2 weeks in Bordeaux (city) - Best gastronomic experiences (from cheap to $$$$)?
My wife and I are spending 2 weeks in Bordeaux in late October, renting an apartment with a kick-ass gourmet kitchen, and planning on staying within the city's confines to experience as much as it can offer. To that end, I'm canvassing for must-try local specialties, (pret-a-manger to 'eviscerate before serving'), as well as any local dining experiences that you feel shouldn't be missed. (cafes/markets/brasseries/anything really). Your contributions and advice is most welcome and appreciated.
Although Bordeaux is capital of the French wine world, it is not the culinary hotpsot like Provence or Paris. Not that a great trip can't be had, you just have to work a little harder to find good stuff.
Obviously, you will need to find market days, which will probably provide everything you could need to make "kick-ass" dinners.
My two cents, after a 4-5 day visit in the region/city to visit wine properties. (Set some appts up ahead of time if possible, and keep in mind that driving to Pauillac & Margaux is not just around the corner, it is a good hour plus away)
In Bordeaux our group went to La Tupina, which many have raved about, many have ranted, and we were squarely in the middle, some of our group had great food, some just OK. the price of La Tupina comes up alot, and yes, really nice atmosphere, but I thought way overpriced, especially wine, as i mentioned our group was on a wine trip, so volume of wine was as important as quality! I say save your money...
A place we really liked, but you have to work your way thru the menu was Brasserie Bordelaise right in the middle of the walking part of town. GREAT wine pricing, most dishes were very good, and priced very fairly. The cheese / charc plate was good too, they cut Iberico Jamon to order. Fun place just to drink, Armagnacs back to the 1800's.
The only other place to recommend in town that we went to was the waterfront (Quay). Granted, all the joints in this area are "touristy" nose them out and find a place that is fun, it is a really nice place to spend an afternoon if the weather is good.
The better restos we went to were up in Wine Country. Another place that has good/bad reviews is LeLion D'Or in Margaux, just around the corner from Chat Margaux. the chef has a "hothead" reputation, and a gift for throwing people out of his restaurant, but we found him to be a charming fellow just acting a part. the food we had here was very good, not overpriced, although the wine list for middle of Margaux was remarkably dull.
A place we enjoyed enormously was a small, mainly outdoor restuarant in St Julien, called "Le St Julien". Sunny weather? Absolutely make a stop here.
I know we went to a little wine bar in Bordeaux called Le Cave, or similar, and it too had nice apps, didn't eat dinner.
If i can think of anything else i missed i will write back.
I had lunch at Jean Ramet. It was good though that was a few years ago and it seems to have lost its star which is not the best sign. If in town, I would probably return, nonetheless. Madam Ramet was kind enough to seat me walking in(it filled completely and seemed like all parties had reservations) and the sommelier(another madam) was quite good.
Definitely worth experiencing La Tupina for old style cooking and lovely ambience. Brasserie Bordelaise is a bit more throbbing and fun.
my favourite eating place is Brasserie L'Orleans....an old style French brasserie/bistro dating from the 1940's. Lovely atmosphere, great classic food and a very good wine list. I often eat there with clients.
Although the centre of Bordeaux is beautiful and immaculately restored, it is worth exploring a few other places in the area. Saint Emilion is stunning (I regularly eat at L'Envers du decor) and the Medoc is fun...I would recommend Cafe Lavinal in the hamlet of Bages next to Pauillac.
The other great experience is the excellent 5 star hotel and spa Les Sources de Caudalie. A fantastic restaurant, great hotel and right next door to a beautiful Chateau.
I am surprised that
Pavilion Des Boulevard has not been mentioned.
It has been almost two years, but this 1* restaurant was a Gem.
In fact, one of the best if not the best 1* we have been to.
Don't miss the tasting Menu, for the moderate price the quality of ingredients the Value is unbelievable
Caviar, Blue Lobster, etc.
We had a personal thank you on Chowhounds from a couple who went there, and they too agreed that it was superb, saying that they enjoyed it more than the other Star Restaurants on the Trip.
I would definitely go to La Tupina, as it is so distinctive.
The food was good, and interesting with all of the regional dishes.
It was a fun and very long evening