The toughest reservation in Bordeaux right now is La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez’s Restaurant Joël Robuchon, which was recently awarded a second Michelin star. Chef Philippe Etchebest’s new brasserie, Le Quatrième Mur, near the Opéra National de Bordeaux, also is extremely popular, as is Le Pressoir d’Argent, Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at the InterContinental Bordeaux — Le Grand Hôtel. What has really changed in Bordeaux, however, is the number of excellent bistros that have opened. This is explained by the fact that young chefs are attracted to the city by its quality of life, and a new generation of wine merchants now dine out more often than they eat or entertain at home.
This stylish bistro in the heart of the city is run by a quartet of chefs from Israel, New Caledonia, Japan and France who met at the Ferrandi cooking school in Paris. The menu changes regularly but runs to dishes such as monkfish with smoked chestnut purée, pork loin with vanilla-flavored celery root purée and hibiscus roasted figs with halva ice cream.
3-3 Rue du Cancera. Tel. (33) 5-56-81-18-24.
Chef Tanguy Laviale’s contemporary French menu follows the seasons but offers dishes such as a starter of smoked tuna and duck foie gras and roasted Pauillac lamb.
6-2 Rue Abbé de l’Epée. Tel. (33) 9-72-45-55-36.
This Asian-inspired restaurant is run by a Franco-Chinese couple who moved to Bordeaux after living in Hong Kong for eight years.
6 Rue du Cancera. Tel. (33) 5-40-05-76-91.
Chef Philippe Etchebest, who cooked for many years at L’Hostellerie de Plaisance in nearby Saint-Emilion, has a hit on his hands with this contemporary French brasserie near the opera house. It’s difficult to get a reservation, but there’s seating at the bar, which offers a chance to try dishes such as poached egg with celery root cream and smoked duck breast, and blanquette de veau with lemongrass. Best for lunch.
Le Quatrième Mur
2 Place de la Comédie. Tel. (33) 5-56-02-49-70.
Chef Frédéric Vigouroux’s easygoing bistro attracts a cosmopolitan crowd with a well-executed menu that runs to dishes such as chilled pea and watercress soup, duck confit with eggplant and strawberry mousse.
Le Bouchon Bordelais
2 Rue Courbin. Tel. (33) 5-56-44-33-00.
The elegant Napoleon III dining rooms on the first floor of the InterContinental Bordeaux — Le Grand Hôtel recently reopened with a new chef, Gilad Peled, a young Israeli who previously worked with Gordon Ramsay in London. Refined dishes such as tartare de boeuf de Bazas with oysters and caviar, a starter, and turbot in seaweed butter sauce with razorshell clams make good foils for the excellent wine list. Dinner only.
Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay
2-5 Place de la Comédie, Tel. (33) 5-57-30-43-42.