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Lyon for 3 nights-where to eat

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We will be in Lyon for 3 nights. Would like to try bistro type meals (bouchons) in the 35-50 euro bracket. What do you suggest? Will be staying near Place Bellecour but can travel to other neighborhoods. A friend recommended the following: Can anyone comment on these;
Daniel et de Nise
Le Garet
Also interested in other food related experiences while in Lyon. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Sorry, have never dined at any of the places that you mention, altho I have been to Lyon MANY times. It is my favorite city. Places I favor include Leon de Lyon (now a brasserie), Bouchon des Vins, Bistrot de Lyon, La Voute, Le Splendid, Comptoir du Boeuf. With the exception of Le Splendid, all are located in the downtown area.

    If you search this forum, however, you will find a multitude of similar questions to yours. I recommend it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      I love Lyon too. There is a restaurant I went to - I think it is on rue Arbre Sec which has great food. It has a modern entry way that opens into a lovely large restaurant that is decorate like an old library/club. Do you know which one I m referring to.

      1. re: manstouch

        I'm not familiar with that street. Where is it located?

        1. re: ChefJune

          Near the opera house. There are tons of great restaurants on this street.

        2. re: manstouch

          Unless I am mistaken, Rue d'Arbre Sec is a short street of about 3 blocks that comes off of Rue de la Republique and Edourd Herriot and ends almost on the water (the Rhone River). There are several other restaurants and some fast food/sandwich places on that street and the one that I ate at about 3 years ago was called something like "le Caro de Lyon." It was large, nice inside, but a a bit dimly lit. I had their fixed meal which was a Lyonnaise salad, Quenelles, and I believe Profiteroles for dessert. All was competently prepared and the price was reasonable. Not a meal to die for, but certainly with a good price to value relationship.

          Addendum: Le Caro de Lyon is on the next street, Rue Bat d'Argent -- but it sounds like it might still be the one you were asking about.

      2. I'm just back from the food festival in Deauville called OFF4 and my firm resolution is to next time I'm in Lyon to Katsumi Ishida's "En Mets fais ce qu’il te plaît". He's an extraordinary chef in a simple location and setting, focused on wonderful ingredients and perfect execution, yet not academic in any way. Exciting chef, really.

        Tasting menu on friday nights is 46€, 36 the rest of the week, lunch is 23€. And the guy is coached by the best small winemakers all around. Seriously. Go.

        1. Le Garet is a very good and authentic bouchon (as of my last meal there two years ago). As with all the true bouchons, reservations (that morning or a day in advance) are mandatory if you want to be sure of getting a table.


          1. I agree with the recommendation of La Voute (Chez Lea). It is reliable for many of the lyonnaise classics: cardoons with marrow, tablier du sapeur, etc. The current owner and her husband bought the place from La Mere Lea about thirty years ago, making this one of the most authentic remaining connections to "les meres lyonnaises."

            For an informal meal, consider Chez Georges near the Perrache train station. The food is run of the mill brasserie, but there's a fair amount of 50's atmosphere and an interesting decor. At one time, this was reputed to be the largest restaurant in France.


            1 Reply
            1. re: rswatkins

              imho possibly the only reason to dine at Chez Georges is that it's about the only place I know of in Lyon that serves "early" dinner.

            2. Thank you. Where is La Voute (address and phone number) and how are the prices.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dych

                It's a bit tricky to find. I have the address at home and will post it later. Prices are very reasonable.

                You will want to be sure to get up early and take in the daily market that runs along the Saone river. If you get there REALLY early, you may even see Bocuse. The chefs shop there and breakfast nearbny.

                Les Halles, over near the Part-Dieu train station, is also a must-visit. Be sure to sample some of the superior cheeses (esp the St. Marcellin) of the legendary Renee Richard.

              2. Is anyone familiar with the cooking of Mathieu Vionnay, who now has two stars at the old La Mere Brazier?

                4 Replies
                1. re: rswatkins

                  Strongly second Le Splendide!

