Ambre Buvette : Fun dining in Sainte-Foy

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Since it opened in the late summer of 2022, Ambre Bistro has been one of our favourite hidden gems in and around Quebec City. Thus, we were more than happy to have an excuse to go back when chef-owner Étienne Nadeau called us up to announce he was moving to a new location in Sainte-Foy, with an updated concept.

The new spot in question was until recently a Valentine snack bar, located just steps away from District Gourmet and Sainte-Foy public market. This new incarnation drops the “bistro” in favour of “buvette”, a fitting term for this brighter, livelier eatery.

Étienne and his partner, girlfriend Sandrine Grenon, managed the move in barely 45 days with the help of their team and a few friends who came to lend a hand. Incidentally, you can follow their (mis)adventures on the chef’s YouTube channel. The couple renovated the space themselves, keeping some nods to the restaurant’s former vocation. “We bought an old snack bar. We didn’t want to hide it, but we wanted to add our personal touch,” confides the chef. The long counter has been replaced by a large wooden bar, from where we can observe the kitchen staff working.  The illuminated menu boards have also been preserved, but hip hop album covers have replaced the hot dog combos. Vinyl covers and skateboards, remnants of the old location, are still hanged on the walls. The restaurant has a total of 40 seats, plus about fifteen on the terrace in summer.

Fun dining and local wines

When asked to describe his approach, Étienne Nadeau mentions the idea of fun dining. The concept, made popular by Mon Lapin in Montreal among others, sprinkles a little fun on fine dining. The menu, created in close collaboration with sous-chef Manuel Cabas-Munster and the kitchen team, features a dozen seasonal dishes, generous and unpretentious, and made with local ingredients. “The menu is short, everything has to be good! There are products that come back regularly, like Îles-de-la-Madeleine scallops, Quebec beef, Nagano pork, which we have year-round. We always have a stuffed pasta that changes regularly on the menu,” summarizes the chef.

On the drinks menu, local products also take precedence. “We’re transitioning to a 100% Quebec alcohol menu. We’ve done a lot of work to find more classic wines, not just big juicy acid bombs,” continues the chef, noting the efforts made to develop a durable relationship with winemakers. Microbrewery beers and spirits used in cocktails are also Quebecois, of course.

Another noteworthy point: to satisfy the clientele of nearby offices, Ambre Buvette is also opening for lunch! To stand out, the chef offers a rather bold formula: a blind lunch menu that changes every day.

“People don’t know what they’re going to eat before they arrive. It’s two dishes to discover when you’re alone and four dishes for two with a dessert,” explains Chef Nadeau. “There are a lot of restaurants that offer lunch menus in our area. We didn’t want to get into a price war. We had to find a different way to bring people to us,” he continues.

In short, if we already loved Ambre Bistro, we love Ambre Buvette even more, confirming its place among our favorite restaurants in Quebec City. A very nice table led by very endearing people that we hope you too will discover very soon!


Photography by Mikael Lebleu

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