This is definitely one of the loveliest places I've been to: the tiny Cafe Casse Croute on Place St Michel in Bordeaux. A few old chairs and tables covered with red-and-white plastic tablecloths, a decanter filled with ruby-coloured red wine, a few slices of baguette, a fresh salad, a lot of conversation about everything from Sarkozy to the neighbour's annoying cat, people reading the newspaper, people chatting with the cook who's busy compiling another salad... You've got it all here, squeezed on some 20 square metres. If I was to direct a film about Bordeaux, it would start here!
Favorite Dish: We just enjoyed some coffee, but the next time I will try their food as well.
Another one of the many restaurants around the lower end of Rue Sainte Cathérine, "Chez Maman" was a very good choice. We went for the 16 euro "formule" which was really good: a lot of food, very good quality and a lowish price. The waiters were friendly, the service was quick - all in all a good experience.
Favorite Dish: My starter, French onion soup, was close to perfect. The mixed grill plate was very good, although a few of the meat pieces were a little dry. Crème brulée as dessert was super.
While we normally tried to eat a bit away from the main tourist spots, we went here for my final night in Bordeaux. The location is just perfect: under the shadow of an old tree directly on the beautiful Place Saint Pierre. Naturally, this meant higher prices than normally and unfortunately also a worse service...
The food, however, was perfect: I had the Magret de Canard with a sweet and spicy sauce which was just delicious. The serving was huge and the price (19 Euros) only just reasonable. But considering the masses of people eating at La Terrasse Saint Pierre, they should really do something about the service. We had to wait for more than an hour until our food was served. A few waiters more would do the trick.
Favorite Dish: Magret de Canard - but some of our group had mussels and were very satisfied as well. Don't forget to try out some of their wines! With more than 200 wines on the wine list, you'll surely come across something you like.
La Remise is located in the heart of the old town just around the corner from Place St. Pierre. This is an area where dozens of restaurants tout for the attention of the passers-by, so it is rather a hit-and-miss thing if you get something good or if you march into a tourist trap with your eyes open. La Remise belongs to the former category: the menu for 14 Euros comprises a starter, a main dish and a dessert and everything I had was really good. Moreover, the staff was very nice albeit a little slow at times.
Favorite Dish: Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the dishes I had. The particularly good starter was a spicy salad of beetroot, the main course was a pork steak with fries and a sweetish courgette side.
Le Vieux Chaudron is a central place with good food for a really good price: the 3-course menue is available for only 13 Euros! Naturally, you can't expect 5-star-cuisine for this price, but none of our group of 10 was disappointed either. Furthermore, the staff at this place is really friendly and patient, and the general atmosphere with some beautiful paintings on the walls is attractive.
Favorite Dish: I chose - of course - the 3-course formule with a mixed salad as a starter (good), an escalope à la milanaise as my main dish (good, although perhaps a little dry) and fromage blanc with red fruits as dessert (perfect).
This small restaurant offers real Italian food - not the pizza and pasta mishmash you often get at the bigger chain restaurants. All dishes on offer cost around 7 Euros which is great value for what you get. There are, for example, a tasty Lasagna or chicken wings marinated in aioli and lemon juice; you can get a plate of mussels or Bruschette with anchovis. Their desserts, mainly the Mousse au Citron, are very good as well. Another bonus is the nice location: Only a few metres away from the quais, one can go for a small after-dinner walk and enjoy one of Bordeaux' most splendid views.
Favorite Dish: Dish: Chicken wings marinated in aioli and lemon juice
Wine: 2010 Etchard Privado (Argentine) - one of the best white wines I ever had!
If you like kebab then the upper part of Rue Ste. Catherine is your heaven: You've got about 12 kebab restaurants to choose from. The prices are okay and the food is good. If you compare it with German kebab, however, it is different: the French only add tomatos, salad leaves and onions to their kebab - no "fancy" stuff like cucumber or sheep's cheese. It is also considered perfectly normal to stuff French fries into the kebab bread...
Favorite Dish: kebab
Right on cours de Verdun in the Chartrons neighborhood is an upscale, chic restaurant that serves French style, but not the ordinary. I ordered half bottle of a local red Bordeaux and it was served in a carafe. A pate in a tin was served with the bread which was sort of avant gard. I ordered the plat de dia, which included a 1st course of fish, a duck plat that was very tasty, but probably clogged up my arteries and a gelatin fruit dish. They service was excellent and they were very accomodating providing service to one person.
