Local restaurants

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Here's an up-to-date (2022) map on Google 'My maps' of restaurants in the region we have been to and can recommend.

Shortlists: 12 Favourites, Michelin and other picks

Selected restaurants by area

Entre Deux Mers

Saint-Emilion

Around Saint-Emilion

Bordeaux

South of Bordeaux

The Médoc

The coast

 

Distances shown are from Château Bauduc.

Prices

The €-€€€€ is a rough price guide and.

A bracket means it could be more or less, eg set menus v à la carte. Such as €€(€).

Star rating guide

Likewise the * rating is out of 5 max, but different to the usual 4 or 5 stars you see on most online review sites, like google or Trip Advisor.

* OK
** Good
*** Very good
**** Excellent
***** Outstanding

Some places have a range, like the prices. Eg **(*)

Not an exhaustive list!

There are many more restaurants than this in the entire Bordeaux region, and beyond, but these are the ones we’ve been to (95% of them) which are worth a mention. Your re commendations are welcome.

Shortlists: 12 Favourite restaurants. See the listings under locations for details

Chez Titut €€(€) *** 22 Place de Prévot, 33670 Créon - Local
+33 5 56 42 98 40 - 1.2 km from Bauduc (last visited 2021) Outdoor tables
Our popular local restaurant in the main square, with a large garden at the back.

Le Caffe Cuisine €€(€) *** Place du Marché, 33420 Branne
+33 5 57 24 19 67 – 18 km from Bauduc (last visited 2022) Outdoor tables
Classic food with a modern twist, fun place. On the Dordogne, not far from St-Émilion.

Aroma pizza € ** 47 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 33670 Créon - local
+33 5 56 23 99 75 – 1.5km (regulars 2022)
Our favourite evening takeaway – it’s so popular you must book a collection slot.

L'Envers du Decors €€(€) *** Rue du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Emilion
+33 5 57 74 48 31 – 25 km (GQ last visit 2022) Outdoor tables
Good food and extensive wine list, in the centre with enclosed walled garden out back.

Le Jardin €€(€) ***(*) Château Petit Faurie de Soutard, near 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 51 12 78 - 21km (our last visit 2022) Outdoor tables
Excellent new restaurant in a lovely garden setting, great views and a terrific wine list.

La Table de Catusseau €€(€) **** 86 Route de Catusseau, 33500 Pomerol
+33 5 57 84 40 40 - 25km from us (GQ last visit 2022) Outdoor tables
Fine, modern dining for a fair price in the heart of Pomerol. Eat in or small terrace.

L’Entrecôte €€ *** Cours 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux
No bookings, must queue - 26 km (our last visit 2022)
Bordeaux’s busiest restaurant and the one we’ve been to most. Great steak-frites.

Le Noailles €€(€) *** 12 Al de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux +33 5 56 81 94 45 – 26 km
Classic French brasserie in the centre of Bordeaux. Traditional fare and we enjoy it.

Café Français €€(€) **(*) 5 Place Pey Berland, opposite the cathedral
+33 5 56 96 69 – 27 km (our last visit Nov 2021) Outdoor tables
Classic large bistro for a sunny lunch next to the cathedral, lots of outdoor space.

Au Marquis de Terme €€€ *** 3 Route de Rauzan, 33460 Margaux
+33 5 57 08 25 33 – 50 km (GQ last visit 2022) Outdoor tables
A recent opening at a Château in Margaux, just off the D2. Modern, with a fine terrace.

Club Plage Pereire €€/€€€ Plage Pereire, near Arcachon
+33 5 57 16 59 13 - 90 km (regulars pre-2019 but yet to go back!) Outdoor tables
A popular, spacious summer restaurant on the beach near Arcachon.

Chez Hortense €€€ **** 26 ave du Sémaphore, La Pointe, 33970 Cap Ferret
+33 5 56 60 62 56 - 100 km, on the sea (regulars pre-2019 but yet to go back!) Outdoor tables
Wonderful, classic fish restaurant with vine-covered terrace and views across the sea.

