What’s great wine without great food to pair it with, hmm? In Bordeaux, you’ll find plenty of both to go around. Influenced by both its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and its regional positioning in southwest France, there’s a healthy enough dose of delicious surf and turf here to keep all you voracious carnivores duly satisfied. Here’s a glimpse at what to try, and where to try it.
Signature dishes you’ll want to look out for are succulent oysters fresh from nearby Arcachon Bay, along with foie gras (the controversial duck/goose liver), entrecote (tender beef ribs with a signature bordelaise sauce of shallots and bone marrow) and agneau (lamb) raised locally in the north around Pauillac. There is, of course, a healthy dispersion of foreign-food eateries around the city as well, thanks to recent revitalization efforts that have spruced up the downtown area and encouraged a proliferation of hip and eclectic restaurants from around the globe. Everything from Indian and North African to Spanish tapas and (sigh) McDonald’s is at your disposal, but we highly recommend trying the local fare.
Hotspots for culinary variety can be found almost anywhere downtown, but particularly nearby the popular Place de la Victorie, as well as around the winding streets of Viex Bordeaux and Place Saint-Pierre. You’ll also find a wealth of riverside restaurants along the west bank of the Garonne, taking advantage of great views to accompany delicious food. And speaking of riverside dining, Sunday’s Marche des Quais (seafood market along the Quai des Chartrons) is a definite can’t miss. Grab some fresh oysters and a bottle of wine and take a seat along the river (before noon, if you’re smart) for a taste of some authentic Bordelaise living. Not a bad way to spend some down time in southwest France.