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Eating in Lyon

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I have been reading a lot of posts on places to eat in Lyon, and I have found many useful recommendations. Thanks to all those who have posted and added to the food dialogue here at Chowhound -- especially those familiar with Lyon.

I used to visit Lyon semi-frequently about 6 years ago, and I will finally return again in two weeks with my wife. I will have six nights and six days to eat some good food. From previous posts, I have come up with this tentative list of places to try:

LA VOUTE CHEZ LEA
LA MERE BRAZIER
EN METS FAIS CE QU'IL TE PLAIT
LE GARET
BRASSERIE LEON DE LYON
LE SPLENDID
GIRAUDET
LE BEC
L'ALEXANDRIN

My second line of eating that I may or may not include or substitute with are:

Le Comptoir du Boeuf
Les Retrouvailles
Le Gourmet des Sezes
Au Bouchon du Vin
L'Ourson Qui Boit
Au Jardin des Saveurs

I may switch some restaurants depending upon feedback, so if any of you feel there are better places then please send your recommendations. Nothing is set in stone. But I would also be very interested if people had recommendations for lunch versus dinner at any of these places or if any of the eateries absolutely require reservations.

I'll be arriving on Sunday, so I'll have to look into which restaurants are open on Sunday and Monday, but I can worry about that later.

Lastly, I remember eating at those Bocuse Brasseries back in 2004. I ate at three of them, and I was wondering if they are still good or not, and if so, which ones are best. I have seen mixed reviews on this board and I noticed there is another one called Argenson which I hadn't heard of before.

Thanks in advance.

k.

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  1. No replies so far, so I've been doing my own research and maybe people can help with some specific questions.

    (1) I am arriving into Saint-Ex before noon, and I am looking for a place to have lunch on a Sunday afternoon. It looks as if the Bocuse brasseries are open, but I really hope I can make it to Rue le Bec for brunch, but it might be a rush to get there as it closes at 15:00. Does anyone have suggestions for eating on Sundays in Lyon?

    (2) I read in Saveur magazine an article on Lyon Bouchons, and it says that Paul Bocuse and a lot of the Michelin-starred chefs like to hang out at a place called Val d'Isère across the Rhône by the back door of the city's central market. It says they often gather there for coffee in the morning. Does anyone know if this place is good? I know it is a food touristy thing to do, but it sounds like and interesting scene if the food is good.

    Btw, here is the article:

    http://www.saveur.com/article/Travels...

    1. Just for future reference I mapped a lot of restaurants recommended by Chowhounds on a Google map and added some minimal comments. I think about 2/3 of the have websites included, and all have addresses and telephone numbers.

      I have also included a lot of boutique places to stay.

      Here is the map for those interested.

      http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

      10 Replies
      1. re: smkit

        Thank you, smkit for all your work.

        We're going to Lyon for a week in late October. Please post your experiences when you return and I will try and do the same. That way we can get more information about Lyon on this board.

        We also plan to try many of the chocolate and confection shops including, of course, Bernachon, as well as Voisin, Seve, Palomas, Richart, Violette et Berlingot, and Tourtiller.

        1. re: r.vacapinta

          I will definitely post my experiences when I get back, and I will look into the confection shops too. My wife is pregnant and boy does she crave the chocolate these days.

          1. re: r.vacapinta

            Voisin also has excellent macarons, if you can't get all the way over to Bernachon. (Or, if you'd simply like to "compare!")

            1. re: r.vacapinta

              By the way, I updated all of the confection shops you mentioned on the google map and browsed their websites. They look soooo good.

              I lived in Annecy for a bit, and loved the sweets there -- but not as much as the cheese ; )

              I really thought the retro tins of candy at Violette et Berlingot looked cool, and I think I am going to bring a bunch of these back for gifts.

              1. re: smkit

                Wow. Thanks again. We also were planning to go to Bernard Dufoux and Philippe Bel. It depends on how much chocolate we can fit into the 4-5 days we are there.
                Heck, we were even considering a trip down to Tain L'Hermitage to see if we could get into Valhrona, but we just don't have time.
                The Bernachon chocolate bars also make great gifts and I plan to bring back a stash to give out to friends.

            2. re: smkit

              Wow, you are a true wonder! Thanks for putting all those together. ;) I didn't post in this thread because I sent you an email. I can see from the map you got it.

              Just one little thing: the space that was Le Petit Leon is now part of Brasserie Leon de Lyon. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the unbelievably fantastic Mushroom Soup I had at the Brasserie. Mushroom season is coming up, and that soup is a "don't miss."

              1. re: ChefJune

                Well, I didn't really do that much. All of you Lyon regulars who HAD to go from restaurant to restaurant eating all that food -- you had the tough job...

                Anyhow, I just want to thank again ChefJune, souphie, menton1, mangeur et al who have contributed to chow posts in the past. It's been six years since I've been in Lyon, and it has been fun reading all the old posts. I am so looking forward to this.

                And yes, I will try the mushroom soup. My father used to be a mushroom farmer, so I grew up on mushrooms and love them.

