If you didn’t guess by now, Rio and I were recently in Bordeaux and the Dordogne region for the beginning of the French May holidays. I ate (and drank) my way through the region and here’s my psuedo-foodie feedback for Bordeaux:
Here’s the “mushroom”-like dessert I indulged in during a proper French lunch on the first day at Chez Jean. The base was a rich dark chocolate and the mushroom cap was a chestnut mousse. Delicious! Set in a touristy square, the food was surprisingly pretty good and well-priced with a mid-day formule under 30 euros.
After this filling lunch, Rio and I opted for casual Indian fare at the Taj Mahal for dinner. Yes, seriously. It wasn’t that good – but was what we needed for the night and was conveniently located on the same street as our hotel. At first we felt like we should have French food since we were in Bordeaux for vacation… but then we realized this thinking was kind of crazy since we live in France and have French food all the time!
The next day for brunch, I had a satisfying mushroom and pesto tartine paired with a glass of too-sweet rosé at L’Autre Petit Bois. The rosé wasn’t from the Provence region, which makes me think perhaps I should only stick with that area when drinking rosé. Following the tartine was a cupcake américain – those Frenchies sure love cupcakes these days! Although overpriced at 3 euros-plus, it was just what we needed before a long day of wine tasting with Bordovino Wine Tours.
Needing a proper French dinner that night, we decided to make a reservation at TripAdvisor’s #4 ranked Bordeaux restaurant Soléna. Run by a husband and wife team (he’s French, she’s San Franciscan), the food was solidly good (better than the Indian food we ate last night!), but if I have to be honest, not spectacular. I do have to point out that although there was nothing vegetarian I could eat as a starter, the chef was nicely willing to accommodate two dishes so I could have something – a surprising, appreciated gesture that may be typical in the US, but not in France! However, one thing that bothered us was although the food was cooked really well, by the time our main courses arrived, which took a really long time even for French standards, it was just warm – not hot. I would’ve said something but then our food would’ve been overcooked, and I also didn’t want to wait any longer than we already had. The restaurant also “surprises” you with an amuse bouche and some extra small desserts in the end, which is always a lovely touch. Overall, it’s a perfectly good restaurant to dine at if you’re in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Restaurant Details:
1 Place du Parlement
Tél: 05 56 44 44 43
**Fine spot for French lunch that’s not overpriced. Manager is friendly and also used to live in Paris.
24 rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine
Tél: 05 56 51 92 05
**If you’re craving something other than French food, it’s fine. But don’t expect much. There was a Japanese noodle bar nearby called FuFu that was supposed to be good, but the wait was too long. We probably would’ve eaten there given the chance.
L’Autre Petit Bois
12 Place du Parlement
Tél: 05 56 48 02 93
**Perfect for a casual lunch and a good option if you don’t feel like sitting through a typical longer 2 hour French lunch. Also known as a trendy wine bar, so a good place to go pre- or post-dinner… or for a light dinner.
5 rue Chauffour
Tél: 05 57 53 28 06
**Good French food and a nice dinner option away from the center of Bordeaux.