Along with Paris and Lyon, Bordeaux is one of France's great culinary capitals. Acclaimed for its local wines, the city is also the capital of the Aquitaine region, which boasts local specialties from excellent meats, fish and cheeses to truffles and desserts. We've picked 12 of the best restaurants in Bordeaux no matter your tastes, budget or dietary restrictions. Read on to learn where to go for lunch or dinner in the city.
For some, visiting a city like Bordeaux means experiencing the very best of its local cuisine. Le Quatrième Mur certainly qualifies as a heavy-hitter in the city's gourmet scene. The one-star Michelin restaurant headed by chef Philippe Etchebest offers beautifully-presented, creatively re-imagined regional specialties.
The chic brasserie is situated within the city's Grand Théatre, currently housing the National Opera. The adjacent, sprawling terrace overlooks a lush garden—an idyllic setting for a summery dinner al fresco. And for its category, the restaurant's fixed-price lunch and dinner menus are reasonably priced, making Michelin-level cuisine accessible even if you're on a moderate budget. Recent main dishes include "bavette" of beef with shallots and green pepper sauce, and roasted trout with spinach, butternut squash with gorgonzola, and fish broth infused with yellow wine.
This cozy yet elegant Bordeaux bistro makes the list for its unusual, winning combination of excellent cuisine, a warm, rustic atmosphere, and reasonable prices. Helmed by chef Frédéric Vigouroux, Le Bouchon Bordelais offers creative, seasonal menus with a focus on local produce and regional savoir-faire.
You can expect something different every time you visit, but the recent sample menu offers dishes such as crusted langoustine with andouille sausage and granny smith apple; beef filet marinated with soy sauce and accompanied with parsley-topped french fries, walnuts and spices, and scallops braised on the shell with green lentils, Gascony bacon and chanterelle mushrooms. Fixed-price menus and a la carte options are both available, and the wine list is both extensive and excellent.
For Fish Lovers: L'Embarcadère
If ultra-fresh, locally-sourced seafood and shellfish sounds like your next ideal meal, this beloved restaurant is a perfect port of call. Located near the Bourse (old stock market) in the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized city center, L'Embarcadère is known for its superb seafood.
Tuck into a plate of fresh oysters from Cap Ferret or Marennes, accompanied by a crisp glass of local white wine. Or try the lobster, crab, mixed seafood platters or impeccably grilled catch of the day, enjoyed with a squeeze of fresh lemon and smattering of herbs. Set menus at this restaurant make it possible to enjoy several courses, even on a fixed budget.
There's something about a simple, delicious meal of cheese, charcuterie, raw vegetables and wine that can really hit the spot. At this convivial Bordeaux wine bar, all of the above are excellent.
Head to Le Flacon (which means "flask" or "bottle") and choose a glass or bottle of local wine—from St. Emilion to Graves. There's also an extensive menu of wines from elsewhere in France and the world. The friendly, knowledgeable servers are happy to make suggestions based on your tastes. And rather than heading somewhere else for dinner, we suggest choosing something from off the house menu. Creamy, impeccably selected cheeses, crunchy vegetables, and savory charcuterie and olives pair beautifully with wine.
This friendly, centrally located bistro is ideal for families traveling with children who still want to experience a nice meal in a picturesque setting. Le Bistro du Musée offers dedicated kids' menus in addition to a selection of excellent two and three-course menus focused on seasonal, regionally-inspired cuisine.
So while the adults enjoy an elegant lunch or dinner complete with expertly paired wines, younger family members can tuck into a main course followed by a kid-friendly dessert. Views of the Cathedral across the street are lovely, and in summer, the outdoor seating area is vibrant and relaxed, letting you take part in local life while tasting some solid French cooking.
If you're vegetarian or vegan, it can be challenging to find something genuinely satisfying to eat in Bordeaux's meat-centric food culture. This is especially true once you've had your share of cheese or vegetable platters, soups, crepes, and salads.
Luckily, this casual Mediterranean-style restaurant in the city center offers tons of delicious options, from made-to-order falafel sandwiches heaping with veggies and smeared in tahini and spicy sauce, to enormous "mezze" plates and vegan ice cream. You can expect delicious flavors and incredibly fresh ingredients at this budget-friendly eatery.
Looking for an excellent place to celebrate an anniversary or other romantic moment as a couple? This restaurant offers unforgettable panoramic views of the Garonne River and some of Bordeaux's most iconic buildings and monuments just across from the water.
Perched directly in the river on the right bank of the Garonne, L'Estacade boasts enormous windows and a panoramic deck that wraps around the restaurant, offering some genuinely romantic perspectives. Enjoy a fixed-price menu or a la carte options, from fresh-caught seafood to select cuts of meat and delicious desserts.
This much-buzzed-about bistro close to the Customs Museum (Musée des Douanes) in Bordeaux's historic center has gained a following for its creative spin on regional cuisine and fresh local produce.
Opened by a team of three friends—Ayako, Gille, and Arnaud—from three very different cultural backgrounds, Miles offers a menu centered around French, Asian, and Middle-Eastern culinary traditions. The seasonal menu always turns to fresh local produce, flavors are well-thought-out and creative, and the atmosphere is friendly and lively. We recommend the five-course tasting menu to sample the team's eclectic, surprising talents.
For Excellent Crepes: Sel et Sucre
This always-bustling traditional French creperie is located near the banks of the Garonne River and the dramatic Cailhou Gate (part of the old medieval wall that once surrounded the city). It's a local favorite for Breton-style buckwheat pancakes smothered with cheese, mushrooms and ham, or goat's cheese, tomato, olives, and herbs. Craving something sweet? Try a dessert crepe with ice cream and chocolate sauce or salted butter caramel.
The creperie is also vegetarian and kid-friendly, and the dining room with warm stone walls and pop-inspired decor is undoubtedly far from starchy. This is an excellent spot for a relaxed meal after a morning or afternoon of touring the city.
If you're a fan of truffles—those delicious, intensely aromatic members of the mushroom family that are as rare as they are coveted—look no further than this small restaurant dedicated to regional cuisine.
Located on the grandiose square known as the Place des Quinconces, Saveurs D'Aquitaine is a humble-looking restaurant you could easily overlook. But it's an excellent spot for tasting delicacies such as scrambled eggs with truffle, creamy risotto with delicate slices of truffle, and other gourmet dishes featuring the prized ingredient. Also enjoy regional specialties and wines from the Aquitaine region, from meats and freshly-caught fish to delicious soups made with local produce.
Are you looking for some good pub grub? How about beer brewed feet from where you're sitting? Magasin Général, part of the vast arts and culture complex on Bordeaux's right bank known as the Darwin Ecosysteme, is an excellent place for a burger and a pint. They also offer a creative menu of soups, salads, and pasta.
This is another kid-and-vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Bordeaux, too. The relaxed, casual setting and ample space inside means you can bring the whole family along, and there are numerous non-meat options on the menu (including a vegan burger). This place indeed seems to embody 21st-century Bordeaux: forward-thinking, relaxed, and friendly.
This chic tearoom and brunch restaurant on the edge of Bordeaux's "Golden Triangle" is coveted for its bright, modern dining room and delicious, homemade sweets. From cupcakes to lemon-meringue tarts and gateau au chocolat (chocolate fondant cake), indulge in Mona's extensive selection of cakes and pastries.
This also makes an excellent choice for afternoon tea or a relaxed brunch. The brunch platters are generous and beautifully presented. Vegetarians can generally find several options here, too.