                I also corrected the Le Petit Leon thing.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Btw, someone wrote me and said that they no longer serve the quenelles with sauce nantua at Brasserie Leon de Lyon.

                  1. re: smkit

                    email Jean-Paul and request them ahead of time. They were on the menu the last time I was there.

              2. Spectacular post for which you should get brocante's thanks not me.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7312...

                4 Replies
                1. re: wolfe

                  I'm just glad it is helpful to others, and I am still adding to it.

                  1. re: smkit

                    smkit,
                    I thanked wolfe for the post thinking he put it all together. I'm glad I just read his post above, otherwise I would never have had the chance to thank you for all the info you posted. It was a gift for which I can never repay you.
                    My husband I are will be there in late October so I'm looking forward to reading your posts on your return.
                    Have a good trip!

                    1. re: brocante

                      Happy that credit is going to where the credit is due but hey I did find it. ;-)

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Thanks, again. We'll toast you and smkit, during one of the amazing meals we're looking forward to.

                2. Yes, thanks from me too...my husband and I will also be in Lyon in October. My list looks a lot like yours, so I look forward to your report!

                  1. Well, here is the beginning of my restaurant reviews in Lyon.

                    Today, my wife and I got into town and within one hour we were eating. Our room wasn't ready, so we asked where to eat, and she recommended a restaurant not too far away, 1-star Christian Têtedoie was close by and easy to walk to.

                    First of all, the restaurant isn't cheap, but if you book ahead (which I didn't) and know what seats to ask for, the view is extraordinary. Five months ago they moved to an overlook of vieux Lyon on Montée du Chemin Neuf and the restaurant is spanking new and modern with a fabulous overlook. You'll probably have views similar to Villa Florentine.

                    They have set menus starting at 56 Euros per person in addition to a la carte dishes and a great wine list. We tried two different set menus. It isn't always great to do this because dish timing can get off and some menus have more courses which can make it awkward at times, but for the lower two menus it worked pretty well (though not perfectly). Here is a list of the set menus.

                    http://www.tetedoie.com/menu.html

                    I must say that my French was completely inadequate for this place. How does one say "cumin infused foam" in French...?

                    Anyhow, as most times when I eat at -- for lack of a better word -- haute cuisine restaurants, I leave with bits and pieces of impressions. I loved the snail ravioli, some sort of fabulous salt foam, what they described simply as 'fruit salad' in a shot glass, the Grand Marnier souffle, and the St. Marcellin cheese. The veal and lamb dishes were also very good. The service (on Sunday) was very good but not exceptional -- but if I spoke better French, I am sure it would have gone smoother.

                    Anyhow, we will see how it stacks up to other places recommended, but it was nice to jump right in and start eating.

                    Has anyone tried this place before?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: smkit

                      never heard of it, but sounds delightful. The view from Villa Florentine is certainly spectacular, but I found the meal I had there (albeit several years ago) just not up to the prices they charged.

                      BTW, be sure to ask where the St. Marcellin comes from each time you order it in a restaurant. Renée and Renée Richard are the best affineurs of this cheese. And wait until you taste with the mère at their stand at Les Halles. She's a true Lyon legend.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        What are the best answers when I ask where the cheese came from? Just Rennee or are there others.

                        Today I ate at Les Adrets and La Voûte Chez Léa. Both were excellent meals. The sauce on the vinegar chicken was amazing and the Lyonnaise salad was top notch. The service at Les Adrets was so-so, but the food was excellent.

                        1. re: smkit

                          imho, Richards' St. Marcellin is head and shoulders better than all the rest. Not sure who else is famous for it.

                          Glad you liked Chez Lea. I get hungry just thinking about that salad. If you want the recipe for the chicken, it's in my book!

                    2. Just FYI, today I picked up a restaurant guide to Lyon that was in the English-language book store off Place Bellecour. I can't vouch for the restaurants I haven't tried, but the author, Alice Haberer, seems to do a good job and many of the recommendations in the book reflect Chowhound and the Michelin stars. The book is also partially in English. Here is the link.

                      http://cuisine.glenatlivres.com/livre...

                      Also, she listed three places as her standouts of 2010. Those restaurants were L'Alexandrin, La Remanence, and Mon bistrot a moi. The last one is run by a chef who was associated with Jean Paul Lacombe and L'Alexandrin has 1 star.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smkit

                        Thanks for the link. Wonder if I can find it here. Jean-Paul has launched many careers at his bistros, as well as Léon.

                        Can't wait for more of your reports. I'd love to be there, too!

                      2. I will give more detailed impressions later, but here is the list so far where I have eaten.

                        Tetedoie
                        La Voute Chez Lea
                        Les Adrets
                        Brasserie Leon de Lyon
                        Le Phosphore (wine bar)
                        Pignol
                        Magali et Martin
                        Comptoir du Boeuf
                        L'Alexandrin

                        I think I might try get to Bocuse's restaurant tomorrow night and try a machon tomorrow morning.

