I worked as a parking attendant/valet for the Dominion 1912 hotel in Old Quebec in early 2000. My fellow co-workers would often head out to a nearby restaurant and come back with what looked and smelled like comfort food, precisely the kind that my grandmother would cook to make my heart feel warm. Oh was I ever curious to taste it!
It came from a restaurant called Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire.
Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire has nothing to do with serving yourself. It’s a quaint, somewhat 60-seat restaurant offering table service with an open kitchen surrounded by red brick walls. Great big photographs of old Quebec decorate its two-storey walls (the upstairs being more of a mezzanine than a closed floor). A television discreetly hangs from the wall behind the cashier (sound off and tuned to LCN), making it easy to grab your attention if you’re sitting in any of the three red-leather benches. The decor is not fancy, but is casual and a modest, retro-looking little place.
The restaurant is located on St-Paul street in old Quebec, in the heart of the antique and collector’s neighbourhood. I’m guessing it’s where they got their name from (lol). They offer a variety of traditional Quebec dishes from meatball stew, perfectly seasoned “cipaille”, meat pie and all-day breakfasts. The onion-roasted potatoes served with their breakfasts are to die for.
And so last night, as I head on over to the last representation of the Moulin à Images for 2012, I decided to stop by Le Buffet for supper; it was about 8:30 pm.
I had breakfast, I’m wild like that!
The restaurant was busy, as usual. The tables set outside were all taken and so I took a bench inside. My plate was quickly served; le Spéciale Antiquaire with eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes and beans. The eggs were cooked to perfection, the ham and sausage were tender, but the bacon was soft and cold. I’ve been here before and I know it isn’t usually the case. I’m blaming it on the late breakfast. I also asked for their in-house, not-too-sweet strawberry jam with my pain de ménage. If you’re going to have some toast, their jam is a must.
I didn’t finish my plate; simply too much food!
Remember it’s an open kitchen and the restaurant is often busy, so it gets hot quickly in the summer and you’ll smell of food when you leave, especially when their windows are closed. It’s the price to pay to eat in the affordable, generously portioned, Quebec-tasting Buffet de l’Antiquaire.