Burgundy is a region blessed with extraordinary produce and a long-standing tradition of culinary excellence. Under the Dukes of Burgundy, who lorded over a territory that extended from Spain to the Netherlands, Dijon became the showcase of the best and richest of the arts of the table, brought out in force to entertain and impress the guests of the court. This ‘only the best’ approach has remained ingrained in the culture and so it is no surprise that when it comes to capital city Dijon, the local gastronomic scene is off the charts.
The two-star Michelin restaurant is located in the Chapeau Rouge hotel – locals still refer to it as Chapeau Rouge restaurant. The cuisine of William Frachot is that of a devoted locavore highlighting Burgundy tradition on a plate: snails, persillé ham and eggs Meurette all make an appearance on the appetizer list. The understated contemporary décor sets a casual-chic tone while the kitchen produces exciting and unexpected combinations of flavors and textures, executed with exquisite delicacy and refreshingly devoid of artifice.
The table at La Maison des Cariatides is exciting on so many levels. First is the setting which is on the ground floor of an iconic medieval mansion built in 1603. It has been declared a national heritage monument, known for its incredibly well-preserved female figures on the façade. The contemporary industrial-chic décor sets off the architecture to great effect. The Michelin-star cuisine is fresh and creative and the reasonable price, for a restaurant in this league, has guests raving about the great value of the seven-course menu degustation.
Loiseau des Duc
Right across from the Palais des Ducs in the heart of the historical district, this gourmet spot is part of the well-respected Bernard Loiseau group of restaurants. Chef Bernard Loiseau became part of French culinary lore when took his own life in 2003 when it seemed imminent that he would lose his third Michelin star. Young chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant carries the torch combining Burgundy roots with original creative touches and sensual flavors in a contemporary, refined atmosphere. An amazing feature of this restaurant is the vacuum-sealed system for their wine cellar, which allows them to sell an extensive selection of top grand cru wines by the glass. This allows diners to enjoy a different wine with each course, and even different wines for each guest, without taking out a second mortgage. Whatever you do, don’t skip dessert: try the tarte fine aux pommes façon Bernard Loiseau, a classic.
Le Pré aux Clercs
With an unbeatable location facing the Palace of the Dukes, the Pré aux Clercs is the flagship restaurant of the Billoux father-and-son team. The elegant table is set with the most beautiful fine china and crystal. The 16th-century dining room with its historic exposed beams and stone walls complete the invitation for a leisurely and elegant meal. The great classics of French cuisine and the Burgundy region are revisited with a gastronomic twist, such as the popular favorite, Bresse chicken roasted in its juice, with truffled mashed potatoes. The humble Sunday roast is elevated to the status of a culinary masterpiece.
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