Aux Anciens Canadiens
Aux Anciens Canadiens
34 Rue Saint-Louis
Quebec City, QC G1R 4P3
Aux Anciens Canadiens is damn near a Canadian landmark. It is housed in the historic Maison Jacquet, which is the one of the largest and oldest in Quebec (1675! - The good ole US of A was still in diapers). The restaurant has only been around since 1966, but who's counting?
I tried for hours looking for the top places in Quebec City to go to. After reading what felt like millions of articles (probably only 3?), one name came across multiple times for traditional Quebecois food. And that's what I want. I could come to Quebec and maybe try their take on BBQ, Burgers, or something like that, but why? It'll probably be a shitty burger anyways no? I came to practice my fake French accent and to see and eat true Quebec.
Not sure this was the greatest impression, but still. Let's continue.
The restaurant is rather intimate and small and I liked that. Even the servers were dressed in fashion that probably died around the 1700's. The menu offered quite a bit, and I strayed from easy favorites like lobster or shrimp to opt for meat pies, pork hocks, and beans. Therefore, I ordered "Grandpa's Treat", which included a pork hock, tourtiere, Quebec meat pie, salted pork rillettes, meatball ragout, and baked beans. As I was writing that, it just sounded heavier and heavier.
The wife ordered lobster and shrimp. Figures.
So, Anciens Canadiens offers pre-fixe menus where you can choose apps, appertif (wine), soup, and dessert to accompany your entree for a higher fee. So because $40 didnt seem like enough to blow on a meal, I opted to pay the extra $20 or so for the extras. For an appetizer, I ordered the Wild caribou and bison rillettes. Soup was a vegetable soup. Bleh.
The wife's order of Lobster, Shrimp, and Scallop in a White Wine Sauce is meant as an appetizer, but because her hunger game was weak, she opted to have it as her meal. The portion size is just right for her, but it does seem like an app. The lobster tail is rather large, and the meat a bit tough, but tasty. The scallop and shrimp were cooked nicely and that creamy white wine sauce was divine.
The Grandpa's Treat is made for 2 fat men or myself. The meal (for those who were too lazy to read earlier and somehow managed to make it to this part) consisted of a pork hock, tourtiere, Quebec meat pie, salted pork rillettes, meatball ragout, and baked beans. The pork hock was roasted so the skin was disgustingly soft, while the meat was decidedly tender. The meatball ragout was tasty, and the meatballs were so large, though bland. The Quebec meat pie was disappointingly bland as well. Not much to discern except it was like a French fancy version of sloppy Joe's in pie crust. The Tourtiere was tasty though. Loads of potatoes and game meat had it stand out a bit and I would order this again if I were to ever come awake from this food coma.
Dessert was this amazing little bread pudding. Bread pudding isn't the hardest to make, but damn it if it isn't good. The high use of maple syrup and condensed milk lent itself to making this an even more heavy meal. But condensed milk and maple syrup though! Very warm and soft bread throughout. Perfect for lapping it all up.
Overall, the restaurant has some interesting menu items and great history. The food, however, was lacking a bit for me. Some of the items on my dish were good, like the meatball ragout and the Tourtiere, but others were not. The appetizers, and the dessert were great though. I wouldn't necessarily come back, but I wouldn't discourage others who are looking for a sampler on what Quebecois food can be.
Ambience: B+ | Service: B+ | Price: B | Food: C+