After feasting on our terroir’s generous flavors, and perhaps indulging in a poutine or two, visitors might be curious to dig deeper into our local culinary scene. Beyond the delectable array of restaurants that serve modern Québécois cuisine is a rich ethnic community that cooks up some amazingly scrumptious fare. Quebec City, multicultural? Yes—and in fact it’s quite something when you discover this city’s great variety of authentic ethnic restaurants, where the décor, music, and aromas combine to give diners the impression of being abroad. As well as offering a particularly easy and gastronomic form of “travel,” Quebec City’s best ethnic restaurants feature affordable menus matched with equally accessible drinks, served in casual settings by friendly and helpful servers, making them popular choices for any night of the week. The following restaurants will take you on a culinary world tour, from Mexico to Japan, combining spices and flavors that are guaranteed to transport your taste buds. Their flavorsome offerings are an instant ticket to an exotic eating experience.
Le Mezze Taverna Grecque
When Le Mezze opened, Quebec City’s gourmands let out a sigh of relief: Finally, an authentic Greek restaurant! The taverna is owned and managed by a charming couple whose traditionally hospitality makes diners feel they are being welcomed into a home. The menu is replete with typical small plates and outstanding seafood dishes, and any selection may be suitably enhanced by a clever selection of Greek wines.
Bati Bassak’s enduring popularity doesn’t lie: locals return again and again to revel in the restaurant’s authentic Thai and Cambodian culinary fare, which lifts the lid on rich aromas and harmonious flavor combinations. The affordable menu features traditional and creative dishes made with top-quality ingredients: fresh vegetables, meats, and seafood are all cooked to perfection. The fact that it’s BYO sweetens the value even more.
Like most Indian restaurants, Shahi Tandori has an extensive menu. There are over 60 dishes, and the chefs manage to master them all. The specialty is, of course, tandoor-grilled meats and seafood, but the whole array of curries, vegetarian dishes, appetizers and breads provide a sensory lift. Diners can select their usual favorites or, if bewildered by choice, opt for one of the restaurant’s set menus, and bring their own wine to wash it all down.
Quebec City’s only authentic ramen joint is run by two Japanese brothers (who also own an excellent sushi restaurant in Limoilou) Passing through the restaurant’s door, diners are transported straight to Tokyo with a welcoming shout from the staff of “Irasshaimase!” and brisk, no-fuss service. Ramen bowls are generous and flavorful, but the rest of the menu, featuring a range of small dishes under $10, should not be overlooked: the karaage fried chicken is deservedly popular.
This small, family restaurant serves aromatic Salvadorian and Mexican dishes that are guaranteed to warm up even the coldest winter evenings. Classics such as guacamole and chili con carne are perfectly executed, while lesser-known dishes, such as pupusas (corn tortillas filled with cheese, ground pork, and bacon), deserve to be discovered. Exotic juices—all housemade—as well as affordable cocktails, beer, and liquors round off a crowd-pleasing menu.