Happy Friday! What's everyone up to this weekend? The weather here has been unbelievably rainy which makes me just want to stay in and watch Netflix. However, I need to remind myself that I live in FRANCE and I need to take advantage of all the amazing restaurants/museums/etc.
This can be easier said than done on a student budget BUT I have managed to scope out some affordable gems in the Lyon restaurant scene. Three to be exact. None of them are traditional bouchons, but all happen to be in the Croix-Rousse (what can I say, I like my neighborhood). So do with that what you will.
1. Le Canut et les Gones.
The vibe: artsy-eclectic, cozy, a little hipster.
Go for: nouveau French cuisine, the classics "with a twist."
The scoop: I went here one rainy Saturday when my friend Anna was visiting. I called the morning of and managed to get a table for that same night at 7:30 which was lucky. (The friend who recommended it to me said you usually need to book at least two weeks in advance.) We arrived a bit early, around 7:20, and were turned away. The restaurant was completely empty - couldn’t we at least wait inside, maybe grab a drink at the bar? Non, c’est pas possible! When they say 7:30, they mean it, rain or shine. So on we walked, wandering into a little bookstore to kill some time before our reservation. We came back at 7:30, maybe a few minutes after, to a completely full restaurant. Packed even. How this place managed to fill up in 10 minutes is beyond me. Our server led us to a table in the back room, adorned with all kinds of signs and clocks on the walls. Reminded me a bit of the decor in an Applebee’s but this was kitschy in a cool way. The service was top-notch and the food was even better. The three course menu is 29 euros, not including wine. I ordered some sort of vegetable purée followed by lamb and roasted potatoes, then last but not least, a mini chocolate cake for dessert. Pretty presentation and delicious food - definitely recommend!
2. Bonsoir Clara.
The vibe: trendy, cool wine bar.
Go for: their impressive wine selection and tasty tartines.
The scoop: I went here for a friend's birthday. This is the kind of restaurant that's cool without even trying. Friendly servers and a good ambiance - elegant but not over the top. Our group of ten was seated at large wooden table in the back room. Their concept is genius - a menu offering all different kinds of tartines (essentially toasted bread with different toppings) that pair perfectly with wine. So simple, but so good! Also, order the tiramisu for dessert.
3. Le Comptoir du Vin.
The vibe: homey, no-frills French cooking.
Go for: A classic bœuf bourguignon or steak tartare.
The scoop: In any case, the chef will tell you what the special is and that’s what you’ll be having. Saves you the trouble of having to decide what to order and you know it’ll be good! I can’t remember how I originally discovered this place, but I’m glad I did. After running past it a few times, I looked it up and found only rave reviews on Trip Advisor. Note: they don’t take reservations. Kara and I arrived around 7 p.m. on a random Tuesday and had no problem getting a table. However, by 9, the place was packed. We ordered one giant salad and one bœuf bourguignon to try a bit of each, but ended up wishing we'd just skipped the salad. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and served with perfectly crispy potatoes, and the most delicious sauce. This chef knows what he's doing. I talked to him a bit as we were leaving and he was super friendly, saying that he cooks whatever he feels like making that day, depending on what's in season. Dessert was something chocolatey which was perfect split between the two of us. I think the grand total (including wine) was around 35€, maybe less. Best deal in town.
Et c'est tout! Bon weekend à tous. Bisous!