Bordeaux food and wine guide - a beginner's guide
Often referred to as the “sleeping beauty” of France, over recent years Bordeaux has undergone a spectacular transformation and has fast become an attraction for international expats.
One look at its cobbled, sprawling streets and balconies, timeless buildings and it’s easy to see why. At one moment, you can be in the midst of modern France and commuters galore and the next minute you’ve walked down a street and it feels like you’ve wandered into 18th century France. It’s this charm that has brought thousands of expats to its streets with many Brits now calling it home.
Yet, whilst it has seen a rapid increase in the number of Brits choosing to move to Bordeaux, it remains a hidden gem to the tourist industry. Apart from oenophiles, this stunning French city is yet to be discovered by the mass market and that only adds to its appeal.
It’s a trend that is also seen across the other regions of France, with it now welcoming one of the largest British expat communities.
Whilst other popular locations certainly have perks too, Bordeaux has a lot to offer, from its high-quality restaurants and bars to the numerous cultural establishments.
For those considering moving to Bordeaux or are already in the process of moving, here’s a perfect guide to Bordeaux’s food and wine.
Wine in Bordeaux
Let’s get one thing out of the way, there is plenty of wine in Bordeaux and it is the city’s most famous asset. In fact, if you consider yourself to be a wine enthusiast or even a connoisseur, you’ll find your dream destination in the Bordeaux Wine museum one of the cities stand-out landmarks.
The museum has been designed to look like a swirling wine glass and aims to be the world’s best wine experience. Make sure you visit the Belvedere wine bar on the top floor for panoramic views and wines from around the world.
The L’École du Vin is the place to visit for affordable, delicious wine and the experience is tailored to meet your needs. It’s a sommelier school, with students acting as the institution’s servers. Trained in the art of wine, they will help you select the perfect bottle and ensure that you find exactly what you are after.
If you’re moving to Bordeaux you’ll be spoilt for choice with wine bars, restaurants and bistros. Here are our top 5 wine bar recommendations to get you started.
Top 5 Wine Bars in Bordeaux
- Aux Quatre Coins has over 800 bottles on its wine list and over 40 available by the glass (from €4), it has become the one of the most popular places for wine lovers in the city. Pop in for a glass, hire for a private event or wine tasting party.
- Le Verre Ô Vin is in the heart of Chartrons. Hugely popular with young professionals and locals with a friendly ambience. Enjoy local wines, dancing, cheese and tapas – it’s a great place to meet new people if you’ve just moved.
- Vins Urbains is in the Saint-Pierre district. Jan and Christelle Bussière opened the bar after 20 years of Jan working as a sommelier. They offer over 400 wines (30% being from Bordeaux), a cellar visible through a grille in the floor and a vaulted room from private parties. The platters to accompany wine are also said to be exquisite.
- For a more relaxed experience head to Le Flacon. The bar has an intimate setting, 1950’s décor and seats only 22 patrons. They offer around 200 wines, which change regularly, tapas and special dishes from the Ardèche.
- For those who like something a little more discreet, the speakeasy in Symbiose is for you. Symbiose is a riverside restaurant, however behind the grandfather clock follow a trail of candles leading to a dimly lit speakeasy. Indulge in not only wine but unique cocktails and Japanese whiskey.
While wine might be its speciality, Bordeaux refuses to be a one trick pony and has a variety of international establishments and cocktail bars, if that’s more your thing. We’ve heard that Calle Ocho has the best mojitos in France. So, make sure you try them.
A guide to food in Bordeaux
Bordeaux hasn’t always been famous for it’s food scene, but with new chefs moving to the city its gastronomic reputation is on the up. Here are our top 5 restaurant recommendations to try when moving to the city.
- Le Flacon, already mentioned as one of the top 5 wine bars; the food here is a must try. The menu offers lighter meals and changes regularly, try unique dishes such as tuna rillettes with ponzu lime or spring rolls with lamb and mint. The perfect place for a light meal and glass of your favourite vino.
- Garopapilles restaurant and wine boutique can be tough to get a reservation but it is well worth it. Chef Tanguy Laviale cooked in Paris before opening the restaurant in Bordeaux; his food is said to be superb. Veal medallions with praline and squid’s ink gnocci are a must try.
- La Tupina is famed for its gourmet bistro menu, open fire and a recommendation from Rick Stein. They use local produce in all their dishes, the restaurant offers a warm atmosphere and hearty cuisine including their Shoulder of lamb confit with fresh beans.
- Racines restaurant is a favourite amongst locals, always a good sign. The Glaswegian chef Daniel Gallacher creates beautifully executed dishes made with fresh and seasonal produce. Make sure you book ahead as its always fully booked.
- Quatrieme Mur is a must for anyone who dubs themselves a foodie. A chic brasserie located in the historic district, next to the Opéra National de Bordeaux-Grand Théâtre. The chef Philippe Etchebest won two Michelin stars for his cooking at the plush L’Hostellerie de Plaisance. The best time to visit is at lunchtime, for a lively atmosphere and slightly lower prices. Great food and fine wines, Bordeaux is a cultured city, steeped in history and becoming increasingly popular with expats considering moving to France. Picture this, a glass of wine in one hand, a beautiful meal on the table in front you and in the stunning setting of a traditional French city. What more could you want?
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