Satirist Fran Lebowitz once joked, "If you're going to America, bring your own food." That's definitely not necessary in Québec City, a destination with a rich regional cuisine, where calf brains are a delicacy and pies are made of meat.
But what if you're vegetarian? How do you get the most from the region if you prefer stalk over steak? To go totally veg, look no further than Le Commensal, where everything is vegetarian. Many restaurants offer a standing veggie option, such as the green- and yellow-squash spaghetti with an aroma of truffle oil at Toast!. Others will tweak an entrée if you call ahead and ask. Of course, making special requests is easier for someone like Paul McCartney, who rang Le St-Amour a few days ahead of his free concert in 2008 and then enjoyed a meatless gastronomic extravaganza with his entire entourage. Though meat-free dishes are by no means the house specialty, a recent visit confirmed this kitchen's veget-abilities for the common folk.
If you eat dairy products, a cheese plate traditionally served as a last course could become your main dish, although you'll have to ignore the raised eyebrows. You'll have limitless options, though, with the innovations of the province, which include Pied-de-Vent, Le Riopelle de l'Ile, and Le Migneron de Charlevoix. Those three cheeses, plus 150 more in summer, can be found at La Fromagère du Marché (tel. 418/692-2517, ext. 238), in the Marché du Vieux-Port. While you're there, you'll find a generous selection of seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly baked baguettes.
One final tip: If the French language isn't your strong suit, assume that most dishes have meat and learn to recognize a few terms. Sorry to say, saucisse is sausage, not sauce, and fruits de mer do not grow on trees.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.