Just before the COVID quarantine made dining out impossible, my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Québec City. Since the weather was unbearably cold, we spent the majority of our visit restaurant-hopping around the city. Québec City has a robust culinary scene. After a day of exploring all of Quebec’s historical attractions, you are bound to work up an appetite. But instead of popping into any old restaurant to refuel, consider one of the following restaurants which showcase the city’s regional dishes, from fresh-picked produce to handmade cheeses and wines.
Sapritsi | Coming from an Italian family that regularly cooks has made me pretty particular about Italian food. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a city known for its poutine and maple syrup could also create decent Italian dishes. We came across this restaurant on a complete whim. On our first night in Québec, we stopped outside this restaurant just so I could warm my hands next to their outdoor heat lamp. While I was busy thawing my frozen fingers, my boyfriend was checking out the menu. He asked if we could eat there for dinner the following night, and I reluctantly agreed. But, my mind was instantly changed the moment our Arancini appetizer arrived. This meal ended up being one of my favorite meals of the trip. I ordered the Spag Pollo: spaghetti topped butter herb, chicken, roasted tomatoes, fried prosciutto, arugula, and wild mushrooms. Sounds good, right? Well, it totally was.
Trés Garcons | Owned by the same team as Sapritsi is Trés Garcons, a burger joint that looks like the love child of a trendy American burger bar and a French bistro. This place is known for its juicy burgers and local ingredients. Can’t decide what to order? Get The Charlevoix: a double patty, 1608 and Hercule cheese from the Charlevoix dairy farm, caramelized and fried onions, bacon and bourbon BBQ sauce. But honestly, everything on the menu looked fantastic. If you’re walking through Old Québec and are craving a burger, you cannot go wrong with Trés Garcons.
La Buche | My boyfriend and I were so impressed with La Buche that we ate here for both breakfast and dinner on the same day (no judgment, please). First off, breakfast was bomb. We ordered homemade waffles with banana and Nutella and I am pretty sure the waffle batter was infused with maple syrup. It was basically dessert for breakfast. Dinner was equally scrumptious. Adam ordered the lacquered BBQ pork ribs and I ordered the smoked salmon salad with bacon and a poached egg. In addition to incredible food, we loved the ambiance of the restaurant. Dining in La Buche is like dining in a sugar shack covered in outdoor accessories (wooden sleds, taxidermy animals and fur throws). Visit La Buche for a unique menu and a cozy atmosphere in the heart of the city.
1608 | If you’re looking for a sophisticated, trendy bar and lounge with an extensive wine and cocktail list, 1608 in the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel is the place for you. This place truly is an experience. The bartenders are masters of their craft and create the most intricate cocktails you’ve ever seen. One of their drinks, “Genie in a Bottle,” is made with The Botanist Gin, Lillet, white cocoa, violet and lemon and comes served in a genie lamp (just like the one from Aladdin). This place is also a great option if you’re looking for quality charcuterie. They serve a variety of artisan cheeses from Québec, perfectly matured inside their cheese cellar. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated place to drink or enjoy a date night out, this is the perfect bar to visit.
Le Chic Shack | There are several reasons why we went to Le Chic Shack twice in three days. All of these reasons can be condensed into three categories: burgers, poutine and boozy milkshakes. First off, they have delicious burgers of all different varieties. If you eat meat, you can choose between beef, chicken and venison. They also have veggie burgers if that tickles your fancy. Each burger is served on a brioche bun created by local artisan bakers and boy, is it good. Secondly, they have scrumptious poutine. You can order classic poutine, poutine with mushroom ragout or poutine with ale-braised beef. Oh, and milkshakes. Who doesn’t like a boozy milkshake? Dark chocolate with Kahlua, maple salted caramel with whiskey, french vanilla with baileys… is your mouth watering yet? Mine is just from typing this out.
If you have visited Québec City and have other restaurant/bar suggestions, post them in the comments! Would love to revisit this charming city again once our days of social distancing are behind us.