                        I didn't get everywhere I wanted, but then there were too many places to go and too little time.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: smkit

                          Oh yeah, I also tried out Bernachon. That is a seriously wonderful place for chocolate lovers. One of only a handful of places in Europe that takes the raw bean all the way through to the final chocolate product , it is truly a unique and wonderful place. The Bernachon family has even by marriage united with Paul Bocuse's family, and Paul B's daughter runs the tea room next door. This is hallowed foodie ground.

                          1. re: smkit

                            Waiting with bated breath for your reviews of all your meals. Hope you do get to Bocuse. Anxious to know how you like it.

                            What about Mere Brazier?

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              Btw, I just got back from Paul Bocuse. It was amazing. I almost didn't go to it based upon some comments on this forum, but when a cooking institution (Paul) is 80+ years old and the food is still fabulous, it ended up being a no brainer. No fewer than three seasoned foodie/professionals recommended going there, and I am glad I did.

                              I was actually predisposed to think Bocuse was dated and stale, but it wasn't that. Yes, they did haul out Chef Bocuse for pictures and the wallpaper was 'traditional French' (which I liked in an odd way) -- but I am still a food tourist and actually kind of liked the kitsch. But the dishes and food seemed so un-stale and un-dated it was surprising to me. In fact, these dishes seemed quite refreshing for a non-native and the fact they have lasted for so long is quite amazing. It would seem strange to criticize the lack of quenelles (for instance) at bouchons (where it is required I think), brasseries, or other places and then turn around and say Bocuse is 'dated' for having such traditional fare. This isn't WD-50, nor should it be.

                              Sure, you won't get a lot of gelatins and foams or liquid-nitro frozen accents, but that doesn't really make a wonderful dish. That pan-seared foie gras was one of the best things I tasted all week and all year, and I will never question Bocuse's three stars again.

                              And I would also recommend that you don't go for the rack of lamb or chicken. These dishes don't really display Chef Bocuse's influence. My wife and I ordered the Quenelles,beef, and pigeon -- and it was great. The waiter frankly said (when asked) that these were better to 'show off' the chef's cooking, and I would highly recommend asking for these (or other non-traditional dishes) instead. An American next to us kept asking for white chicken meat -- guess how that turned out?

                              And the wine list? I had thought there was going to be a bias towards Georges Deboeuf, but the list was extensive (many pages) and there were even some 'bargains' -- though not the '66 Petrus at 2500 Euro.

                              I ordered a bottle of Gigondas for 50 Euros (one of the cheapest wines) and it was fabulous. Also, Saint Joseph wines were very reasonable in price and generally seem to be a popular choice in this area.

                              Basically, there are a lot of regional wines on wine lists, which is common in France. When I lived in Haute-Savoie, they recommended Apremont a lot and knew very little about wine outside the region (except the big names and crus), and here they recommend wines from the neighboring areas (south Burgundy and north Rhone). I didn't find that unusual. The Bocuse restaurant -- outside of good year 1er crus and other big names -- was pretty regional, which is quite fine and standard. Cote-Rotie reds were a whole page, and you will also find a lot of Condrieu, Crozes-Hermitages and other nearby wine areas. Local is good -- not a bias IMO.

                              You WILL pay for wine and your meal though, but that is also the price of partaking in gastronomic history. Do you really want to go to Lyon and a few years later hear that the master is no longer cooking? And you skipped it for some brasserie in the presqu’île? Probably not. A waiter at one place recommended Pierre Orsi as his favorite, but then said that it is probably better to go to Bocuse for that reason.

                              I know this might sound way too enthusiastic about Bocuse, but the meal was really that good and I had pretty low expectations. In the last year the two best meals I have eaten have been Alinea in Chicago and Paul Bocuse. They are both different, but equally fabulous. I feel lucky to have eaten at them both. Molecular gastronomy is great, but pre-molecular inventive gastronomy is also great.

                              I'll continue with more reviews later (once I get back to the US), but I just wanted to throw this out there before I boarded my plane and still could taste Bocuse on my breath.

                              Just as an appetizer though...I really, really loved L'Alexandrin....I can't get the mashed potatoes with foam butter out of my head...that was brilliant.

                              k.

                              1. re: smkit

                                "The master is no longer cooking." Did you see him in the kitchen? Bocuse hasn't been the chef there for a long time, although he does come in when he's in town. But I don't think he cooked your dinner. Glad it was great. I will agree about expectations. When I was there (and it was many years ago) I expected it to be the best food and dining experience I had ever had. And it fell WAAAAAY short of that. I am planning to go again in March, mainly because Souphie (whose palate I trust) praises it so much.

                                Now, before you go dissing Duboeuf...... may I please say that he makes many wines. and only a certain few are exported to US. In Lyon, if you order a Duboeuf wine, it doesn't taste like the ones you can buy stateside (except for a few that Sherry-Lehmann exclusively carry). That said, the only places I have enountered multiple Duboeuf wines on the menu are at Lacombe's places. Imho that is to be expected. Duboeuf is his father-in-law!

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  Yes, the I understand the master isn't cooking and didn't prepare my meal, but apparently he is at the restaurant quite often. I was just eating and he came up to the table with a 'handler' and the asked if we wanted a picture. So we took one.

