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“How come I was not so impressed?”

Chez Boulay-bistro boreal
Ranked #17 of 1,525 Restaurants in Quebec City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $29 - $50
Cuisines: Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Cote du Palais
Description: Confit goose and duck leg parmentier, potatoes with mushrooms and fir tree essence, birch syrup vinaigrette: these are a few examples of what can be found on the menu at Chez Boulay – Bistro Boréal. On rue Saint-Jean in Quebec City since 2012, the restaurant places a value on the boreal region, especially the produce from the vast wilderness of northern Canada. For the last five years, the Bistro has been a popular destination because of our passionate chefs. Come meet our team and enjoy a memorable Nordic experience. Five years after the opening of Chez Boulay – Bistro Boreal, Arnaud Marchand and his team innovate and export their culinary talent into this new gastronomic adventure: the Comptoir boreal. In our charming and warm space in the heart of Quebec City, you will find pastries, sandwiches and ready-made meals that emphasize the value of the produce from our region. Foodies and clients on the go can come and enjoy snacks and meals that are out of the ordinary.
Reviewed May 19, 2013 via mobile

Great atmosphere.....check, great food.....check, good service (note the word good).....check. Why was I not blown away, similar to the restaurant the night before? After $75 a head, I have to be. I just did not get it here tonight.... I was not wowed!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
1  Thank GarTheFoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,182 - 1,186 of 2,047 reviews

Reviewed May 6, 2013

We had supper here last night to celebrate our 20th anniversary, and the whole meal was excellent. I found the service friendly and efficient. I took our waiter's suggestion and chose the Trilogie d'asperges as my appetizer, as local asparagus is in season now and I love it. I was not disappointed. My plate contained an attractive array of asparagus prepared three different ways, with various cheeses and other goodies. My favourite was the thinly-sliced raw asparagus with Quebec cheese (I forget the variety.) Who knew raw asparagus could be so good?

My husband had the Boreal Tartiflette as his appetizer and pronounced it one of the best appies he'd ever eaten: wild boar bacon with potatoes and cheese and other delights.

For the main course, I had the seared salmon with porcini mushroom crust. It was perfectly cooked, succulent and delicious. The corn gnocchi and other accompaniments were great. Turns out I am a big fan of puréed cauliflower. I also liked the popcorn brown butter. I would never have thought of adding popcorn to a meal, but it was fabulous. Not overdone, but really unique.

Hubby had the scallops and mackerel and enjoyed his meal as much as I enjoyed mine. We would have had dessert had we not been thoroughly stuffed. Everything on the menu was very tempting.

We are not big wine drinkers, but the waiter didn't hold that against us (as happened in another upscale Quebec eatery we went to on our last trip! WIne snobbery!) Instead he offered us a selection of six different beers from the Quebec brewery, Boreal. I had a very good stout and hubby had a tasty amber beer. I've always liked Boreal beer.

I very much enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant. Allthough there were plenty of people there, I didn't find it noisy, something I appreciate. I like being able to hear the conversation I'm having while I eat.

The decor was very attractive and reminiscent of a boreal forest. Nice clean lines everywhere, and attractive, descriptive menus.

I read other reviews that had complaints about the service, but we found the staff to be all smiles, and we received our food in a timely fashion. The waiter did a good job of explaining the daily specials. No language tensions; they are happy to speak either French or English. Since hubby and I are both reasonably fluent in French, we ended up speaking both languages. :)

I made reservations online and that went without a hitch. We were seated upon our arrival with no problems. Online reservations are new to me but they seem to be working well!

The restaurant was recommended to me by a local friend and I'm glad we took her suggestion. It was one of the best meals we've eaten in a long time, with lovely ambience. I would happily return on my next visit. Great, creative food.

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1  Thank caberwife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

Service was poor, wait staff came 5 times to our table and never saw our glass of water empty, didn't get the right dish from our order. Attitude of waiter unfriendly , which we usually get when visiting other similar restaurant in Quebec City. I ask our waiter for a wine suggestion with our main dishes and she ask me what we had taken...poor! So I requested the sommelier for the 2nd bottle of wine in order to get suggestion. He arrived and wasn't aware of our orders... Once again poor communication. At the end of our meal I wasn't done and busboy took out all our plates and I had to tell him to hold on that I wasn't done. Waiter came at the end for payment but never offered if we wanted digestive! She left without advising us that she was instead of advising that another colleague was taking over... Bartender tough after going to the bar to request digestives came and was very friendly. This was my 2nd visit, really different from my first time which was excellent. I won't be considering it next time due to a lack of professionalism on the service side. There is too many other great options around. Food was great though, so managers would need to refocus on the roots of service in order to avoid loosing the momentum, competition is tough, get your service staff align before it is too late.

1  Thank W G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sophie M, Propriétaire at Chez Boulay-bistro boreal, responded to this reviewResponded June 10, 2013

We appreciate your comment.
Thank you!

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Reviewed April 26, 2013

We like to discover new restaurants and our dinner experience at Chez Boulay Bistro Boréal has been great but discovered the breakfast menu and can clearly say it's outstanding ! We have been back many times and were never disapointed . Wide space, high ceilings, sunshine pouring in this restaurant makes it very comfortable. It is often full on weekdays for lunch or dinner. Whether you go with friends, with family or an intimate meal you will like it. We have tried twice the dinner menu and it was great...the bison tartare was so good. The dishes are very creative and different from the restaurants you will find downtown old Quebec. I recommend this restaurant. It's classy and trendy but most importantly, the food is DELICIOUS !

Thank Bibifree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sophie M, Propriétaire at Chez Boulay-bistro boreal, responded to this reviewResponded June 10, 2013

Thank you for this comment!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

This was our first visit to Quebec City in about 25 years, and we still talk about the meal we had at Le Saint-Amour back then. Le Saint-Amour is still one of the highest rated (and most expensive) restaurants in QC on Trip Advisor. Le Saint-Amour is more of a date-night type of place, and since we were traveling with our daughter, we decided to try something more casual. Well, Chez Boulay-Bistro is owned by the same chef as Le Saint-Amour, so we figured we couldn't go wrong. We had the black cod, scallops with mackeral, and salmon. Each dish has several flavors, textures and colors going on at the same time. All of them were excellent, and we were doing lots of sharing. We had the creme brulee (average), praline tart (mis-advertised since it seemed like more of a mousse tart) and the apple tart tatin. All of us agreed that the apple tart was the best.

Based on the prices, I was expecting the demographic to skew towards an older crowd, but I was surprised to see quite a few groups of 25-35 year olds enjoying the great food.

Our only complaint was that it took our waiter about 1/2 hour to bring bread to our table. Everyone around us was getting bread left and right, and we were starving. We finally flagged him down and he brought it out about 5 minutes before our main course.

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    • Food
Thank karkmaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sophie M, Propriétaire at Chez Boulay-bistro boreal, responded to this reviewResponded June 10, 2013

Thank you for the review!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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