                  Also, I have to say, though it's far from gourmet, I had a very good, Lyon "bouchon" meal there last year.

                  1. re: rswatkins

                    I have not eaten in his new place but did eat a number of times in the earlier one, called Mattieu Vionnay, a very bright place with a modern decor, on Marechel Foch. This was over a span of a year and a half, most recently about 2 years ago.

                    He is a very creative chef. That having been said, about half the dishes I had were great, and the other half equally as bad. I can remember a signature dish of Frog legs in a risotto, which was stupendous, and an equally wonderful Pain Perdu ("French Toast") dessert I can still remember as I type this.

                    On the downside I can remember a disgusting deep fried breaded foie gras entrée that had only grease inside when I cut it open; I took one bite and left the rest on the plate, feigning some sort of digestive problem to the staff as my reason for not eating it. Similarly, there was a Saint-Jacques main course in which the scallops were still attached to the opened shells, and which was laid on a bed of sand (yes, I said SAND). On trying to dislodge a scallop, which was attached like glue to the shell, I had a shell fly off my table and across the room. This was more than a little bit embarrassing in a restaurant of this level. Plus the dish had no flavor whatsoever, it was all in the presentation which was basically inedible.

                    You have here (or at least had) a creative chef who has hits and misses. The problem is that when one goes to a restaurant that is as expensive as his old one was (and the new one, with 2 stars, will be worse), then one has to decide whether or not one wants to take the RISK on an expensive and bad meal, which I'd regard as a real possibility with this chef.

                    For me, I'd rather go somewhere that the recipes get tested out first, rather than being served to the customers before having been through their "beta test" stage.

                    1. re: Ken Fox

                      Thanks for the information. I wonder if his cooking at the new location acknowledges the legacy of la mere Brazier in any way (from your report, it seems unlikely).


                      1. re: rswatkins

                        Speaking of La Mere Brazier, I had a leaden meal there 17 years ago and never returned. However, I hear they have a new chef, and that the food is much improved. Last fall when I was there, I didn't have time to check that out.

                        When I was there, the granddaughter was the owner and foh.

                  2. We go to Lyon about once a month. I'd start with Le Garet, which is wonderful, but also suggest Le Cafe du Soleil in the Vielle Ville, and Le Canut Sans Cerveau on the Croix Rousse. I don't think you'll be able to spend as much as 30-50 Euros a person at any of them, but you could always splurge on the wine.

                    1. I'm back from Lyon. Had a wonderful meal full of Lyonnaise specialties at La Garet. The staff makes you feel so at home too. Also enjoyed the restaurant La Vout-Chez Lea-a little more formal but also very warm. Lunch at Bistro de Lyon-would not go back-ok food but nothing to rave about. It's very pretty especially at night which is what lured us in.
                      After a performance at the opera house we just wanted something simple. Went to Entrecote for tasty steak and frites and salad with walnuts just down the street from the opera house. Always good, very reasonable (17 euros for the dinner) and hits the spot when you are fooded out with all the other rich food.

                      1. L'est is one of the foursome of Bocuse Brasseries in Lyon. All 4 (L'est, L'Ouest, le Sud, and le Nord) are named for the ordinal directions and are situated more or less like that (at least in relationship to each other) throughout Lyon. They share maybe 1/2 the menu items and most or all of the wine list. At some level they are like a Bouchon but they are much more well lit and have many other menu offerings in addition to Bouchon like fare. They are also more expensive than a Bouchon.

                        Personally speaking, I don't like Bouchon cuisine as it is full of organ meats and superfluous grease, but then, that is just me and many or most would disagree.

                        On the other hand, these 4 places are somewhat sterile, and appeal to tourists as being "French enough," yet welcoming and an easy place for the non French speaking tourist to have a decent meal. Many of the food entries, if overpriced, are still tasty. These are not a bad option for the travel weary tourist to have a decent meal without putting out much effort in the search, while still thinking, "hey, it's Bocuse's restaurant, so it must be good."

