Bordeaux is obviously well known for it’s wine, but its reputation for being a foodie heaven is also on the up. There are so many options available to diners, even veggie diners, it’s hard to know where to go. So, below are some of my personal recommendations – they’re all places I’ve been to myself and would go back to in an instant. All of them are veggie friendly.
Places to eat
Tante Charlotte 7 rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel: +33 9 82 60 13 12 (reservations recommended – English spoken)
Tante Charlotte is one of those restaurants you have to experience. Set in a side street near the main shopping street, Tante Charlotte is a romantic, sophisticated yet somehow also down-to-earth restaurant, best for couples and groups of friends wanting to relax, eat and drink well, and leave happy. Walking up to the restaurant, you may think that it is closed because of the long black velvet curtain obscuring the door, but that is just part of the ambience – pull the curtain aside and you’re greeted by the flamboyant and wonderfully friendly (and vegetarian!) manager who helpfully accomodated us when we arrived late and hungry without a reservation. The menu – a 3 course choose-your-own-dishes type affair with or without drinks – was creative and delicious. Both myself as a veggie and my meat/fish-loving boyfriend loved the food, particularly the main courses – a taster dish of beautifully created vegetarian food for me, and sesame encrusted salmon for him. We left full, satisfied, entertained and with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Quite simply, the best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at.
Belle Campagne 15 rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel: +33 5 56 81 16 51 (English spoken)
Belle Campagne, meaning ‘Beautiful Countryside’, is a restaurant with a purpose. Using only locally sourced ingredients, they serve traditional French cuisine with a twist in two different ways – go downstairs for tapas style food, and upstairs for full meals. Upstairs, filled with decorations relating to animals and the countryside and mismatched wooden furniture, has a relaxed atmosphere. The food was fresh, tasty and modern, whilst also being filling. Their meat cassoulet, a take on a traditional French dish was, as the waitress said, unlike any other cassoulet you might find – unique in style to the restaurant. The veggie main, similar in looks to a canneloni, was both distinctly French in taste whilst also having an Asian twist. And the desert… Well, the desert was divine – crunchy biscuit, smooth creme patissiere, tangy glace fennel and ice cold granita combined to thrill our tastebuds. The desert alone is worth going back for.
Sel et Sucre 5 rue du Palais Ombrière, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel: +33 5 56 48 27 38
This quaint creperie hidden on a side street near Porte Cailhou is a great place to stop by for a quick and filling lunch. Serving Breton galettes of many varieties and sweet crepes for pudding, Sel et Sucre has something for both meat eaters and vegetarians alike, all at a reasonable price. Their carafes of cider are a great accompaniment too.
Whilst not actually in Bordeaux, this sophisticated restaurant set in the quiet wine-producing town of Saint-Emilion is worth a mention. Featured in the Michelin Guide, L’Huitrier Pie is a more formal affair than my other recommendations but whilst service and presentation is obviously important to them, their priority is clearly still in creating interesting and filling dishes. There is a wide choice available to meat and fish eaters, including set meals, and for vegetarian diners, there is a specially created set menu which, when I ate, featured a delicious soup and an exciting main course simply because of its use of texture and taste – sometimes a rare find for veggies.
Places to drink
Bar a Vin 3 cours du XXX juillet, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel: +33 5 56 00 43 47 (booking not available)
Bar a Vin is a classy wine bar located on the ground floor of Maison du Vin, the home of the Bordeaux Wine Council and, as such, they know their wine well! For very reasonable prices (starting from only 2euro per glass), you can try some of the nicest wines available from the Bordeaux region. They also serve cheese and meat dishes, and have non-alcoholic Bordeaux grape juice available for non-drinkers.
This place is a must for people who love wine and cheese. Set on the main road overlooking the river, close to the restored dockyard area, Le bistro du fromager, is a place to relax, watch the world go by and, of course, drink and eat delicious wine and cheese. It’s a quirky little place with a cheese counter and small wine cellar, with helpful staff who can recommend both wine and cheese to suit your tastes. We opted for a mixed French cheese board (a nicely generous portion too!) and two glasses of Medoc red – perfect!
Have you been to Bordeaux? Do you have any recommendations of places to eat and drink? Post in the comments and let me know!