Eat and Drink in Bordeaux
Bordeaux may be the world’s capital of wine, but until recently the city’s restaurant scene had always been lacklustre compared with other French cities. Now, an influx of young chefs attracted by the city’s beauty are cooking for other newcomers like themselves, plus a growing number of tourists, at a roster of small, affordable modern bistros that are creating a new gastronomic signature for the city. A further boost to the city’s pulling power arrives in June with the opening of La Cité du Vin, the multimedia wine museum, housed in a vast glass tower.
The best restaurants in Bordeaux were few and far between. But that has all changed, along with so many other things, and Bordeaux now offers one of the best foodie scenes in France on par with Lyon and Paris. So much of the culture in the Port of the Moon is about enjoying good food and good wine. Not only have some of the biggest names in the chefdom added Bordeaux to their always lengthening lists of restaurants, hot new chefs are continually emerging.
Occupying a duplex space in the city’s increasingly hip Saint Pierre district, this assiduously locavore table details the provenance of everything it serves on its seasonal menu, which changes every two months. It’s the bounty of the farms of south-west France, including recent dishes like a velouté of white asparagus from Les Landes and free-range organic guinea hen filet stuffed with foie gras.
Not far from the Musée d’Aquitaine, which offers fascinating lessons in the history of Bordeaux and the surrounding region, this popular restaurant riffs on a sort of lounge-bar atmosphere despite its elegant crown mouldings and the good modern art on the walls. Chef Rudy Ballin has won a local following for his inventive, produce-driven, contemporary cooking, including dishes like green tea and smoked goat cheese ravioli and quail with mushrooms and fresh curcuma.
Chef Tanguy Laviale’s handsome restaurant with limestone walls, scrubbed plank floors and an excellent wine boutique upfront has become a tough place to get a reservation. Before moving to Bordeaux, Laviale cooked in Paris with Jean-Louis Nomicos at Lasserre and Guy Martin at Le Grand Vefour, and his bistro style reflects this haute-cuisine pedigree. Initially conservative in deference to the Bordelais preference for tradition...