Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by MacNaughtan
Tucked deep in the residential heart of the Saint-Sô (Saint-Sauveur) neighbourhood, Le Fin Gourmet is one of the best restaurants in Quebec City. You won’t find it along rue Saint-Vallier Ouest with the trendy restaurants run by young Québécois. Le Fin Gourmet is a destination in its own right.
I visited this small corner bistro on a Wednesday night, gliding past the cozy outdoor patio, and to a small table in a corner near the bar. The perfect place to soak up the restaurant’s ambiance. The bar in front of me is tiny, with room enough for 2 or 3 diners. On the wall across from me hangs a collection of bicycle seats and handlebars arranged to look like mounted steer heads. Québec artistic expression at its very best.
I’m served by Enzo, who has a delightfully infectious laugh. After a brief introduction to the menu and wine list, I’m left to contemplate my choices. I start with a French 75 cocktail, then weigh my dining choices.
Marina Bhérer opened Le Fin Gourmet in 1996, at a time when Saint-Sô was a working-class neighbourhood and not much else. In 2018, Marina was joined by her daughter Elsa, and now the two of them run the restaurant together, along with Enzo who handles the dining space with ease. The fact that the restaurant has thrived over the last 26 years (including a global pandemic), is impressive, but not a surprise.
The food is sensational.
The menu, much like the restaurant itself, is small and unpretentious. From small dishes to tapas and sides, the flavours of Quebec can be found throughout the menu. Another reason to love Le Fin Gourmet.
I began with fleur de courgette, grilled zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta, lemon and parmesan, served in thinly sliced zucchini. It’s delicate and light, a fine appetizer choice. I was not, however, prepared for the love bomb that awaited in my next dish. A white bowl with a large brim arrived with grilled morels bathing in a tarragon cream sauce. The mushrooms were tender and meaty, and the sauce was well balanced. I swooned after my first bite, then tried to eat the rest as slowly as I could. When all of the mushrooms were gone, I used the warm slices of country bread I had been given to sop up every last drop of sauce.
The wine list, for the most part, features wines from France and Italy, with a few bottles from the US, Portugal, Austria, and Slovenia. With my cocktail gone, Enzo suggests a glass of MO Rot, a red Zweigelt from Austria. It’s light and a little fruity, and while I prefer white wines, I quite like the MO Rot.
Next up, is the duck gravlax and a side of grilled vegetables followed. The duck is topped with shredded brussel sprouts, grated egg yolk, slices of potato, cubed beets, pickles and parmesan. The duck is tender and easy to cut, and the toppings add a bit of tarty sweetness. The grilled vegetables, as a side, is small but accompany the main dishes well.
I should pass on dessert, but with so many tantalizing options, it’s hard to do so. I whittle my choices down to two; carrot cake (a personal weakness) and apple pie with a crème brûlée type finish. My waiter suggests getting a little of both, and I say yes. Personally, I prefer cakes at room temperature rather than straight from a fridge, but both desserts are good. I do wonder if the cheesecake would have been a better option. I guess I will need to go back to find out!
Overall, Le Fin Gourmet is a can’t-miss restaurant in Quebec City. The food is delicious, and the ambiance is relaxing and homey. Come for a light lunch on the patio, or treat yourself to a leisurely gourmet dinner.
dine at le fin gourmet
women-owned • where: 774, raoul-jobin • neighbourhood: saint-sô (saint-sauveur) • 418-682-5849 • lefingourmet.ca • reservations recommended
note: This restaurant experience was in partnership with Hôtel Nomad Québec, a boutique hotel in Old Québec’s Upper Town. In fact, this article also appears on their blog. All opinions expressed in this article are my own, and a true representation of my experience. In fact, I will happily return to Le Fin Gourmet and spend my hard-earned money because I am still dreaming about those morels!