Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, so it goes without saying that there are countless amazing restaurants in Lyon to try.
Whether this is your first trip to the city or you’re returning to dig deeper into the food that makes this city so special, this list will hopefully help you plan a trip packed with amazing places to eat in Lyon whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Towards the bottom of this list, you will find a few of my personal favorite cafes and bars to enjoy great coffee, top-quality pastries, and a tipple or two with some local saucisson.
The amazing thing about Lyon is that it’s just so easy to find great food. Whether it’s the fact that everyone in the city has high standards, so mediocre places simply don’t last, or because food in Lyon really is that good, you won’t struggle to eat well in this city.
However, because of this fact, it can be hard to sift through the endless list of places to eat in Lyon. Should you fill up at a Bouchon? Do you splurge on a Michelin-star restaurant (there are 15 of them in the city!)? Is there good food to be found for those on a budget?
I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions about where to eat in Lyon and what to order when you get there.
Foods to Try in Lyon
Lyon is the birthplace of modern French cuisine and as you can imagine, is home to many traditional dishes that you’ll find on menus all over the city.
The dishes that you find in Lyon are some of the most famous in France. This is the cuisine that France is famous for and where you will find the most delicious French foods in the entire country.
These are just a few that you will spot everywhere and may (or may not) want to try.
- Praline: The most common praline dessert you’ll see in Lyon is the praline tarte. It’s hard to miss because it’s usually bright pink. The praline is made of almonds that have been coasted in sugar which has been dyed pink. You’ll spot praline in the windows of bakeries and across menus all over the city.
- Salade Lyonnaise: This is one seriously indulgent salad. Made with fresh green lettuce and topped with croutons, bacon, and a soft poached egg, this salad is rich and creamy but perfect with the sour vinaigrette that is usually served with it.
- Quenelle: Quenelle is a sort of fish cake (or meat in some places) that can be found in different versions around the country, but the Lyon version is usually made with pike fish and served in a creamy crayfish sauce. A good one takes time to prepare, so the best places will say on the menu that you need to wait 20-30 minutes.
- Andouillette: Found on nearly every menu in Lyon, andouillette is an acquired taste. It is essentially the entire intestines of a pig that have been stuffed into the colon as a casing and usually served in a red wine sauce.
- Rosette Lyonnaise: This is a Lyonnaise-style cured pork sausage. Many bouchon restaurants will serve a few slices with your bread when you sit down.
- Oeufs en Meurette: Poached eggs in a red wine sauce, the Lyon version is made with wine from the surrounding region. The eggs are sometimes on slices of toast, other times there are croutons, and there are almost always chunks of bacon in it. It’s a wonderful starter to share with a few slices of crusty bread for dipping.
Lyon is also located within the Rhone Valley and is close to the Beaujolais region, both are some of the most famous French wine regions, so be sure to keep an eye out for these different French wines on the menu while you are dining around the city.
What is a Bouchon?
Bouchons are a type of restaurant in Lyon. They are the places to head to find the best local food in the city.
A Bouchon is a small, usually family-run restaurant that serves up traditional Lyonnaise food. Many of the dishes listed above can be found on a menu at a Bouchon around the city.
It’s not just a name that the restaurant gives itself, though. The restaurant must earn the title of Bouchon each and every year when the restaurant is assessed by the local government.
The restaurant must meet very high standards of food quality and they must be serving traditional dishes that use local and seasonal ingredients from around Lyon and the local region.
You can see a full list of all of the Bouchons in Lyon here.
Take a Food Tour in Lyon
If you only have a few short days in Lyon and you want to make sure to enjoy all of the absolute best food and drink there is to try in the city, a food tour is always a great option.
I also just generally think food tours are essential for food lovers when they are visiting a city for the first time. They introduce you not only to the best restaurants but also to the culture and stories that surround the food that is being eaten in these places.
You will learn about why they use certain ingredients, where the recipes originated, and why they mean so much to the people of Lyon, and of course, you will eat well.
This food tour with Lyon Original Tours is one of the best in the city. The guides are passionate locals who want to share their favorite things about the city with you, and most of those things are food.
You’ll wander the streets and learn about the history of the city while diving deep into why Lyon is so important to food culture in all of France. Grab a spot on that food tour here.
If you’re interested in the wider region and want to sample Beaujolais wine from a local producer, this wine and food tour is the one to choose.
You’ll explore local villages, sample Beaujolais Nouveau, and enjoy some local snacks as you sup your wine with views of the vineyards. Book that tour here.
