France’s second city is a prosperous center with an important cultural heritage, a lively arts scene and a wealth of museums. In addition to its role as a serious business, banking and conference center, Lyon is the undisputed gastronomic capital of France. As in Burgundy, food is a science and an art, even a religion. The city is stuffed with fine restaurants and bistros to satisfy any appetite. Legendary Chef Paul Bocuse is based here and has many local rivals.
A traditional Lyonnais menu centers around meat, particularly offal. Typical foods include andouille (grilled chitterlings sausage), tripe (pig or cow’s stomach), or boudin noir (blood sausage). Other common dishes include, chicken liver salad, cerverlas, (raw pork sausages), quenelles (flour, egg and cream dumplings), or Cervelle de canut (which means “brains of the silk-weaver” and consists of cream cheese mixed with garlic and chives.)
Some contemporary bouchons serve more upscale French cuisine, such as fois gras and truffles, but for many Lyonnais, true bouchons only offer foods that are unpretentious.
To fully experience the culinary scene in Lyon you should seek out the little bars, cafés and the old-fashioned bistros that the Lyonnais call bouchons (after the bunches of straw they used as bottle-stoppers and which served as signs for their restaurants). Here are few to get you started!
Les Lyonnais Bouchon
At the heart of Vieux Lyon, Old Town in Lyon, the Lyonnais bouchon fits perfectly with the decor of the old town area. On the restaurant walls hang photos of celebrities, artists and faithful customers, all of whom are regulars at this Lyon bouchon.
Address: 19 Rue de la Bombarde, 69005 Lyon, France
One of the most classic bouchons lyonnais where one goes prepared to eat one’s fill of the city’s famously generous cuisine, meaty salads, several aperitifs, fabulous cheeses, rich wines in a very convivial atmosphere.
Address: 11 Rue Neuve, 69001 Lyon, France
Le Poêlon d’Or
In an authentic hundred-year-old setting, the team at Le Poêlon d’Or will introduce you to Lyon’s traditional specialties with a friendly and welcoming service.
Address: 29 Rue des Remparts d’Ainay, 69002 Lyon, France
Les Fines Gueules
Enjoy mouth-watering “home-made” Lyonnais and traditional cuisine in the picturesque setting of Old Lyon. Fresh fish and wine by the glass. “Mâchon” menu in the evenings. (Sample a selection of Lyonnais specialties with the tapas option).
Address: 16 Rue Lainerie, 69005 Lyon, France
Le Cafe du Peintre
With its attractive terrace opening out onto Avenue des Brotteaux, this warm and friendly establishment is well worth a visit and has acquired both a loyal following and an enviable reputation thanks to its tasty Lyonnais cuisine.
Address: 50 Boulevard Brotteaux, 69006 Lyon, France