Last Updated on May 7, 2021 by Pamela
COVID 🦠 UPDATE: As of May 28, 2021, the curfew in Quebec will be lifted. This is a preliminary step towards fewer restrictions for this summer. At this time, there is a plan to have restaurants and bars 🍻 open by mid-June. Keep up-to-date with regional restrictions here. You can read more about the recent changes in this article.
The increase of coffee shops in Old Quebec City over the last couple of years has been delightful. Especially for those of us (me!) who love to indulge in espresso or rich hot chocolate (chocolat chaud), along with the occasional flakey buttery pastry.
When I first moved to Old Quebec in 2014, Paillard and Chez Temporel were the only decent cafes within the old city walls. Now, I can spread my love around. Some places offer a relaxing atmosphere in historic surroundings, while others offer up superb coffees (and hot chocolates), and damn good croissants.
Whether you’re looking for a place to stop and warm up, relax, or sample Quebec terroir, here are, in my opinion, the BEST coffee shops in Old Quebec City!
La Maison Smith
La Maison Smith has been one of our favourite spots in Old Quebec City since it was a single cafe located in Place-Royale, across from Notre-Dame-des-victories.
Now, there are two La Maison Smith cafes in Vieux-Quebec (rues des Jardins and Saint-Jean), as well as Limoilou (Ave 3e) and Saint-Sacrament (Ave Belvédère), and another on Île d’Orleans!
Basically, they are taking over Quebec City slowly and methodically, and we are here for it!
The cafes are rustic in decor with worn wooden window bar tables, burlap coffee sacks, and concrete floors. The coffee is quite good, as it the chocolat chaud. Pastries (croissants, chocolatines etc.) are made daily at Paillard, and the is always a selection of sandwiches and salads available for those looking for a light lunch.
9, rue des Jardins
Open: Mon–Thu & Sun 7am–8pm, Fri-Sat 7am–9pm
A scrumptious extension of Chez Boulay, Comptoir Boreal is a tiny cafe located just off the entrance of Hôtel Manoir Victoria on Côte du Palais. A little oasis of yumminess.
White metal cut-outs of evergreen trees hang from the ceiling, and if you look closely you’ll find a black metal moose in there too. A marble-topped bar style table sits long the window with seating for two or three people, and a couple of low round tables and chairs are on the opposite side.
Stop by for a coffee, labrador tea or freshly baked pastries. Stay for a light lunch. Everything is made fresh on-site, utilizing locally sourced ingredients. Pre-made meals (nordic cuisine, similar to what is served at Chez Boulay) are also available if you have access to an oven.
42, Côte du Palais
Open: daily 7am–7pm
Le Local [ CLOSED SEP 2020]
Perched on rue Saint-Jean, close to Côte du Palais, Le Local is a bright café with seating along the front window, as well as tables spread throughout the main floor. Owned by the same people who run Au 1884 on Dufferin Terrace, Le Local is a café dedicated to supporting local artisans and producers.
Stop for a decent cup of coffee or chocolat chaud, relax with a book or do a little work. The tables in the backroom provide a relaxing atmosphere. On the menu, you’ll find pastries and crêpes, as well as sandwiches and salads, all made with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.
One of our favourite Old Quebec City cafes for enjoying Quebec terroir and an escape from crowded streets.
1160, rue Saint-Jean
Open: daily 8am–6pm
Christophe Morel Chocolate Shop & Cafe [CLOSED] A new edition to Old Quebec City, Christophe Morel (CM) is technically a chocolaterie, it is also a small café. Located just inside the doors to Maison Kent on rue Saint-Louis, CM is a sophisticated and decadent destination in the upper town.
The white and grey marble counter area compliments the buildings exposed stone walls perfectly. Shelves and tables display everything from chocolate-covered orange peels and sugar shack themed cookies to maple marshmallows and candied pecans. Tubes of chocolate balls and artisanal chocolate bars are displayed beside a cooler section filled with beautiful decadent chocolates.
The menu has coffee and tea, and as you may have guessed, they serve and an insanely good cup of chocolat chaud! Choose from French pastries, chocolate-dipped ice cream, or dessert waffle treats. The chocolate poutine is good but incredibly rich.
25, rue Saint-Louis [Maison Kent]
Open: Mon–Wed 8:30am–8pm, Thurs–Sun 8:30am–9pm
Bobu Épicerie & Café
Another new edition to the café scene in Old Quebec City, Bobu is located just off the lobby of Monsieur Jean, a stunning new boutique hotel. Located on the corner of rues Pierre Olivier Chauveau and Saint-Jean, the café (and hotel) are perfectly located in upper town.
Similar to the hotel, the design of Bobu has a surrealist vibe. The walls have vertical blue and white stripes, and floor to ceiling sliding windows provide plenty of sunlight. The ceiling pays homage to René Magritte’s bowler hat paintings, and a bowler hat chandelier can be spotted on the far side of the cafe. Tables are bar height with steel frames and marble tops, and the clear acrylic stools with blue stripes and red kiss marks on the back are fairly comfortable.
The coffee menu is good, with blends from Pisa and Saint-Henri on offer. The chocolat chaud is a little disappointing. If you’re looking for a light lunch consider a sandwich or salad combo. One of the best coffee shops in Old Quebec City in terms of selection and views of the city.
2, rue Pierre Olivier Chauveau
Open: daily 7am–9pm
A boulangerie, pâtisserie and café, Paillard has been an Old Quebec City favourite for many years. Located on rue Saint-Jean, Paillard has become extremely popular and it can be difficult to find a seat, especially in summer.
The white walls, gorgeous vaulted ceiling and red accents give the café a cavernous feel. Lunchtime is extremely busy, so it’s best to come first thing in the morning or later in the evening.
Choose from a variety of incredible pastries made fresh daily. The buttery flakey croissants are divine, as well as the chocolatines. Of course, there are other choices too. A lunch counter serves up tasty sandwiches, soups and salads. If you’re thinking of having a picnic, buying a fresh baguette at Paillard is a good place to start your shopping!
1097, rue Saint-Jean
Open: daily 7am–9pm
Tucked away on rue Couillard, Chez Temporel has been a part of Old Quebec City’s cafe culture for over 40 years. Basically, before cafés were trendy and a go-to destination among millennials and Instagrammers. It has been, in my opinion, one of the best coffee shops in Old Quebec City for relaxing and enjoying local culture.
The exposed stone walls of the café as thick, and the further in you go, the less likely you are to receive cell service – which may be a good thing! Mismatched tables and chairs are scattered about, and extra seating is available upstairs. The ambiance is laid back with a mixture of locals and tourists.
The coffee is good, as is the chocolat chaud. The menu features French café classics such as Croque Monsieur, Croque Madame and quiche. The croissants and pastries, however, could be better.
25, rue Couillard
Open: Mon–Tue 11am–5pm, Wed–Sun 11am–8:30pm