Favorite Dish: The duck was most excellent
As a result of my explorations the previous day I had decided to lunch at one of the out tables in Place du Palais. The area has a very medieval feel, with small streets and cobblestones. There were enough places for a choice. The menu at L'Amelodie was posted on a placard outside and had a number of interesting wines by the glass. Perfect after spinning around town on my bike all morning. I went with a cheesy lunch of quiche and vegetables for the first plat and then a melted camembert with salad, all washed down by two glasses of chardonnay. While dining I was treated to an impromptu performance of a group of young adults who were bicycle challenged. The waitress was very nice and efficient.
Favorite Dish: The melted camembert was especially good.
Place du Marche des Chartrons is a nice square a 15 minute walk North of the city center. A number of restaurants line the square, which is then surrounded by a number of antique shops. At one corner is l'eglise St. Louis. Carre sits at the SW corner of the Place, was quite busy even on a Monday night. I ordered from the chalk board menu, a gazpacho and tempura style shrimp with vegetables, followed by the main course of dorado with mushroom, calimari risotto. Very tasty and filling. At the hearty recommendation of the group at the table next to me I splurged with a decadent dessert sampling including flourless chocolate cake, tiramisu, creme brulee and ice cream with chocolate and whipcream.
Favorite Dish: The shrimp were fried perfectly and the batter crisp and spicey.
A busy place, particularly in the evenings, "Chez Édouard" has a wide range of different menus for reasonable prices. I had the menu for 14 Euros and was not disappointed. The Carpaccio was a good starter, the Poulet au curry could have had some more sauce, but apart from that was fine and the dessert, Pannacotta with Pineapple was simply delicious. The staff could be more friendly, though.
Favorite Dish: see above
Cafe Utopia is part of the Utopia cinema (see another tip), located in the heart of Bordeaux. It's very popular for a drink or two, but one should also not miss eating there. They don't have a big selection of dishes, but it's comparatively cheap, the food is great and the servings are huge.
Favorite Dish: I had the Assiette de Boucher which was really good: lots of meat and a heap of fresh salad with a tasty dressing.
This restaurant placed on th waterfront in Bordeaux is one of the best that you can find if you want to have an authentic taste of old bistro.
First, when you get in, you discover an incredibily place, a superb old wooden decor : before being a restaurant, this place was a printing house and papershop who had been created in 1825. And this decor is full of old objects, everywhere you look, there is something to see, and to enjoy.
Then, waiters welcome you with a great attention, all is perfect.
And, to complete this nice moment, you just have to appreciate a fine regional cooking, with a very large menu : seafood, wild sea fishes, regional beef, foie gras, duck, lambkin etc...and, for the greedies, the home made desserts (my device is the "café gourmand" : a coffee served with many home made pastries).
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish at "Fernand" is the Royal Brochette : because you've got, in one plate red tuna, monk fish, prawns, scampi, scallops, and a very fine accompaniment with vegetables, mixed salad and rice. This is the perfect dish for me because it's always difficult to me to choose at restaurant, and it' a very remakable quality of food that is served.
Bordeaux' oysters come from beds in nearby Arcachon and the French consider them superb. They are indeed tasty and as they must be, fresh. Raw oysters are best savored with only a little lemon juice dribbled on them (along with their own brackish water). This is as close as we can get to their Robinson Crusoe state, wild, right off the rocks (called in New Orleans "salty oysters"). In France thet are served with lemon, crisp rounds of rye bread, butter, minced raw onion and raspberry vinegar. These are used as combinations with or chasers after each oyster. Of course there is an accompanying beverage, in France wine (here a Red Graves). Oysters are cheaper and wilder in New Orleans, my home (like the ancient Romans, we gorge on them by the dozens and so cannot compare that taste sensation with the inhibited French one seen here; this is one time when we feel quantity beats quality). Timid Americans only enjoy raw oysters when doused in a sauce of ketchup and horseradish(8:1) and two drops of Worcestershire sauce. Warning!!: ketchup is only known in France at McDonald's and horseradish (French name raifort) is only used in Alsace. So You must eat oysters as the French do, or not at all. Because of their price the French rarely cook oysters and the Larousse Gastronomique gives them short shrift (but New Orleans Cajuns know that the original French do not know everything about cooking). In New Orleans search out the many ways to eat oysters. It will take a week of eating!
On our third evening in Bordeaux we decided that we should splurge on a seafood dinner. Chez Philippe was recommended to us by the concierge as the best seafood restaurant in town. (As of this writing it has been in business 35 years). Our dinner consisted of oysters on the half shell (See pictures and our discussion as a separate Restaurant Tip), grilled fillet of John Dory (their special preparation of this fish in which St. Peter found the coin), with a Red Graves (their suggestion) and creme brulee for dessert.