By: Tigest Debalke
This Lebanese restaurant (named after the owners’ son) is located in Limoilou and is the heart of its quartier. Patrick Pépin and his lovely Lebanese wife Rima started this restaurant 5 years ago and it’s really grown since their humble beginnings. They specialize in authentic Lebanese dishes that can be served on a plate or wrapped in a pita, with your choice of sides. They also have a wide variety of vegetarian choices. One of the things I really appreciate is the freshness of everything they have on hand; vegetables are cut and prepared daily and it’s apparent in the flavour of all their ingredients. Although the quality of the food speaks for itself, the dynamic staff plays a large role in the popularity of this little gem of a restaurant as well.
To celebrate their 5th anniversary last year, they organized “Fusion Monde” – a block party that drew in many from Limoilou and beyond! Bar staff from the Château Frontenac were on hand to take care of that stubborn ‘palette sèche’ those hot summer months always seem to bring on, so service was nice and quick. There were also plenty of fun activities for the young ones as well, including large bouncy castles that lined rue Maufils, and furry mascots with plenty of hugs to give!
Anthony Sweet (or as we liked to call him for the few months he was passing through Quebec, “Antoine Sucré”) from Winnipeg opened the show with his soothing melodies. Next up was Mélogramme, a local band from Quebec City, who got the crowd going with their “gypsy rock” –classic Spanish guitar, funky bass lines, explosive saxophone – this band really impressed.
The headlining band, Jah & I, played a double set. Like Mélogramme, Jah & I are also based in Quebec City, though the singer of this reggae band hails from St Ann’s, Jamaica. Very talented group. In fact, since Fusion Monde, I’ve seen both bands several times and they never fail to deliver!
Pat and Rima’s efforts to liven up the Limoilou sector certainly don’t go unnoticed. Though Vieux-Limoilou is famous for its proximity to the Old Port and its many restaurants and cafés lining 3rd avenue, the further you go east towards Beauport and Montmorency Falls, the less that seems to be going on in between.
Pat is trying to change that by working on new projects, both encouraging and inspiring other business owners in the area to do the same. This summer, he opened Sorbetto&Gelato, just on the other side of the restaurant.
He transformed an ordinary alley into a haven for those of us with a sweet tooth. Since I live next door, I got to see the progress as they were under construction and it’s turned out to be even better than I imagined it would be.
They set up a bench with several levels to maximize the space, and all the designs on the opposite wall (that are even lit up at night!) are truly unique and just goes to show how creative the owners are. It’s certainly added an unmistakable charm to rue Maufils, and to Limoilou.
So if you’re ever in Quebec City and venturing out east, take a stop along the way at Shady’s, any time of year. Watch the Habs game with the locals on the main floor during hockey season. Soak up the sun on their terrace during the summer while you wash down your delicious shish taouk with a cold pint of beer. Cool off in the shade with a sorbetto or gelatto. Whatever you decide, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be disappointed! They even have a lounge downstairs that you can reserve for groups of 15 to 35 people. Spacious room, relaxing ambiance, plenty of lush cushions, tastefully decorated… definitely a great place if you’re organizing a group event or party.
For more information for Shady’s and Serbatto & Gelato, visit shadycaferesto.com!