Six of the best bistro-style “stopper” restaurants in Lyon


Lyon may have a flashy reputation for haute cuisine and a cavalcade of celebrity chefs proudly calling it home, but the real magic of its cuisine lies in its capsfriendly establishments with sober menus and red and white checkered tablecloths. There are only 22 certified caps in this city renowned for its 4000 restaurants. If that sounds a bit exclusive, it’s because it’s – it’s a cultural cornerstone, unique to the French metropolis.

Less than a year since the opening of the Cit̩ de la Gastronomie Рa state of the art cultural Center which celebrates gastronomy in all its forms Рon the banks of the Rh̫ne, the appetite of the humble Cork stay as strong as ever. Eschewing the modern touches and contemporary quirks of traditional dishes, these small, family-run bistros revel in the authentic. Expect a warm welcome and handwritten menus featuring classic, indulgent Lyonnaise cuisine that consists of meat, offal, onions and butter and generous portions of local wines like Beaujolais or C̫tes du Rh̫ne . Diners should leave their cares at the door when they step into one of those old world joints Рall that matters is good food and a love of a good time.

1. Daniel and Denise Créqui

Start in the Part-Dieu district, where the characteristic red awning of Daniel and Denise Créqui marks one of the best caps in the city. There is a certain warm charm to this restaurant, with its hanging copper pans and elegant woodwork – and, as far as food is concerned, Viola’s award-winning restaurant. pie is one of the many compelling reasons to stop.

2. Le Bouchon des Cordeliers

Cross the Rhône on Pont Lafayette to the Presqu’île and follow your nose to Le Bouchon des Cordeliers. Don’t be fooled by the contemporary interior – a quick glance at the menu will confirm that this is indeed a bastion of tradition Cork rate. It is full of classics like Lyon quenelle with pike (a pike meatball drowned in a creamy Nantua sauce with crayfish) and praline pie (a decadent tart made with pink praline).

3. Café des Federations

Tucked away in an alley, this rustic restaurant is a sort of local institution, its paneled exterior and white curtains unchanged for decades. Equally timeless is the menu, which features dishes that span generations. The extensive wine list might prove useful in finding the courage to order the head of veal (head of veal).

4. The Girls’ Cap

A short walk north, past the casual graffiti of Sergent Blandan Street, is the The Girls’ Cap, perpetuating a centuries-old Lyon tradition of professional kitchens run by women (they were originally called Mères Lyonnaises). After meeting while they were waitresses at the Café des Fédérations, Laura Vildi and Isabelle Comerro joined forces to open a Cork of their own. The menu is authentic but not as high in calories as those of more traditional dishes caps – although the generous size andouillettes sausage may suggest otherwise.

5. The Fines Gueules

Cross the Saône and stroll through the postcard alleys of Lyon’s old town, Vieux Lyon. Here you will find the sumptuous The Fines Gueules, the brainchild of chef Joël Salzi, who spent 11 years working under the local hero and “pope” of French cuisine Paul Bocuse. The Cork is a haven of traditional regional cuisine in a tourism-centric part of town (it’s next to an English-style pub); end a meal here in style with colorful ice cream and Salzi meringue vacherin.

6. Café Comptoir Abel

Follow the Saône south to what might be the city’s most revered Cork. With its antique wooden furniture, waxed floors and vintage bric-a-brac, the Café Comptoir Abel claims that it dates back to 1726 seems quite plausible. Not to be outdone, chef Alain Vigneron has been working there himself since 1976. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy a menu that highlights the best of Lyon cuisine, including some of the most refined. dumplings to find in the city.

Did you know?

Even if ‘Cork’ translates to “cork” in English, it also refers to the twisted straw brushes with which the Lyon silk merchants used to clean their horses.

Published in the July-August 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveler (UK)

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