By AMANDA HALM
Quebec City restaurants run the gamut from the ultra-traditional to the sleekly modern. Visitors focused on the old walled portion of the town, however, are missing out. Some of the best flavours of the region can be found in the Quebec City restaurants located just outside the walls where touristy trappings are replaced with exciting menus and an urban vibe. Renowned bistros and cafés populate hip neighbourhoods like in Saint-Roch and Saint-Jean-Baptiste—both easily accessible by foot from the old quarter. Below, our picks for the best Quebec City restaurants on the roads less travelled.
Phil Smoked Meat
This small Saint-Roch lunch locale doesn’t look like much, but don’t let the façade fool you. The sandwiches are stacked high with what many believe is the best smoked meat at any Quebec City restaurant. There are other items on the menu—spaghetti, sandwiches, salads—but you can’t go wrong with a simple sandwich and chips.
• Phil Smoked Meat, 275 rue Saint-Vallier E., 418-523-4545, philsmokedmeat.com
Crêperies line the streets in the Old City, but look no further than Le Billig, located just a few blocks outside the walls, for authentic, Breton-style crêpes. Indulge in sweet versions for dessert or fill up on the savory buckwheat renditions, topped with high quality ingredients. On the sweet side, there’s salted caramel and Chantilly cream; on the savory side, there’s duck confit.
• Le Billig, 526 rue Saint-Jean, 418-524-8341
Café du Clocher Penché
This is neighbourhood bistro nestled in a glorious old bank. The menu rotates seasonally, but there’s a focus on local ingredients prepared in the French style. Reservations are recommended as this eatery is in high demand among Quebec City restaurants.
• Café di Clocher Penché, 203 rue Saint-Joseph E., 418-640-0597, clocherpenche.ca
Le Cercle is unique among Quebec City restaurants: it’s an art venue that features live music, performances and great food. Local artists populate this place to feast on tender short ribs, marinated sturgeon gizzards and chorizo grilled cheese sandwiches. The crowd is hip, the cocktails are tasty and the food is unforgettable.
• Le Cercle, 228 St-Joseph E., 418-948-8648, le-cercle.ca
La Petite Boîte Vietnamienne
If you tire of bistro fare, head to this romantic destination that’s frequented by locals, but still undiscovered by out-of-towners. The menu marries classic dishes from France and Canada with influences from the Far East. Duck with Hanoi spices, sliced beef and vegetables smothered in curry, and Asian-style fondue are just some examples of Chef Nung Lê’s brilliant fusions.
• La Petite Boîte Vietnamienne, 281 rue de la Couronne, 418-204-6323, chefle.com
This Quebec City restaurant is one of the best spots to sample local cheeses or indulge in a creamy soup. Be warned, though: dinner here is popular and the place is small, so if you’re popping in while touring the St-Jean-Baptiste neighborhood, we suggest do so during breakfast or lunch.
• Hobbit Bistro, 700 rue St-Jean, 418-647-2677, hobbitbistro.com
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