Friday, September 30, 2016
Québec City has one restaurant per 369 residents, a number much higher than Manhattan’s with 450 per capita. Let me take you into the splendour of Old Québec’s fine dining experience. Here is a selection of unique, and mostly chef-owned establishments, which I believe give Québec City its distinctive gourmet character.
Chez Muffy of l’Auberge Saint-AntoineA narration of the past through a contemporary masterpiece
Chez Muffy is the home of a creative cuisine. The chef composes flavourful melodies with Old World European techniques, using local flavours handpicked from the restaurant’s garden on Île d’Orléans. The modern décor contrasts in beauty and in style with the 19th century maritime warehouse it sits in.
Restaurant Laurie RaphaëlWhere theatre meets fine dining
Chef Raphaël Vézina orchestrates a deeply structured experience in the form of acts where theatre-like symphonies of flavours of Québec’s terroir succeed one another. The Laurie Raphaël offers a truly unique, subversive encounter with food, which has taken me on a highway of pleasures for the eyes and palate. Every service reveals familiar flavours in a deconstructed presentation that sometimes leave only taste as a reference. A cuisine inspired by family travels, trends and techniques where almost every ingredient is used from the root to the leaf.
Restaurant Initiale, Relais & ChâteauxQuébec’s most distinguished culinary experience
Located in the Old Port, chef Yvan Lebrun’s cuisine is beyond exquisite. Restaurant Initiale is a small 40-seat sombre-chic venue that reflects the cradle of French America it sits on: gastronomic and contemporary. The Initiale’s cuisine is composed in finesse and harmonized through nature’s divine perfumes. The fir hollandaise, scallops and sweetbreads are the perfect example. If you open your heart to chef Lebrun’s creativity, you could be moved to tears. I have.
Restaurant Champlain of Fairmont Le Château FrontenacThe playground of one of Canada’s most brilliant chefs
Chef Stéphane Modat’s cuisine is contemporary art synthesized amid some worldly inspirations: Asian, Indo-European, and South American. The result: expressive food art assembled as highly seductive dishes. His architectural passion for flavours is featured in a carefully selected blend of local flavours and ingredients that harmonize with daring presentations. I recommend you to enjoy an adventurous feast under the grand crystal chandelier featuring a unique menu inspired by the chef’s stream of consciousness.
Restaurant Légende par la TanièreThe great mastery of Québec’s distinctive perfumes
Légende’s bistronomie is orchestrated by chef Fredéric Laplante and fuelled by molecular curiosity. All condiments are transformed in house where every root, leaf and grain is from Québec’s land, forest or sea. Here, no food comes from abroad, not even a lemon. The results are unconventional yet accessible dishes. Recognized by Air Canada’s EnRoute magazine as one of the top 10 Best New Restaurants in 2014, Légende is the most genuine boreal experience you’ll come across in Québec City.
Restaurant Le Saint-AmourMastery of traditional French gastronomy and love
Chef Jean-Luc Boulay’s restaurant is where you’ll indulge in a unique Canadian, yet very European-inspired culinary journey. Every perfume, colour, flavour and texture is offered as an experience through love. Simplicity and authenticity is definitely Saint-Amour’s key to success. Among my favourite dishes, the most sumptuous, melt-in-your-mouth duck leg I have eaten. I recommend a seat in the charming vintage dining room where a skylight offers a natural flow of light.
Restaurant Toast!A romantic encounter with skill and finesse
Chef Christian Lemelin’s colourful cuisine of the Toast! is one of Québec City's most sensual culinary experiences. Every mouthful defines the chef’s desire to create aromatic harmonies and surprising textures supported by trendy details. The lobster risotto is a perfect example of Lemelin’s seductive cuisine. Toast! also offers exquisite service supervised by one of Québec City’s most dedicated maître d’hôtel and wine connoisseur, Stéphane D’Anjou.
About Allison Van Rassel
Journalist, columnist and blogger, Allison is passionate about Québec City’s culinary culture. Curious and aware of the latest culinary trends, Allison makes the region’s foodie culture shine bright.