Whether you are seeking traditional comfort foods in the warm embrace of a bouchon or looking to taste the innovative wonders from a Michelin-starred kitchen, Lyon caters to every palate. When paired with the region’s exceptional wines and spirits, it truly earns its title as a Gastronomic Capital.

Located between the Rhône and Saône rivers, this city and its surrounding region have crafted a gastronomic identity that is both distinct and deeply rooted in tradition.

Traditional Lyonnais Bouchons

At the heart of Lyonnais cuisine are the bouchons – quaint, often family-run restaurants that serve traditional local fare. Unlike the chic bistros of Paris, bouchons have a rustic charm. Here, food is not just sustenance, but an embodiment of Lyon’s heritage.

A visit to a bouchon might treat you to dishes like:

  • Quenelles: These are creamy dumplings, often made with pike fish, served with a rich crayfish sauce.
  • Salade Lyonnaise: A hearty salad with frisée lettuce, crispy bacon, croutons, and a poached egg on top.
  • Andouillette: Not for the faint-hearted, this is a sausage made with coarsely-cut pieces of pork intestines.
  • Tarte à la Praline: A sweet finish, this dessert is a luscious pink tart made with sugared almonds.

The Wine & Spirits of the Region

Lyon’s gastronomic experience is incomplete without its wines and spirits. The surrounding regions of Beaujolais and the Rhône Valley are acclaimed for their vineyards, producing wines that not only complement the city’s cuisine but often steal the show.

  • Beaujolais: Just north of Lyon, the vineyards roll out their signature red wines made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais Nouveau, a young wine released just weeks after harvest, has become an international sensation.
  • Côte-Rôtie: Hailing from the northern parts of the Rhône Valley, these wines are predominantly Syrah, often blended with a small percentage of Viognier. They are known for their deep, aromatic qualities and complex flavors.
  • Condrieu: This is the Viognier heartland. The white wines here are fragrant, with notes of apricots, peaches, and almonds.

For those who favor spirits, the region offers:

  • Chartreuse: An herbal liqueur produced by Carthusian monks, it’s a complex blend with both green and yellow varieties available. It’s often used in cocktails or enjoyed neat.

Gastronomy Beyond the Bouchon

While bouchons are the hallmark of Lyon’s culinary world, the city also boasts avant-garde restaurants that push boundaries. The influence of renowned chef Paul Bocuse, often dubbed the ‘Pope of French Cuisine’, is palpable. His flagship restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, just north of Lyon, remains a pilgrimage site for food lovers.

Moreover, Lyon’s annual Sirha trade fair, known for the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition, attracts chefs from around the globe. This event not only underscores Lyon’s culinary importance but also showcases its role as a stage for global gastronomy.

Seven Lyonnaise Restaurants to Consider (August 2023)

  1. La Mère Brazier – 2 Michelin Stars- Regional haute cuisine & tasting menus served in an elegant restaurant with 1920s decor.
  2. Les Apothicaires – Modern French cuisine with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients.
  3. Maria – A fusion of French and Mediterranean cuisines, offering a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes.
  4. L’Annexe Ravigote – French bistro-style restaurant serving classic dishes with a modern twist.
  5. Boleh Lah – Malaysian street food-inspired cuisine, offering a range of flavorful and spicy dishes.
  6. Sapnà – Indian restaurant specializing in authentic and flavorful Indian cuisine.
  7. SO6 La Saucissonnerie at Cabane – A sausage-themed restaurant offering a variety of gourmet sausages and charcuterie.