Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Mar 27, 2012 02:11 PM

Do-not-miss Lyon?


Am a NYC hound who will be in Lyon later this summer. We're renting an apartment so we can enjoy some of the best stuff from the markets but I am also seeking advice from fellow Chowhounders for the best dining options in Lyon.

Having scoured the board here, it seems like recommendations are quite old and things have changed in some of the places previously highly recommended.

Price is no object and we will travel anywhere for amazing food. We're looking for traditional bouchons and any other places that showcase the delicious food of the region.

I have noted some places down but am not sure of their quality at all. These include: La Nef Desfous, Tire Bouchon, La Layon, La Merciere, Cafe des Federations, Brasserie Nord (one of the Paul Bocuse brasseries) and Leon de Lyon.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Of the places you've noted, I know of these: La Layon, La Merciere, Cafe des Federations, Brasserie Nord (one of the Paul Bocuse brasseries) and Leon de Lyon.

    La Merciere is good and probably the most authentic with good food on rue Merciere - the rest are all very touristy indeed and the food not great. Leon de Leon used to be good but is just ok now - nothing very 'wow' - there are better food options. If you want a proper traditional bouchon, you should look into La Meuniere - (opposite brasserie Nord). This along with Café des Fed are the most noteworthy.

    There is a new Le Bec brasserie in town which is very reasonably priced and great for lunch or dinner (same menu); the new enormous shopping centre at the Confluence opens today - while the shopping centre isn't anything to write home about (in terms of shopping!) (although the architecture is, and the entire area worth a visit if you are here some time), you can stroll all the way from centre ville to the Confluence, where there are two very good restaurants - Rue Le Bec and Domo. Domo is a unique concept - French-Japanese - there's a French menu, a Japanese menu, and a French/Japanese menu - you can mix and match courses, but each course from each menu features the same ingredients, cooked different ways. Lovely to sit on the terrace in summer looking out onto the Saone. You must book though for the evening.

    There's also Tetedoie's new gastronomic restaurant high on the hill near Fourviere - with amazing views of the city (as well as the sister brasserie next door - hit and miss service here).

    Something not to miss is Potager des Halles - incredible seasonal food; buzzing atmosphere.

    Another fabulous and famous place - La Mere Brazier - with a newly opened tiny wine bar alongside. The chicken is the dish to have here.

    There's a gastronomic restaurant in the Sofitel which is well regarded, which has pleasant views of the Rhone

    And then there's Les Halles where you can buy all that you desire to cook in your apartment.

    For a quiet lunch in a fabulous old square - you could try the cafe/restaurant in the Musée des Beaux Arts or even the Musée Gadagne in Vieux Lyon, both of which have lovely outdoor space and shady terraces when it's very hot here.

    On the pentes de la Croix Rousse you have Balthaz'art

    There's a lot of great food here in Lyon, but also many tourist traps/bad food too, so it's worth doing your research beforehand. Look for restaurants which display a 'membre des toques blanches lyonnaises' logo.

    Hope this helps.

    2 Replies
    1. re: EatDrinkLyon

      Do most of these recommendations require reservations, or is it quite easy to pop in and get a table?

      1. re: anonymoose

        Well I've mentioned quite a lot and they're all different ; it depends. The gastronomic ones will mostly require a reservation, but generally the same week, unless it's a very small restaurant.

    2. Well, I disagree with EDL about Leon de Lyon. It's now a brasserie, and no longer "fancy," but the food is still excellent. It IS traditional, tho, and EDL has said often that she prefers modern cuisine. Still, Chef Lacombe has been a big name in Lyon for decades, and the lunch I had last November was definitely memorable.

      It is always best to make a reservation rather than to be disappointed by being turned away at a full house, but most places only a few days notice is required. However, I found that when I tried to make a reservation for a bouchon only one day ahead, I was told they were already fully booked. So a couple of days ahead is a good idea.

      I don't think you looked at all the Lyon threads, because there are several that are less than a year old.

      I also would recommend the Sunday brunch at Rue LeBec. This is Nicolas LeBec's "extravaganza" place. The brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday, 2 seatings, and for 45 Euros it's all you can eat and drink for 3 hours. Reminded me of a Long Island Bar Mitzvah. Food was delicious and very high quality. Champagne, too...

      Brasserie Nord was good for a Sunday evening, but the soup was uber salty.

      1. My first post ever, but hopefully it will be helpful. I just got married to un français, who is from the area, last Sept in Lyon and we had the most memorable meal at La Maison Troisgrois in Roanne (about 45m outside Lyon) with our friends and family. If money is no object, it was worth every Euro. They welcomed us into the kitchen, met Michel Troisgros in his kitchen, chatted and even took pictures with us. When he found out we had just gotten married he sent out a special dessert with our names. We got the (prix fixe) menu, maybe 10 courses (I stopped counting) and everything was exquisite.

        We stayed at his farmhouse property La Colline du Colombier and it was so beautiful. I wouldn't stay at his hotel in Roanne, Roanne is nothing special. If you are a couple you can stay at the Cadoles at La Colline, architectural apartments that overhang on a hill. I have lived in NYC for 15+ years and have eaten at almost all the top/comparable restaurants in the city and it is rare even here where I say everything was exquisite from beginning to end.

        It is expensive, but once in a lifetime experience.

        I also ate a Rue Le Bec at the Confluence and was disappointed. My dad's fish was too salty and our poulet de Bresse was good, but I have had better. Perhaps we ordered the wrong things. That being said, the Confluence area is interesting for its architecture and worth a walk along the Soane.

        We had a couple of lunches at L'ourson Qui Boit, based on some posts I had read here. I like trying restaurants that are also less frequented hidden gems. The chef and staff are Japanese, and their menu is almost all French. There are subtle hints of Japanese or Asian flavors. My mother in law, a sort of weary eater, was extremely pleased, as were we. It is a great deal for lunch.

        I'm moving to Lyon in a couple of weeks so I look forward to having more to share.

        2 Replies
          1. re: fittoeat

            Thanks for this, fittoeat!

            We'll be in Lyon at the end of May and if you've got any more recommendations, I'd love to hear them! I'm just starting my research now so hopefully I'll be back with specifics...

          2. This isn't amazing food, but I really enjoy Ninkasi's brewpubs every time I go. The beers are really fantastic.