Michelin and wine

Michelin-starred restaurants, all owned and run by wine producers

All 25-35 km away

La Table de Pavie €€€€ ****(*) 5 Place du clocher, 33330 Saint-Emilion
+33 5 57 55 07 55 - 25 km (GQ last visit 2022)
Two Michelin stars and delicious food, now with a list of fine wines at very fair prices.

Logis de la Cadene €€€(€) ***(*) Place du Marché au bois, 33330
Saint-Emilion +33 5 57 24 71 40 – 25 km (GQ last visit 21) A few outdoor tables
Michelin starred and very good with it, with a few outdoor tables on a pretty terrace.

Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot €€€€ **** Château Troplong Mondot 33330 Saint-Emilion +33 5 57 55 38 28 – 28 km (GQ last visit 2021)
Fabulous, newly refurbished restaurant across the valley from the town of St-Émilion.

Les Sources de Caudalie €€€/€€€€ **(**) 33650 Martillac
+33 5 57 83 83 83 - 28 km
La Grand’ Vigne €€€€ **** La Table du Lavoir €€/€€€ **(*) Outdoor tables
Several restaurants on a vineyard, one with two Michelin stars, another more relaxed.

Hôtel & Restaurant Lalique €€€€ **** – Château Lafaurie Peyraguey, 33210 Bommes +33 5 24 22 80 11 – 35 km
Two Michelin stars and exquisite tasting menus, all beautifully presented.

And not forgetting…

Le Pressoir d’Argent €€€€ ****(*) Gordon Ramsay. Place de la Comédie, 33330
+33 5 57 30 43 04 – 26 km Gordon Ramsay’s fine dining room in Le Grand Hotel deserves its two Michelin stars.

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Lunch on a budget

Entre deux Mers

Chez Marie € *tbc 25 Le Bourg N, 33420 Daignac +33 5 57 24 22 95 - 8 km
The men who drive our harvest machines swear by this place for quality and value.
- Around €15 for soup, starter, mains, cheese, dessert and wine.

Bistro Regent €€ ** Rond point de l’Entre Deux Mers, 33670 Créon +33 5 56 23 38 30 – 1.5 km (our last visit 2021) - Local
Part of a well-known, modern chain with formula for steak frites and special sauce.

Restaurant de l’Abbaye €€ **(*) La Sauve +33 5 56 23 21 58 - 5 km - Local
Highly recommended by visitors for lunch (2022) but haven’t been back for years. After we sent them, that is. Tad more expensive than others on this page, probably.

L’Entrée Jardin €(€) *tbc 27 Rue Pont, 33410 Cadillac +335 56 76 96 96 - 20 km A good, traditional restaurant on the edge of Cadillac, by the bridge over the Garonne.

Around Saint-Emilion

La Puce € ** 323 Grand Bigaroux, 33330 Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, St-Emilion
+33 6 42 39 51 97 – 24 km
Inexpensive, busy lunch spot near the Union des Producteurs 4km from St-Emilion.
On the main road Libourne to Bergerac road, just outside St-Emilion near the Union des Producteurs co-operative at Bigaroux. Inexpensive, lunch only, and very busy.
Must go back soon as it was great value spot for the local pros, workers and artisans. I think the menu is still around €14 for soup, starter, mains, cheese, dessert and wine.

Les Platanes €(€) ** 30 Rt de Perigueux 33500 Pomerol +33 5 57 51 99 64 – 25 km
Inexpensive, filling place for lunch near Pomerol on the main N89 road. Good value.
On the main N89 near Pomerol, NW of Libourne. Value place for locals, buffet starter, plats du jour. Get there early. Lovely tarte aux pommes as I recall. Used to go a fair bit and must return.

Le Chaudron du Père Marches €(€) *tbc 18 Allée de la République, 33350
Castillon-la-Bataille +33 5 57 40 45 40 – 30 km (further away)
Good value and quality for lunch in the centre of Castillon, says a friend.

