Bar at Aux Quatre Coins du Vin, Bordeaux, France

Aux Quatre Coins du Vin

This contemporary wine bar close to Place St. Pierre is the brainchild of Benjamin Bouet. Guests can self-serve samples amongst 32 different vintages, many from the region, but also some of Bouet's discoveries beyond Bordeaux, and even France. Stainless steel Enomatic machines pour 3 centiliters, 6 centiliters (about a half-glass) or 12 centiliters (a glass), so you can sample a wide variety before settling on that grand cru Bordeaux or white Burgundy of your choice.

The lovely staff is on hand to guide you through the offerings, and if self-sampling wine is not your idea of a romantic night out, they are happy to serve you at the high bar tables as well. A short menu of charcuterie and cheeses makes this a brilliant way to start the evening. On Friday and Saturday nights, reservations past 7:30/8pm are a must.

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Bar at Belle Campagne, Bordeaux, France

Belle Campagne

Serving a local farm-to-table menu, this cute newcomer in the historic district is a wonderful spot for Sunday brunch. Come early (it starts at 10am) to secure a table and blend in with a very local scene. During the rest of the week, Belle Campagne is open only for dinner, but the other arrivals on the bistro scene, like Miles and Chien de Pavlov, make better dinner spots.

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.

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.

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.

Food at Chez Dupont, Bordeaux, France

Chez Dupont

You half expect to have Amélie prance up to your table to take your order at this neighborhood institution on wonderful Rue Notre Dame, in the Chatrons area. Lunch is the time to go when the resto is packed with locals from the street, including many of the antiques dealers who have shops here. There’s a menu but go with the daily specials, which are written out on a chalkboard. Wash it all down with a crisp Bordeaux blanc and don’t even expect to make much conversation. The people-watching here is priceless.

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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.

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.


Sunday mornings, Bordeaux resembles a sleepy village, with most places shuttered. Travelers looking for a breakfast option away from their hotels should head to this find on centrally located Place du Parlement. The grand crème coffee is strong, the pastries still warm, and the setting in the wood-clad dining room is laid-back and congenial. It's also a casual spot for lunch.

Exterior View - La Tupina, Bordeaux, France

La Tupina

Bordeaux's most famous bistro was opened in 1968 by Jean-Pierre Xiradakis (he was 23 at the time). Since then, the congenial spot has topped the must-eat lists of many, even having been named "best bistro in the world" by the International Herald Tribune, which means that these days it's frequented mostly by visiting foodies. However, the cuisine still delivers a wow for diners looking for robust southwestern cuisine. The sidewalk tables are stylishly separated by blue-colored planters while the interior is cozy and rustic. It may not be the must it once was, but La Tupina still rightfully holds a place in Bordeaux's culinary scene and makes for a good lunch or dinner option.

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.

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.

Le Petit Commerce

This bistro, a Bordeaux institution, is known for its excellent seafood. Much like at La Tupina, you will definitely not be the only visitor here - in fact, most diners are not local - but the food is consistently good and the central location, in walking distance to all hotels, is a perk.

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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.

Plume Small Kitchen

Close to the Place Pey-Barland and the Bordeaux Cathedreal, ie tourist central, this small coffee spot and restaurant is a great place to refuel. There are lovely sandwiches, quiches and pastries, and if you score one of the small tables for breakfast, lunch or coffee, you may be tempted to just sit back and take in the local scene for a while longer.

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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