Making a Reservation for Restaurants in Lyon
Many of the best restaurants in Lyon, especially the top Bouchons in Lyon, will require that you make a reservation.
Most places in the city have someone who speaks English, so you can simply find their phone number on Google and call them up to make a booking.
But if you encounter someone who doesn’t speak English on your call or you would prefer to simply book online, most restaurants in Lyon use the booking system through The Fork or OpenTable. You can download the apps on your phone and find the restaurant on there.
Alternatively, check the restaurant website to see if they have a booking system on their website for their reservations.
Map of the Best Restaurants in Lyon France
1. Brasserie Georges
Brasserie Georges was recommended to me by a friend who used to live in Lyon. He promised me that it would be one of the most memorable meals I had in the city and he was correct.
Everything about Brasserie Georges from the art deco interior to the fantastic service, the house-crafted beer to the incredible food was absolutely spectacular.
The restaurant opened its doors in 1836 and has been serving those in search of top-quality Lyonnaise food ever since. If you forget to make a reservation, head to the restaurant around 7 pm to ensure you get a table.
If you are in a group of more than two people, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation (they speak excellent English here). Even on quiet weekdays, the line runs out the door of this large dining room.
They have set menus of their top dishes as well as a set menu of Lyonnaise classics. Alternatively, you can simply order a la carte from their menu.
The quenelle is particularly good here, but locals return to Brasserie Georges for their choucroute, which simply translates to sauerkraut, but these are plates full of smoke meat served with a steaming pile of sauerkraut and potatoes.
2. Le Poêlon d’Or
This might be one of the best Bouchons in Lyon, but that’s simply a personal opinion.
The food, service, and ambiance of Le Poêlon d’Or are almost unbeatable.
Be sure to make a reservation if you are planning to come for dinner because the restaurant fills up fast and don’t be late, because they will not wait for you for more than a few minutes, that’s how popular this place is.
As soon as you sit down the waiters will bring over the menus, ask if you want some water, and they will serve some fresh sourdough bread which they slice right at the back of the restaurant. They’ll also bring you a plate of wonderful rosette Lyonnaise to get you in the mood for a delicious meal.
This Lyon Bouchon has all of the classics on the menu including eggs in red wine sauce, quenelle, and andouillete. However, lovers of blood sausage should not miss the chance to try their boudin noir. It’s one of the best I’ve ever tried and is served with creamy mashed potatoes and a roasted apple.
Share a salade Lyonnaise to start and then sample some of their incredible dishes and wash it down with a local Beaujolais or draft beer.
3. Bouchon Thomas
Bouchon Thomas is one of the most sought-after Bouchon in Lyon. There are only a few tables inside so you absolutely must make a reservation regardless of whether you plan to visit for lunch or dinner.
Make a booking on the website here (it’s only in French, but you can translate it with Google Chrome). Be sure to specify you want to dine at the Bouchon, not at their cafe.
Like all Bouchon around Lyon, you will be able to sample different Lyonnaise specialties, but the quality of the food here is really outstanding.
I have found because it is such a small restaurant, it is perhaps not as great an ambiance as some of the other Bouchon that I visited during my trip to Lyon.
That being said, the food really is exceptional here. Because they are able to focus on such a small number of tables, they can really offer wonderful service and real attention to detail with each dish.
The sausage with pistachio as well as the terrine de campagne are really spectacular here.
4. Chabert et Fils
Open for both lunch and dinner, if you want to try this place without the crowds, it’s best to come at lunchtime.
If you love a bustling restaurant, then make a reservation for dinner. This little Bouchon is one of the best if you want to enjoy the old-world ambiance that makes Bouchons in Lyon so special.
There is paraphernalia from generations past and the tables are a little close together as they are in most of the best Bouchons in Lyon.
In general, Lyon is a wonderful place for solo travelers, but Chabert et Fils particularly caters to the single diner by having tables next to the bar that are set up specifically for tables for one.
The pâte and quenelle are my personal favorites on the menu here, but you’ll also be able to sample andouillette, pistachio sausage, and eggs in red wine sauce here.
This is also a great option for lunch for those that want to sample a Lyonnaise menu but don’t want to pay as much as the set menus in the evenings. Their set menu at lunchtime during the week is less than €20.
5. Bouchon Comptoir Brunet
Much like Chabert et Fils, Bouchon Comptoir Brunet has a quaint and sweet interior design with marionettes adorning the bar and tables packed in tight.
The wine selection here is exceptional and the prices won’t make your eyes water quite as much as some of the other larger Bouchon in Lyon.
