Le Lapin Sauté - a good combination of touristy atmosphere and solid Québec fare, just in the middle of Quartier Petit-Champlain; head out to the patio if you can (http://www.lapinsaute.com)
Restaurant l'Échaudé (our lunch visit/our dinner visit) - a romantic French bistro with great classics as well as fresh market options changing daily; a sizeable wine list, with lots of beautiful reds by the bottle; open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and a late hours menu beginning at 10pm... try to sit on the patio if the weather is right for it (http://www.echaude.com)
Pain Béni - Best for lunch and dinner, with options to suit every palette; funky decor and a beautiful patio on an old cobblestone street kitty corner to the Château Frontenac (http://www.aubergeplacedarmes.com)
Le Marché du Vieux-Port - The market down in the old port area is fantastic, with fresh berries from Île d'Orléans, maple syrup, fabulous breads, wines, and an assortment of Québec cheeses, charcuterie, and other meats that could make for a perfect picnic. Open year round, with days and hours changing throughout seasons (http://www.marchevieuxport.com).
Le Clocher Penché Bistrot - a contemporary French bistro with a great wine list, knowledgable staff and a simple but delicious food menu. Classics offered for lunch that change daily, as well as a daily cocotte suitable for two to share. (http://www.clocherpenche.ca)
Restaurant SSS (Simple; Snack; Sympathique) - Just around the corner from l'Échaudé, the owners of Toast opened a restaurant serving simple, delicious food from lunch late into the evening. If you miss lunch, they have a great menu served from 2-5pm, and the same goes for post dinner (10pm). Once again, this one features a fantastic open patio (http://www.restaurantsss.com).
Panache - a beautiful restaurant in a 19th Ce. building that is also the Auberge St. Antoine; great atmosphere, amazing, friendly service, and simple, fresh, tasty, dishes inspired by ingredients and recipes from Québec. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with amazing views anytime of the day. Thursday evening is the Chef's surprise menu - with four courses for $50, it's a steal (http://www.saint-antoine.com/en/dining.html).
Spots we hope to check out next time we're in town:
Île d'Orléans - local artists, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and local meats and cheeses, just 5km down river from Québec City
Brunch at l'Échaudé - I just couldn't get enough of this place, so next time we're off for champagne brunch
Café Artefact - The café side of the Saint Antoine hotel, offering light meals and drinks in what looks to be an incredibly comfortable, relaxed atmosphere
Restaurant Initiale - we walked passed this place dozens of times trying to peer in the tall windows for a peek with no luck; twists on classic, seasonal Québecois food that we're eager to check out next time