Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dining in Quebec City

Quebec City is a magical place. It has beauty, fashion, and European flare. The sites are historical and stunning and they leave you wanting more. I took my third trip to Quebec City recently and discovered a whole new world - their culinary mastery. The restaurants, bistros and pubs are to die for. Their chefs are culinary leaders challenging traditional cuisine in a beautiful and unique way. We of course stumbled upon a few gems that I couldn't wait to tell you about.

The "Hobbit Bistro" in the Saint-Jean area of old Quebec was our first stop for a late lunch after a long drive from Ottawa. The venue is small but cozy and inviting. The service was "ok" but I was half expecting it....

The food made up for the lacklustre service though. We shared a few items including the Beet Salad with goat cheese, apples and walnuts, the Steak Tartare and the Beef Burger. All were to die for. I even attempted recreating the Beet salad upon returning home, with little luck as the flavours were so rich and unique. We enjoyed a cafe au lait after our meal and sat and chatted with little pressure from the servers to continue on to another establishment.

The following night we made reservations at the highly regarded “Legende" by Taniere. They strive to stimulate all the senses with new discoveries. This venue was larger and packed with tables, but still had an inviting vibe. The service here was quite impeccable but somewhat expected with the expensive fare.

We started with a sharing board called "From the Fisherman", priced at $25, which consisted of the chef preparing his own creative seafood tasting board. It was divine and included smoked salmon, a seafood mousse with crostini and fiddleheads, clam chowder, mussels, and a few other delicacies. 

The entire menu is all about creating a sharing culture, so we decided to keep the tradition going and ordered a few more dishes to share. We went with the Kamouraska Guinea Fowl with gnocchi, oyster mushrooms and zucchini ($17), the Bison with pin confit potato, kale and bearnaise sauce ($16), and the Pork Belly with vegetable salad and sunflower seeds ($15). 

This was definitely a culinary experience that I will never forget. I appreciated the mix of unique and bold flavours and I even tried to incorporate some of them in my daily cooking (i.e. experimenting with oyster mushrooms). I would highly recommend Legende to anyone ready for a tasty experience.

The next day for brunch, as we strolled along Rue Saint-Jean, we stopped at "Les Freres de la Cote" to warm up and enjoy some more traditional French cuisine. We shared a medley of French Onion Soup, Steak Frites and Salmon Tartare. This establishment was a little more casual in nature, but we were still very impressed with the quality of the flavours in these more traditional dishes. It was a good stop between site seeing and shopping on a long cold day.

On our three day Quebec City excursion, we walked a lot and I only wished there were more meals in a day to discover more amazing local cuisine. Cool hot spots to hit are Rue Saint-Jean and La Grand Allee. You will not have trouble finding a mix of culinary delicacies, as well as pubs and clubs for nighttime entertainment.

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