After a month of eating the best food that we could find, we have assembled this Lyon food guide for hungry visitors and tourists. Enjoy!
After a three-day visit to Lyon in 2012, we made a pledge that we would return to the charming city that stole our hearts. A few months ago, it was time to plan our second visit. We reserved an AirBnB apartment for a month and booked our flights. We were stoked!
Returning to Lyon was a dream that we finally had the opportunity to live out in real life. Sure, not everybody loves France’s third largest city. (We’re puzzled by our British friends who don’t understand our love for Lyon.) But, as food obsessives, we couldn’t contain our excitement.
Anyone who knows food must surely understand. Lyon has a long and deep culinary heritage and is the launching pad for many great chefs including American chefs Daniel Boulud and George Perrier. It’s also the home of living culinary legend Paul Bocuse. Let’s just say that we were confident in our plans and giddy with excitement.
Then, doubt started to creep in when we attended the NY Times Travel Show in January. At the event, we had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Reichl, the former editor of the now defunct Gourmet Magazine, respected author and all around culinarian. We had anticipated meeting Reichl during her book signing, sharing our plans and gathering some tips about our travel plans. However, her feedback wasn’t what we wanted to hear.
“The food in Lyon is not very good,” Reichl said.
Thankfully, we didn’t let Reichl’s flippant words derail our plan. What a difference three years makes. Since our last visit, the food in Lyon seems to be elevated to a new level of culinary excellence. You see Lyon always had a great base of food culture but needed time to catch up to current trends in the world dining scene.We just spent a month eating some of the best of the best Lyon food while we lived like locals.
Follow this list, and you are sure to eat well in Lyon just like us.
- 2foodtrippers Lyon Food Guide
- To-Go Shops
- Third Wave Coffee Shops
- Related Posts
2foodtrippers Lyon Food Guide
Yes, there still are the expensive Michelin restaurants, and those are surely special. But, for us, the real excitement is at smaller restaurants where young chefs are making outstanding food at reasonable prices in an ultra casual atmosphere.
Le Fooding, a movement that started in the early 2000’s, has taken hold all over France including Lyon. In short, Le Fooding is a movement where highly trained chefs have attempted to eliminate French restaurant pretense while still serving excellent food. The movement has had a positive effect on the restaurants of Lyon, only improving on its reputation of culinary excellence.
A shining jewel in the exciting Lyon food scene, La Bijouterie lives up to a name which literally translates to “jewelry”. We ate lunch at the ultra casual restaurant just under the wire – it was literally our last restaurant meal in Lyon before we departed for Marseille. And what a meal it was. Lunch clocks in at just €15 for two dim sum plates, salad or soup plus sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf. For lunch, the restaurant’s take on dim sum features melt in your mouth mushroom dumplings with a deep black bean and mushroom broth and Shrimp Har Gow served cheffy style in a pool of curry foam. Dinner at La Bijouterie is a much grander affair featuring dishes like barbecue pork shoulder with skate wings, spelt and chanterelle mushrooms.
Tasting Tip: Be sure to make a reservation. The wait is a month for dinner, but it’s easier to score a lunch reservation with just a few day’s notice.
Le Bijouterie (€€) is located at 16 Rue Hippolyte Flandrin, 69001 Lyon. The restaurant is listed in the Le Fooding Guide.
We don’t know exactly why, but the French have a love affair with the Japanese and that mutual admiration manifests itself in both country’s cuisines. Nowhere is that more evidenciary in Lyon than at Takao Takano. At this tiny oasis nestled in a residential neighborhood, Japanese born chef Takano transports local, seasonal ingredients to a higher level by cooking dishes that excite with every bite. Our meal started with a shocking amuse bouche of mackerel that, on first glance. appears to be soup but reveals itself to be a umami filled panna cotta. And that was just the beginning of a meal packed with generously sized yet exquisitely composed dishes.
Tasting Tip: Order two different tasting menus so that you can taste a wider selection of dishes during the same meal.
Takao Takano (€€) is located at 33 Rue Malesherbes, 69006 Lyon. The restaurant is listed in Le Fooding Guide and has been awarded one Michelin star.
PRaiRial’s logo is uninhibited gastronomy. That may seem to be a lofty statement, but Chef Gaétan Gentil delivers on this promise with food that combines the freshest seasonal ingredients with modern cooking techniques. The result is magical.
