Quebec City is home to a host of coffee-loving people. Although we have our fair share of big chain coffee shops, we also boast many neighborhood cafés where workers, students, freelancers, and dreamers gather to refuel or just watch the hours go by. Each coffee shop listed here has a unique personality that tends to illustrate its own neighborhood, so not only do they serve the best caffeinated drinks in the city, but they offer excellent people-watching opportunities. They also go beyond catering to the morning crowd by offering snacks, inexpensive lunches or even full dinners. Le Nektar and Brûlerie de Café de Québec offer a small selection of baked goods, Brûlerie Saint-Roch serves soups, sandwiches, and sweets, while Café Krieghoff and Le Renard et la Chouette are open all day and feature delicious menus that allow you to trade your coffee mug for a glass of wine at night.
Brûlerie de Café de Québec
If the aroma alone of coffee can lift your spirits up, Brûlerie de Café de Québec will be your paradise. They roast coffee beans in small batches daily to produce an impressive lineup of 60 varieties, which you can enjoy in a wide and surprisingly affordable range of drinks from the expertly pulled espresso to the refreshing cold brew.
Le Nektar curates its selection of coffees to be from roasters that favor direct trade and sustainable harvesting methods. The owners like to keep up with the trends and serve the most innovative coffee creations, along with the usual range of espresso-based drinks. In the mood for a treat? Ask for your coffee to be made with the aromatic “grand cru” beans.
This café has long had a reputation as a den of intellectuals, perhaps because of its location in the heart of the Montcalm arts district. Regulars do enjoy lingering, whether they’re here to read, have lively discussions with friends, or refuel with the café’s famous breakfasts and bistro dishes. The tiny back terrace is the perfect summer hideout.
Le Renard et la Chouette
An interesting concept located just off the beaten path, Le Renard et la Chouette—named after a classic fable—combines coffee shop with buvette (small bar). Irresistible homemade baked goods are the perfect coffee companions during the day, while creative small plates pair with carefully-selected wines at night.
Sprawled over three tiny stories, this coffee shop attracts a diverse crowd who comes to enjoy reliably good coffee, inexpensive but filling sandwiches, and free Wi-Fi. Brûlerie St-Roch is the original outpost of a locally owned chain that now counts six locations, each bearing the name of the neighborhood it’s located.