Monday, June 08, 2009

Restaurant Le Pain Béni : Quebec City

For our last meal in Canada, we went with an Italian restaurant called Restaurant Le Pain Béni. (As a side note, walking around I was surprised at how many Italian restaurants there were. Shouldn't there be more French places?) But it was a great way to end things off with, since it was probably the best meal end-to-end we had during our trip.

I wish I had taken some photos of the interior, as it was quite warm and cozy. They had a main dining room, a small courtyard and a small back dining room, which each had their own distinct yet tranquil aesthetic.

Anyways, as for the food, my brother and parents all went with the "full menu" option, which lets you to get salad/soup, dessert and coffee/tea in addition to your entree for an additional $9.

Lobster Bisque - Everyone else but me got the bisque, which had a fairly nice texture and richness. There was a slight strange tinge to the lobster flavor that made me slightly unsure about the freshness of the lobster, but no one else seemed to taste this (shrug).

French Onion Soup - This was quite good. Sweet onions, a deep, hearty broth with strong alcohol (wine? Sherry?) overtones and a nice, not very oily cheese on the top. I just wish this was served in smaller portions as I was feeling a little full after eating it.

Lamb Ravioli - While perusing the menu outside, the lady outfront mentioned this was the dish to try here, since it had been the sole entree served since the launching of the restaurant over 20 years (20? My memory is fading) ago. And it was not bad at all. The funny thing about is that the progression of flavors was: the meat stock-like sauce, the texture of the ravioli, the cheese and its slight lingering flavors, (beat), (beat) and just when you think you're done, some spice(s) that reminded me of Indian cooking. I suspect it was how they flavored the lamb, but it was unique and interesting encountering that flavor in ravioli.

Unfortunately, my notes were less than descriptive on the other entrees, but nonetheless I do recall that I didn't have any particular critiques about them and my family all enjoyed their respective entrees.



Wild Boar over Parmesan Risotto

And while I was completely stuffed from the heavy French Onion soup and ravioli and refrained from ordering a dessert, my parents' and brother's desserts were a very nice way to end the meal.

Baklava - The baklava itself was a lot less sweet and dry than any version I've had, but was very flavorful with significant spicing and had a *lot* of walnuts. I didn't quite find it as interesting as its sides: dried kumquats on uhh blink. blink. I'm blanking on the name. (*edit* Couscous is what I was trying to remember) The little pile of yellow bits are pineapple with ginger pieces (more of the pineapple than the ginger).

Creme Brulee - Very nice, underneath the very thin caramelized sugar, the creme brulee was surprisingly slightly tart, almost but not quite tasting like a natural yogurt. It came with a ginger macaroon and a basil marshmallow (!).

Ice Cream Sandwich - Love it when restaurants adapt kids' favorites for adult tastes. Here, they do a very nice job. The "bread" of the ice cream sandwich was almost like the dry over-cooked parts of a chocolate cake, but in contact with the ice cream long enough that it was no longer dry. I'm sure that that description does not sound particularly appealing, but I think that's the best way of describing it and it actually came off quite well.

It was accompanied by blackberries and a seemingly home-made chocolate milk topped with hazelnut foam, which was nice.

All in all, this was a well put-together and surprisingly modern meal in a great setting that everyone enjoyed. I would have no problems recommending this place and wouldn't mind returning if I ever find myself in Quebec City again.

Restaurant Le Pain Béni
24 rue Sainte-Anne Québec, QC G1R 3X3, Canada (Map)
(418) 694-9485
($Canada, $Italian, $Quebec City)


  1. Thanks for this good report, I ate there last week and it was fantastic. I took sweetbreads and lobster and my husband the foie gras, fantastic! I also recommend

  2. Cool. Thanks for the comment Anon.