Gastronomic capital Lyon is the training ground for many of France’s top chefs. Yet dining in Lyon isn’t all about Michelin stars. You can try traditional Lyonnaise cuisine at a modest bouchon where you’ll likely dine at a gingham-clothed table on dishes such as quenelles de brochet (creamed pike) and andouillettes Lyonnaise (course-grained pork sausages in an onion sauce).
Lyon’s best bouchons
The best place for an authentic Lyonnais meal that won’t break the bank is a bouchon. This low-price bistro concept was set up years ago by women such as Mère Brazier and Mère Blanc, although nowadays men run the show. The meat-oriented fare favors such classics as sausages, duck pâté and roast pork. Such is the allure of the bouchon appellation that an official association has been set up to protect the 20 or so officially certified authentique bouchon lyonnais from the numerous fakes that parade around the old town. Our favorites include perennially popular Les Adrets ([tel] 04-78-38-24-30) at 30 rue du Boeuf; up-and-coming Le Musée, 2 rue des Forces ([tel] 04-78-37-71-54); long-established Café des Fédérations (www.lesfedeslyon.com; [tel] 04-78-28-26-00) at 8-10 rue Major-Martin; and Le Garet, 7 rue du Garet ([tel] 04-78-28-16-94) famously frequented by Jean Moulin, hero of La Résistance.
Beaucoup de Bocuse
Paul Bocuse is the godfather of Lyonnaise cuisine and the only chef within the Lyon area to boast three Michelin stars. Gourmands flock from Paris and the world over to dine at his sumptuous culinary headquarters in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or ([tel] 04-72-42-90-90; www.bocuse.fr; North of Lyon on the N433) where you’ll have to book months in advance to secure a table to taste memorable dishes such as his black-truffle soup. If you’re not that organized or that well-heeled, you can also grab a taste of Bocuse at one of his popular mass-market brasseries (www.nordsudbrasseries.com) that are open daily for lunch and dinner with main courses starting at 14€. Our favorites are Le Sud, 11 place Antonin Poncet ([tel] 04-72-77-80-00), an airy venue for Provençal and North-African flavors and L’Est, 14 place Jules-Ferry ([tel] 04-37-24-25-26), a bustling brasserie de gare that evokes faraway Paris and serves French and Italian cuisine. With its extravagant turn-of-the-century furnishings and traditional French cuisine, Marguerite (57 avenue des Frères Lumière next to the Lumière museum; [tel] 04-37-90-03-00) is the latest to join the Paul Bocuse group.
Japan Meets France
Chef Tsuyoshi Arai has taken Lyon by storm with his romantic Franco-Japanese dining concept. His first venue in Vieux Lyon (6 rue Morguet; [tel] 04-78-92-91-39; www.au14fevrier.com) won over diners with its Raymond Peynet romantic drawings and trompe-l’oeil French cuisine. In 2013, he set up another establishment in the aptly named Saint-Amour Bellevue ([tel] 03-85-37-11-45) in Beaujolais.
An ideal place for a light lunch on your way around the old town center is Café Gardagne ([tel] 04-78-62-34-60; www.gadagne.musees.lyon.fr) with its pretty garden and views over the roofs of Vieux Lyon—you can access the cafe without paying the museum entrance fee.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.