Sustainable Restaurants in Québec City

Allison Van Rassel
Allison Van Rassel
Published on April 21, 2023
L'Orygine - Outdoor bar
Simon Ferland-Groupe La Tanière

What is a sustainable restaurant? It’s a restaurant that takes steps to reduce its environmental impact so that people can eat out in a sustainable way. Choosing eco-friendly restaurants when you travel is also a great way to explore the local food scene. Luckily, you don’t have to look hard to find sustainable restaurants in Québec City—especially with these recommendations!

 

A Zero Waste Restaurant

At the top of our list is Alentours, the Saint-Sauveur restaurant that’s leading the way for sustainable dining in Québec City. Lauded in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine as one of the 10 best new restaurants in Canada in 2022, Alentours only uses ingredients produced within a 150 km radius of the city. That guiding principle makes the area’s unique food culture the heart and soul of Alentours. Everything they serve is made from scratch and the restaurant uses sustainable practices to manage its waste. The menu changes daily, delivering a truly elevated fine dining experience.

Eat Local Restaurants

With all the local farms in the area, chefs here are able to serve up incredible terroir cuisine. It’s what makes Québec City’s food scene so exciting. Farm-to-table restaurants are not only more sustainable, they’re also a great way to experience the beauty and variety of the region. Légende, L’Orygine, Tanière3, Buvette Scott, Honō IzakayaHonō Ramen and Ogari San are all excellent examples, with menus featuring local spirits, meat, vegetables, and herbs.

Meanwhile, at Bistro Hortus and Restaurant Vivoir in the Monastère des Augustines, almost everything on the menu is local and certified organic. Chez Boulay, Le Champlain, Le Parlementaire, Chez Muffy, and Bistro Hortus even cook with vegetables from their own gardens!

Vegetarian Restaurants

Making vegetables the main affair lowers a restaurant’s carbon footprint and is also a great creative challenge for chefs. Whether grilled, roasted, fresh, or fermented, vegetables and aromatic plants let you plumb the subtle depths of the local terroir.

Most restaurants in Québec City have vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Le Clocher Penché, Le Renard et la Chouette, and Les Botanistes all have wonderful plant-based options. And for a fully vegan menu, there’s Le Don Végane.

Nordic Restaurants

Nordic cuisine, also known as boreal cuisine, celebrates the ingredients and culinary traditions of the world’s boreal forests, including Québec’s. Chefs draw on Indigenous knowledge and ancestral culinary traditions, creating innovative dishes using local, sustainably sourced ingredients. Légende and Chez Boulay both excel at this type of cuisine.

Boreal menus typically feature game meats, fish, berries, and wild herbs prepared using techniques developed by people living in northern climates and passed on from generation to generation, such as smoking, salting, and drying. 

First Nations Restaurants

For a dining experience like no other, try the traditional Huron-Wendat cuisine at La Traite at the First Nations Hotel and Museum in Wendake or at La Sagamité in Old Québec. Both menus feature sagamité, a traditional dish with ingredients that vary depending on the area and community, as well as bison stew, cornbread, pea soup, and maple baked beans.

Local Craft Breweries

Of the 30+ microbreweries in the Québec City area, some go the extra mile for the environment. The beers at La Souche are hyperlocal by design, as is the food. The craft brewery has its sights set on sustainable operations and food self-sufficiency and boasts an organic garden, a chicken coop, beehives, and a sugar bush in Stoneham. Any surplus food is distributed to local non-profit organizations. With these impressive initiatives, La Souche is protecting the biodiversity of the sites where it brews beer while bringing out the best of Mother Nature in its culinary creations and libations.

La Korrigane craft brewery is big on the circular economy. Any waste produced in their brewing process gets upcycled in their lab kitchen. A team of bakers uses the spent grain and beer residue to create tasty pastries and baked goods. Favourites include the gourmet doughnuts, the beer caramel popcorn, and the stout truffles coated in spent grain.

Smarter Seafood Restaurants

Québec’s Smarter Seafood certification is your ticket to sustainably sourced fish and seafood. Found on menus and product packages, the Smarter Seafood logo is a sure sign of environmentally sound fishing practices. More and more restaurants are getting certified as a way of supporting the sustainable management of local fisheries and to guarantee the quality and traceability of the fish and seafood they serve.

At the top of our list of certified restaurants are Buvette Scott, Légende, Laurie Raphaël, and Chez Muffy, all of which do wonderful things with Québec’s saltwater bounty.  

Aliments du Québec au Menu Restaurants

Many restaurants in the Québec City area have joined the Aliments du Québec au menu program in recent years, which encourages companies to buy local and support Québec’s agriculture and food industry. Participating restaurants are committed to sourcing at least 60% of their ingredients from Québec producers, all year round. Good to know: Participating restaurants have an Aliments du Québec au menu logo at the entrance, so they’re easy to spot.

Aliments du Québec au menu also hands out awards each year to a restaurant and chef who do outstanding work cooking with local ingredients. ARVI, L’Orygine, and Chez Muffy were all finalists for the province-wide award in 2022.

 

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Allison Van Rassel
Allison Van Rassel

Journalist, columnist and blogger, Allison is passionate about Québec City’s culinary culture. Curious and aware of the latest culinary trends, Allison makes the region’s foodie culture shine bright.

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