We just completed a family trip to Quebec with meals at Area in Montreal, Laurie Raphael in Quebec and a stay at two country inns (Auberge Godefroy and Auberge du Lac St Pierre). I speak the most basic French (just stringing words together with no grammer) though I aways try rather than imperially expecting everyone to speak English. Our reception by French speakers was uniformly gracious and I think our rudimentary efforts were generally appreciated (tho often folks switched to English to avoid further pain).
The food at both Area and Laurie Raphael was extraordinary (I thought Area was fully equal to my other Montreal favorite, Toque), but the ambiance at Laurie Raphael was impaired by Mr. Vizina's wife having a couple of extended (15 - 20 minute) very loud conversations with neighboring tables. I understand that she enjoys seeing her friends and regular customers, and that they enjoy the recognition, but I would have appreciated her carrying on her conversations in a less shrill and loud voice so that we could peacefully enjoy the sublime food. BTW, Mr. Vizina himself later came out and visited with the couple at the immediately adjoining table for about 10 minutes, but he was so discrete that you would not have known he was there if you hadn't looked around.