This was the third (but most important) time I’d been to the ‘Capital of Lights’, and France’s third largest city – Lyon. The city itself has all the beauty you’d imagine of a scaled-down Paris, and the charm to boot, with less of the bedlam that comes with being an international capital.
Lyon has swiftly become a favourite after this last visit, as the city has seemed to undergo a kind of welcomed metamorphosis. Its stalwart untouchable reputation for gastronomy, is shifting in form, from the traditional bouchons or michelin-star establishments, to more casual dining, trendy bars, and cheap eats. Enter Hookie, stage left.
Here are some of my picks;
Culinary sprouter Grégoire Baratier, head chefs this quaint 40 seater, with an upstairs designed presumably for the vertically challenged.
For the quality of their wares, you won’t find a more reasonably priced restaurant, with three course lunches and dinners starting from under €26. WTF? Eat there.
On my last visit to Lyon I dined at Paul Bocuse’s illustrious “L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges”, which – while impressive – lacked the casual ambience of which I’m partial too, and was a tad on the stuffy side.
Bocuse remedies this with one of his spin-off restaurants ‘Le Sud’, a fish-heavy dining experience, in a seemingly more Italian style.
Enjoy your meal outside with views over the Rhone, and help ‘Le Sud’ give a big ass-kicking to overly busy old-fashioned wallpaper and antiquitous decor.
Want somewhere with old-world adorable charm, where the Owner/Operator/Chef has been running things his way since François Hollande was shitting his pants? Look no further than ‘Le Comptoir du Vin’.
After taking our seats, we made our way over to the unbelievably tiny kitchen so see what was cooking. It became obvious that the answer to that question was; ‘Whatever the Chef wanted”. Accordingly, we let him decide which way our evening was headed. Do this, and you will not be disappointed.
I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog post on Lyon without including at least one Bouchon (much less leave the city without having visited one). This time we chose ‘Daniel et Denise’, a widely acclaimed lunch house in the 3rd arrondissement, which didn’t disappoint.
Traditional dishes of perfectly (and I mean perfectly) cooked Roast Chicken and Pan-seared Poisson were punctuated with decedent sides.
When you’re this close to the Dauphine region, it would be foolish not to indulge in some St. Marcellin cheese afterwards, or as my gorgeous date did, try to order something presented as beautifully as her good self, in the strawberry affair pictured below.
If you – like me – are a total burger slut, after a few days frolicking through the exotic delicacies of the Rhone region, you may develop a hankering for some good old fashioned smash-food . If you find yourself in Lyon when this occurs, I recommend a stroll through the second arrondissement until you stumble across ‘King Marcel’.
I’m always partial to a bit of ‘view-while-you-wine’ (provided it doesn’t become a venue’s primary selling-point), so upon recommendation, we head up the Fourvière to suss out what Restaurant Tetedoie has to offer, besides one of the best views overlooking the city.
Turns out, if you’re looking for some casual Tapas and drinks, one could opt to sit outside and soak up the views over a glass (or seven) of their impeccably selected wines. Every single one of which i loved. A couple, enough to write down and consider importing.
Tetdoie is also no slouch in the food department. There’s a full bells-and-whistles restaurant upstairs complete with terrace, so if you’re hungrier than we were, try the view with an added five metre altitude… just remember to book ahead.
This bar could possibly be a large contributing factor for me, one day, packing my bags and moving to Lyon. With its stunningly antiquitous interiors, comfortable lighting, and an array of talent behind the bar, L’Antiquaire maintains a ‘locals’ vibe in a seemingly clandestine venue.
I was certainly torn between enjoying my perfectly balanced Martini on the terrace outside – looking onto the quiet Lyonnaise street, accompanied with obligatory cigarette – or at a booth inside with a selection of marinated olives. In the end the solution was simple. Order two.
Another great cocktail bar in the historic 5th arrondissement that contributes to Lyon becoming a date-night paradise.
Nestled in a lively quadrangle, surrounded by a labyrinth of bars and restaurants, escape the clamoured crowds seated outside and enjoy the charming interior, a lot of which dates back to when everybody on earth was pretty much in no way related to you.