It is when you start eating in Québec City that the French ancestry of the Québécois hits all the senses: the city’s restaurants present an array of culinary delights adopted from the mother country, from humble baguettes to sumptously presented gourmet dishes. The lively cafés are ideal starting points for immersing yourself in the city, as you wash down bowls of soup and croûtons (toasted baguettes dripping with cheese) with plenty of coffee.
Vieux-Québec (upper and lower) is home to most of the gourmet restaurants and cafés; in Haute-Ville you’ll generally find better value along rue St-Jean than rue St-Louis. Other areas have their fair share of eating spots as well – notably Faubourg Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Saint-Roch (both eclectic and cheaper) and, just outside the walls, Grande-Allée (generally touristy and expensive). Your best bet for good-value mid-price restaurants is to head for the numerous terrace-fronted establishments on av Cartier, near the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Although prices in the city tend to be rather high, even the poshest restaurants have cheaper lunchtime and table d’hôte menus. Authentic French-Canadian cooking – game with sweet sauces followed by simple desserts with lashings of maple syrup – is available at very few places in town, although the many cabanes à sucre on Île d’Orléans offer typical meals to tourists.