Lyon is known worldwide to be a high place for gastronomy. And the traditional bouchons are the popular expression of the interest of the inhabitants for food.
But what is a bouchon anyway ? A bouchon can be described as a familial bistro with a cosy atmosphere, generally red checkered table cloths and authentic cuisine.
You can find popular local dishes such as cervelle des canuts, tête de veau, tablier de sapeur, andouillette, pralin tart and so much more…
The tradition goes back to the mid-18th century, where the « mères lyonnaises », coming from poor lower social classes, decided to sell homemade cooking. Modest, self-taught cooks tended small, simple but hearty dishes.
Their mantra : don’t spoil anything. They used the lowliest pieces of meat: shin, breast and other cuts judged less noble than fillets. Among the most famous were Mère Fillioux, made famous with her truffled poultry, or Mère Brazier, who learned the basics with Mère Fillioux before launching her own restaurant and becoming the first woman to receive three Michelin stars.
A few of the best bouchons in Lyon still offer the « machôn », the traditional pork-based breakfast of the canuts, Lyon silk weavers, for those who appreciate a hearty breakfast.
Here is our selection of a few best bouchons in Lyon:
Danièle et Denise
Assurely one of the most appreciated bouchons in Lyon. Three must-eat addresses of the starred chef Joseph Viola. He aims to to honor classical dishes and their different flavours with subtlety with a friendly atmosphere. Authentic tasteful and comforting cooking with quality products. A real institution for foodies, this gastronomic bouchon is not to be missed.
Café Comptoir Abel
This bouchon is the most authentic bourgeois bouchon in Lyon. Its period decor is a testament to this. Waxed parquet floors, shimmering woodwork, French-style ceilings, vast mirrors, paintings and objects found here and there by the successive owners. At Abel’s, time stops when you taste the real homemade pike quenelle, chicken with morels or even a delicious crayfish gratin.
It’s quite a hidden gem in Lyon and the outside doesn’t look very spectacular but it’s the inside that matters. Alain Vigneron, the chef, has been cooking there since 1976 top quality home-made dishes and traditional specialties of Lyon which are really worth trying.
Café du Peintre
Open in 2009, this is one of the best bouchons in Lyon for its family food and relaxed atmosphere. A family heritage, inspired by the « mères lyonnaises » tradition. Florence, the chef, grew up in the kitchens of the Périer establishment, run by her mother and grandmother. She works with her son, who takes care of the wines. He offers a refined but accessible selection of wines from the region, but not only. Here you could also connect with the traditional breakfast of the canuts, the « mâchon ».
Le Bouchon Turpin
In a setting with authentic and contemporary accents, come and savour Lyon’s market cuisine. Hospitality and conviviality is the team’s motto ! In the kitchen, Chef Jean-Guillaume Desormières combines expertise and the utmost respect for the products in order to offer a quality Lyon cuisine ; dishes are made exclusively from fresh and seasonal products.!
Not far from the Museum of Printing and Communication, and from the Place de la Bourse is the Museum, one of the best bouchons in Lyon by far. Homemade pistachio brioche sausage, lamb tongue, andouillette, tablier de sappeur, liver cake… The chef masters the great classics of Lyon cuisine ! The atmosphere is just as typical as the food : red checkered tablecloths, a small warm room, a welcoming friendly atmosphere, a traboule not far from the restaurant…. All the elements are there to make you spend a pleasant time in this charming and typical Lyon setting. This place is really worth a visit. Opinions are unanimous ; this one of the most appreciated bouchons in Lyon!
Le Bouchon Sully
Last but not least. The last of our selection of the top bouchons in Lyon is the one of Julien Gautier. Chef of the reknowed M Restaurant, set up Le Bouchon Sully at the end of 2014. He offers a classic Lyonnais menu and not to be forgotton the classical vol-au-vent, traditional dish that is disappearing from french tables.