A recent weekend trip to Quebec City presented a dilemma: with just two evenings available, where to dine? Compared to Montreal, where we’ve been twice, the options here are more compelling, and it was difficult to choose.
Restaurant le Saint-Amour caught my eye due to the focus on foie gras and seasonal game. I had not realized there was a 12,000-bottle wine list, mostly French, which stole the show. This must surely be one of the top handful of French wine lists outside France itself. Offering detailed maps of each wine-growing region is not a new idea, but the level of detail here went far beyond anything I’ve seen. I would return for that wine list, even if they served only breadcrumbs to go along with it.
The menu is expensive; there is no getting around that, with entrées running from CA$42–53. (A Canadian dollar is worth only slightly less than a U. S. dollar.) The “Discovery menu,” with eight courses for CA$115, seemed like the way to go. The food was excellent, with one exception, to be covered below. For the most part, I’ll give brief descriptions and let the photos speak for themselves.
1. Mise en bouche trilogy: caviar, oyster, and snowcrab.
2. Duck foie gras: “classic” terrine with armagnac; “natural” candied with paradixe pepper; blackcurrant reduction from Île d’Orléans. (Note: The à la carte menu has a foie gras “fantasy” dish, prepared seven ways, for $36.)
3. Lobster bisque: sliced scallop; corral and vanilla sabayon. This was the one dud, as the soup tasted chalky, and it was an odd decision to serve lobster for two courses in a row.
4. “La Gaspésie” lobster: grated crackling fennel, citrus cream sauce.
5. Piglet from Turlo farm: seared girolles; white truffle oil sauce.
6. Fine Québec cheeses: Anicet honey, dried fruit and nuts
7. Cocoa Grand Cru: flexible ganache, chocolate consommé, raspberry and lemon iced yogurt.
8. Crème brûlée (not pictured)
The main dining room resembles an art deco garden, with a soaring 35-foot ceiling and bright painted wood panels. The service was excellent, save for a couple of minor glitches (silverware not replaced; that sort of thing) that did not detract from the experience. The wine list is a Francophile’s wet dream, and the food very nearly lives up to it.
Restaurant le Saint-Amour (48, rue Sainte-Ursule, Vieux Québec)