Bar at Brasserie Bordelaise, Bordeaux, France

Brasserie Bordelaise

Part of Nicolas Lascombe’s empire (the mastermind behind Chateau La Dominique’s Terasse Rouge), this bistro is a great place to sample the region's hearty fare: chacuterie, foie gras, boudin noir, oysters, côte de veau. Don’t expect clichés like checkered tablecloths, however – the multi-level dining space is sleek and contemporary, with exposed limestone walls, a long polished bar and stacks of wine bottles and cases.

The wonderful wine list offers a personal look at Bordeaux's best, but includes a range of prices, from €20 bottles from Rive Gauche's Graves appellation to pricier grands crus. The brasserie is located in walking distance to the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and the sites in the historic district. Best of all, it’s open every day for lunch and dinner.

Food at Garopapilles, Bordeaux, France - Courtesy Garopapilles,


Part of the new jeune bistro Bordelaise that are re-energizing the city’s dining scene, Garopapilles has just twenty covers and a menu that changes nearly daily, depending on what chef Tanguy Laviale has in mind. The setting, complete with a walled herb garden, is charming. You will definitely need a reservation, time and a spirit of discovery to just go with what the chef recommends. An adjacent wine shop sells many of the vintages on the well-edited wine list.

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 Chien de Pavlov, Bordeaux, France - Courtesy Alex Bride Photography

Le Chien de Pavlov

This so-called jeune bistro Bordelais (young Bordeaux bistro) is another recent arrival, along with Miles and Belle Campagne. Sitting on a cute cobblestone street, close to Aux Quatre Coins wine bar, it looks like your dream version of a bistro, with romantic round tables and a chalkboard menu. The food is innovative and offers a light touch to the normally hearty southwestern fare.

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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