Québec City at its Best
Québec City's 10 Best New Restaurants in 2016
The year 2016 has been a very fulfilling year in Québec’s restaurant scene. Influenced by the treasures of the sea, the opulence of the Texan grill or the Laurentian’s Nordic wildlife, the most remarkable restaurant openings in 2016 were those of young restaurateurs. Here are my favourite new restaurants that opened in Québec City during the past year.
1 Le Cendrillon
The ideal happy tapas hour
If the interior design of the Cendrillon doesn’t immediately appeal to you, the food will. Its high tables, low ceiling, and massive maple counter feel like a secretive pop-up restaurant with insurgent character. I am surprised by the large variety of homemade charcuteries transformed from locally sourced meats, exotic flavour-filled cocktails –and mocktails alike– as well as their small-but-effective variety of fresh and cooked oysters. Serving food in the Spanish tapas style is trendy in town, and Cendrillon dives right in.
2 Chez Biceps BBQ
Chez Biceps BBQ’s story is all about meat. Smoked or grilled in the southern style of barbecue traditions, this modest-looking restaurant is set in a somewhat residential neighbourhood of Charlesbourg. On the outside, one could easily drive by but once inside, the smell of the southern-style Texan grill instantly makes me drool. Hearty, slow-cooked dishes where wood charcoal and flame complement the toughest meat muscles. Their generous portions and vivid flavours are best represented in my favourite dish of theirs, the St-Louis Ribs.
Find out more about Chez Biceps BBQ (French only)
Where healthy eating is an understatement
RESTAURANT CLOSED PERMANANTLY AS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2017.
Quality, healthy and tasty are the 3 words that best describe Crudessence, a favourite destination for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free diets and all lovers of genuine food. Here, vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits rule the menu. Served fermented, blended or raw in an organic, gluten-free or vegan recipe, Crudessence prides itself on serving energy-filled meals that can lead anyone to accomplish great things. At the back of their eating area, there is a cooking academy where you can learn the rudiments of healthy eating.
4 Kraken Cru
7th best new restaurant in Canada
Credit: Allison Van Rassel Zoom
The Kraken Cru restaurant was recently featured in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine as one of the top 10 best new restaurants in Canada. Kraken Cru opened late 2015, but had much of an impact in the city in 2016. Word rapidly got around about their list of private imports and beautiful oysters so people from all over started flocking to Saint-Sauveur. Every service comes with a beyond-friendly service and pirate growls.
Find out more about Kraken Cru (French only)
5 La Serre
Juice, smoothie and salad bar
RESTAURANT CLOSED PERMANANTLY AS OF APRIL 23, 2019. Father and son duo Daniel and Raphaël Vézina took a dive into international waters by revitalizing and refreshing the Laurie Raphaël experience in 2016. Set in a trendy, yet comfortable décor, the restaurant has hence positioned itself as one of Québec’s most exciting culinary adventures. My favourite addition is La Serre, a garden-fresh and health-centric juice, smoothie and salad bar. I really enjoy their watermelon and cayenne pepper juice, imaginatively named Tie your toque with spit.
Find out more about La Serre (French only)
6 Laurentien Buvette Gourmande
Flavours of the Laurentian wildlife
Credit: Laurentien Buvette Gourmande Zoom
In the style of a European bar à vin, this Saint-Roch bistro aims to please customers with flavours taken directly from the Laurentian wildlife: sea buckthorn, char, mackerel and deer, for example. Both the red wine deer osso buco as well as the smoked salmon and haddock cannelloni served with bourbon–reduced tomatoes caught the attention of my taste buds. Kudos on the selection of local beers on tap and pleasantly playful finger foods.
7 La Taqueria
Authentic Mexican flavours
Mexican street food has made its way to Limoilou and all over La Taqueria. This tiny, 12 seats counter-like hole in the wall serves authentic tacos Al Pastor. Garnished with diced pineapple and marinated pork with an aromatic pepper sauce, this Mexican classic tastes like a trip to Cancún.
Find out more about La Taqueria (French only)
8 OS-Rôtisserie de Quartier
A popular, family-friendly rotisserie
Credit: Allison Van Rassel Zoom
RESTAURANT CLOSED PERMANANTLY AS OF APRIL 23, 2019. Os serves a local, vegetable grain-fed farm chicken. Not surprisingly, it has become one of the most popular hangouts for families. The most sought-after side dish: roasted potatoes in the chicken's cooking juice. Os’ homemade sauces feature Indian garam masala aromas as an alternative to common barbecue sauces. It’s also where I find one of my all-time favourite desserts, maple syrup fried dough called Grand-pères dans le sirop that absurdly translates to “Grandfathers in syrup”.
Find out more about OS-Rôtisserie de Quartier (French only)
9 Saint-Henri micro-torréfacteur and Sumo beignerie artisanale
Third wave coffee and donuts
The highly popular Saint-Henri micro coffee roaster from Montreal opened a café in the Saint-Roch neighbourhood early this year. Set in an entirely new building, the vast open space brings forward a more modern, eye-catching design than any other café in town. The café also offers an impressive variety of donuts cooked in-house by Sumo Beignerie Artisanale featuring remarkable flavour combinations.
Find out more about Saint-Henri micro-torréfacteur (French only)
10 Tempéra Québecor signé Marie-Chantal Lepage
A cuisine inspired by its highly acclaimed location
Credit: OTQ Zoom
Chef Marie-Chantal Lepage's playground is one where finesse and agility meet to amuse inspired palates. Tempéra is set at the entrance of the newly opened and Lassonde Pavillon of the Musée national des beaux-Arts du Québec. The high ceiling and vast windows let in an impressive amount of natural light that, during the daytime, is an intrinsic part of Tempéra’s culinary experience.
A young and trendy café
Maelstrøm is a hipster-centric café during the day and a bar in the evening. Set in Saint-Roch, it’s an environment that attracts a young and trendy crowd. Maelstrøm serves the blends of one of my favourite coffee roasters in Canada, Pilot Coffee Roasters. You can also get lunch, vegan snacks and weekend brunch, but it’s their cold brew recipe that grabs a hold of much of the attention. Served on a nitrogen tap, it is integrated into to their cocktail menu and sold to go in a hip, yesteryear-looking bottle.
Find out more about Maelstrøm (French only)