The Michelin Galaxy
In February 2017, the Michelin guide announced a new line up of culinary stars in the region already famous for its farm-to-table cuisine and foodie lifestyle
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ASPECTS OF BORDEAUX'S CULTURAL RENAISSANCE has been the arrival of top chefs in the region. In February, Michelin made its annual announcement with a line-up that highlights the excellence of established chefs as well as newcomers. Four restaurants were awarded two stars: Le Pressoir d'argent-gordon Ramsay, La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez, Hostellerie de Plaisance and La Grand'vigne. Whether you prefer dining in the city or visiting the picturesque wine country, or escaping to the stunning Arcachon Bay, the region offers tempting restaurants, fine wines and excellent service.
In the city
There are two options with superb views of Bordeaux.
Chef Nicolas Magie at Le Saint James, the gourmet restaurant in the Hotel Saint James in Bouliac, is a champion of local producers. You'll find elegant and savoury interpretations of local specialities like foie gras extra Landais, grilled over the fire and served with smoked eel, stuffed morilles, and green peppers, or pigeon from Mme Leguen, or duck from Mr Duplantier prepared two ways, a thigh confit 'pot au feu' and a filet with bitter orange.
In nearby Lormont, chef Vivien Durand at Le Prince Noir offers three prix fixe dinner menus (82€ - 102€) as well as a prix fixe menu at lunch (35€) that changes every Wednesday, incorporating seasonal products. Come for dishes like grilled leeks with haddock and black radish vinaigrette or cod with swiss chard and baby garlic.
In the city centre, Le Pavillon des Boulevards, recently changed hands, with Chefs Thomas Morel and Thibaut Berton now in charge. The lunch menu (35€) might start with butternut squash, quail egg, parmesan and crisp veggies, followed by a filet of red mullet with spelt, white asparagus, and garlic. The tasting menu is 90€.
At Le Pressoir d'argent-gordon Ramsay, Chef Gilad Peled has taken farm to table cuisine to new heights, making the most off Aquitaine's rich locally sourced products like foie gras, Perigord truffles, Aquitaine caviar, fish and seafood, lamb and beef, and of course an impressive wine list reflecting Bordeaux's vineyards. Service is impeccable, and the team is youthful and serious.
At the beach
At Le Skiff Club, Chef Stéphane Carrade brings his flavourful, inventive cuisine to the restaurant in the Hotel Haaitza, the new Philippe Starck designed hotel in Pyla-sur-mer. Nearby in Arcachon, Chef Thierry Renou at Le Patio in Arcachon serves a menu at 46€ that might offer fresh oysters from Olivier Laban and cod served with roast asparagus and langoustines. Tasting menus from 72€ to 110€.
In wine country
In the medieval village of Saint Emilion, three restaurants boast Michelin stars. Chef Ronan Kervarrec at the Hostellerie de Plaisance, owned by Gerard and Chantal Perse, of Chateau Pavie, offers some of the finest, most creative cuisine in the southwest. At the recently renovated Logis de la Cadène, Chef Alexandre Baumard offers a daily market menu at 32€ and as well as tasting menus (55€ to 80€) where you'll find specialities like Pyrenean lamb and wild hake. Chef David Charrier at Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong-mondot at Château Troplong-mondot serves prix fixe menus (60€ to 150€) with a superb view of the vineyards.
Further afield, the Auberge Saint-jean with Chef Thomas L'hérisson in Saint Jean de Blaignac offers a quiet respite along the Dordogne river. And golf enthusiasts, shouldn't miss Château des Vigier and its restaurant Les Fresques with Chef Didier Casaguana.
In the Graves and Sauternes region, Claude Darroze in Langon is a veritable institution, with three menus (48€ - 98€) and bistro menu at 32€. Expect fresh, delicate scallops, lobster, sea bass as well as pigeon, veal, duck and foie gras.
And Chef Nicolas Masse at La Grand'vigne, at Château Smith-haut-lafitte's hotel and spa Les Sources de Caudalie, will delight you with starters like Aquitaine Caviar with langoustine tartare, cucumber and ginger or Loupiac snails with wild asapargus gnocchis and green peas. A main dish could be wild turbot with Jerusalem artichoke, bone barrow and autumn truffle, or Pigeon from Miss Le Guen with stuffed poivrade artichoke and cardamom jus. Prix fix menus from 95€ to 170€.
Pierre Gagnaire and Jean-denis Le Bras at La Grande Maison.
Alexandre Baumard at the Logis de la Cadène.
Vivien Durand, the cooker rocker at Le Prince Noir.
Nicolas Magie at the Saint James.