Anthony Bourdain in Quebec: 4 Spots Where Tony Ate

Located in Eastern Canada, Quebec is the largest province in the country. Home to the largest French population outside of France, it’s easy to understand that the food on offer here reflects the motherland well. “Who are these Canadians anyway? They look like us, they talk like us…but they’re crazy bastards”. Anthony Bourdain may have an interesting view of the ‘neighbors to the north’, but despite temperatures well below zero, he finds the warmth and hospitality of the Québécois, not to mention their cuisine, to his liking.

Anthony Bourdain visited Quebec several times, to film season 2 (episode 5) of No Reservations and season 1 (episode 4) of Parts Unknown. He also focused one episode specifically on Montréal: season 1 (episode 6) of The Layover. Through each of these visits, he showed off the unique culture of Quebec specifically, in the context of Canada as a whole.

Anthony Bourdain in Quebec Hero

In this guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Quebec, you’ll find a short list of the places he visited in the province outside Montréal – and a link to the extensive list of places he ate in the region’s largest city. You can use this as a guide to plan your own trip to taste the unique flavors, hear the unique language, and experience the unique culture of the Québécois people in their many different lifestyles.

Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Montreal?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, The Layover episode is available on Amazon, and the Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon, too!

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) and Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee) people, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Sucrerie de la Montagne (Rigaud)

Anthony Bourdain in Quebec - Meat Pie

Ducks may fly south after fattening up their livers, but Anthony Bourdain begins his trip in the province of Quebec far north of the capital city of Montreal. Arriving at Sucrerie de la Montagne, he finds that the initially unsettling appearance of this remote country inn belays its true role – providing hearty fare to the region’s lumberjacks.

And these lumberjacks don’t exactly go for muesli and yogurt. This is a traditional meal of maple-related goodness. Despite the early hour, there is a feast of soup, meat pie with a side of mash, meatballs, ham, sausage, country bacon, and finally a souffle. Perfect for a day cutting trees and tapping sap for the region’s world-renowned maple syrup production.

The Continental (Québec City)

Anthony travels next to Québec City with two Montréal-based chef friends. Here, the three indulge in some truly classic French gastronomy at The Continental, with cuisine cooked and prepared in such a way as to think it the relic of some long-lost time.

There is Caesar salad, tossed fresh to order tableside, as well as beef tartare, again prepared tableside, with the egg yolk whisked into the beef mince prior to serving.

Shrimp cocktail is next, not some deconstructed hipster mess, served the classical way in a tall wide glass with thousand island dressing, all provided by a dedicated professional server, dressed smartly in the classical whites as befits a meal of such luxury.

The main courses are equally impressive. Filet de boeuf en blatte, fillet mignon in a sauce made of cognac and cream, as well as scampi Newberg, fried shrimp with a Newburg sauce, is a rich and creamy egg yolk mixture that is flavored with sherry and a hint of cayenne pepper, and finally, dover sole Meunière, dredged in flour then pan-fried in butter, served with brown butter sauce, deboned and sauced at the time of tableside plating.

L’Affaire est Ketchup (Québec City)

Anthony Bourdain in Quebec - Coquilles Saint-Jacques

The hipsters are not far away even in the frozen north, and Bourdain’s next stop across town is the painfully hip but effortlessly cool L’Affaire est Ketchup, a name which means “everything’s cool” in the local idiom.

Here the chefs prepare a wildly ambitious and quite substantial, ever-changing menu on tiny four-burner electric hobs in the cramped and chaotic kitchen.

The food, however, would lead one to believe that a fully stocked kitchen of creation was in fact at play. Tony is served, amongst others, razor clams with beurre noisette (a type of brown butter sauce), haddock roe turned into a cream-like consistency, coquilles Saint-Jacques (baked scallops), foie gras cooked in a terrine, and head cheese with cassis mustard, a heavenly mixture of meats from the head of a cow, pig, or sheep. There is also ris de veau aux truffes (truffled sweetbreads), goose hearts persillade (a type of chopped parsley sauce), and finally morue salée (salted cod) with grilled tomatoes.

