Situated near the coast and surrounded by some of Europe’s largest wine regions, Bordeaux is a true haven for eating and drinking well. So, it makes perfect sense that the Bordelais have welcomed brunching culture with open arms, with many excellent places to grab breakfast recently springing up around the city.
An appreciation of good food, together with the French mentality of finding “le bonheur de vivre” (the happiness of living) through life’s simple pleasures has contributed to a brunch culture in Bordeaux that combines traditional French values with modern, international influences. And while the classic French breakfast of coffee and a croissant remains popular, international favourites such as avocado and eggs now also take the foreground within Bordeaux’s brunch scene. Culture Trip spoke to Clémentine Moncla, the owner of the city’s Black List Café and Le Tigre du Volcan, who shared her local insight and expertise in choosing the very best breakfast and brunch spots in Bordeaux.
Le Tigre du Volcan
Coffee Shop, French, Coffee
Following the success and popularity of their first coffee shop, Black List Café, Clémentine and her partner Pierrick have recently opened up shop at a second location in Bordeaux. Just next to the marina, Le Tigre du Volcan is a fresh new coffee stop located in Le Volcan, an artistic collaborative space in the city that also houses video and photo studios, an exhibition gallery and more. Clémentine explained to Culture Trip that, “Le Tigre is a place for locals, tourists and artists to gather around some really good coffee and home-made pastries.” Near the famous wine museum Cité du Vin, this is a great place to start your day the French way with a coffee and pastry in a quieter area on the Bordeaux tourist map.
Situated on rue Poquelin Molière, Horace is tucked away from Bordeaux’s busiest streets. The café offers a brunch that perfectly combines coffee shop culture (high-quality coffee as well as British-inspired cakes and desserts) with French bistro culture (generous portions of locally sourced food). Clémentine says: “They always find a twist in their dishes that makes you want to eat there every week.” Don’t forget to leave space to indulge in one of their dreamy desserts, which includes a selection of carrot cakes, lemon meringue sponge cakes, chocolate brownies and a delicious strawberry tart.
At Café Kokomo, customers can enjoy a taste of California in Bordeaux with an American-influenced menu and vibrant atmosphere. The surfboard hanging on the wall, colourful decor and cactus plants transport you from the quiet streets of Bordeaux to sunny California. Coffee is taken very seriously here, and they take pride in serving speciality brews. There are other drink options, too – if you are a tea lover, opt for their artisan chai latte that mixes black tea with various different spices. Food-wise, Café Kokomo offers a brunch option that includes a breakfast of your choice, a hot drink, a pastry and a choice of freshly squeezed juices (the orange, carrot and ginger juice is particularly good). Breakfast dishes include vegan options, and on the menu you’ll find sweet and savoury pancake options, avocado toast and açai bowls that are served every day between 10am–4pm. Pro tip: To avoid queuing for a table, be sure to arrive early on weekends.
Located next to Marché des Capucins, Oven Heaven is the perfect place to stop for breakfast before exploring the authentic market, where you can find many of France’s finest delicacies, including Bordeaux’s freshest local produce. “Even though this is not a brunch place as such, you will find the best home-made croissants – so if you’re looking for a quick breakfast, you should grab an espresso and one (or two?) of their deliciously flaky pastries.” French breakfast pastries are freshly made in-house each day, and owners Dimitri and Kevin share their expertise with customers, serving their own quality coffee roasts that are curated with passion and fine precision.
No matter how far you’ve travelled to get to Bordeaux, you’ll feel right at home when visiting Café Eriu. Owner Grace and her team run a beautiful, cosy coffee shop where they serve Irish specialties alongside other home-made brunch options. In addition to the homely brunch dishes, the laid-back ambiance and the welcoming staff make Café Eriu a worthy spot on the Bordeaux coffee shop scene. Soak up the stylish decor and breathe in the scent of their perfect coffee blends while waiting for your food. Clémentine explains: “The food (which is partly imported from Ireland) is so tasty and delicate, plus you can have a nice digestive walk in nearby Jardin Public after a delicious brunch.”
For a taste of French breakfast heaven, walk along the river to find Patisserie S, a cake shop serving quality coffee and expertly made pastries. Clémentine told Culture Trip: “For a 100 percent sweet breakfast, this classy pâtisserie is the best address in Bordeaux, and pastry chefs Satomi and Stanley excellently mix together their French and Japanese influences to produce the best pastries.” At Patisserie S, the pastries are made with love, and there’s a selection of excellent cakes, too, including a delectable mango mousse cake. Enjoy the comfortable café inside, where you can sip and savour every last taste of your coffee and sweet treat.
Serving healthy all-day brunches, and offering both sweet and savoury options as well as a second vegan/gluten-free menu, Contrast has certainly earned its high praise and popularity on the Bordeaux brunch scene. Entering the café you’ll see why, with colourful juices and brunch dishes filling the tables. Their toasts are served with home-made bread, and there’s a choice of seasoned-to-perfection avocado, hummus, eggs or salmon – the beetroot hummus is also highly recommended. Meanwhile the vegan and gluten-free options include smoothie bowls and fluffy pancakes. As this spot is located so close to the cathedral, it’s the ideal location from which to enjoy a scenic stroll around the city centre post-brunch.
The Breakfast Club stands loud and proud amongst the city’s brunch options, as it is one of the only cafés in Bordeaux serving up authentic British food. The menu includes British breakfast classics such as bacon and sausage sandwiches, scrambled eggs and crumpets. And, of course, there’s the full English breakfast, which includes, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, baked beans and grilled tomatoes (there’s also a vegetarian version for those who don’t eat meat). For something slightly lighter, opt for scones with cream and jam, accompanied by a cup of real English breakfast tea.
In France, the English term “brunch” is now commonly used to describe a late breakfast. And La Parenthèse Crêperie is well regarded as one of the best spots to go for a traditional French brunch in Bordeaux. While crêpes (particularly savoury crêpes) have historically been seen as a lunchtime dish in France, they have now entered the realm of brunches, too. Indeed, a trip to Bordeaux is simply incomplete without tantalising your taste buds on a crêpe, one of France’s most classic dishes. At La Parenthèse Crêperie, choose from the sweet and savoury menus or feast your eyes on both by starting with a savoury galette (a Breton pancake made with buckwheat flour) as your main course and finishing with a sweet crêpe for dessert. Besides crêpes, they also offer a brunch menu that includes coffee and fresh pastries, as well as bacon, salmon and eggs.