Tasting Tip: Be prepared to relax in PRaRial’s soothing environment. With only 28 seats and walls covered with greenery, the atmosphere is worthy of a leisurely meal paired with wine.
PRaiRial (€€) is located at 11 Rue Chavanne, 69001 Lyon. The restaurant is listed in Le Fooding Guide and has been awarded one Michelin star.
Le Garet is the epitome of a traditional bouchon with its Lyonaisse comfort food and walls haphazardly filled with colorful caricatures. The crowd is mostly local and skews a bit older. The food may not be cutting edge, but it is completely satisfying and authentic to the city’s culinary history. Le Garet does not disappoint.
Tasting Tip: Don’t skip the desserts, many of which are served with a shot of liquor. However, you may want to share one after such a big meal.
Le Garet (€€) is located at 7 Rue du Garet, 69001 Lyon. The restaurant has been awarded Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation.
Daniel et Denise
Daniel et Denise is a fancier bouchon that serves the kind of Lyon food that made the city famous. We’re talking about dishes like Andouillette Lyonnaise and Tarte Tatin with Pralines. Friendly and a bit formal, the atmosphere is perfect for a romantic meal or a business lunch. Chef Josheph Viola now has three locations, but the food quality is still top-notch.
Tasting Tip: Meals are served with two generous sides -pan-fried potatoes and macaroni gratin. Be careful not to load up on these carbs so that you save room for the cheese and dessert courses.
Daniel et Denise (€€) has three locations. We ate at the restaurant located at 156 Rue de Créqui, 69003 Lyon. The restaurant has been awarded Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation.
When we were doing our Lyon food planning, we never expected to eat hamburgers, much less twice in a month. However, we couldn’t help but notice a proliferation of hamburger shops in the city on the first day of our visit. After doing some research, we went to Les Frangins and ended up eating some of the best hamburgers of our lives. The top-quality ingredients are all locally sourced and cooked to perfection, and the burgers are served with unlimited frites (i.e. French Fries). On our second visit, Daryl tried the double burger that was almost as big as his head. Perfection on a bun.
Tasting Tip: Although Lyonnaise locals eat their burgers with a knife and fork, feel free to pick up the burger and chow down. That’s what we did.
Les Frangins (€) is located at 9 Rue des Marronniers, 69002 Lyon.
With all of the great French food in Lyon, it would be easy to skip the ethnic options. But that would be a mistake. Lyon has a variety of interesting restaurants serving ethnicities like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Lebanese and more. For us, it’s always fun to see how different cities put their own twist on ethnic food. Our meal at Carnet Gourmet gave us traditional Chinese food but with local twists like excellent knife work and pretty plating.
Tasting Tip: Check out the photos when you view the menu. With a menu featuring foods from various Chinese provinces, the photos are quite helpful especially if French isn’t your first language.
Carnet Gourmand (€) is located at 15 Rue Neuve, 69001 Lyon.
True confession: we haven’t actually eaten at Paul Bocuse, at least not yet. Our budget could only afford one three star Michelin meal, and we did that at Maison Bras in Laguiole. However, we did visit the palace of fine dining on the outskirts of Lyon and took a peek inside. Awarded the coveted Michelin star trifecta in 1965, the restaurant is a site to be seen in all of its opulent glory. One day we’ll taste the famous chef’s signature dishes of black truffle soup and Bresse chicken cooked in a bladder à la Mère Filliou. Until then, at least we got a preview of good things yet to come.
Tasting Tip: Even if you don’t dine at Paul Bocuse, it’s still worth a visit to check out the colorfully decorated building and wall murals. See how many chefs you can recognize in the murals beyond Julia Child.
Paul Bocuse (€€€) is located at 40 Rue de la Plage, 69660 Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or. The restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars.
As great as the restaurants are in Lyon, sometimes the best meal is the one you eat at home with your shoes off and a glass of wine in hand. Assuming you’ve taken our advice on getting an Airbnb, here are the shops where you should start your exploration of in Lyon.