There is a set menu for €30 which includes a starter, main, and cheese or sweet dessert.
Alternatively, you can order a la carte and sample some of their rich and meat-heavy dishes. I found the staff here to be some of the kindest not only in Lyon but in all of my experiences traveling around France.
Whether visiting for lunch or dinner, be sure to make a reservation. The restaurant only has about 12 tables inside, so it fills up quickly.
6. Le Bouchon des Cordeliers
Located just next door to Comptoir Brunet, it would be hard to choose which one of these Lyon Bouchons to try (so you should try them both!).
The two restaurants are very different with Coredeliers being much more modern both in interior and in the style of their dishes.
Although you will find all of the classics on their menu, this restaurant is definitely more elevated and experimental than some of the other more old-school Bouchon in Lyon.
The most memorable thing I tried at Cordeliers was the praline tart.
I tried a few praline tarts while I was in the city and they were all very different. The one at Cordeliers was sticky but also melted in my mouth. It had a perfectly buttery base and a not-too-sweet filling that had me coming back for more with each bite.
They have an excellent weekday special with all of the main plates only costing €14, a starter and main costing €21, and a main and dessert costing only €18.
The full three-course menu which is always available costs €30.
7. Les Lyonnais
Located in the old town, dining at Les Lyonnais is like having a family dinner at your grandmother’s house and she’s invited everyone she knows.
It’s one of those restaurants in Lyon that has something for everyone and one that you will talk about for months after your trip to the city.
The guys that work at the restaurant are incredibly animated and will make jokes with you, run around the dining room with hot plates, and shout to each other from the kitchen. It almost feels like dinner and a show.
There are not many tables inside the restaurant and the “private” tables which are around the edges of the restaurant are for those that have made a reservation. If you are here on your own or as a table for two and you haven’t made a reservation, expect to be seated at the long share tables in the middle of the restaurant.
They have a really nice selection of both local dishes and a few crowd-pleasers as well such as ravioli with local cheese, beef cheek, and beef filet with creamy mashed potatoes.
8. Chez Grand-Mère
The name Chez Grand-Mère translates to Grandma’s place/house. That is how the staff will make you feel when you are here and that’s how comforting the food will be.
The interior of the restaurant is like walking into a wine cellar with exposed stone surrounding the dining area.
The wine list is exceptional and they have a wonderful selection of traditional Lyonnaise and regional cuisine on the menu. The simple steak with creamy mushroom sauce is wonderful, the quenelle here is rich in flavor and texture, and the desserts and cheeses are some of the best.
Located in the Lyon old town, you will want to make a reservation if you plan to come for dinner, but if you arrive early enough for lunch you shouldn’t have a problem getting a table.
9. Restaurant Café du Soleil
If you are visiting Lyon during the summer months, be sure to make a reservation at one of their tables on the terrace. This is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Lyon, so if you end up inside, you’re not missing out.
However, the terrace is a really wonderful place to enjoy a meal at either lunchtime when it’s nice and warm (great for late Spring and early Autumn as well), or on a warm summer’s night.
They have all of the standard Lyonnaise dishes you may want to try while you’re in the city. The quenelle, tartare, and terrine are particularly wonderful here. I would skip out on the salade Lyonnaise which is a little bit too bacon heavy for my personal taste.
10. Les Halles de Lyon
This is not a restaurant but rather a food hall where you can purchase top-quality local ingredients or sit down at a stool at a local cafe and sample some seriously fantastic food.
There’s an oyster stand with freshly shucked oysters, there is an artisan chocolate shop and a place for salad Lyonnaise or a bowl of French onion soup. There are snails, razor clams, cured meats, and foie gras.
This is a place you could easily spend an hour or more (and perhaps all of your vacation money). If you are staying in an apartment or somewhere where you can self-cater or you simply want to make a delicious picnic for the afternoon, you can find local cheeses, cured meats, freshly baked bread, and pates and spreads to take with you for the day.
There is also a raw meats and fish section where you can purchase things to prepare at home. This is the ideal place to stop in for edible souvenirs to take home with you.
11. Le bouchon des artistes
The last Bouchon on this list was inspired by one of my favorite food YouTubers. You can watch him enjoying a meal at Le Bouchon des Artistes here.
This is another of the more modern and perhaps expensive Bouchons in Lyon on this list. However, the chef is one of the more revered in the city and he is taking traditional Lyonnaise cuisine to the next level.
