Lyon has long been dubbed France’s gastronomic capital, and for good reason. Legendary chef Paul Bocuse hailed from here, and his culinary legacy remains in the city’s restaurants. Michelin-star spots are aplenty here, but a flock of innovative young chefs are making the city’s culinary landscape truly exciting. Let’s discover the best restaurants in Lyon here.
Best Restaurants In Lyon
Le Kitchen Café
Owned by chef Connie Zagora and her partner, baker Laurent Ozan, Le Kitchen Café is buzzing with activity at any hour of the day. Breakfast brings fresh pastries, granola and fruit juice, and for lunch, rich chocolate cakes served with homemade chestnut liqueurs. Le Kitchen is a stone’s throw from two of Lyon’s universities, so expect students in streams picking up pastries for class. Come nightfall, Chef Connie concocts innovative dishes like shredded pork shoulder with pumpkin and perfectly flaky alpine tartes. Try to snag a seat at the kitchen bar and watch Chef Connie dance through the evening’s service.
While the Michelin-star spots may be where residents beeline to on a celebratory night, Le Garet is where the Lyonnaise spend an average Friday night. A typical bouchon (a family-run bistro that dishes out Lyonnaise cuisine) the mood here is always chaotic, convivial and energetic. Dimly lit, the tableware is eclectic, portions are large, and paintings are never hung quite straight. Opt for the three-course lunch menu for €19.50 (£16) and dine on a local dish of tablier de sapeur (crumbed tripe), terrine, rillettes, foie de veau (grilled veal liver), and crème caramel. Take note that servings are big – bouchons traditionally served meals to local labourers before long shifts, and still serve the same portion sizes.
In this homey riff on a traditional French bouchon, Olivier Canal and Franck Delhoum serve classic Lyonnaise food with friendly hospitality. Expect generous portions of pâté en croute, tête de veau and roast duck, all served with side dishes of cheesy pasta, fresh bread and vegetables. La Meunière is over one hundred years old, so the decor is rustic: antique pots and pans decorate the walls, wine is served in carafes, and dishes leave the kitchen in colourful cast-iron pans.
One of Vanel’s current Lyon favourites is this creative bistro in the city’s 6th arrondissement, which boasts a seasonal menu featuring innovative plays on bistro classics like foie gras with chartreuse, slow-cooked local veal and and chilled vanilla-apricot soup for dessert. As a result of the exacting natures of owner Thomas Nicolle and chef Maxime Hardy, a veteran of Lyon’s bouchons, there are only ever a handful of choices on the menu, which changes every week. A reliance on local produce and a keen attention to detail ensure that whatever you order will be delicious.
la table Wei
Vanel heartily recommends this French-Chinese fine-dining restaurant, which is situated not far from Lyon’s fine-arts museum. Opened by three graduates from the Paul Bocuse Institute, this restaurant may, on any given day, serve up a silky squash soup with coconut and duck hearts or wontons filled with foie gras and coriander. In stark contrast with the many meat-focussed tables of the city, fish features frequently here, though be aware that strict vegetarians or vegans may have a hard time finding something to enjoy on the Franco-Chinese fusion menu.
Le Café des Fédérations
Vanel loves this “proverbial old-school hole in the wall serving up good cheer and a good tête de veau [calf’s head]”. The classic menus are a steal at €23 (£19.50) for lunch and €29 (£24.50) for dinner. Each features four starters, including classic Lyonnais charcuterie, salad and terrine; a hot dish such as andouillette (French sausage), fish quenelles or pistachio-studded sausage; and a choice of cheese or dessert. Served on wooden tables with typical red gingham tablecloths, this hearty Lyonnais cuisine is sure to please anyone looking for an authentic experience.
Daniel et Denise
Joseph Viola—a top chef who snagged the prestigious meilleur ouvrier de France prize for his creative yet tradition-infused cuisine—runs Daniel et Denise, widely considered one of the city’s finest bouchons. The intimate dining room is traditional and unpretentious, with red-and-white gingham tablecloths and tiled floors. Start with pumpkin velouté (a smooth soup), followed by pike quenelles (fish dumplings with a crayfish-flavored sauce) or whole Bresse chicken with morel mushrooms. Viola’s meat pies (pâté en croute) are also famous. If you’re traveling on a budget but here to splurge, the fixed-price menus offer great value, especially at lunch.