Last Updated on April 8, 2023 by MacNaughtan
On Côte du Palais, next to the entrance for Hôtel Manoir Victoria, is Comptoir Boréal, a small cafe operated by the team of Chez Boulay. It’s cute. I mean, the ceiling is decorated with white evergreen tree cut-outs, with black moose cut-outs hidden among them. Where there was once seating, now rests coolers and shelves filled with terroir.
Opening its doors in December 2016, Comptoir Boréal has quickly become one of my favourite cafes in Old Quebec. Visiting during a food tour in early 2017, I was captivated by the décor, and soon found myself swooning over a tarte au sucre (a mini sugar pie) with its delicate round crust and sweet sugary filling – which was, thankfully, not too sweet to enjoy!
The comptoir is a cafe and lunch counter, and pretty much everything is delicious. As an extension of Chez Boulay, the prêt-à-manger (ready-to-eat) meals are made with wild game, fish, berries, herbs, and root vegetables common in nordic/boréal cuisine.
A small lunch menu is offered daily, consisting mostly of sandwiches, soup, and salad. It changes based on what’s seasonally available. Personally, I love popping in from time to time to see what’s new and tasty. I do, after all, live less than five minutes away.
Sometimes a visit to Comptoir Boréal is all about grabbing a croissant or two and a chocolat chaud or labrador tea. Everything is made fresh, and this cafe is one of the best places for chocolat chaud. Or, and one cannot forget the desserts, because if they have tarte au sucre I highly recommend buying one – it’s a classic Québécois dessert.
As I mentioned above, the cafe is quite small, with space for a short line of people, which means it can be crowded at times. Not to worry, the service is generally quick and you won’t be waiting for too long. If you’re not sure what to try, ask! Most staff speak a little English, but it’s also a good opportunity to practice your French ;).
go to comptoir boréal
where: 42 côte du palais • vieux-quebec (old quebec) • 418-380-8237 • chezboulay.com/comptoir-boreal/