Welcome to Lyon – the gastronomic capital of France, if not the world. Home to Lyonnaise cuisine and chef Paul Bocuse (the longest-standing recipient of all three Michelin stars), the food in Lyon is a combination of south meets north, a marriage between the fresh produce of the Rhone Valley and the Mediterranean with the rich and rustic traditions of Alsace Lorraine.
Due to its mind-blowing food, friendly locals and “Renaissance charm meets cosmopolitan France” style atmosphere, Lyon is undoubtedly one of my favourite cities int he world. If only I could speak enough French to be able to work medically, I would pack my bags and relocate to southern France in a heartbeat….
Think of Les Halles less as a generic European food hall and more as a refined version of your favourite market place. While I adore chaotic markets (like La Boqueria in Barcelona), Les Halles is something else – maybe it’s the mixture of French charm and sophistication among an assortment of all things delicious. They sell all the usual French pleasures like pastries and seafood, but there are also some intriguing niceties begging to be devoured. I definitely recommend an escargot Danish and visiting with an empty stomach, and if you really want to make an experience of it, grab your goodies to go and enjoy a picnic in one of the nearby parks.
Au Vilain Petit Canard
The Ugly Duckling specialises in one particularly fabulous aspect of Lyonnaise cuisine – duck. The €25 three course menu is sensational for the quality and quantity of food you receive, and the service is impeccable. For starters, try the foie gras with vegetable volute – the nutmeg cinnamon spiced toast balanced the sweet foie gras perfectly. For main, the duck breast with fruits rouge sauce is a magnificently balanced dish, with the raspberry giving the otherwise rich duck a fresher and lighter taste. The rather luxurious chocolate fondant, accompanied with fruit coulis and vanilla ice cream is a divine dessert, and again a fine balancing act between rich chocolate and tart berries. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the menu, and I recommend this place to anyone travelling through Lyon. Tres magnifiques!
Brasserie Le Sud
The two course menu for €23 is fantastic value for the amount of delicious quality food you receive. The haddock for a main meal was a wonderful balance of creamy potato and tender light fish, with a sauce that will make you want to lick the plate. The fromage blanc with coulis for dessert tasted fantastic, but wasn’t as beautifully presented as I’d expect for a Lyonnaise restaurant. Overall the food is divine and certainly worth the visit though.