Restaurants by area: Entre Deux Mers – recommended places

The Entre Deux Mers is the large region, local to us, between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers

Chez Titut €€(€) *** 22 Place de Prévot, 33670 Créon - Local
+33 5 56 42 98 40 - 1.2 km from Bauduc (last visited 2021) Outdoor tables
Our popular local restaurant in the main square, with a large garden at the back.
Formerly La Table, which was deservedly popular in pre-pandemic days, and admittedly first on the list because of the proximity. You can walk from Château Bauduc, or park up at the end of Rue Bauduc for the short walk into town and a safe, reasonably private drive back afterwards. Chez Titut is on the main square and has a small frontage, though with a wider and attractive garden at the back. The modern French food, based on positive feedback from several guests in 2022 (and from our experience in 2021) is very good and booking for the garden is recommended. There’s a weekday lunchtime menu which is fair value, as is the dinner menu and à la carte, and the wine list is pretty decent. And ‘the best burgers we’ve ever had’ said one couple with kids. Open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday in summer but do check times on google.

Le Caffe Cuisine €€(€) *** Place du Marché, 33420 Branne
+33 5 57 24 19 67 –
from Bauduc (last visited 2022) Outdoor tables
Classic food with a modern twist, fun place. On the Dordogne, not far from St-Émilion.
Next to the Dordogne river and just by the main bridge in Branne that connects the vineyards of Saint-Émilion to the Entre Deux Mers. As such, this could equally be classed as a Saint-Emilion location. Le Caffe Cuisine, which has garden tables in summer, has an excellent lunchtime menu that’s good value. More expensive in the evening, of course, but they serve very good, classic food - notably the steak, or côte de boeuf. The menus are on large blackboards which get taken around tables, a system which has its advocates. Positive feedback in 2022, and Ange is a big fan.

Restaurant at Château Réaut €€ **(*) 14 Thibeau ouest, 33410 Rions
+33 5 56 62 66 54 – 16 km from us (last visited 2022) Outdoor tables
Modern winery with an easy-going restaurant and panoramic views over Garonne valley.
A modern winery and eatery above the D10 road to Cadillac, with tables on a wooden decked terrace and panoramic views overlooking the valley below and across the river. An impressive location – inside there’s a big, open plan dining area too - with friendly service and tasty modern food. The wine list is fair value too, with options by the glass of several wines made from the 26 hectares of vines on the surrounding hillside, plus an inexpensive (non-estate, branded) white and rosé. Enjoyable lunches in 2021 and 2022.

L’Atmosphere €€(€) **(*) 1 Route de Libourne, 33750 St Germain du Puch
+33 5 57 24 52 34 – 11 km (our last visit pre-2020) Outdoor tables
A popular choice for Sunday and Monday nights. Extensive menu with tables out front.
A well-known and popular restaurant, which serves pizzas as well as modern French fare. Decent wine list, not especially cheap but the big plus is that they are open every evening, whereas most are shut on Sunday and Monday nights. It is easy to find - on the lefthand side of the main road in St Germain on the way from Créon to Libourne, about a 10-minute drive from Bauduc. There are plenty of tables on the terrace above the fairly busy road. Mixed reports from guests in 2022 – some have really liked it, others were a bit non-plussed by the food. But it is the Monday night option if you want to eat out.

Good value suggestions in the Entre Deux Mers

Aroma pizza € ** 47 Boul Victor Hugo, 33670 Créon - Local
+33 5 56 23 99 75 – 1.5km (regulars 2022)
Our favourite evening takeaway –it’s so popular you must book a time to collect.
Truly excellent pizzas handmade to order and cooked in a proper, wood-fired oven. So popular now that you’re given a precise time to come and collect your takeaway – so call early in the evening to avoid disappointment. Open from 6pm to 10pm, Tuesday to Saturday. A commendable understanding of English by the owner-chef as well. You can eat in, if it suits – which recent guests have enjoyed too.

