We enjoyed our fair share of poutine; we shopped at the market for staples for our room; but we ate in a lot of restaurants. Way more than we’ve done on previous trips…
In Quebec City, even the poshest bistro welcomes children, but we didn’t go there. We did manage to avoid fast food, and stuck with places that were nice and affordable. Keep in mind that most restaurants are retro-fitted into tiny, centuries-old buildings, so even though they welcome you with baby, doesn’t mean they welcome your stroller. Highchairs were plentiful, and most families folded their ride and left it at the door.
We didn’t have any terrible meals, but we did have a couple that didn’t knock our socks off. I’ve decided not to mention those.
So first – when it’s been a long day and you need somewhere fast and reliable – you go for chicken…
St. Hubert is a Quebec institution – rotisserie chicken with a special dipping sauce that’s reasonably priced, fast and fresh. St. Hubert is not to be confused with the Ontario institution of chicken and sauce, and though purists will insist you can love only one, I enjoyed seeing a familiar logo after a long day of trekking around. The St. Hubert on Grand Allee was pretty swanky as far as chicken joints go, but the location is great, the food is decent, and the service was fast.
I’ve never fully understood their “all you can eat coleslaw” promotion (creamy or vinaigrette!), but as a nursing mom with a then 10-week-old, it’s always a relief to see this sign…
Le Bistro, Delta Hotel, Quebec City:
This was the restaurant in our hotel, and due to inclement weather and longer-than-planned days, we ended up eating here much more frequently than we anticipated. The buffet breakfast was decent (albeit a little pricey) and kids under 12 eat free off of a special menu (the chicken pot pie was pretty good).
What was exceptional about Le Bistro was the friendliness of the breakfast staff. Maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to getting the stink eye when we walk into restaurants, but the waitstaff made such a fuss over the kiddos that it’s enough to soften the fact that we were eating there – again.
L’Astral, Loews Hotel, Quebec City:
Lovely, sweeping views of the metal rooftops and the Plains of Abraham – L’Astral is a revolving restaurant on the top floor of the Loews Hotel on Grand Allee.
Their servers were super friendly, and the lunch buffet was excellent and (we thought) very reasonable. My daughter devoured their Cream of Turnip soup (it was delicious) and seemed excited by the fact that the restaurant rotated (though not nearly fast enough for her liking!).
This was one of the few places we could bring our stroller to the table, which was appreciated as the bub slept through our leisurely lunch.
Spag et Tini:
There’s no shortage of Italian restaurants in Quebec City but we enjoyed our lunch at Spag & Tini down by the port.
It’s a bit tricky to manoeuvre inside but it’s lovely with the old stone and beams. Weather permitting, sit on the patio… The cheerful yellow umbrellas contrast so nicely with the stone of centuries past, and the classic Italian menu is great comfort food. The kids’ menu has alternatives to the typical chicken fingers and french fries (my daughter’s pizza & caesar salad was a welcome change and thorougly enjoyed), and the service was friendly and attentive without being intrusive. Prices at Spag & Tini are very reasonable as well.
Rue Saint Jean:
We happened upon this street as we were trying to find something that seemed a little more local. It runs behind the Delta Hotel (where we were staying) and offers plenty of smaller bistros, cafes, and markets.
A great market on Rue Saint Jean is J.A. Moisan – we stocked up on some staples for our room and I pretended to be in Paris one morning as I popped down for fresh baguette and fromage to take back to the fam. I purchased a reusable shopping bag for $7 which seemed a little steep at the time, but it’s a great souvenir and I feel kind of chic carrying it.
There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants in Quebec City – and the fact that they all welcome children makes your life a little easier. If you’re planning a trip there, at least now you have a heads up on some decent places to manger!