                                  And you are very correct about Deboef. I thought I read that he favored his wines and they tended to dominate, but now that I think about it, I think those who posted that were talking about the Bocuse brasseries. When I wrote that post I was a bit tipsy. That is what happens when your wife is pregnant and drinking duties are no longer equal.

                                2. re: smkit

                                  I have never heard of l'Alexandrin. Is it new/newish? What part of town is it in? Those potatoes sound interesting.

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    I'm not sure how long the restaurant has been around. It used to have a star but then lost it, and then the head chef took over the restaurant in 2007 and they regained their star in 2008. It is located in the 3rd near Les Halles.

                                  2. re: smkit

                                    Great post: sounds like you really "got" what Bocuse is about. The consistency of technique and ingredients, day in, day out, year after year, is quite amazing. Probably as high as any restaurant in France. Go with an informed attitude, as you did, and one won't be disappointed. My only disagreement with your report is that the price:quality ratio is, as three stars go, quite good.

                                    Robert

                                    1. re: rswatkins

                                      On second thought, you are probably right on the QPR. I only paid marginally more at Bocuse than at the one-star places.

                                      1. re: smkit

                                        Imho, the qpr for 3-star restaurants is considerably greater away from Paris. It's not just Bocuse.

                              2. So I am back in the US, and here's my report.

                                Tetedoie: This was the first place my wife and I ate at and were really jet lagged. It would have been better with some rest. Christian Tetedoie is reinvigorating his menu in a new location but the dishes still seem a bit clumsy and unbalanced. It is expensive and there are flairs of greatness, but IMO the menu needs to mature and be refined. This is a new style for the chef and he is in a new place as of March. I think another year will shake this place out.

                                Pignol: This was a recommendation not off of Chowhound, and it was probably the best lunch I had, and as far as plates go, it was my best lunch plate of my trip. This is a Lyon institution, and there is a neat little restaurant above the patisserie. If you reserve ahead you can get one of the two window seats, which are really pleasant.

                                Brasserie Leon de Lyon: It was very good as reported by others. Someone recommended that we sit inside to get the ambience that so many enjoyed when it had its stars and converted to a brasserie. The chocolate brioche dessert was probably one of the best desserts I had all trip. The rabbit was also fabulous.

                                Le Comptoir de Boeuf: I hadn't planned on eating at this place, but when a pregnant wife needs to eat, you eat. The meal was very mediocre, but the brioche dessert with caramelized crust rivaled Leon de Lyon's. I think there are much better buchons out there, but they are not in the old town.

                                Les Adrets: I mentioned this earlier up thread. The service is so-so and if you are staying in the vieux Lyon it might be one of the best choices.

                                L'Alexandrin: This is a 1 star restaurant, and it was probably one of the best meals I had during my stay. They offer a vegetable menu, which was very refreshing after so many rich meat and fish meals. My wife got the Spirit of Lyon menu and that was also very nice. My favorite dishes were a poached egg that was subsequently lightly breaded and fried, the smashed potatoes with butter foam, and the appetizer sampler was simply gorgeous. I also liked the quenelle, though my wife liked Bocuse's better. The price is about the same as Tetedoie, but the menu was more balanced and it just went together very well. I'd choose this over Tetedoie.

                                Le Phosphore Wine Bar: This is another Tetedoie initiative at the restaurant location. Even though it is in a new building, the feeling inside wasn't that comfy, but on a nice day, the view and outside tables would be extraordinary. They offer four tapas-style plate menus for 20 Euros each and 30 wines by the glass, of which about 15 are 4-6 Euros in price. Pretty reasonalbe. The food was very, very good and surprisingly filling. They had some nice terrines, cured meat with melon, and a pot of sweet and sour frog legs. These were just some of the offerings. I think this wine bar and Tetedoie's restaurant will mature into their space and refine the menu in the next year or so. I read somewhere that Chef Tetedoie wants to try get a second star, so I think there is initiative but a new space and style of food are some big challenges. It will be interesting to watch.

                                Fromagerie Richard Renee: A great cheese dealer as reported on this board. Most of the best restaurants use this supplier (and advertise it as such). With that said, I didn't try the cheese here, but at least two of three times I tried St. Marcellin, it came from this supplier. I did get their yogurts though, and they were really tasty.

                                Le Cafe Epicerie (at Cour des Loges): The restaurant was under construction so I think the restaurant operations will be out of the cafe for a while. It was a solid meal. The duck was very good and the mash potatoes were some of the best I have had. This seems like a safe bet in the old town.

                                Passionnement Truffes (in Les Halles): I think this is a tourist trap eating space, but I could be wrong. The truffle raviolis looked good so we tried it. I broke almost every one of my rules in going to this joint especially when I know it isn't Perigord black truffle seaso (they are using tinned truffles at this time). With that said, the expensive raviolis were very good with the cream and bordelaise sauce. It probably wasn't worth the money though, and it might be better during truffle season (mid-Nov through March).

