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We spent a month eating at some of the best restaurants in Lyon France so that we could assemble this Lyon food guide for hungry visitors and tourists. Check out our favorite Lyon restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.
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 about returning to the food capital of France.
Anyone who knows about 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. We were ready to visit Lyon and partake in the best things to do in Lyon – eat French food and drink French wine.
Then, doubt started to creep in when we attended the New York 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 the best places to eat in Lyon France. 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 or dash our excitement for our trip to Lyon.
Thankfully, we didn’t let Reichl’s flippant words derail our plan or dash our excitement for our trip to Lyon.
What a difference a few years makes. Since our first visit, the food in Lyon has elevated to a new level of culinary excellence. Lyon always had a great base of food culture but needed time to catch up to current trends in the world dining scene.
2foodtrippers Lyon Food Guide
Are you wondering where to eat in Lyon France? We spent a month eating some of the best Lyonnaise food while we lived like locals. Follow this guide and you are sure to eat well in Lyon just like us.
Yes, you can eat at the Michelin restaurants in Lyon, and those are surely special. But, for us, the real excitement in Lyon 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 involves highly trained chefs attempting to eliminate French restaurant pretense while still serving excellent food. The movement has had a positive effect on many of the best restaurants in Lyon, only improving on the city’s reputation for culinary excellence.
A shining jewel in the exciting Lyon France food scene, La Bijouterie lives up to a name which literally translates to “jewelry”. We ate what might be the best lunch in Lyon at the ultra-casual restaurant just under the wire – it was literally our last restaurant meal in the city 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.
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 evident 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. appeared to be soup but soon revealed itself to be an umami-filled pannacotta. And that was just the beginning of a meal packed with generously sized yet exquisitely composed dishes.
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 like 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.
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 perfect spot for a traditional bouchon lunch in Lyon 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 with its selection of traditional Lyon foods, proving that some of the best Lyon restaurants are bouchons.
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 Lyonnnaise cuisine that made the city famous. We’re talking about classic Lyon 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 Joseph Viola now has three locations, but the food quality is still top-notch.
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 and deciding what to eat in Lyon France, 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 Lyon 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.
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.
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 chose to do that at Maison Bras in Laguiole. However, we did visit the palace of fine Lyon cuisine and took a peek inside. Awarded the coveted Michelin star trifecta in 1965, the famous Lyon 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.
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 apartment, here are the shops where you should start your exploration of the local foods you must eat in Lyon.
Fromagerie Tête d’Or
Lyon is a city swimming in 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. At Tête d’Or, 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 a 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.
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. Famously visited by TV personality Anthony Bourdain, Reynon 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.
C. Reynon Traiteur (€ – €€) is located at 13 Rue des Archers, 69002 Lyon.
Le Comptoir du Poulet
Le Comptoir du Poulet is proof of two things – (1) fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy and (2) eating in Lyon France doesn’t have to be expensive. This shop sells roasted artisan chickens with meat that literally falls off of the bone. Served with a side of roasted potatoes, Le Comptoir du Poulet’s 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.
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 baguettes at several boulangeries, and the bread at Hippolyte is our favorite. Their 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.
Pain d’Hippolyte (€) is located at 15 Rue Hippolyte Flandrin, 69001 Lyon.
Quenelles are normally associated with the best bouchons in Lyon, but you can also get them at Giraudet, a local 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.
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 many of our favorite food of Lyon like bread, pastries, sandwiches and salads. Open later than most neighborhood boulangeries, Maison Kayser is a good last stop of the day.
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. The Lyon food markets are excellent spots to purchase some of the best food in Lyon France for the day or week. They’re also perfect spots to eat Lyon food specialties, people watch and take photos.
Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse
Sometimes called the belly of Lyon but usually just called Les Halles, this indoor Lyon market is a gem smack dab in the middle of the city. 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.
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 Lyon’s outdoor markets come into play. Instead of having set stalls, these markets are serviced by a roster of rotating vendors who sell the best things to eat in Lyon – fruits, vegetables, eggs, saucisson, cheese, wine and more. Our favorites outdoor markets are Marché Saint-Antoine and Marché Croix Rousse.
Third Wave Coffee Shops
Traditional French cafés are wonderful, but 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 modern coffee shops are sprouting up all over Lyon, making visits to Starbucks unnecessary.
Spending a month in Lyon gave us 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.
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 Lyon 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 cozy neighborhood cafe is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch in addition to dessert.
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.
Piece of Cake (€) is located at 8 Rue Aguesseau, 69007 Lyon.
When you walk into the north entrance to Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse, you can’t miss the colorful pastries at Sève. A closer look reveals macarons, both sweet and savory. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
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 chocolatier in this food-focused city.
Voisin (€) has 13 locations in Lyon including one at Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.
Hungry for more French food? Check out our Strasbourg Food Guide.
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