With something for everyone, if you do nothing else in this fabulous city for foodies, make plans to eat and to enjoy your meals! Do you have a favorite french dish? Please share in the comments below.