This is also the only restaurant in Lyon on this list that is located in the newer part of town. If you are staying near Place Bellecor or in the old town, you can get here by taking the tram or a combination of the metro and tram.
It’s worth the journey, just be sure to make a reservation so you don’t make the trip only to miss out on getting a table.
Awesome Cafes & Bars in Lyon
This is a little bonus selection of places to eat in Lyon. This is where to head in the morning for a good coffee, a pastry, or in the evenings for a delicious tipple.
Located right in Place Bellecour, the largest plaza in Lyon, you would think that it would be expensive. However, this was the most affordable and one of the best coffees I had in Lyon.
Head inside, or on a sunny day grab one of the tables outside. There isn’t a menu for coffee so simply ask for a cafe (an espresso), a cappuccino, or any other Italian-style coffee that they can make for you.
They have fresh croissants if you want to have something alongside your coffee. From midday, they have a daily menu that is only written on a chalkboard that can be found outside the restaurant. Sometimes, if it’s cold or raining, the chalkboard will be inside.
If you speak a bit of French, they can tell you the menu, but if you don’t be sure to take a picture of it before you sit down. It’s simple but delicious French dishes like tartare, chicken in red wine sauce with mashed potatoes, or steak and potatoes. It changes regularly.
BMD “bois mange et détends-toi”
If you want a place for delicious wine alongside some charcuterie, this is the best place to eat in Lyon for that.
It’s a bar that does a selection of cured meats and cheeses. They do also have a few larger plate options like steak tartare, pate, and quiche, but for the most part, people come here for their charcuterie platters.
You can choose from a large selection of locally-cured or smoked meats and a huge selection of local cheeses. The staff speak English well and can help you choose a selection that suits your party’s palates.
The wine selection is one of the best in the city and again, the staff are so knowledgeable about the wines and can help you choose a glass or bottle that you will love.
For my fellow beer lovers, this is the bar to head to see what craft beers Lyon is brewing up. They have a 24 different beers on draft at any given time from around France and other parts of Europe as well as an even larger selection of craft beer by the bottle from around the world.
They also have ciders on draught and by the bottle. Come between 5 pm and 8 pm to enjoy pints for only €5 (beer tends to be quite expensive in France, so this is a huge bargain).
There are tables inside and, in the warmer months, several tables outside as well.
In addition to a huge selection of beer, they also have burgers and fries, and in typical French fashion, great charcuterie boards as well.
Boulangerie les Artistes
Located in the beautiful Croix-Rousse neighborhood of the city, this is one of the area’s most popular boulangeries. People line up out the door to get their daily baguette from this artisan bakery.
The bread is the main reason to come here and it will make a perfect addition to a picnic on a sunny day. After you grab your bread, head to the local market nearby where you’ll get a cup of the best coffee at the next stop.
Although the market is here only a few times a week, this little coffee stand is here everyday and it is the absolute best coffee I had in all of Lyon. Coffee lovers do not want to miss having one from here or grabbing a table at their sit-down location just to the south of the Croix Rousse neighborhood.
This is a little bit out of the way unless you are staying in the Confluence neighborhood, but if you find yourself in this neighborhood (or you want to go out of your way for the best bread in town), then stop into Panēterra.
The dough here is made of their own sourdough which they take great care of tending daily. They have loaves of bread, but the best thing about Panēterra is their brioche, their stuffed bread, and their pastries which they use the same dough to make.
It is truly some of the best bread I have ever eaten. The cinnamon brioche and the praline brioche are particularly exquisite.
They also serve up really delicious and affordable coffee.
Tips for Eating on a Budget in Lyon
Lyon is not exactly a budget-friendly place, especially when you are trying to sample the best places to eat in Lyon.
If you care more about saving money than you do about sampling the local cuisine, then you can absolutely find budget-friendly restaurants all over Lyon.
France has food places that they call “taco” restaurants. These do not have what I would class as your typical taco restaurants. By taco, they really mean kebab or wrap.
You can often get a huge wrap or “taco” for about €5 and it will keep you full for most of the day.
You can also self-cater which allows you to sample some fantastic local produce. Head to the local outdoor market in Croix Rousse. The market is there every day except Mondays and you can grab local cheeses, meats, and fresh produce for much cheaper than what you would pay at a restaurant.
If you want to sample food from a Bouchon in Lyon, but are on a budget, always head here for lunch on a weekday. That is when you will be able to try the daily menu offers at their cheapest.
You can usually get a menu that includes either a starter and a main or a main and a dessert for €20 or less. This is your best chance to sample traditional Bouchon food at a reduced price.