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Lyon's cuisine is famous throughout the world. Between Paul Bocuse, the Lyonnaise Mothers and other Michelin–starred chefs, the city deserves to flaunt its nickname "the capital of French gastronomy." However, "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's": Lyon cuisine is above all encapsulated in the "bouchon", the typical restaurants or bistros that are found mostly in Old Lyon.
What Exactly is a Bouchon restaurant?
A cliched description of bouchon restaurants renders as simply serving a few heavy dishes and featuring rustic red checkered tablecloths; but in reality these restaurants are much much more. Renowned for their convivial atmosphere, the bouchon is a historic establishment serving both authentic and generous local cuisine, amongst which traditional dishes include the famous brioche sausage, the delicately formed quenelle in Nantua sauce, andouillette (a coarse sausage) and even praline tart.
Here are five typical establishments that gourmands should visit on a trip to Lyon.
1. LE CAVEAU DES GOURMANDS
In the heart of an area rich in bouchon, Le Caveau des Gourmands is not to be missed for many reasons: its typical dishes (veal head, quenelles, etc.) are prepared with passion by the chefs; its wine list, ranging from great vintages to cheaper, but equally table–worthy wines; its interior, with its spiral staircase and its well, which gives the place a unique character.
Where? 3 rue Valfenière, 1er arrondissement de Lyon.
2. CHEZ CHABERT
Sweetbreads with morels, quenelles in Nantua sauce, tripe ... all typical Lyonnais dishes appear on the menu of this family restaurant. Dessert lovers are not forgotten either, with a choice of homemade traditional delicacies, such as rice pudding or egg custard.
With its exposed beams, vaulted room and large mirrors on the wall, the place has remained unchanged since the beginning of the last century, when it was first built by Emilie and Eugenie Chabert.
Where? 14 quai Romain Rolland, 5e arrondissement de Lyon.
3. LE SATHONAY
Le Sathonay is the cozy Bouchon Lyonnais to take refuge in once the weather turns. Wooden tables, antiques and old posters take us on a journey through time, as well as the traditional and tasty cuisine served by Helen and Michael, the owners of the property for over 15 years. The dish to taste is tripe – the chef specialty!
Where? 34 rue Sergent Blandan, 1er arrondissement de Lyon.
4. LE P'TIT BOUCHON
Saloua and Morgane welcome you into their restaurant with stone and brick walls – a small, yet warmly decorated haven. Good food enthusiasts settle in to enjoy simple yet effective dishes, made using fresh market produce.
Where? 223 rue de Créqui, 3e arrondissement de Lyon.
5. LE POÊLON D'OR
Ater having toured the world and been trained by great chefs, Yann Lalle turned to the traditional cuisine of his hometown by taking on le Poêlon d'or (The Golden Skillet). His chef, Mickaël Lorini, prepares pike quenelles, artichoke hearts and foie gras or andouillette in mustard, as well as further dishes the adventurous are sure to enjoy.
Where? 29 rye des Remparts d'Ainay, 2e arrondissement de Lyon.