Thursday, May 11, 2017
Everyone likes to make a great bargain and to have more quality and quantity than his money’s worth. These affordable eateries are where you’ll find locals eating their heart out on dishes packed with flavours. Far from tourist traps and located in some of the trendiest neighbourhoods like Limoilou, Saint-Sauveur and Saint-Roch, these restaurants are literally the best bang for your buck you’ll find in Québec City.
Bagel Maguire CaféMontreal-style bagels
I love bagels, but not all bagels. I love the Montreal-style bagels, with sesame seeds cooked in a wood oven. The one that softly resists the bite with a dense, melt-in-your mouth feel. Sillery’s Bagel Maguire Café bagels are these ones. I regularly visit at lunchtime and choose the BLT sandwich or their homemade soups and side of Caesar salad.
Buffet de l’AntiquaireUnique Québécois flavours
Tucked away in the district of the Old Port, the Buffet has nothing to do with an all-you-can-eat restaurant. This diner serves traditional Québécois dishes like cipaille, pig's trotter stew, meat pie and maple syrup baked beans. Breakfast is also served all day in hearty portions. I love their breakfast potatoes cut in tiny squares and griddled with onion. Of all the restaurants in Québec City, Buffet de l’Antiquaire is where you’ll get the most authentic Québécois experience.
Bureau de PosteA highly popular $5 menu
I call this restaurant of Saint-Roch the riders’ hut. I see myself as a teenager truly enjoying le Bureau de Poste’s well-targeted ambiance. Expect a 90’s punk band soundtrack, extreme sports movies and a $5 menu. My picks are the juicy braised beef burger and the apple quinoa salad. Expect a line-up every day no matter the season. Yes, it’s that popular.
Casse-Croûte Pierrot24/7 greasy spoon
The Casse-Croûte Pierrot is the best place for a late night snack. Open 24 hours with delivery until 5 am, Pierrot serves one of my favourite poutines in Québec. It has savoury, meat-flavoured gravy with generous small cheese curds that melt until the very last bite. This classic poutine doesn’t disappoint, no matter the time of day.
Chez Madame CharlotteComfort in a bowl
Madame Charlotte is a tiny, hidden and very kid-friendly Limoilou gem. Located inside a small apartment building of the 1re avenue, this small restaurant literally brings you inside a 1950 Michel Tremblay’s novel where kitsch decor meets comfort food. Slow cooked meals, homemade mashed potatoes served in a setting fixed in time. I highly recommend their shepherd’s pie, perfect with a dash of ketchup.
La Boîte à PainBreads, sandwiches and sweets
La Boîte à Pain has 3 locations: Saint-Roch, Limoilou and Ste-Foy. Their pizzas, sandwiches and calzones are packed with tasteful ingredients. Their breads are created according to traditional baking methods. La Boîte à Pain also propose a few desserts including chocolate chip cookies and my favourite snack, the peanut butter and chocolate granola bar.
Le Chic ShackBurgers and milkshakes
Steps from rue du Trésor and straight across the street from the Château Frontenac, the Chic Shack is a popular, tourist-friendly destination. All their burgers are served in a fresh pain brioché made from the hands of local artisan baker Éric Borderon. In season, I often bite into their Îles de la Madeleine lobster burger, oozing with love and homemade aioli.
Le Renard et la ChouetteA charming, trendy buvette
Le Renard & la Chouette is where an industrial decor meets country-feel dishes and organic, biodynamic wines. It is where my palate flocks to enjoy a variety of slow-cooked dishes that transcend comfort and home-style warmth. You’ll find it hard to resist their scones served with friendly, welcoming smiles. Some evening dishes are intended for sharing, which I regularly do with friends. My pick: the tartiflette made with generous flavours of Portneuf cheese broiled upon layers of potatoes slices : decadent! Their vegetarian chilli is also one of the best chillies I have had in my life.
MorenaTuscany in Québec City
Avenue Cartier has nothing in common with Tuscany but Morena. You’ll find a wide variety of petit pots, oils, tomato sauces and carefully selected privately imported wines. Chefs Natrella’s lunches à l’ostéria differentiate Morena from other European groceries in Québec City. Formerly chef of the famous signer Charles Aznavour, Chef Natrella’s playground is filled with bright colours of the Mediterranean: cannellonis, stuffed peppers, traditional quiches and pasta on the go. I highly recommend lunch on their terrace during summer, a place where locals often gather for a daily chat.
Phil Smoked MeatThe art of smoked meat
Phil Smoked Meat is my favourite place in town to enjoy a smoked meat sandwich. I love everything about Phil, especially the homemade coleslaw. A popular local hangout that feels authentic, exactly how I want my smoked meat sandwich. Served with rye bread and a choice of «baseball» or Dijon mustard, Phil’s smoked meat sandwiches are generous and finger-licking good.
Poulet PortugaisCharcoal-grilled Portuguese chicken
This self-serve, BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) restaurant is owned and operated by Stoyan Napolenov and his family. His fascination with Portuguese tastes makes Poulet Portugais one of my favourite restaurants in Québec City. I always choose the spicy chicken leg dabbed with Stoyan’s delectable homemade hot sauce. The chicken slowly grills on a charcoal barbecue for 2 hours and is served with a generous portion of fries. Don’t ignore the deli counter filled with delectable cold cuts and sweet pastel de nata.
Tora-Ya RamenRich broths for authentic ramen
Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur have become the foodiest of Québec City’s neighbourhoods. Culinary artisans have taken over the districts and made them essential culinary destinations.
Among these artisans, I like the Tora-Ya Ramen, that serves real Japanese cuisine in a restaurant decorated in the style of traditional izakaya pubs. At the moment you walk through the door, the rich bold aromas of the simmering broths trigger salivation. I find it hard to choose other than the kimchi ramen for its spicy and generous Korean aromas.
Here’s the best local foodie tip you’ll get: eat in a fine-dining establishment at lunchtime during the week and you’ll really get for your money’s worth.
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.