Food and Wine Spotlight on Quebec City
Quebec City is the capital of the Quebec Provence of Canada and known locally as the Europe of North America. Tourist are allured to this quaint UNSECO world heritage site and well-preserved Francophone culture. The connection is evident from the warmth of its people, cuisine and wine drinking culture, but you are quickly reminded you are in The North as soon as you step foot outdoors and meet the wind chill off of the St. Lawrence River.
Quebecois culture is the perfect mashup of being both French and Canadian. The two distinct cultures form the perfect marriage in the gastronomy scene. France respected as the benchmark for gastronomy, and when in Paris or Lyon, the dining experience can be enjoyed at both hidden gems as well as awarded restaurants. Quebec City is no different, the bonus here is their ingenuity, and affection for Canada at heart, that is deeply rooted in food and beverage culture.
A wine bar scene for everyone
Bar 1608 located in the landmark Chateau Frontenac Hotel and named after the year Quebec City was founded and it actually sits the on that exact spot. This opulent circular bar has the perfect view from any angle of the St. Lawrence River and incoming cruises, which is perfectly located in walled section of Old Quebec. The wine menu is renowned for its extensive wine list which it shares with neighboring restaurant Champlain, 500 different labels, covering Old World, New World and special features of a variety of Canadian Wines from dry to ice wines and even an Aboriginal winery, Nk’Mip the first one of its kind in North America. The beverage program was awarded by Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence in 2017. No matter the duration of your stay Bar 1608 is worth a visit.
Le Moine Échanson is the prime choice for those looking for rustic charm, and amazing seasonal pairings. Its rotating menu, cement block décor, and orange wine on tap you will immediately get the vibe of Berlin or Brooklyn. The approachable laid-back style of hospitality give off ‘all are welcome’ vibe. Expect less tourist (however its gaining popularity), as it doubles as a wine retailer during the day and wine bar at night. They are becoming more recognized for their extensive natural wine list from France, but also other Old-World regions.
Approachable yet Fancy
Quebec City has its share of Michelin Star restaurants and world-famous chefs like Jean Luc Bouly of Le Saint-Amour but there is a thriving underground food scene that is stealing the spotlight.
Referred to as pirate or parasite restaurants like, L’Affaire Est Ketchup a popular foodie social haven, where the chef is using a home kitchen setup, 4 burner electric stovetop, to create haute cuisine. These local establishments are gaining respect, now visitors from all over the world are seeking this raw experience. Their less than desirable décor and locations are forcing its guest to have an unadulterated connection with the food, the wine and local people. These restaurants are gaining additional recognition after being blessed by, ‘the Pope of Food’, Anthony Bourdain, who paid a visit during an episode of CNN’s Parts Unknown series. These gastronomic boot strapping entrepreneurs are being resourceful, reusing old store fronts or even in old gas stations, and less staff as way to cut overhead expenses. iX Bistro is no different, a two man show, reservation only, with 22 seats total and a waiting list that is out 2 months, is now the top restaurant of Quebec City on TripAdvisor. It complements the authentic charm of the humble artsy neighborhood of Limoilou.
The Great Juxtaposition, March is Maple Month
Quebec feels very French but yet very Canadian. Yes, you can take a vineyard tour from the city center and enjoy great Riesling and, local varietal, Vidal where you will gain appreciation for the complicated and rigorous process of ice wine making. You will leave with a sense of respect if not admiration for this non-noble rot affected dessert wine, for sure. Or you can visit a Sugar Shack and have a unique experience that no other wine country can offer. In the Spring, the sap is available for maple syrup production, it is similar to Harvest season on the vineyards. Enjoy folk music, hearty cabin meals, and maple flavored everything!