                                La Voute Chez Lea: This was a very good stop (as reported above). I went at lunch and the chicken (though a bit dry) had that wonderful vinegar sauce. And the lyonnaise salad set the standard for the rest during our stay. I can still taste that salad. I also liked the house dog, Volu, that has adeptly learned how to work the swing doors and always found the best places to await dropped morsels of food.

                                Magali et Martin: This place was highly recommended, but unfortunately I got sick (not related to the food) and couldn't finish the meal. In the portion of the meal I tasted, I had high hopes, and my wife really liked it. The place doesn't really have a sign and it is a small place, so you need to reserve. This place was also recommended as one of the top standouts in 2008 by that guide I mentioned up thread.

                                Paul Bocuse: I already wrote on this and enjoyed it very much. Strip away the hype, pomp, expectations -- you are still left with a perfect or near perfect meal. The only thing that was substandard was part of the dessert course. I would suggest asking the waiter about recommended dishes. Also, I would look at the menu ahead of time and plan out what you want to help manage cost. You can also ask for an actual menu and they will provide it for a souvenir if you want. Wines are very expensive on the list, but you can find good bottles in the $45-60 range. Some would argue that QPR is not good for Bocuse, and that might be true. You can probably get just as good food for less, but the experience was wonderful depending upon your expectations.

                                Lastly here are some other tid-bits that I found helpful.

                                I spent a half day with Lucy from Lucy's Kitchen Notebook and it was really great. Her blog is wonderful, but she is so knowledgeable and helpful that I would highly recommend contacting her for food/wine tours. She advertises this service on her website.

                                http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/

                                Many shops in Les Halles close on Wednesday afternoon, so plan ahead if you are in Lyon mid-week.

                                Lunch in vieux Lyon is tough and plan to be somewhere else if you want better food. Places like George Five, Les Adrets, and Plante Happy Friends Family are not opened for lunch. La Voute Chez Lea is just across the river though.

                                Bernachon is a must, but I would read up on it before hand. It helps appreciate the place a bit more.

                                The places that I wish I had more time to visit were:

                                George Five Wine Bar
                                Le Gourmet de Séze
                                L'Ourson Qui Boit
                                Mon Bistrot A Moi
                                Maison Clovis

                                And I would probably make my home base out of Evasion Loft in the 6th the next time around.

                                I hope this helps some future travelers. I have also been continuously updating the google map. Once I am done, I will probably make it open for collaboration if others would like to include places.

                                http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: smkit

                                  Superb! I have bookmarked your map on my home computer. It will be really useful in March! I didn't realize Emile Henry had a store in Lyon. I LOVE their stuff. ;)

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    Lucy even conducts some cooking classes in the Emile Henry kitchen.

                                2. Well, we didn't spend as much time in Lyon as we would have liked. The first reason was the French strikes. Lyon was the last part of a holiday which started out in Torino Italy, took us to the Annecy region then over to Lyon. So we got to Lyon late. We did manage to spend some time in Torino and I wrote a long trip report about that in the Italy board, if anyone is interested:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7436...

                                  The second reason was that my wife got sick and had to spend the bulk of her time trying to recover in the hotel bed or going out for short jaunts. The brilliant move she made when booking the hotel, though, was that it was across the street from Les Halles de Lyon. So we did get to know Les Halles rather well...

                                  ---Les Halles
                                  It was fun to spend enough time in this market to start to understand its rhythms. Office workers having their lunch in the afternoon. Housewives with their carts in the morning getting their ingredients for the days meal. An older crowd of retirees in the late morning. The after-work crowd in the evening grabbing a few things for dinner.

                                  Oysters (Chez Leon
                                  )Our first day was a lunch of a dozen oysters and a dozen sea snails washed down with a white wine. A great way to start. We had asked for a random selection of meaty oysters. This was my first time eating sea snails, which I loved. My wife assures me that they were among the freshest and most delicious she has tasted.

                                  Mere Richard
                                  Over the course of several days, our lunch consisted of me running out to Les Halles and bringing back food to eat in our hotel room. This was often cheese from Mere Richard, bread from Isle Barbe (see below) and saucissons or pates from other vendors. We did have the Saint-Marcellin - creamy and filling, a meal on its own really. As well as other cheeses which we forgot to note down.

                                  Boulanger Isle Barbe
                                  Our bread came from here but this is also where we usually had breakfast. My wife could not get enough of the Canneles which she had every morning with fresh bread and jam and a pot of Mariage Freres tea. They have a cafe area right across from Mere Richard where you can watch experienced shoppers haggle over their cheese.

                                  Foie gras mousse, saucissons at Sibilia and others
                                  We had a variety of suacissons and pates from the various vendors in Les Halles. Usually a saucisson and a mousse and perhaps some crunchy grattons (pork and duck cracklings)

                                  Bahadourian
                                  The main thing we picked up here is a tin of Puy Lentils. We had picked up some Umbrian lentils in Torino and my wife is looking forward to trying out the various lentils in her lentil dishes.

                                  ---Other Restaurants
                                  We did manage to go out and eat, mainly on the last day.

