Established in 1608, Quebec City is best known for its history, but this Canadian municipality has long been (and continues to be) an excellent dining destination. From a buzzing bistro in newly trendy La Cité-Limoilou to an artful eatery in the Musée National des Beaux Arts du Quebec, we’ve rounded up recommendations for where to eat now in this Francophone metropolis. Bon appétit!
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Auberge Saint-Antoine, housed in a 19th-century former warehouse in old Quebec, has relaunched its flagship restaurant (formerly known as Panache) as Chez Muffy, named for the inn’s co-owner, Martha “Muffy” Bate Price. This family-style, Quebecois dining room sources produce from the hotel’s farm on nearby Île d’Orléans and spotlights other regional ingredients.
Begin here with juniper-smoked mussels or a caramelized onion tart with arugula pesto, followed by locally caught mackerel paired with sweet-and-sour radicchio or lobster from Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula.
For sweets, savor the rosemary- and ginger-infused strawberry salad with goat cheese sorbet or the maple pecan tart with caramel sauce.
With a cellar housing more than 12,000 bottles, you’re sure to find the ideal wine to accompany your meal.
Across the St. Charles River from the city center, the up-and-coming Limoilou district hums with cool bars, a few funky shops and creative restaurants. The best reason to venture to this north-of-the-river neighborhood is to dine at La Planque, a casually contemporary, rustic-chic bistro where the wiry tattooed chef Olivier Godbout and his team prepare beautifully plated, seasonally changing dishes.
On the menu, you might find spring fiddleheads brightened with preserved lemon and artistically arranged with a mimosa egg on a bed of hummus or tender octopus served Greek-style with dried olives and feta cheese. Icelandic cod might be paired with a white bean and cherry tomato stew and sauced with lobster oil and capers, while the decadent foie gras torchon is almost dessert-like, finished with golden raisins and salted almonds.
Save room for the rice pudding; fragrant with cinnamon and vanilla beans, and garnished with Asian pears, pecan nougat and spice cake “croutons,” it’s nothing like a nursery sweet.
For the best seat in the house, book a spot at the chef’s counter, where you can watch the kitchen action and indulge in a multi-course tasting menu that hits the restaurant’s highlights.
Next door to La Planque, and sharing common ownership, Le Cendrillon is a lively pub-like sibling specializing in oysters, housemade charcuterie and other cocktail-friendly sharing plates. The bivalves are offered up fresh or grilled; order an oyster-charcuterie combo to sample an assortment of the day’s specialties.
To drink, look for Quebecois craft beer or cocktails like the Spritz Cendrillon, blending Aperol, Campari, cava, club soda and orange bitters. With seats along the polished wood bar or facing the oyster shucker, Le Cendrillon is particularly popular for happy hour and for drinks and snacks until midnight.
When the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion opened in 2016 at the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, it amped up the city’s contemporary art scene. It’s fitting, then, that the pavilion houses a stylish restaurant run by well-regarded Quebecois chef Marie-Chantal Lepage. The space feels simultaneously open and private with its three-story windows overlooking the adjacent park and cozy tables tucked into nooks between glass columns.
At midday, choose from vegetarian, sea or land menu options, each a combination of four dishes. The seafood selection might bring a plate of cured salmon with sweet balsamic glaze and pickled onions; grilled calamari with potatoes and radicchio; and a cod duo — cakes and cheeks — with a wasabi emulsion.
For carnivores, the lunch plate could feature beef tartare with Parmesan cheese, yellow beet carpaccio with dried proscuito chips and spicy honey and a boudin sausage paired with caramelized pineapple. The accompanying bread is excellent.
Later in the day, snack on confit chicken wings and vegetable spring rolls or dig into more substantial plates of octopus with a chick pea-squid ink purée or an updated paella. At whatever time you dine, make sure to visit the contemporary galleries in this airy art pavilion.
Need a place to refresh during your Quebec City explorations? Then wander into this hip corner café in a historic stone building, filled with keyboard tappers and coffee sippers.
Known for its cold brew, this Saint-Roch coffee house also makes a variety of espresso drinks. In the evening, when the laptops are put away, unwind over a local beer or cocktail to cap off your Quebec eating adventure.