Monday, 23 August 2010

Quebec City Restaurant Review: Aux Anciens Canadiens

People often ask us what defines Canadian food, and the answer usually varies, as no one really knows. Well, Aux Anciens Canadiens is definitely a Canadian restaurant if there ever was one! I had heard about this place, then saw the cute little historic house that it was (the house was constructed in 1675 (for those of you who don't know, that's a little over 200 years before Canada was even a country!)) and the restaurant established as it was in 1966. Now, this restaurant is pretty expensive, with main dishes running between $20-89 dollars, but of course, there is always a way to find a way to enjoy expensive food for a lower price. I am talking about their lunch menu. For $19.95, you can have a glass of wine or beer, a soup of the day or their famous pea soup, a main dish with a choice between some pretty damn Quebecois dishes, and a choice of dessert.

Alright, because this restaurant was so good, I'm going to have to take you through it in a few steps.

First, I had a glass of white wine. Well, Quebec is not known for their wine, so I wouldn't have any high expectations. Then, the bread came, and it was more like croutons, but nice that they brought garlic bread and white bread (although I didn't really eat either). Now, the pea soup. It was a damn good pea soup. The peas were really "split" and retained their texture nicely. It was definitely the best pea soup I ever had, but it also brought me to the realization that, well, I don't actually really like pea soup! But if you do, man, this is where it's at.

Now, for the main dish, I decided to be adventurous and go for the Tourtière Lac St-Jean. Which, is a Quebec meat pie, but instead of the usual ground pork, it is filled with various game meats. Man, it was gamey alright. Although I didn't know exactly which animals I was eating, I can only assume some boar and deer and moose were in there. It was sided with some broccoli florets, some shaved beets and a peach chutney that I overhead the waitress describing to the anglophones at the next table as a "fruit ketchup". Lol. The crust was so flaky and rich, it just melted in your mouth with the whole dish. (Needless to say, white wine pairs horribly with game meats! So I stopped drinking my wine. )

Tourtière Lac St-Jean
At this point, I was already sufficiently satisfied. But when she told me that one of the dessert options was their maple syrup tart, you bet I was all over that. And I am serious when I say, THAT IS THE BEST FREAKING PIE IN THE UNIVERSE!. For reals. I can't even fully describe to you the deliciousness of that pie without getting a little bit emotional. The way that the flavours of that pie danced in my mouth, with the firm but flaky crust and the delicately bruléed top, paired with a dollop of fresh cream on the side, I am sure they must serve this pie in Canadian heaven.

Maple Syrup Pie

Let me just add that the people at this restaurant made this experience even better. The wait staff are dressed in period costume, and most of them are just very good-looking, but in a homey, Canadian way. Most of the people who walked in the restaurant all had something sentimental to say about the place. One group of six elderly people celebrated a birthday for one of them there, and he said that it was his "favourite restaurant in his favourite city". Another group of slightly younger elderly people (read, around 60) came in and said to the waiter that they had "come here 10 years ago and it feels so good to be back". Oh yeah, and there was also a whackload of Japanese tourists.

All in all, quite the experience.

Edited Note: This was the first restaurant that I blogged about that was the genesis to my whole "food blog" evolution of my blog. That's how good that pie was.

Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens on Urbanspoon

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