                        What I really detest about these 4 places is the wine list, chock full of overpriced plonk from what must be good friend viticulteurs of Mr. Bocuse. You can find a lot of Deboeuf's tasteless Beaujolais wines (all of which taste the same, regardless of supposed appellation) and other examples of extreme mediocrity, all for prices that will make your hair stand up. I guess they have decided to sell their food at semi-acceptable prices while making it up on the horrid wine list.

                        Of the group, L'Est has a nice atmosphere with a model train running along the sides of the walls, and a bustling atmosphere not far from the Part Dieu train station.

                        You could do a lot worse, but you can get much better value for your money if you spend a little time looking around.

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: Ken Fox

                          "superfluous grease" I'd really like to avoid that, particularly because I intend to climb l'Alpe d'Huez the next day. Can you make suggestions as to spots in Lyon that might offer great food, casual setting (no jackets suggested or required), and a bit lighter on the belly? Thanks!

                          1. re: danna

                            I haven't eaten in ALL the bouchons of Lyon (and none of Mr. Bocuse's), but quite frankly, I think Mr. Fox is being a bit dramatic. The French are just as health conscious as Americans these days, and most of the restaurants have lightened up the traditional cuisine quite a bit. My experience is that there are a wide range of dishes on menus in Lyon, from light to heavy, just as there are here in US. We've enjoyed some great salads and other dishes at Le Splendid, Comptoir de Boeuf, Brasserie Leon, Bouchon du Vin, La Voute (Chez Lea.) I would recommend any of those places for "great food in a casual setting and lighter on the belly." ;)

                            As for Beaujolais, well, it is "the wine of the region," so of course it is featured throughout the area. There are many other Beaujolais' than M. Duboeuf's if one is prejudiced against him.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              I took a look at the menu for Cafe de Federation, recommended somewhere...i can't recall. The FIRST thing I noticed is that I need to find some way to study my French menu terms. I thought I was well-versed, however, apparently not. For example breaded fried stomach. Didn't know that one ;-)

                              The options scared me a little. I'll eat most anything...but my husband is slightly less adventurous. Not staid, mind you, but does not eat organ meat, include foie gras, bless his heart !

                              If you happen to know the websites for any of the restaurants you've mentioned so I can look at the menu, I'd be grateful. Thank you.

                              1. re: danna

                                for Brasserie Leon & Bouchon du Vin:
                                for La Voute, Chez Lea:
                                for Le Splendid, you have to go to Georges Blanc's web site and click on English, then restaurants, and you will find Le Splendid:

                                I could not find anything with a description and a menu for Le Comptoir du Boeuf, but is is the bistro of Paul Chavenne, the owner of La Tour Rose, and from all accounts, the food is not only less expensive at Comptoir, it is much better. (I have not been lately to La Tour Rose.


                                and for lunch, the quenelles and soup are wonderful at Giraudet's downtown shop, just steps off the southeast corner of the Place Bellecour.

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  You are too kind. I'm enjoying the links now! Leon de Lyon looks like a winner.

                                  I have promised my husband he doesn't have to pack a jacket. Are any of the restaurants you have suggested too formal for just a dress shirt? Also, I took a look at Pierre Orsi's site and liked it. Would one expect a jacket to be required in a Michelin 1 star?

                                  And as long as I'm picking your brain...we might try having lunch at one of the M-starred restaurants in the Alps later in the week, either Les Terrasses du Grand Hotel(2*) in Uriage les Bains, or Chalet Mounier Le Petit Polyte (1*)in Les Deux Alpes. What would you guess as to formallity of clothing required at lunch?

                                  I truly appreciate your help

                                  1. re: danna

                                    You won't need a jacket in any of these places, especially in summer, but they're never looked down upon. I think sneakers are the only article of clothing I would avoid -- and tee shirts with logos on them.

