Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- Local Time
The language may be French and the passport Canadian, but la belle province and its capital have a distinctive culture all their own. History buffs will find North America’s sole garrison–walled colonial city preserved here, in Vieux–Québec. Don’t miss the quintessentially Québécois fare: poutine, tourtières and the calorific cabane à sucre experience (a sugar–shack meal, generously splashed with maple syrup).
Where to Stay
- Brass elements and large windows decorate the dining room at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec CityFairmont Le Château FrontenacFor a family-friendly vacation
- Chic elegance at Auberge Saint-Antoine Relais & Châteaux in Quebec CityAuberge Saint-Antoine Relais & ChâteauxFor the historical artifacts
- The front lobby of Hôtel 71 in Quebec CityHôtel 71For the sheer luxury
- Contemporary and sleek suites at Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec CityLe Monastère des AugustinesFor a rejuvenating stay
- A cozy lounge with fireplace at Hôtel le Germain QuébecHôtel le Germain QuébecFor the views
Eat & Drink
In a heritage, 17th–century building in Old Quebec, lovingly set tables, featuring maple leaf plates by Wendat ceramic artist Line Gros–Louis, contrast with the tongue–in–cheek decor: a version of the Last Supper, with chef Stéphane Modat as Jesus dining with cartoon characters and Quebec luminaries and a wall of taxidermied jackalopes. The food and drink, however, are no joking matter. Modat pays homage to the province’s terroir with sure–handed treatments of seasonal products, like a pristine sea bass tartare with beluga lentils and finely diced pickle. Wine connoisseurs are in luck: decorated Master Sommelier Pier–Alexis Soulière has curated the international wine list. Longlisted as part of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2022.
Commitment to local and sustainable ethics is so passionate here that explanations on the provenance of tasting menu dishes and Quebec wines veer close to Portlandia territory. But the proof is in the zero–waste pudding. A first course of bright and crunchy yellow peas, accented with fresh herbs and a vinaigrette of lacto–fermented cucumbers thickened with pea polenta to reduce the use of oils, turns us into true believers. Wine pairings, like a creamy, quince–nosed Vignoble Camy Reserve chardonnay with a potato and celery root dish spiked with jalapeño and a beurre nantais haunted by the essence of spent corn cobs, stay both on message and on point. Longlisted as part of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2022.
Kick–ass French–born chef Julien Masia is at the helm of this boîte in industrial Limoilou, named #1 on the 2019 Canada’s Best New Restaurants Top 10 list. A shimmering biodynamic gamay from Beaujolais winemaker Michel Guignier pairs with a recently wriggling Gaspésie lobster, lovage and rhubarb. And the five–course vegetarian tasting menu is a must for all, with gems like morels bathed in Quebec amaretto hollandaise and a creamy, soft–yolk egg with crispy lacto–fermented Jerusalem artichoke.
After a morning of sightseeing, head to this café in the heart of bustling Saint–Roch for an afternoon java jolt. Established in 2009, Nektar Caféologue is credited for popularizing coffee culture in the city with a constantly rotating selection of sustainable roasts from around the world. Ask the staff about the daily “découverte” beans, selected for their superior aromas and terroirs, or order a shot of Detour Dark Espresso, a rich and creamy blend with notes of dark chocolate, roasted nuts and molasses.
Reservations are a must at this unfussy trattoria, which topped Canada's Best New Restaurants list in 2017. La Planque’s Guillaume St–Pierre is on sauce–and–charcuterie duty, with organic takes on Italian staples like coppa and mortadella, while Paul Croteau turns out handmade pasta and sommelier Pascal Bussières serves up affordable, private–import wines.
Le Bouchon du Pied Bleu
Husband–and–wife team Louis Bouchard Trudeau and Thania Goyette bring the spirit of the Lyonnais bouchon – a convivial dining phenomenon driven by pork and Beaujolais, boisterous laughter and red–checkered napkins – to the quartier Saint–Sauveur. Dinner begins with a flight of a half–dozen–plus simple but imaginative salads – serve yourself from large bowls – and continues with hearty cocottes of rabbit confit that pair perfectly with a stubby glass of Régnié. Desserts from the sweets table are both self–serve and sublime.
Don’t leave Quebec City without having dinner at this oyster and seafood bar, named one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2016. Slurp East Coast bivalves, like fatty Tatamagouches and Malpeques, washed down with fine–bubbled Crémant de Bourgogne; then move on to salt–cured mackerel with spicy horseradish, arugula and radishes. With only a dozen stools around the bar and six more at a high counter, this Saint–Sauveur find is intimate and prone to singalongs when French singer Jacques Dutronc comes on the stereo.
Chez Rioux & Pettigrew
Quai 19 is reinventing itself in homage to the locale’s historic wholesale–grocer occupant. The light–filled space has a 19th–century marketplace vibe and a menu that reads like a map of local farms. Blind–taste Les Chefs! victor Dominic Jacques’ take on seasonal market fare with “la table de Pettigrew.”
What to Do
Set on the banks of the St. Lawrence River near Vieux–Québec, Strøm delights with its striking Scandinavian architecture and a spa experience that alternates between hot and cold treatments, followed by a period of rest. Relax your muscles in the eucalyptus steam bath or the outdoor whirlpool before plunging into the cold bath, complete with icy waterfall. Then forget about gravity in the Epsom salt flotation bath.
Perched atop Côte d’Abraham, Coopérative Méduse brings together a total of 10 non–profit artistic and community organizations. It focuses on visual and media arts, photography and film and offers artist residencies, exhibits, film screenings, shows and live performances. In February, it also hosts the Mois Multi, one of the most innovative multidisciplinary events on the Quebec arts scene.
Step inside a traditional longhouse to learn about the myths and legends of the Huron–Wendat people or attend a powwow to experience First Nations rituals and traditions. Treat yourself to a night at the chic Hôtel–Musée Premières Nations, a four–star boutique hotel inspired by longhouses. Visit the adjacent Huron–Wendat Museum; then indulge in First Nations cuisine at La Traite with dishes like Cerf de Boileau – deer served with fresh blueberries flavoured with balsam fir.