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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 4 months ago

Background on Quebec Restaurants


As part of my trip to Quebec City, I did much research via chowhound, Fodor's, Frommer's, Yahoo travel, and other web sites on good restaurants nearby. Frankly, there wasn't much about the city of Quebec. Judging by the reviews, Quebec's restaurant scene seems geared toward the ultra-expensive, four star restaurants serving haute cuisine. Still, I managed to sift through the reviews to find a number of cheaper, more locally distinctive joints at which to eat.


Context for this Particular Restaurant


Aux Anciens Canadiens is famous as the best example of Quebecois / regional Canadian cuisine. (Judging from this meal, that means hearty meals that include large quantities of game meats, meat pies, and maple syrup.) Although a few reviews warned readers that it's a tourist destination, even those reviews said you can't really find a better example of this type of cuisine in Quebec and everyone should try it at least once. I knew we had to go.


And go we did, during one rainy lunchtime. I knew we had to go for lunch since it has a fabulous deal for a three-course fixed price meal (C$14.95, includes a glass of wine or beer) that cost a third it would cost ordering the same items at dinner. It's a popular place; we arrived around 2:00pm and still had to wait to be seated.


Aux Anciens Canadiens Review


Aux Anciens Canadiens ( http://www.auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca/ ) served more than ample quantities of hearty and good Quebecois dishes, including very good desserts.


With lunch we ordered drinks: a Boreale Red (a beer which we've had before and enjoyed) and glasses of the house's red and white wines. The white was mild and dry but not sweet. Both wines were decent, fine table (everyday) wines. They soured fairly quickly in open air, before we were quite finished with them.


Note: since my pictures of the food came out so badly (dark), I'm only going to link to them from this page, not embed the images on this page. If you want to see them, click on the link and crank up the brightness on your screen. I helped by artificially brightening the images as well.


We all started with the soup of day, an enjoyable potato and leek soup. It was brothy, with tiny chunks of potato alternating with bread, feeling much like french onion soup.


One main course we split was the St. Jean Meat Pie (picture). Decent. Although filled with unusual meats like moose (if I recall correctly), it wasn't gamey at all and had a really nice crust. It came with good sides: shredded butternut squash (slightly sweetened), broccoli, and an cool (temperature-wise), odd compote of apple, peach, pear, cherry, and maple syrup. The latter took much work to identify the individual components.


The veal with rosemary sauce (picture) was tasty. My mom said it was "very good" and my dad called it our best main dish. It came nicely balanced with shredded butternut squash, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.


The pheasant leg (picture) was also good, though the best part of the dish wasn't the pheasant leg, which tasted much like a chicken leg, but rather the beans underneath it. The baked beans were terrific, rich with meatiness (bacon?) and maple syrup.


At some point, we were delivered bread. The garlic bread, cool and crunchy, was very good. The non-garlic bread didn't excite us. It was soft and with a crust we didn't find appealing.


Our desserts were all excellent and huge. (I wrote in my notes that it was an "insane" amount of food for dessert.)


The maple syrup pie (picture) was much like a pecan pie without pecans, if that makes any sense. Very good. It was drizzled with sugar in a different form: something that tasted like marshmallow cream.


The apple tart pie (yes, that's what the menu called it) (picture) was our least favorite, possibly simply because it wasn't what we expected. It was more like apple jelly sitting on a crust. Still, we liked it. And we liked the sliced strawberries on the side, so much so that we had to negotiate over who got the last slice versus who got to finish the pie. Also with the apple pie came two wedges of oka, a local cheese. It was soft and mild but smelled bad; we didn't like it. Still, I should mention that it at least sort of went with the pie.


The chocolate fudge pie (picture), densely fudgy and drizzled with raspberry sauce and cream, was the best dessert of the three. Even thought it was nearly a quarter of a pie, we fought over who got to finish it. Despite being full, my dad claimed it, saying "I can't see wasting something like this. I'd have to be crazy." My mom, a little giddy and perhaps a little jealous as well, replied, "I hope you're miserable finishing that." (My mom claims she was teasing dad about overeating, not from jealousy.)


Our lunch lasted well over two hours. We left stuffed and happy and feeling a bit gluttonous. We were so full we didn't find the need to eat dinner that evening.


Aux Anciens Canadiens is housed in a four-century-old multi-story stone building (picture) with a number of differently decorated dining rooms. I don't know how our dining room was different from the others, but I liked the nice glasswork and ceramics on display in ours (picture). We also enjoyed the nice classical music playing in the background.

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