                                    I've never been to any of those places in the Alps, but I have a friend who owns one, and at lunch, informal is fine, especially in the no-stars (which by the way, I've heard the food is at least as good as the 1*'s. FWIW, my friend's place is Chateau de Coudree, on the French shore of Lac Leman).

                                    Pierre Orsi -- it's been years since I've been there, and back then, a jacket would've been required, but times have changed, I think. What does their site say?

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      In case anyone else is interested, I emailed, and Piere Orsi replied "just correct clothing" ...wonder how that translates? Le Bec replied "we have not a dress code, but just casual". I haven't quite decided if I want to spend what Le Bec costs, though....

                                    2. re: danna

                                      I was concerned about my lack of a jacket for Ducasse in Monaco, but even there they relax the lunchtime dress code in summer

                                      1. re: mr_gimlet

                                        Just wanted to ask if anyone has been to/heard much about l'Alexandrin?


                                        1. re: food.snob

                                          What is it? where? Is it a new place?

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            I don't think it is especially new.
                                            It's a one star in Lyon: http://www.lalexandrin.com


                                            1. re: food.snob

                                              looks interesting. I have never heard of it before, and I travel to Lyon frequently. Please post on it if you go!

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                Of course. But don't hold your breath... ;)


                                    3. re: ChefJune

                                      ChefJune, have you been to Léon de Lyon since it reopened? I haven't, because I'm not sure what it'll be like (and the prices are incredibly high for somewhere that is no longer aiming for gastronomic status). But if you still recommend it I will go (it's just down the road from me...)

                                      1. re: chochotte

                                        not sure where you saw prices that were high... Yes, I was there in October and had a wonderful meal that cost around 40 euros with wine.

                                        The name now is actually Brasserie Leon, although I keep seeing the old name attached.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          I'm with June - it definitely wasn't expensive, it was a few euro more than the standard bouchons but most definitely not expensive, and it was well worth the extra. The only thing that bumps it up a little bit is that they don't have house wine.

                                          1. re: mr_gimlet

                                            IIRC, they have a large selection of half bottles, tho.

                                            1. re: mr_gimlet

                                              Well, it's not aiming to be a bouchon - it's definitely less homey and rough-and-ready than a bouchon. I've only glanced at the menu while walking past, so I'll do it justice and read it through thoroughly next time. Perhaps my eye simpy fell on some of the more highly priced items. I thought I remember main courses coming in at over €25 which in my book is expensive - not ridiculous, but not cheap.

                                  2. re: danna

                                    Haha, traditionally lyonnaise cuisine is aaaaalll about the superfluous grease! It's incredibly heavy stuff: meat meat meat, charcuterie and cream. You might have to embrace it if you want to try the local specialities, for one night at least!

                                    1. re: chochotte

                                      I have decided on leon de lyon for lunch and Nicholas le Bec for dinner. Although I hesitated over the prices at le Bec, I started thinking that tax is included in the price, as is service, so it's not really as bad compared to the usual NYC restaurant as it initially appeared. (I'm assuming that I need not leave more than 10 E on a 200 E check to indicate I was happpy w/ service? Correct me if I'm wrong)

                                      1. re: danna

                                        Danna, I hope you will post a review on LeBec. I'm interested to hear what you think.

                                        You actually don't have to leave anything unless you really want to. so use your good judgment. ;)

                                2. I live in Lyon and I can't recommend a restaurant called L'Ourson qui boit highly enough. It's very centrally placed, near the Opéra, ridiculously well priced (€25 for three courses in the evening, €18 at lunch), the wine list has been chosen by a renowned caviste, Antic Wine... it's run by a Japanese couple, but is a French restaurant: the chef is trained in classical French cookery but brings a lightness of touch and an inventiveness which is absent from the traditionally very heavy and retro lyonnaise cuisine. The service is impeccable. It's not been open that long but is pretty famous locally so you definitely have to book. I eat there as often as possible! Contact details here: http://www.lyonresto.com/restaurant-L...