Fromagerie Tête d’Or
Lyon is a city swimming is cheese shops, but Didier Lassagne’s shop in the Tête d’Or neighborhood is special enough to warrant a walk across town. We first discovered the shop when we were dining at PRaiRial and saw it listed on the menu as the restaurant’s cheese provider. The cheeses are lined up in neat little rows featuring the finest chèvres in many varieties as well as others like stinky Alsatian Munster and sweet Beaufort that lingers on your tongue for a good half hour. Each cheese is perfectly ripened and ready to be enjoyed, preferably with a bottle of wine.
Tasting Tip: While you’re at the shop buying cheese, be sure to pick up some other gourmet goodies. We especially like the yogurts flavored with peach, apricot, strawberry, raspberry and cassis. The yogurt is currently priced at a euro each.
Fromagerie Tête d’Or (€) is located at51 Rue Tete d’Or 69006 Lyon.
C. Reynon Traiteur
Serving specialty foods since 1937, Reynon is a haven for Lyon food lovers, be they locals or visitors. The shop is decorated with sausages hanging from the ceiling and along the walls. The shop sells a lot more than sausage – prepared salads, fresh meat, Bresse chickens, gourmet foods and more. If you’re brave enough, the shop has large slabs of tongue which they will slice to order.
Tasting Tip: Do not miss the fresh sausage with pistachios and morels. The preparation is quite simple – just cook in simmering water for 40 minutes. Trust us, this sausage is divine.
C. Reynon Traiteur (€ – €€) is located at 13 Rue des Archers, 69002 Lyon.
Le Comptoir du Poulet
Le Comptoir du Poulet is proof that fast food does not have to be unhealthy. This shop sells roasted artisan chickens with meat that literally falls off of the bone. Eaten with a side of roasted potatoes, this farm raised chicken from Ardèche is an easy yet satisfying meal after a day of work or touring. The shop sells sandwiches and other sides as well.
Tasting Tip: With a day’s notice, Le Comptoir du Polet will roast a Bresse chicken for you.
Le Comptoir du Poulet (€) is located at 14 rue Constantine 69001 Lyon.
Le Pain d’Hippolyte
Wherever you are in Lyon, you’re never far away from a boulangerie. This makes sense since most Lyonaisse natives buy fresh baguettes on a daily basis. And for a euro (give or take), why not? While the city’s baguettes are all good, some are great, and some are even excellent. We tasted many, and Hippolyte is our favorite. The pastries, especially the eclairs, are quite tasty, making the shop a convenient stop for your bread and dessert needs. Plus, Hippolyte is centrally located and has pleasant service throughout the day.
Tasting Tip: In addition to solid baguettes and pastries, the shop also sells excellent sandwiches at reasonable prices, making this a perfect spot for a lunch that costs under €5.
Pain d’Hippolyte (€) is located at 15 Rue Hippolyte Flandrin, 69001 Lyon.
Quenelles are normally associated with bouchons, but you can also get them at Giraudet, a Lyon institution since 1910. In addition to quenelles, the shop sells a variety of fresh soups and sauces that can be heated up at home for a quick, satisfying meal.
Tasting Tip: If you don’t feel like eating at home, the shop is coupled with a restaurant serving the same items plus a bit more.
Giraudet (€) has several locations including a stall at t Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.
We fell in love with Maison Kayser in New York. As it turns out, the Parisian boulangerie also has three locations in Lyon, including one adjacent to the city’s opera house. The shop has a wide selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches and salads. Open later than most neighborhood boulangeries, Maison Kayser is a good last stop of the day.
Tasting Tip: Prices are lower at the Lyon locations compared to New York, so feel free to buy extra breads and treats to enjoy later or in the morning.
Maison Kayser (€) has three locations in Lyon. We frequented the one at 15 Place Louis Pradel, 69001 Lyon.
Every French city has a market, if not several. Lyon is no exception to this rule. These markets are excellent spots to purchase food for the day or week. They’re also perfect spots for sampling foods, people watching and taking photos.
Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse
Sometimes called the belly of Lyon but usually just called Les Halles, this indoor market is a gem smack dab in the middle of Lyon. The 60 quality vendors sell a variety of items like fish, meat, cheese, desserts and so much more. You want fresh oysters? Check. A Bresse chicken? Check. A shiny red praline tart? Check, check, check.
Tasting Tip: As if the wonderful food isn’t enough, Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse also has several restaurants and wine bars where you can enjoy lunch or dinner by yourself or with friends.
Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse is located at 102 Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon.
