Eating is serious business in Bordeaux, where tantalizing restaurants seem to line every street. Vegetarians rejoice: You’ll find today’s Bordeaux increasingly caters to your tastes. If you aren’t ready for a full meal, fear not. Tapas are currently all the rage; you can even tapas-hop from bar to bar on rue du Parlement-Saint-Pierre. Keep an eye out for tearooms, too—a great option for breakfast or a quick snack. My favorite is La Pâtisserie Essentielle, 2 pl. Saint Pierre (tel. 09-81-28-83-40), for exquisite pastries and quiches by a young couple of pastry chefs.

A Terrific Taste of Another Bordeaux

Out in a working-class quarter just east of the place de la Victoire lies Bordeaux’s best and largest covered market, Marché des Capucins at place des Capucins (Tues–Sat 7am–1:45pm; Sun 9am–3:15pm; tram B: place de la Victoire; tram C: Sainte Croix). The city’s chefs head here as soon as it opens, and all food fans will go nuts when they see the vast selection of goodies before them: fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, cheese, bread, charcuterie—not to mention all the delicious prepared foods waiting for you to pounce. You can buy dried sausage, pastries, olives, and salads to take away, or you can treat yourself to one of the dozen or so food stands that serve from their bars or seating areas. On Saturdays, tapas are everywhere and everyone seems to be selling them, from the charcutier to the cheese guy. Other stands serve their treats on a daily basis. Crepes, couscous, and steamed mussels are all on hand. La Maison de Pata Negra (www.maisondupatanegra.com; tel. 05-56-88-59-92), specializes in the famous Spanish ham but also terrific tapas (1.50€–4€, technically, pintxos, served on slices of bread), made with various smoked meat combos as well as grilled bonito, or even sautéed foie gras. Other favorites include Chez Jean-Mi (www.facebook.com/chez.jean.mi; tel. 06-81-20-24-49), where if you stand too close to the bar, you’ll suddenly find yourself savoring a plate of six sparkling fresh oysters with a cold glass of white wine (7€), and the newly opened Café Laiton (tel. 07-82-88-49-59), where owner Gaëlle serves freshly brewed Colombian, Brazilian, and Kenyan coffees, along with delicious pastries, at the market entrance. 

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