The Best Cafés in Québec City
Start the day off right or take a moment later on to stop and smell the java in one of the best coffee shops in Québec City—specifically, in the heart of town. All are third-wave and use specialty beans, some of which are roasted on-site. If you’re wondering where to drink coffee in Québec City, read on.
- Jeff Frenette Photography
La Maison Smith at Place Royale
Almost every neighbourhood in Québec City has a Maison Smith. But the original Maison Smith at Place Royale is a particularly gorgeous spot to have a coffee in Old Québec. The historic square is home to Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, one of the oldest churches in North America. So pull up a seat on the patio or by the window and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. The taste of coffee made with beans hand-roasted on site can only add to the experience! There are two other Maison Smith cafés in Old Québec, on Rue Saint-Jean and Rue des Jardins. Free Wi-Fi.
- Faux mouvement
Faux Mouvement is a running store that doubles as a third-wave coffee shop. Located in the Petit-Champlain, in beautiful Old Québec, it’s become a gathering place for runners: a place where you can shop for running clothes and accessories, sip on a specialty coffee, and enjoy the clean lines and natural stone walls of this gorgeous, modern space. The coffee is made with beans from Pilot Coffee Roasters in Toronto, one of Canada’s third-wave pioneers.
- Charles Boutin
Cantook is everyone’s favourite coffee shop in Saint-Jean-Baptiste. As the city’s first local, small-batch roaster, it’s also the third-wave capital of Québec City. Everything that’s sold in a bag and served over the counter is roasted on-site in this gorgeous neighbourhood café, named Best Coffee Shop in Québec City in 2020 by Th3rdwave. Now that’s some bang for your buck!
The beans and brews vary depending on what’s available, and the service is outstanding thanks to a roster of bright young coffee aficionados. There’s also a selection of fine coffee-brewing paraphernalia and local creations. If you’re down in Saint-Sauveur, Cantook recently opened a second location there, so now you have two chances to try some of the best coffee in Québec City.
- Café Waves
Try a coffee shop that’s surfing the third wave in Québec City’s arts district. This cute café on Avenue Cartier in Montcalm is inspired by the surfer lifestyle, with a cozy, minimalist interior and simple furnishings. There are a few places to sit and a tiny patio in the summer. The coffee is made with beans from La Cabra, a roastery in Aarhus, Danemark.
With a daily rotation of specialty coffees and a cocktail bar in the evening, Maelstrøm is a Saint-Roch hotspot, day and night. Come dinner time, their short-but-smart food menu has something for everyone, while the sophisticated cocktail menu makes judicious use of Maelstrøm’s signature cold brew. If you’re there for weekend brunch, try the homemade veggie paté and the scrambled tofu burrito with Tex-Mex spices. What a wakeup! The coffee is made with beans from Escape Coffee Roasters, with a house blend that’s perfect for cortados. Free Wi-Fi.
- Café Nektar
Nektar has long been considered one of the best coffee shops in Québec City. Its two locations, in Limoilou and Saint-Roch, are bright and welcoming and popular with students. The one in Saint-Roch is the original Nektar—a precursor to third-wave specialty coffee shops in Québec City. All of the grains are roasted in-house, with a new brew featured daily. Both cafés have a small boutique area where you can pick up the latest coffee paraphernalia. Free Wi-Fi.
- Café Pekoe
Québec City’s most Italian coffee shop also specializes in bubble tea and serves up delicious banh mi, a type of Vietnamese sandwich. There are also cookies and other homemade treats to go along with your coffee, which is made with beans from Union, a Montréal roastery where Café Pekoe’s owner learned to sling single-shots with the best of them. Free Wi-Fi and the washrooms are wheelchair accessible.
- Café Saint-Henri
If you want to catch the vibe in one of Québec City’s hippest neighbourhoods, head to the end of Rue Saint-Joseph. This bright and airy café features huge windows great for reading and studying, which may be why it’s so popular with students. Or maybe it’s the amazing doughnuts made on site by Sumo Beignerie Artisanale. Yum! The coffee served here is expertly roasted at the company’s small-batch roastery in Montréal. Free Wi-Fi.
- Saint-Suave Librairie-Café
Saint-Suave is a new and used bookstore that also serves great coffee and delectable pastries. The vibe is very soothing, with comfortable wood furniture and tons of natural light. Whether you’re travelling alone or as a family, you’ll find everything you need to put you at ease. The coffee is made using beans from Java Roasters in Toronto and La p’tite brûlerie de Deschambault, which is just down the road from Québec City. Free Wi-Fi.
- Philtre café
Tucked away in Saint-Sauveur, Philtre Café is everything you want in a coffee shop. Winner of Th3rdwave’s award for Best New Coffee Shop in Québec City, it’s a cute, cozy café with genuinely friendly baristas. It’s also one of the best cafés for studying and offers a tasty selection of breakfast items. Not sure what to order? Try the quinoa breakfast cookie. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and baked with love. Philtre serves Zab coffee, which is roasted in Montréal. Free Wi-Fi.