                                  Giraudet
                                  The supposed draw here is the quenelles but what really drew our attention was the wonderfully complex soups. They appear simple but it is deceptive. There are layers of flavors in these soups. Since we returned my wife has been trying to learn more about Michel Porfido and trying to reproduce some of his soups. True, the recipes are on the bottles but not the full recipes, I think.

                                  Le Splendid
                                  A really comfortable place, busy and large but with a small bistro feel,where we had lunch. The fresh raw salmon starters were as good or better than any sashimi we have had at great sushi places. I had the Quenelle with Nantua sauce - the sauce being the standout.

                                  Magali et Martin
                                  We had dinner here. My starter was Coquilles St. Jacques with Roscoff onions. There was also an avocado sauce underneath. The result was a luscious small dish. Everything perfect with a balance of sweet and substance. My second was lievre a la cuillere (Hare by the spoon) basically hare broken down in a thick rich sauce, seared foie gras on top. This was served with sides of a Spätzle and another of a Sauerkraut. It was left to me as to how to eat this and in what proportions. Absolutely delicious and rich.
                                  If I was a local, I'd eat at Magali et Martin every week. There is only one chef (Martin) in the adjoining kitchen along with an assistant. The food was absolutely impeccable.

                                  ---Bernachon
                                  Bernachon gets a heading of its own. I became a fan after buying some chocolate bars at L'Etoile D'Or in Paris. There, Denise Acabo had guided us on what she considered the best bars. I walked out with a few bars and always regretted not buying more. So, this trip to Lyon was also a trip to the source.

                                  There are people in front buying pastries and cakes. The chocolates are at the back. And you have to ask for the bars which are not really displayed. Get one of the Fondants, these are filled chocolate bars. After that, choose what appeals to you but be sure to get a Kalouga bar - salted butter caramel inside a creamy bar of chocolate. I brought back more than one.

                                  We wish we had the time and health to try more. But what we did manage to try amazed us.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: r.vacapinta

                                    Great review. You've made me homesick!

                                    1. re: r.vacapinta

                                      Thanks for the report, and I am glad you liked Magali et Martin. I had heard such good things about it, but I couldn't fully enjoy it as I fell ill (not from their food) just after arriving. Now I just want to go back.

                                      1. re: smkit

                                        I've been meaning to add to this thread since we returned from Lyon several weeks ago!

                                        We made the decision to stick to traditional places that served Lyonnaise cuisine as neither of us had been to Lyon before. So we set about to try as many Bouchons as we could...thank goodness Lyon is surrounded by all of those hills, or else we would have left several lbs heavier!

                                        We couldn't get reservations at Le Garet or Daniel and Denise (our fault for waiting too long, and we were there over a weekend which complicated matters). But we had a fabulous meal at Le Bouchon des Filles (which I had found on the Lyon resto site.). I loved the way they took Bouchon fare and added just a slight modern twist, will still being true to the vibe. I had the best steak of my life there, and my husband had a wonderful blood sausage in filo that was really yummy. The service was great and we had a wonderful time.

                                        We also had a memorable experience at Chez Paul. We were late making reservations and they had one table left. We were squeezed in a table between 2 other couples and ended up eating family style. My husband had the tablier de sapeur and I had the chicken in vinegar. He absolutely loved his meal...he is an adventurous eater and declared the tablier quite tasty. Mine was very good as well. But what made it special was the atmosphere. We spent 3 hours talking and sharing food with strangers who, by the end of the night, were like old friends. So while the food was merely very good, this place stood out for me as one of my favorite memories of the trip. Which makes it chowhound worthy, to me at least.

                                        We also had oysters at Les Halles, which were fabulous. And lunch at Pignol was as described above - so good and such a value, My husband had skate with a caper butter sauce and I had a duck breast endive salad. Ridiculously good for the cost. We also had a great lunch at Aux Trois Maries, another Bouchon. I had the quenelle and my husband had another blood sausage. Very lovely, and again quite good.

                                        Chef June, we took your advice and went to Chez Lea. We had the special there, a pigeon with foie gras. Everything was yummy - in a way, it might have been some of the best we had in Lyon. But the woman in charge seemed to be in a bad mood...the atmosphere was the opposite of Chez Paul, and it put a damper on the wonderful food, I am not usually one to care so much about that as long as the food is good, but in this case it took the experience down a notch for us. Hopefully she was just having a bad night.

                                        We loved Lyon! Next time we'll try some of the other places mentioned above. We saved our upscale dining for Nice, which I will get around to next. But Lyon sure won our hearts, not in the least for the wonderful food and nice people. Thanks to all for the tips!

                                        1. re: sistereurope

                                          Wow, that's too bad about Chez Lea. Did Chef Rabatel not come out into the dining room? He always has when I've been there. Did you have the amazing Lyonnaise Salad?

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            No the chef didn't come out. It really was just a bad night I guess...all of the staff seemed to NOT want to be there. And we got the menu (so we could get the pigeon), so no salad. We had just had such wonderful experiences at Le Bouchon des Filles and Chez Paul that it was a big let down. But I would try it again because the food was do good,..maybe the salad at lunch though.

                                            1. re: sistereurope

                                              They are famous for their Vinegar Chicken. :)

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                That vinegar sauce on the chicken was oh so good.