As great as Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse may be, sometimes a shopper just wants to visit a neighborhood market to buy a few items for the day. This is where the outdoor markets come into play. Instead of having set stalls, these markets are serviced by a roster of rotating vendors who sell fruits, vegetables, eggs, saucisson, cheese, flower and more. Our favorites outdoor markets are Marché Saint-Antoine and Marché Croix Rousse.
Tasting Tip: Try to shop early in the morning for the best selection of the day.
Marché Saint-Antoine is located at Quai Saint-Antoine, 69002 Lyon.
Marché Croix Rousse is located at Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse 69001 Lyon.
Third Wave Coffee Shops
As wonderful as a traditional French café may be, there’s nothing like a third wave coffee shop to satisfy your thirst for great coffee while also providing a space to work and mingle. These shops are sprouting up all over Lyon, making visits to Starbucks unnecessary.
Spending a month in Lyon gave us just enough time to scout out a handful of third wave coffee shops. Though we frequented Puzzle Cafe the most due to its proximity to our apartment as well as its good coffee/vibe combination, we also recommend Slake Coffee House, MaMi Coffee Shop and La Bicyletterie.
Tasting Tip: Don’t be afraid to order dessert at these coffee shops. Most of the sweet treats are sourced at Piece of Cake – see below.
Puzzle Cafe (€) is located at 4 Rue de la Poulaillerie, 69002 Lyon.
Slake Coffee House (€) is located at 9 Rue de l’Ancienne Préfecture, 69002 Lyon.
MaMi Coffee Shop (€) is located at 141 Rue Sébastien Gryphe, 69007 Lyon.
La Bicycletterie (€) is located at 16 Rue Romarin, 69001 Lyon.
Fabulous desserts are easy to eat in Lyon because pastries are sold everywhere and usually for a reasonable price. The most convenient place to buy them is the neighborhood boulangerie or market. However, it’s hard to say “no” to a dessert at the end of a restaurant meal too. That being said, the following dessert spots warrant a special visit.
Le Kitchen Cafe
Despite the plethora of dessert options in Lyon, Le Kitchen Cafe is the first dessert bar in the city, with options ranging from cookies to fancy creations. Pastry Chef Laurent Ozan prepares the sweet creations, complementing the savory dishes prepared by his partner, Chef Connie Zagora. This cosy neighborhood cafe is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch in addition to dessert.
Tasting Tip: Satisfy your thirst with a variety of beverage options like homemade iced tea, juice, beer, wine and coffee.
Le Kitchen Cafe (€ – €€) is located at 34 Rue Chevreul, 69007 Lyon. The restaurant is listed in Le Fooding Guide and has been awarded Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation.
Piece of Cake
In Lyon, desserts must be prepared by a trained pastry chef, not just by some Tom, Dick or Harriet with a mixing bowl and sugar. That’s where Piece of Cake comes in to play. Helmed by Pastry Chef Anne Chambouleyron, Piece of Cake provides desserts to many of the city’s third wave coffee shops and other restaurants. These desserts include American cheesecake (yes – made with Philadelphia brand cream cheese), carrot cake, blondies and more.
Tasting Tip: Go to Piece of Cake on Saturday for a full selection of Chambouleyron’s desserts. This is the only day that the shop is open to the public.
Piece of Cake (€) is located at 8 Rue Aguesseau, 69007 Lyon.
Walking into the north entrance to Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse, it’s impossible to miss the colorful pastries at Sève. A closer look reveals macarons, both sweet and savory. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Tasting Tip: Don’t waste time shopping for gifts and souvenirs when you’re visiting Lyon. Sève has an assortment of boxed chocolates that will not disappoint the pickiest of candy connoisseurs.
Sève (€ – €€) has seven locations in Lyon including one at Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.
It’s almost impossible to walk around Lyon without bumping into a Voisin shop. This is a good thing since Voisin sells a variety of colorful candies and chocolates that easily satisfy a hungry traveler in need of a quick jolt of sweet energy. Founded in 1897, Voisin is a respected choclatier in this food-focused city.
Tasting Tip: Be sure to try a Coussin de Lyon, the local treat invented by Voisin. What is a Coussin de Lyon? It’s a piece of pale green marzipan filled with chocolate gananche.
Voisin (€) has 13 locations in Lyon including one at Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.