Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quebec -- Dining and Food Review

One of the most important lessons we learned from our road trip to Quebec was that if you want really great food, go to Montreal. Quebec City, as we quickly discovered, is a haven to scores of tourist eateries where, oddly enough, Italian-style food seemed to predominate.

We did find a couple of places that were good value, and many had outdoor seating (not altogether welcome in 90-plus heat), but overall our sense was that what Quebec restaurants lacked in quality they more than made for in quantity.

Another surprise, both coffee shops and, as I noted in an earlier post, pastry shops are also rare But then we naively assumed before arriving that Quebec was going to be like going to France only closer and with a dialect. After all, it's billed as nouvelle France, and the Gaspe Peninsula is like a stubby thick finger pointing right back to where everyone came from. While the dialect certainly made one feel they were traversing a forlorn region of Mother France, the food was altogether a big disappointment.

Oddly enough, fresh, local butter seemed scarce -- but packaged Sealtest was certianly popular.
Fresh, local butter seemed hard to be found

Ethnic food seemed scarce, aside from the Italian mentioned earlier. In our wanderings about town we did notice a few Asian restaurants but they tended to lump several broad cuisines together: Vietnamese, Thai, etc. The one night we tried an Asian restaurant near to our hotel (our fault I know, as it was in the heart of Touristville) was probably the worst meal of the trip: bland and pedestrian.

We did have a couple of pleasant food experiences, and our lunches, while unremarkable were certainly OK. In fact, the best food we found was outside of the old city (beyond the walls), in upper town and out rue Saint Jean.

So, here's our list, with a simple grade for your note takers:
  • 48 (next to hotel, breakfast only): B-
  • Pizzetta: pizza, A-
  • J. A. Moisan: deli, pastries, groceries, A

Simple Snack Sympatique, burger, salad, give it a B:

Simple Snack Sympatique

the ever-popular and ever-present burger
Voodoo Bistro: burger, salad, grade of B:

more calamari
burger, of course
Aux Anciens Canadiens: traditional Quebecois, C:

nothing like hot soup in 90-degree weather!

Restaurant Asia: Asian (right),  D:

Commensal, vegetarian, B:

Tutto Gelato gelato (duh), B:

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