La Cave Cadillac €(€) **(*) 24 Rue du General de Gaulle, 33410 Cadillac
+33 5 57 98 66 04 – 20 km (GQ last visit 2021) Outdoor tables
Charming wine bar, shop and tapas-style restaurant in Cadillac, next to the church.
Fair play to Claire Townsend who created this boutique wine shop and tapas-style restaurant at the end of 2018 to great reviews, and another in 2021 called La Cave in Bazas, the famous old town a little further south. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 11pm, Sunday 9am - 7pm. The website is kept up to date with the latest menus and offerings. Fun plates for sharing and tapas, and a small terrace outside by the church. A worthy destination if you fancy a trip to Cadillac, an historic old town near the Garonne.

Restaurant de l’Abbaye €€ **(*) La Sauve +33 5 56 23 21 58 - 5 km - Local Outdoor tables Highly recommended by visitors for lunch (2022) but I haven’t been back for a few years. “The three pepper sauce with the steak was particularly good and the boys thought the salmon tartare with tzatziki was exceptional.” “Lunch was superb, thanks for the recommendation - food was excellent, very well presented and tasted great. I had a salmon with tzatziki starter that was perfect for the weather (and when washed down with a rosé!) followed by a bbq pork dish served in a jar and topped with mashed potato - simple but delicious!”

Saveurs Nomades €(€) ** 33670 Créon – 2km – Local. Outdoor tables
Small restaurant up a side street in Créon off the main square, with an outdoor terrace. Maria makes a mean couscous, with lamb, chicken or vegetables – which can be available as a takeaway depending on the schedule. I think it’s just during the first week of each month. I need to go back.

Bistro Regent €€ ** Rond point de l’Entre Deux Mers, 33670 Créon +33 5 56 23 38 30 – 1.5 km (our last visit 2021) - Local
Part of a well-known, modern chain with formula for steak frites and special sauce. Other meats, namely chicken and duck, or salmon available as an option. Modern dining room and not the most charming of places, and the address shows it isn’t the sexiest location. But they are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week (and until 14h30 for lunch which is quite late for France), there’s a car park and the food is actually pretty tasty and the wines fair value.

L’Entrée Jardin €(€€) *tbc 27 Rue Pont, 33410 Cadillac +335 56 76 96 96 - 20 km
A good, traditional restaurant on the edge of the fairly picturesque town of Cadillac, by the bridge over the river Garonne. (Not been for a couple of years)
The lunch menu around €15 was well worth it, with two slightly pricier menus and à la carte in the evening. Decent wine list with some local values, including by the glass. I haven’t been post-pandemic so should return.

Chez Marie € *tbc 25 Le Bourg N, 33420 Daignac +33 5 57 24 22 95 - 8 km
The men who drive our harvest machines swear by this place for quality and value.
A great place for a full lunch menu for an extremely reasonable price. Guy and Nathan, who man our harvest machines in September and October from before dawn, swear by this place for quality and value.

Le Baron €€ *tbc near St Quentin de Baron +33 5 57 24 26 40 - 8 km
Absolutely fine, but we’ve not been for 5 years and that was for a lunch with a large group of friends. Outdoor tables

Entre deux mers - other suggestions

Auberge Saint-Jean €€(€) **(*) 8 Rue de Pont, 33420 St-Jean-de-Blaignac
+33 5 57 74 95 50 – 22 km (our last visit July 2021)
Michelin-style dining in a modern room overlooking the Dordogne south of St-Emilion.
A good restaurant by a bridge over the Dordogne river in a village a few miles south of St-Emilion. A modern, comfortable dining room overlooking the river, and the charming lady who ran the front of house kindly allowed us to bring some bottles that we wanted to taste (our generous host ordered some expensive Champagne from the list to compensate). Michelin-style dining, quality food, attentive service, and a pretty good wine list. We should go back at some point.