                                          2. re: sistereurope

                                            I second this. Le Bouchon des Filles has great food, nice relax atmosphere and a lot of creativity in the dishes. The best is maybe the price. At $35 per person, it was a steal.

                                        2. re: r.vacapinta

                                          That sounds lovely and I'll also check your Torino thread! I've done them and some Savoyard places as a trip, but on the cheap as a graduate student so just one or two good restaurant meals. Bookmarking!

                                          Hope Mme Vacapinta is fine.

                                        3. Great thread. So much information. We return to Lyon in June and I can't wait to try so many of the places listed here. I'll have to try to squeeze in an extra meal each day otherwise I only get 8. Decisions. Decisions!. Thanks for making the job tougher.

                                          1. This might be a silly question... but where is the restaurant location of Pignol that everyone enjoyed so much?

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: EWRTravelers

                                              It is on the other side of Place Bellecour when walking away from the train station.

                                              Look for the top picture in this link.

                                              http://www.pignol.fr/traiteur-lyon/fr...

                                              1. re: EWRTravelers

                                                It's actually not the one in the picture, that's the traiteur. The café part which also sells the delicious cakes, is on rue Emile Zola, which is just around the corner, on one of the side streets leading off Pl Bellecour. It's fantastic for cake, but there are other places which are better value for money for actually eating in. Unless you're looking for a Salon de Thé of course. But then, there are other Salon de Thés that I prefer too!

                                                http://eatdrinklyon.posterous.com/

                                                1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                  That is true about it being around the corner. I was just indicating the sign that would see as you cross the place.

                                                  1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                    Thanks for the help - We are in Lyon for such a short period of time we are trying to make our decisions carefully.

                                                    We are hoping to see old town in the morning - grab lunch - see some more sites and grab dinner at either Leon de Lyon or Daniel et Denise.

                                                    We though that Pignol would be a central and affordable lunch option.

                                                    1. re: EWRTravelers

                                                      I haven't eaten there, but they had some tasty macarons the last time I was in Lyon!

                                                      1. re: EWRTravelers

                                                        Then don't miss Terre Adelice for ice cream in Vieux Lyon when you're there if you can - really the best in Lyon. Check that D&D is open when you come and not shut for the summer vacances. L de L is a solid and safe choice (but missing a bit in atmosphere in my opinion) but it does stay open all year. Did you consider Rue Le Bec? Lovely setting on the river (Saone) (easy enough to get to by metro/tram but easier to take cab) (or you could walk). Never eaten at Pignol although purchase things from the traiteur pretty often. There is a really fantastic little café on quai Célestins called Seven. It's opposite the market (quai st antoine) and lots of the market people stop in there for coffee etc. But it does a menu du jour every day, homecooked. Really lovely people (I am in there regularly for coffee). Or, there's the Café du Marché further along the quai, or finally (all along that same stretch), Zone Verte, which is an organic restaurant. Totally new concept for here; even the trays are ethically sourced/made. (They have a website; the other two don't.) The advantage of these three is that they are literally just across the bridge from Vieux Lyon; plus, you'll have a view while you grab lunch. And they are filled with locals. I think Zone Verte will stay open all year; the other two may take off for the holidays.

                                                        http://eatdrinklyon.posterous.com/

                                                        1. re: EWRTravelers

                                                          Pignol is sort of an institution and it was recommended to me by Lucy Vanel who blogs out of Lyon and teaches cooking courses at the Le Crueset store. I got lucky because she made my reservations and new the best table to reserve. It was a very good meal.

                                                          All this talk is getting me hungry, and I am lucky that I have four days in Paris this August. Yeah.

                                                          Here is Lucy's blog.
                                                          http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/

                                                    2. Does anyone know if Restaurant L'Etage is still open & if it is still good? We ate there years ago & it was lovely. Thanks for any feedback!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: DaTulip

                                                        Found a review on Lyonresto.com dated 2011-07-12, so still open early this month.

                                                      2. Thanks to everyone for your help and feedback.

                                                        By the time we arrived in Lyon on Sunday evening the only two places left open to eat were Pizza e Pino and McDonalds so we decided to skip dinner and get some much needed rest.

                                                        The following day (Monday) we stopped at Pignol for some morning croissants and coffee on our way to the Old Town Lyon. We actually made our way back to Pignol for a nice lunch that included a main, dessert and coffee.

                                                        For dinner we made our way over to Daniel et Denise for dinner around 9 pm. Overall I would have to say I found the food and experience "ok" - perhaps it was due to our lack of understanding the menu.

                                                        At this point we actually don't even remember what we were served which to me is not a good sign. Both of the mains for the evening were just blah - they almost seemed like a terrine. The desert was actually just a large plate of I am assuming meringue but we noticed none of the other tables sitting by us ate much of it either.

                                                        The next morning we stopped at Les Halles on the way to Part Dieu (to take the train to Paris). Had a great time buying cheese (Richard Mere) and lunch for the train.

