Despite its magnificent beaux arts interior and its reasonable prices, the National Assembly's restaurant remains one of the best-kept secrets in town. Chef Yves Légaré prepares contemporary cuisine with products from Québec's various regions. In summer, for example, the three-course lunch menu typically includes everything from mini-fondues made with Charlevoix cheese to ravioli made from lobster caught in the Gaspé. Other dishes might include pork from the Beauce region, trout from the Magdalen Islands, and candied-duck salad. Opening hours vary, but it routinely serves lunch weekdays from 11:30–2. Depending on the time of year, the restaurant also opens for breakfast and sometimes for Sunday brunch.
Nov 2, 2009
Although we did not have a reservation (which are recommended), we were able to enjoy lunch at Le Parlementaire. The white tablecloth service and somewhat elegant atmosphere deserve dressing up at least a little, in my opinion (we wore business casual as we were touring the city that day; I recommend against jeans or shorts). The restaurant is on the second floor of the National Assembly building, at the top of a grand staircase. There is an elevator
(basically behind the dining room), which my companion needed, but security restrictions mean that a member of the National Assembly staff must accompany you on the trips up and down (not really a problem, but be prepared for it). The meal began with a choice of soups (both of us chose the potato) served with breads and butter (no margarine!), followed by the main courses (medallions of red deer – served only rare or medium rare – and new potatoes for me, trout with salt herbs and rice pilaf for her). Each was accompanied by pureed carrots and a medley of zucchini and summer squash. Portions seemed somewhat small to me, but both the soups and the main courses were excellent, although the bread was somewhat ordinary. A choice of coffee or tea is included after the main course, and desserts are available for an extra charge. On our server’s advice we opted for the profiteroles (3 cream puffs filled with ice cream, each drizzled with a different sauce – a Quebec specialty). They were the only part of the meal that disappointed us. Each was smaller than a golf ball, the cream puff was soggy, and the ice cream was hard. The sauces (chocolate, caramel, and strawberry) were great, though. The total bill was C$52 for the two of us plus tip, with no beverage except water during the main meal. Service was attentive but not oppressive, which was a delight. They also have English-language menus if you cannot read French. Be aware that people on tours of the building like to poke their heads in to take a look around, so you might wish to be seated away from the main entrance doors if you do not want to be distracted by them.