Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022
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Conventional taste

Mamma Grazzi's Kitchen
(25 George Street; tel: 613-241-8656;

If you want easy Italian, Mamma's is the place. With a beautiful cobblestone terrace in a corner of the historic Clarendon Courtyard off George Street, you could easily while away an afternoon or two here this summer. The kitchen serves traditional antipasti, fresh pasta, thin-crust pizzas (try the Napoletana -- tomato sauce, anchovies, black and green olives and Parmesan) as well as chicken and veal scaloppini mains. Just be sure to leave room for dessert -- they're all homemade.

Hours: Daily, 11:30am until closing. $$

(Le Meridien Versailles, 1800 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest; tel: 514-934-1801;

On a quiet stretch of Sherbrooke Street sits the minimalist modern restaurant that everyone's been talking about. Brontë is more than a fantastic meal -- from the menu and decor to the presentation and wine list, it's a unique experience. Joe Mercuri, ex-sous-chef at Cube at the Hotel St-Paul, has put together a menu that will bewilder you with its ingredient pairings. Don't miss out on the braised rabbit pappardelle in a porcini mushroom sauce, finished with a splash of olive oil. The portions are small, the menu a bit pricey but it's worth every penny.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6 to 11pm. $$$

Aix Cuisine de Terroir
(Hotel Place D'Armes, 711 Côte de la Place D'Armes; tel: 888-450-1887;

Here is where you'll taste local Quebec cuisine at its finest. The menu changes every season and conveys a passion for home cooking. Founding chef Jannick Bouchard is dedicated to showing off artisanal foods from small Quebec farms. The home-smoked salmon and the sampling of Quebec's farmstead cheeses speak for themselves. If you're in town during the Fireworks Festival, be sure to reserve early for a table on the breathtaking rooftop terrace.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30 to 11pm; Saturday and Sunday, 6:30 to 10:30am, 5:30 to 11pm. $$$

Boris Bistro
(465 Rue McGill; tel: 514-848-9575;

Join locals on the terrace and sip your favourite vice while the sun sinks behind the adjacent buildings in Old Montreal. Lunch and dinner menus are identical and include standard Montreal bistro fare: goat cheese and vegetable terrine, grilled trout and caramelized nuts, and even a duck club sandwich. For dessert, try the blancmange with strawberries and absinthe syrup.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30am to 2pm; 5pm until closing. Saturday, 5pm until closing. Note: Minors are not allowed inside the restaurant; those under 18 can dine on the terrace until 8pm. $$

Restaurant Holder
(407 Rue McGill; tel: 514-849-0333)

Located on the mezzanine of an old office building in Old Montreal, this is where business types come for lunch and neighbourhood residents come for dinner. The high ceilings of this old bank building and the copper along the bar add to the brassy acoustics of this buzzing French brasserie. This is upscale French bistro fare with staples such as steak frites and salmon tartare on the menu. The daily specials -- like red snapper with a red-pepper polenta and venison with frites -- are your best bet. Nice touch: the dessert menu offers truffles sold individually.

Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 11:30am to 11pm; Thursday and Friday, 11:30am to midnight; Saturday, 5:30pm to midnight; Sunday, 5:30 to 11pm. $$

Quebec City
Le Saint-Amour
(48 Rue Sainte-Ursule; tel: 418-694-0667;

Don't miss this place on your next jaunt through Vieux Québec. In a city with more restaurants per capita than any other in North America, Le Saint-Amour is one of its best bets for fine French cuisine. With a terrace and well-maintained indoor garden, the chef/co-owner's dedication to his restaurant shows: he has won Chef of the Year awards in the city several years running. An extensive wine list (some call it too big) complements the spectacular menu, which offers specialties such as Xérès-duck-liver mousse and quail-egg salad. Whatever you do, leave room for dessert: the homemade chocolate and pastries are not to be taken lightly.

Hours: Monday to Friday, noon to 2pm; daily, 6 to 11pm. $$$

Restaurant L'Utopie
(2262 Rue Saint-Joseph Ouest; tel: 418-523-7878)

Outside Quebec City's tourist stomping grounds, in the Saint-Roch neighbourhood, sits the dream restaurant of first-time restaurateurs Rémi Tremblait, chef Stéphane Modat and sommeliers Bruno Bernier and Frédéric Simon. The dining room -- with live birch trunks lined up across the room -- has garnered more praise for its atmosphere than the rest of the city's new restaurants put together. But with menu items including pumpkin soup with foie gras, Quebec lamb roasted in hay, oysters wrapped in crumbs served with cucumber, celery and apple jellies, and verbena ice cream, it's the food and the wine that keep people coming back for more.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday. $$$

Le Toast!
(17 Rue du Sault-au-Matelot; tel: 418-692-1334;

If you're craving that excellent meal to write home about, look no further than Toast! Located in the charming Le Priori hotel, this little gem of a resto is the toast of Quebec's Old Port. Everyone's raving about the menu, which is contemporary and inspired from flavours around the world. Start with the duck-confit medallion and crunchy corn grains, served with -- you guessed it -- toast. Continue with the grilled veal rib on a potato pancake plated with tender mushrooms. Or just start at end of the meal with a crispy maple cannolli stuffed with white chocolate mousse served on an amazing citrus risotto. Be sure to ask if there's room on the terrace or, if it's raining and you're chilly, next to the fireplace.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 to 10am, 11:30am to 2pm; Saturday and Sunday, 7:30am to 2pm; daily, 6 to 10:30pm. $$$

Épicerie J.A. Moisan
(699 Rue Saint-Jean; tel: 418-522-0685)

If the weather warrants it, drop into this Quebec City landmark to buy a fresh sandwich and muffin and take it over to the old cemetery of St-Matthew's church (now a library) for an easy outdoor picnic. The oldest grocery store in North America has been in operation since it opened in 1871. It is a browser'sss heaven, filled with various not-for-sale trinkets that have been acquired since opening day.

Hours: Daily, 8:30am to 9pm.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.