The best restaurants in Bordeaux

In a city where locals can talk for hours about the subtle resonance of a 1974 first-growth, you’d expect them to be picky about their food. And you’d be right: Bordeaux has some pretty fancy restaurants, which flatter the wines with a dining ceremony that’s almost excessive. But dining in Bordeaux doesn't necessarily have to be posh. The city is also steeped in traditions from southwestern France and its heartier dishes. We’re talking Pauillac lamb or local Bazas beef, perhaps grilled over vine prunings. Wood pigeon in red wine sauce with garlic croutons is another one to look out for, as are foie gras and Arcachon Bay oysters. Locals are also keen on whatever they can haul out of the river, be it lampreys, eel, shad or sturgeon – and its caviar.

For further Bordeaux inspiration, see our guides to the city's best hotels, nightlife and things to do.

City Centre

Le Chapon Fin

This restaurant has had its ups and downs since its establishment in the 19th century, but is generally the most celebrated table in town. It's the type of place where artists and visiting presidents dine. Painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and stage icon Sarah Bernhardt helped set the trend – and presumably appreciated the extraordinary man-made rocks, which have been threatening to take over the dining room since about 1900. The rest of the restaurant has been significantly lightened up since then, but this remains a place for class food, say, scallops with peppered mandarins in a nutty butter and quinquina sauce – served with bow-tied panache.