Restaurant le Saint James €€€(€) *tbc 3 place Camille Hostein, 33270 Bouliac
+33 5 57 97 06 00 – 24 km (last visited years ago)
We used to go occasionally to the Saint-James restaurant, which has long held a Michelin star and is only 15 miles away, so we should return. ‘Follow me for a moment of audacity and vegetality’ writes the chef on the website - which is, well, alluring. While dinner looks fairly pricey the lunch menu certainly deserves a shot at the price. And bearing in mind that’s when you can properly appreciate the view overlooking the Garonne and the city of Bordeaux from this ‘balcony of Bordeaux’ (the website again), that’s even more reason – along with that Michelin star - to go for lunch. Sold! (Soon.)

La Maison du Fleuve €€(€) *tbc 33360 Camblanes-et-Meynac
+33 5 56 20 06 40 - 13 km (We used to go but haven’t been back for ages) Outdoor tables
Great setting on the Garonne but mixed reports from guests in 2022. Stick to classics?
Stunning location in sunny weather, especially before sundown, right on the river Garonne, 15 minutes south of Bordeaux centre and the same distance from Créon. The food is pretty good without being exceptional. Mixed reports from our farmhouse guests in 2022 – best to stick to the simple favourite dishes. Everyone agrees it’s the location that makes it still.

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Saint-Emilion – recommended restaurants

L'Envers du Decors €€(€) *** Rue du Clocher, Saint-Emilion 33330 +33 5 57 74 48 31 – 25 km (GQ last visit 2022) Outdoor tables Good food and extensive wine list, in the centre with enclosed walled garden out back.
Under new ownership a few years ago when the Perse family of Château Pavie and the Hostellerie de Plaisance – now the Hotel de Pavie - took over. A huge improvement and this very good brasserie is well worth a visit in Saint-Emilion. The menu is mostly traditional with a modern twist. Excellent food on the whole, including well sourced oysters on ice, a solid, extensive wine list and efficient service (that’s our experience, at least). Our advice is to be ready to order before your waiter starts to get twitchy if it’s getting quite busy. There’s an enclosed, large garden area out the back, next to the high church walls, with plenty of tables. Essential to book ahead though at busier times.

Logis de la Cadene €€€(€) ***(*) Place du Marché au bois, 33330 Saint-Emilion
+33 5 57 24 71 40 – 25 km (GQ last visit 2021) Outdoor tables
Michelin starred and very good with it, with a few outdoor tables on a pretty terrace.
Bought by the owners of Château Angelus, the Logis is now a popular upmarket destination. It’s in a lovely location in the heart of St-Emilion, with a small, charming covered terrace as well as several dining rooms, some small. It is much smarter than it used to be, with prices to match. The food is really well presented - and notably it has a Michelin star - and an extensive wine list. There was a handy corkage policy of late but you should check this before you go, if needs be, as it might have changed.

La Table de Pavie €€€€ ****(*) 5 Place du clocher Saint-Emilion
+33 5 57 55 07 55 - 25 km (GQ last visit 2022)
Two Michelin stars and delicious food, now with a list of fine wines at very fair prices.
Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner. Two Michelin stars and owned by the owners of Château Pavie – this is the restaurant of the Hotel de Pavie in the heart of Saint-Emilion. Formerly the Hostellerie de Plaisance and we hadn’t been for ages because it was just so expensive, a bit fancy, and rarely on our radar. However, it should be on your radar now for a special occasion, if only because the food is delicious and the wines above a certain price point (€60?) are really keenly priced. Many of the fine wines from Bordeaux and beyond are close to retail prices, or better, which is to be applauded. It’s worth taking the time to look through the large list beforehand but do ask the sommelier for advice because, and it can be annoying, several of the wines listed can be out of stock (May 2022).
The menus, as of summer 2022, are €75 for a three-course lunch, then two stunning set menus for dinner at €165 or €215. Plus à la carte. Make time for aperos on the fabulous terrace beforehand while you choose – and for that wine list. The dining room is quite tall and spacious, and the acoustics could be better, so for a fun time you have to make your own atmosphere - perhaps with a table for four or more? But worth it, for sure.

