Bô Bar

Tiny Place Saint-Pierre is one of Bordeaux’s most winning squares, a bit off the tourist tracks from larger Place du Parliament nearby. Here, the menu is focused on organic and biodynamic wines from all over France, and they are served with wonderful cheese and charcuterie platters. It’s down the street from such bistros as Chien Pavlov and Miles, so a great place to start an evening out.

Café Andrée Putman

This lovely patio was designed by French interiors queen Andrée Putman and is located on the terrace on top of the Contemporary Art Museum. It’s tucked away so you don’t have any views, but on a sunny day, it’s an absolutely perfect, quiet spot for brunch or lunch.

Guinguette Alriq

Attending a dance night at this riverside, completely local spot, feels like being transported into the scene in Roman Holiday where Gregory Peck takes Audrey Hepburn dancing on a barge in the Tiber. The setting is authentic and wonderful: mismatched plastic chairs and tables, strung Christmas lights, little, colorful flags and a makeshift bar where you order inexpensive wine and beer (the most expensive thing on the menu is a "bottle of red" at €15). Once the live music starts, everyone is on their feet dancing the night away.

Guinguette Alriq is located on Rive Droite, across the river from all the hotels (take a taxi to get there), which means you have incredible nighttime views of the city, making an outing here even more romantic and special. Chances are, you will be the only non-local.

Food at Le Bouchon Bordelais, Bordeaux, France

Le Bouchon Bordelais

Whether you're having lunch on the small terrace beneath the restaurant's red awning or dinner in the small dining room with its exposed stone walls and wooden tables, this is a great spot for sampling southwestern fare. ("Très convivial," as the restaurant was wholeheartedly recommended by a French friend.)

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Food at Le Comptoir Cuisine, Bordeaux, France

Le Comptoir Cuisine

Right next door to the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux, the modern restaurant is a good spot for lunch. It's simple but chic and the menu includes some lighter fare, which may be welcome to those who've had their share of côte de boeuf and boudin noir. It's open every day for lunch and dinner.

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Mama Shelter Bordeaux

This outpost of the hip, young hotel chain, whose original property is located in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, opened in 2013 and immediately became a veritable Bordeaux hot spot. The restaurant and lounge on the ground floor are dimly lit, play a cool soundtrack and boast such whimsical touches as a foosball table, chalk-painted ceiling and a glowing, long bar that’s presided over by colorful pool inflatables. Especially on the weekends, it fills with a fun mix of couples (in the romantic dining nooks), groups of friends and young families. The menu’s theme seems to be “something for everyone,” with an eclectic mix of Asian, French and international fare. Make a reservation for the rooftop bar where an abbreviated version of the menu is served. The service is moody and slow and the ambience trendy to a fault, but the views are great, and for a €6 glass of wine before dinner, it's a fun spot.

Aerial View - Night Plage, Bordeaux, France

Night Plage

Weather-permitting, the rooftop of the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux offers vast views and cozy sitting nooks (during the day, the terrace is only accessible to guests of the spa). It’s a perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail or a night cap after the opera.

Ambience : Rouge Terrasse, Bordeaux, France - Photo Courtesy : Herve Lefevre

Rouge Terrasse

Opened in 2014, this gorgeous restaurant on top of the winery of Chateau La Dominique, near Bordeaux’s St. Emilion, is a must for lunch for travelers touring this part of the wine region. The dining room is located on a large terrace that sits on top of the chateau's winery, a blood-red-colored, contemporary building designed by Jean Nouvel. The Priztker Prize–wining architect's mirrored construction brilliantly plays with the colors, reflecting them back at diners: the blue of the sky; the deep green of the wine fields; the red of a field of pebbles that serves as an art installation in the middle of the terrace.

Luckily, the food at Rouge Terasse lives up to this stunning setting. It’s simply prepared southwestern cuisine, so charcuterie is presented on rough wooden boards with a pile of cornichons, and a roast chicken is served on a velvety pile of potatoes cooked in cream. Add to this an excellent wine list and the sweeping views that extend all the way up to modest-looking Pétrus winery, and you have a wonderful, very special lunch. Before or after, it’s well worth touring La Dominique winery, but it’s not required to score a reservation here. Terasse Rouge is open to anyone and has been wholeheartedly embraced by the neighbors so pay attention to your fellow diners: you may be sitting next to the winemakers of some of the region’s most acclaimed vintages.

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