                                                        Overall Lyon was a great town but we didn't feel blown away by the food (or at least the places we visited - keeping in mind our short visit that occurred on a Sunday/Monday)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: EWRTravelers

                                                          Sorry you didn't get to spend more time there. I think the food in Lyon is just about the best anywhere (and not just in France)! and much more affordable than Paris.

                                                        2. Wow! Thanks to everyone for all the info...it's been instrumental in organizing my trip!
                                                          I was finally able to buy a bar of Bernachon's Kalouga tablette and was so excited, but I'm really confused. I do not taste any salted caramel and it tastes like alcohol. Is this normal?

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: grace247

                                                            I don't know as I have never eaten any of their bars. Big fan, however, of the truffles and of the bonbons.

                                                            1. re: grace247

                                                              When I bought salted caramel, it tasted like salted caramel.

                                                              1. re: smkit

                                                                thanks! i love salted caramel, think i got a dud....what a let down.

                                                            2. A brief trip to Lyon in September 2011 yielded two places worth a visit.

                                                              Aux Trois Maries, mentioned elsewhere in this thread, is a bouchon in Vieux Lyon (1 Rue des Trois-Maries, at the north end). I had the pike quenelle, my wife had scallops in a lemon butter sauce; both were outstanding. Our server did not speak much English, but nevertheless was extraordinarily accommodating—even retrieving a French-English food dictionary to ensure that we understood that day’s plat.

                                                              La Table du Suzanne (on a corner: 39 Rue Auguste Comte, or 22 Rue Remparts d'Ainay) provided an absolutely first-rate dinner. I had the gambas and the sea bass ; my wife had the quail ballotine and cote de veau. The food was superb and beautifully presented, the room quite attractive, the service all one could want. This restaurant has not yet received as much notice as it merits, at least on English-language sites, but some French sites seem to think it’s on its way to a star. Nothing in our experience suggested otherwise.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: dannno

                                                                Thanks for the report. Suzanne sounds very interesting.

                                                                  1. re: zizouz

                                                                    There are quite a number of more recent Lyon threads. Do a search, and then ask specific questions. You'll get more responses.

                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                      I checked those and didn't see a whole lot new. At any rate, has anyone been to Au 14 Fevrier? Saisons? Generally, what was the informed take on Bill Buford's piece on Lyon last year in the Guardian:

                                                                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011...

                                                                      1. re: zizouz

                                                                        Well, I agree with Chef June - there's quite a lot that's changed, as you would expect, but I don't have time to sit here and regularly update! but if you ask specific questions I'd be happy to try and answer if I have personal knowledge! :)

                                                                        14 février is excellent. I went when it first opened but have to say I haven't been back - but that's not a reflection on its part in any way. You won't be disappointed. It's a unique experience but be aware that it is small - maybe only 12-16 places I think, so it's a quiet meal. I personally don't like it when everyone is whispering and you can hear what everyone is saying, but the ambience is still good, and the food really divine.

                                                                        There is a similar restaurant which I haven't tried, which opened around 2 months ago, in which Christian Tetedoie has an interest, called Flair. http://www.restaurantflair.com/
                                                                        French blog with photos of meal here:
                                                                        http://www.faimdelyon.com/flair-a-lyon/

                                                                        Another update is that Potager des Halles is closed this summer for renovations, but the bistrot remains open, in case you were thinking of taking a trip any time soon.

                                                                        There's also a new wine bar attached to La Mere Brazier.

                                                                        And as mentioned elsewhere, Le Bec has moved out of town.

                                                                        There's also a fabulous boutique coffee shop; tiny and perfect, sells the best coffee in town (drink in, takeaway, or buy beans), wonderful atmosphere, to die-for cakes made by a local French woman, run by a friendly French/New Zealand couple. Everyone seems to find their way there when they visit Lyon... Cafe Mokxa
                                                                        http://www.cafemokxa.com/content/2-co...
                                                                        English spoken.

                                                                        So that's an update. ;)

                                                                        1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                                          Thanks. Much appreciated. Outside of Antic 5, which wine bars/stores are worth hitting up in Lyon?

                                                                          1. re: zizouz

                                                                            I like to drink in Wee-An, which has a fun atmosphere. They also sell wine. As for stores, my favourite is Cave Reseda - very knowledgable owner who speaks some English. Wines from boutique producers. Good advice and not overpriced. Malleval just off Place Bellecour has a good overall selection, but especially burgundy. Much higher prices, but you'll find the famous wines here. Sadly there aren't many good wine bars, which is bizarre for a wine region! Three of our favourites have recently closed. Thomas Café and Potager des Halle's Bistrot serve a good selection by the glass.

                                                                            1. re: zizouz

                                                                              Oh, this is also meant to be good, fairly new, but I haven't been. And there's the wine bar of La Mere Brazier also.
                                                                              http://www.aromo-lyon.com/vins.php

                                                                              1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                                                Hi,

                                                                                My wife and I are going to Lyon in June this year and considering Paul Bocuse. I have looked at his website and found the set menu prices - does anyone know if they are cheaper at lunch time? I can't find any details about separate lunch menus.

                                                                                Thanks,
                                                                                Dale.