u Le Chapon Fin
During the 19th century, kings from all over Europe dined in the sumptuous dining room sculpted to resemble a wild rockery by the architect Cyprien Alfred-duprat. Later, the 11-term prime minister Aristide Briand became a regular. Today, the mock-grotto effect is still intact, and the restaurant is surfing a new wave of popularity. Classic French dishes are reinterpreted by chef Nicolas Nguyen Van Hai along cleaner, contemporary lines, like the seared foie gras with quince compote and hazelnut emulsion. A set 4 course lunch will set you back €39, and the tasting menu €69.
5, rue Montesquieu. 05 56 79 10 10
u La Brasserie Bordelaise
This low-lit wine cave is one of Bordeaux’s best loved, and most accessible dining options. Chef Nicolas Lascombes’ unpretentious but meticulous cooking allows the region’s produits du terroir to truly shine. Come for the impressive range of high grade Spanish bellota, serrano and iberico hams, for the mi-cuit foie gras, or for Lamprey in red wine Bordelais-style. Serious steaks and confit’d meats dominate the menu. For desert, the ‘merveilles’, a kind of light doughnut served with creme anglaise, is stand-out.
50, rue Saint-rémi. 05 57 87 11 91
u Le Noailles
This Parisian-style brasserie first opened its doors in 1932, and is now one of the most trusted establishments in town. Locals come here to spot Bordelais-celebrities, the bestknown among them is the city’s mayor, Alain Juppé. Les Noailles’ signature dishes include omelette with truffles, crab tartare with lime, grenier medocain (spiced pig’s stomach), calve’s liver, sole meunier and the coarse-grained sausage, andouillette. For desert there are exquisite pâtisseries, profiteroles and a perfectly-balanced lemon meringue tart.
12, allées Tourny. 05 56 81 94 45
u La Tupiña
A vast fireplace is at centre stage of this low-ceilinged network of dining rooms. The tupiña, basque for cauldron, hangs over the fire, incubating rustic stews such as pot au feu. Tantalising aromas of spit-roasted chicken, beef and Pyrenean Bigorre Noir pork fill the air. If you’re lucky, owner Jean Pierre Xiradakis, passionate defender of south western cuisine since in 1985 will stop at your table to discuss the provenance of the ingredients. The three course Menu des Invités paired with three glasses of wine at this venerable institution will set you back €74.
6, rue Porte-de-la-monnaie. 05 56 91 56 37
Le Chapon Fin Rockery.
A generous main-course at the Brasserie Bordelaise.
The Dining Room at La Tupiña.
A typical hearty main course at La Tupiña.