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Jul 25, 2007 09:51 AM


It has been many years, since my last visit to Lyon.
I have researched the boards, and it seems that I must eat at Leon de Lyon, if I can get a reservation.
We have eaten at Bocuse on a couple of occasions, eons ago, so I would forgo it.
Still remember my first visit to Bocuse in my youth, where I was served a whole baby salmon covered in puff pastry, with each individual scale a perfect puff pastry work of art.
But ate at Moulin about a week later, and realized that presentation, and brilliance are quite different things.
Bocuse was excellent but at the time Roger V's food simply presented raised our awareness of fine food to a new high.
Never understood the later criticism of is cuisine..
It was our first ever experience with 3* restaurants, and we ate at five 3* on our trip.
Back to Lyon,
I would like a few suggestions of what not to miss, as I have written down too many names suggested here.
Anything bistro, brasserie or star.

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  1. had a stellar and remarkably well-priced dinner (around 50 euros a person with wine) at Au Jardin des Saveurs - also loved a little place called, I believe, Gourmet des Sezes? (Rue des Sezes?) - which has one star I think

    2 Replies
    1. re: teezeetoo

      Thank you.
      We have our reservation for Leon de Lyon, but are staying for five days, so much appreciate your input.
      Would I need advance reservations in September for the 1* Gourmet des Sezes?
      Also I was wondering if anyone was aware of any new Chefs not yet starred, but making waves?(still need to fill in two evenings).

      1. re: erly

        i made our reservations a few days before our visit to the restaurant. still, it always pays to reserve in advance if you know this is your destination. they may have a web site though i haven't checked that. if you are booked at a hotel, i will often email my hotel and ask them to make the reservations for me and they always accommodate.

    2. Not aware of the rising stars of the Lyons scene, but if you liked Vergé, you should like Chapel's restaurant, in Mionnay -- same love of simple and precise food, exceptional ingredients (Chapel died but thy still do his kind of cooking, one that was higely influential for Loiseau and Ducasse). The chef everyone talks about is Nicolas Le Bec. Haven't been and read contradictory reviews.

      2 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        Yes, Nicolas Le Bec is all the rage, and I'm hoping to go in November. He is being compared to Pierre Gagnaire, but not too sure whether that is good or bad!

        We also like Le Splendid, the bistro of George Blanc in the 6th. It's a little Metro ride, but worth it.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Thank you all.
          I now have a great list, for both cities.

      2. In the Place Bellecour, there's a wonderful lunch place called Giraudon where they have the most wonderful quenelles and tasty soups. Giraudon is noted all over France for their quenelles, and this is one of a number of lunch places like this in France. I know there is also one in Paris, but am not aware of where the others are.

        You can also buy the quenelles and sauce in cans to carry home to US! They're not quite as delicious as when they're fresh, but a good substitute, nonetheless.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          Totally second the quenelles, which I think are Giraudin, and their sauce. Poach without boiling, then in pan with their sauce, in oven, yammy. There is also a Giraudin shop in Paris, by the Marche St Germain and they can be found in some Carrefour (e.g. in Bercy) and some Naturalia.

          By the way, ChefJune, why did we not mention Leon de Lyon as an emergency, since it will close at the end of the year?

          1. re: souphie

            I guess because there is a whole nother thread on that subject! I would hope folks with questions would research the Forum for similar topics, so we don't have to repeat them over and over and over....

        2. Gourmet de Seze is very nice; get the "Menu du Marché" (normally around 45-50 Euros, with an option for wine pairings with each dish to a total of around 60 Euros). The paired wines are nothing special but are very drinkable and well chosen to accompany the dishes. You must reserve ahead as the place is very small and they have only about 8 or 9 tables.

          Nicholas le Bec is terrific, but unless you are eating there on an expense account, I suggest you have lunch rather than dinner. At around 45 or 50 Euros, the lunch is a relative bargain, plus you'll probably drink less alcohol at lunchtime and save on that as well.

          Matthieu Viannay is very modern in appearance and creative with its dishes. I have had both excellent and mediocre dishes there, and at their prices, given the poor exchange rate with the dollar, I'd go elsewhere. If you do go there, and if they have revived the frog legs in Risotto dish, I'd recommend that highly. They also do a very nice Pain Perdu for dessert.

          For economizing or just for a night off from gluttony, Mendo near the Guillotiere bridge, is an Asian-inspired noodle and rice dish place. It is absolutely inauthentic, more like a French caricature of what an asian place should be like, but everything there is very tasty and relatively cheap. You can have a couple of dishes there plus a carafe of semi-drinkable wine for around 20 to 23 Euros. The beer might be a better choice.

          Bocuse has 4 brasseries scattered around Lyon, named for ordinal directions (L'est, L'ouest, Le Nord, Le Sud). These get lots of traffic from tourists. Having eaten in all of these (except for L'Ouest, which was far from where I've spent time in Lyon) a number of times, I suggest you go elsewhere. At current exchange rates these places are no bargain, and very very formulaic. If by chance you are in Lyon on a holiday and little else is open, then maybe consider eating at one of these as they are always open. I particularly hate the wine lists in these places, which seem to have been made up of wines of Mr. Bocuse's cronies, and ridiculously overpriced at that. This is the place to go if you crave one of those detestible Georges Duboef Beaujolais wines, that all taste the same, regardless of appellation.