Bringing French peasant food to the city centre, it is no surprise locals and tourists alike flock here for the rustic, country fare. Think old French farmhouse and expect befitting grub – we tackled a 1kg rib of beef cooked over the famous, roaring open fire where various hunks of flesh rotate gently on a spit. The potatoes cooked in duck fat are devilishly good and their wine list compliments the rich, protein heavy menu (of course!) To really whet the appetite, watch Rick Stein’s Long Weekend in the city, in which he visits the restaurant. Stein eulogises whilst quaffing porky terrines and crunchy radishes – it really gets you in the mood. If you are in Bordeaux, you have to visit. Simple.
For seafood in the heart of the city’s romantic narrow streets look no further than Le Petit Commerce. The large, busy restaurant attracts French diners and tourists – always a positive sign. We opted for razor clams simply grilled with garlic and parsley, a velvety and rich fish soup, grilled lemon sole served with tangy ratatouille and a delightfully crisp bottle of Chablis. As is the case with good seafood, the folks at Le Petit Commerce keep things very simple. Their fresh produce needs very little done to it – they let the fish sing its own song. Service is a little surly but if you grin like a neurotic psychopath and make eye contact people are forced to soften a little – I’m sure I saw our waiter crack a smile.
For a real taste of the South West head to this light, airy restaurant in the very centre of the city. Each wall of the restaurant houses wine racks that reach from floor to ceiling – in said racks live an enormous collection of some of the best wines in the region. We shared a superbly fresh tuna tartare to start before each having a juicy, tender onglet steak. To wash down this decadent lunch, an incredible bottle of St Emilion – Lussac from 2012. When we had finished our meal, we took a brief tour of the cellar where not only is there more wine but also space to age all their beef. A really impressive eatery given the cost.
This small, relaxed French canteen is the perfect spot for a simple supper from a menu that really champions local ingredients. We began our meal with in-season white asparagus served with orange mousseline before moving onto delicious veal a la Provence, a sumptuous stew typical in the area and a tasty shrimp and white truffle pasta dish. The large double doors open out onto Place de Palais, one of many picturesque squares. A truly delightful spot on a warm evening.