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (Mirabel)

With a suitably grandiose name – Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (“Pig’s Foot Sugar Shack”) – this cabin in the woods is the brainchild of chef Martin Picard, who has taken the concept of an informal maple dining hall used to feed forest workers and created his own extreme version.

With everything based around maple syrup, there is obviously going to be an extravagant feel to some of the dishes, but this meal surprises even Bourdain with what is served. The starter alone is a tower of maple desserts; Sponge maple toffee, maple doughnuts, beaver tails, maple cotton candy, almond croissants, whip-it biscuits, and nougat… hardly your typical aperitifs!

The other dishes are no less impressive. Lobe of foie gras with baked beans on a pancake cooked in duck fat; cottage cheese and eggs cooked in maple syrup; salad with sautéed duck hearts, gizzards, and pig’s ear, topped with a heaping pile of fried pork rinds.

To Bourdain’s delight, there is also calf brain and maple bacon omelet; panko-covered drumsticks with shrimp and salmon mousse and maple barbecue sauce, and a ridiculously constructed tourtière du shack, a type of meat pie with cheese, foie gras, calf brain, sweetbreads, bacon, arugula, and black truffles.

Finally, the main course arrives, featuring local ham with pineapple and green beans amandine and chicken with foie gras pumped with lobster bisque. For dessert, tire d’érable (maple taffy) which is prepared by pouring maple syrup on freshly harvested snow, and finally maple meringue cake and maple ice cream with chocolate shards.

Fed with enough calories to survive the winter season, Bourdain toasts to his good fortune and good eating, reflecting on how this part of Canada is his favorite part, “Full of tough, crazy bastards”.

What About Montréal?

As mentioned at the top, this guide focuses on the non-Montréal restaurants Tony visited. You can also find a guide to over 20 spots in Montréal where Bourdain ate during his trips to that city, too. Some names, chefs, and dishes will be familiar compliments to this guide.

Other Dining Experiences Tony Had

  • Private Family Meal (Village of Inukjuak) – This Inuit village, located on the Eastern shores of Hudson Bay, plays host to Tony as he enjoys several traditional activities and foods, including seal-hunting, butchering, and eating it raw. This is an iconic scene since Tony is provided a treat: the eye.
  • Unknown Lake (Location Unknown) – Bourdain heads out into the harsh weather again by going ice fishing with local chefs David McMillan and Frederic Morin, of Montréal restaurant Joe Beef. Accompanied by a natural white burgundy, there is first a starter of glacial bay oysters with lemon, an oxtail consomme, as well as chilled lobster a la Parisian, with fresh black truffle shavings. Next up, and a dish that particularly impresses and delights Bourdain, is lièvre à la royale, a devilishly difficult dish of Bocuse-era French cuisine. For dessert, a course of Époisses, a type of pungent soft-paste cow’s-milk cheese that some might consider ‘overripe’, as well as Cuban cigars (Canada’s importation laws much laxer than the United States), and finally a dessert of gateaux marjolaine, made with nutty meringue, rich chocolate ganache, and vanilla and hazelnut buttercreams.
  • Private Meal at the Home of Chef Martin Picard – Honoring history and tradition, Bourdain next meets with legendary Canadian chef Martin Picard at his home. Following a trip with a local trapper to deal with the ever-present issue of beavers, they return home with an animal, with the adage “if you trap it, you eat it” ringing in their ears. The meal in question begins with beavertail, though this surprisingly does not actually involve any part of the animal, and instead is a type of spoonbread. The main course, prepared by Picard, does, however. A stew is prepared, with the blood of the animal providing a sauce so rich that it almost resembles chocolate.

Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Quebec – but not in Montreal? Let me know in the comments below!

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Matt Young is a street food fanatic and world traveler, currently splitting his time between Europe and South East Asia.

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