Bistros, sidewalk cafés, and chic, cutting-edge restaurants make up the dining scene in Québec City. "Grab and go" is more the exception than the rule—be prepared to eat at a leisurely pace; dinner can take a few hours. With cuisine ranging from traditional French dishes like foie gras and escargot to distinctly French-Canadian specialties such as tourtière (meat pie), as well as many more modern and gastronomical takes on local fare, Québec's thriving culinary community attracts tourists from around the globe. Sample local fare—sip ice cider, indulge in poutine, and dive into sweet maple sugar pie. Crepes—those delectable, paper-thin pancakes made of flour, eggs, and milk or cream—can be found on menus everywhere.
With so many options, choosing where to go can be difficult. Many establishments post their menu du jour outside, so you can stroll along and let your cravings guide the way. However, bear in mind that reservations are a must at most restaurants during holidays, Winter Carnival, and in the summer months, when the coveted outdoor terraces open. When ordering, remember that in this French-speaking province, an entrée is an appetizer and the plat principal is the main course. Plan to tip at least 15% of the bill.