Local Restaurants You Will Love in Bordeaux, France

Photo of Emma Calley
22 July 2021

The port city of Bordeaux has premium seafood and shellfish on its doorstep, and local restaurants make the most of it. But it doesn’t just stop at fish – Bordeaux was once in the path of several major trading routes in France, introducing a variety of ingredients into the mix.

The result is a culinary melting pot – fit for a Michelin star or two; today, there are 20 Michelin-star restaurants in and around the city. Whether you’re seeking freshly shucked oysters or a hearty rib-eye steak, these are nine of the best local restaurants in Bordeaux.

Le Petit Commerce

Bistro, French, $$$
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France, Gironde, Bordeaux, area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, Le Petit Commerce
© HAUSER Patrice / hemis.fr / Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

Blink and you’ll miss it. This bistro, in the city’s old centre, is as unassuming as they come – but what it lacks in street presence, it makes up for in flavour. Its signature? Simple seafood, served without heavy sauces or fancy sides. The restaurant is a winner among locals and visitors; celebrity chef Rick Stein is one notable fan.

Michel’s

Bistro, French, $$$
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BORDEAUX, FRANCE:  Le Michel's, a Pretty Cafe Bistro in Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges opposite Place Camille Jullian Square
© Chris Lawrence / Alamy Stock Photo

Michel’s favours character over the contemporary – think a time-worn green façade and quirky decorations that change seemingly at the owner’s whim. The bistro has been attracting locals for years, who come back for its traditional canteen-style meals that won’t break the bank, from burgers to French onion soup and crispy potatoes. Pull up a green chair on the terrace and soak up the atmosphere of Vieux Bordeaux (old Bordeaux).

Bo-tannique

Restaurant, French
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This Michelin-recognised restaurant, in the historic heart of Bordeaux, was created by three friends with a shared passion for good food and wine. The meals fuse traditional French techniques with tastes and ingredients from around the world, influenced by the trio’s travels. Think onion poached with dashi and crispy tuna in a spicy sriracha emulsion. The menu is seasonal and accompanied by wines chosen by the sommelier.

Rest’O

Restaurant, Healthy, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, French, European, $$$
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In a country known for its meat and seafood, Rest’O is a breath of fresh, vegetarian air. This 100% organic restaurant takes plant-based food to the next level with its vibrant dishes and creative combinations. The plaisir du jour (pleasure of the day) dégustation is a crowd pleaser, packing a flavour punch with bites like slow-cooked mushroom croquettes and tangy stuffed tomatoes. Wash it all down with a glass of Château Vari Monbazillac, or one of the other local, organic wines on offer.

L’Estacade Restaurant

Restaurant, French, $$$
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France, Gironde, Bordeaux, area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, the banks of Garonne river, Quai des Queyries, L'Estacade restaurant and Saint Mic
© Bertrand Gardel / Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

This riverside eatery, on the banks of the Garonne, focuses on seasonal flavours. It pools its influences from the Mediterranean and Atlantic to create protein-driven dishes packed with garlic, parsley and other regional flavours – and expertly pairs with Bordeaux wines like the Château Turcaud Cuvée Majeure Blanc. If in doubt, go for seafood – the pan-fried sturgeon with lentils, foie gras and smoked duck comes highly recommended. Book in advance for a spot on the coveted outdoor terrace.

Le Prince Noir

Restaurant, French, Contemporary, $$$
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Into contemporary cuisine? Book a table at the Michelin-star Le Prince Noir, on the grounds of the spectacular Château du Prince Noir, less than 30 minutes from Bordeaux. The restaurant serves up modern dishes influenced by French and Basque produce, such as cuttlefish with wild garlic and xipister (Basque vinaigrette). Sustainability is paramount at Le Prince Noir; the establishment is a Green Food Ambassador and commits to sourcing 90% local and organic produce.

Familia – Brasserie des Halles

Brasserie, French
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France, Gironde, Bordeaux, Bacalan district, Cite du Vin, an exhibition place on the theme of wine designed by XTU and opened in 2016
© MAISANT Ludovic / hemis.fr / Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

Familia is a modern brasserie located opposite Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin (wine museum) by the Garonne River. Its name is a tribute to the bar, restaurant and cinema that attracted visitors to the district between 1929 and 1972. Today, the spacious interior is contemporary and light-filled, with plenty of traditional touches that echo its origins, like woven bistro chairs. Its menu is simple, yet gourmet, offering dishes like sirloin steak with candied shallots and tuna tartare.

La Brasserie L'Orléans

Brasserie, Restaurant, French, $$$
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Bordeaux National Opera, France. Image shot 08/2019. Exact date unknown.
© Zoonar / Boris Breytman / Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

La Brasserie L’Orléans, near the city’s Opera House, has been feeding the people of Bordeaux since 1942. Its menu offers traditional brasserie cuisine with an emphasis on south-west French ingredients, including tomato terrine and duck foie gras. If you’re eager to try Bordeaux’s signature dish, entrecôte à la bordelaise (rib-eye steak with red wine sauce), this is the place to do it.

BLISSS

Restaurant, French, $$$
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The intimate family-run restaurant, a short drive from Bordeaux, offers a five-course mystery menu centred on haute cuisine. The only thing guaranteed is its rotating menu – made from diverse ingredients from orange sanguine (blood orange) to cabillaud (cod) – which is updated twice monthly based on seasonal produce and the head chef’s creative whims. You’ll need to book ahead to avoid disappointment, as people flock to this Michelin-recognised restaurant for the fun of guessing the ingredients.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Oonagh Gannon.

These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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