10 Insider Spots to Visit in Quebec City
As far as Canadian cities go, Quebec City has to be one of most visually stunning. Its rich history means there are gorgeous buildings to explore and many activities for tourists to take part in. But step off the tourist track and you’ll discover a rich and vibrant culture where you’d swear you were in France itself rather than Canada.
Discover the beauty and history of Quebec City, as well as some interesting hot spots that are loved by locals and tourists alike.
Chez Temporel, 25 Rue Couillard
Tucked into a residential side street in the oldest and most touristy part of the city, amongst pretty shuttered apartments and cobbled streets, Chez Temporel has been serving up bowls of coffee and delicious breakfasts and lunches since 1974. For a perfect leisurely luncheon, try the Croque Monsieur, washed down with a Belle Gueule (delicious local beer) as you observe the locals in their natural habitat.
Auberge Le Vincent, 295 rue Saint-Vallier Est
This deluxe hotel was once a newspaper print-shop, until owner Claude Langevin bought the near derelict property and converted it. It took considerable vision to turn the building into a ten-room hotel with artistic flair and luxe design elements (such as panoramic glass walled showers and bare brick walls). Auberge Le Vincent sits on the borders of the revitalized Saint-Roch district, an artistic, hip and cultural neighbourhood. Service at the hotel is impeccable and very personal.
La Cuisine, 205 rue Saint-Vallier Est
Outfitted like a 70’s kitchen, this neighborhood café is complete with assorted retro memorabilia and a mish-mash of Formica tables and chairs. Offering huge plates of food, mostly of the comfort variety such as shepherd’s pie or pizza served with mounds of salads, La Cuisine attracts a mixed crowd of office workers by day and cool kids by night (when it turns into more of a bar, with DJs playing the decks on the kitchen counters).
Le Clocher Penché, 203 rue Saint-Joseph Est
Rue Saint-Joseph is one of the main streets running through Saint-Roch, with a wide variety of bars, restaurants and cafés to choose from. For a truly divine locavore, organic and very French dining experience, Le Clocher Penché is a must. On the menu, you’ll see the names of the local bakers, cheese makers and farmers who raised and made the foods on your plate. The service is seamless, the décor artistic and intimate, and the food truly heavenly.
La Barberie, 310 rue St-Roch
This highly popular microbrewery serves an ever-changing roster of beers, which are served until the barrels have been drunk dry and are then replaced with another type of brew. Fifteen dollars gets you an eight-glass sampler of the beers on offer that is great for sharing. It is all about the beer and no food is served, but customers are welcome to bring their own and picnic on the huge patio.
Chez Ashton, 25 locations in the Quebec City area
Though Ashton’s (as the locals call it) might look like any other fast-food chain, the food served is distinctly Quebecois and found only in Quebec City. Here you’ll find smoked meat sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and different varieties of poutine. These restaurants are a late night institution, with many open 24 hours.
Benjo, 550 Boulevard Charest Est
This incredible and massive toy store opened in 2004 and boasts of having the largest selection of toys in Canada. An antidote to big box toy stores, this kiddie Mecca is filled with educational and imaginative toys. At weekends there is a train that children can ride through the store, as well as several hands-on play areas including a fabulous dress-ups section. There is also a bookstore, boutique and newly opened ice-cream parlour on premises.
Bar Le Sacrilège, 447 rue St-Jean
This neighbourhood bar is a favourite local’s retreat. The beer is cheap, the atmosphere is friendly and there is a leafy, quiet beer garden that is the perfect spot to relax and while away an afternoon. The clientele is mixed, with seniors supping next to urban hipsters, and the bar is less quiet on weekends (when there are DJ sets and other entertainment happening).
Le Pape Georges, 8 ½ rue Cul-de-sac
Located in the heart of the most touristy section of the city, the Quartier Petit Champlain, is a tiny wine bar that somehow seems impervious to tourists and stays a firm favourite with locals. This ex-gunpowder workshop has great selections of wine and beer, cheeses and small plates, and has live music nightly. Local musicians serenade guests with traditional French folk songs, Doors and Eric Clapton covers, and contemporary favourites such as Jack Johnson.
Tutto Gelato, 716 rue St Jean
A very short stroll through the ramparts surrounding old Quebec City, you’ll find a delicious place to grab a sweet treat: Tutto Gelato. Here you’ll find unique and yummy gelato flavours such as chocolate and pimento chilies, avocado, saffron and chestnut, as well as a wide range of more classic flavours and fruity sorbets. Coffee and delicious desserts are also available.
More on Travel:
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for This Week on readersdigest.ca newsletter and have our latest articles delivered right to your inbox.