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Saint-Émilion – other suggestions in the town

Chai Pascal €€ **(*) 37 Rue Guadet, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 24 52 45 - 25 km
A relaxed wine bar and restaurant in St-Emilion which has a good value wine list, a tiny kitchen and is frequented by local winemakers. You can also take wine for a small corkage fee, though ask first. The charcuterie to share as a starter is good, and the plat du jour is always reliable. It’s not a big place, so booking is recommended. It has wifi as well as a big sofa, so it’s a good stop for having a glass of wine or a coffee, and a relaxed check on your laptop. I’ve not been back to eat since the pandemic so need to rectify that.

L’Huitrier Pie €€€ *tbc Rue Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 24 69 71 - 25 km
We went a few years ago and had an excellent dinner with friends. A small, friendly place - low down in the heart of St-Emilion - with a quirky name for Brits to fathom (not a pie in sight) yet no lack of ambition. Classic French cooking with a modern twist. The service, food and wine were all tiptop although, as we were being treated, we didn’t get to see how bad the damage was. Visitors have recommended it (in 2022) and we’d certainly go again.

Le Tertre *tbc 5 Rue du Tertre de la Tente, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 74 46 33 - 25 km
Haven’t been for years but definitely should do. Recently changed hands and now highly rated by many. A small restaurant in the centre of St-Emilion, near Le Logis de la Cadêne and L’Envers du Décor.

Le Clos du Roy *tbc Rue de la Petite Fontaine, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 74 41 55 - 25 km
Small upstairs dining room and a few outdoor tables, that served delicious food and was a big favourite with local vignerons. Haven’t been for a few years but must revisit.

Les Delices du Roy *tbc 1 Rue de la Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 51 95 68 - 25 km
Well known eatery specialising in tasty burgers. Should go back.

Les Trois Fontaines *tbc 19 Rue de la Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 St-Emilion
+33 9 81 85 76 04 - 25 km
Fun, quite spacious and open plan wine bar with food. Went recently but that was just to enjoy a bottle of wine with friends.

Around Saint-Émilion - recommended

Le Jardin €€(€) ***(*) Château Petit Faurie de Soutard
+33 5 57 51 12 78 - 21km (our last visit 2022) and 4km from St-Emilion. Outdoor tables
Excellent new restaurant in a lovely garden setting, great views and a terrific wine list.
The lunch menu is really good value – even if a more limited choice for the value option (2 courses for €23 or 3 for €29, 2022). On a fine day this is a top spot, with tables outside in cleverly shaded areas in a well-designed garden. Really good food from an impressive kitchen. The wine list is well chosen and fairly extensive, especially beyond Bordeaux, but the top values are the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé reds on a page near the front, with the ‘house’ wines from Château Petit Faurie de Soutard and Château Soutard next door all listed at shop prices. Several vintages are on offer and you can’t go wrong with the 2010s of both at €42 and €65 a bottle respectively. But don’t be afraid to ask for such 10+ year-old Bordeaux reds to be decanted gently though, not à la mode by throwing the wine into the carafe - unless you don’t mind the (otherwise welcome) sediment clouding the wine.

“Lovely venue (extensive 360-degree vistas) and al fresco or undercover dining. The food was terrific, the service less so” a visitor to Bauduc wrote. “Our waiter lacked grace big time but he was just an irritating sideshow in the scheme of things. Wonderful atmosphere and well worth the drive.”

Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot €€€€ **** Château Troplong Mondot 33330 St-Emilion
+33 5 57 55 38 28 – 28 km (GQ last visit 2021) - 5km from St-Emilion
Fabulous, newly refurbished restaurant across the valley from the town of St-Émilion.
The whole place has undergone a major renovation in recent years, and the restaurant deservedly has a Michelin star. I loved the old version of Les Belles Perdrix in its previous guise and the modern, minimalist dining room still has gorgeous views across the vineyards below. Beautifully crafted dishes by chef David Charrier, and we really need to go back after I went for a private, ‘soft opening’ lunch with the CEO, the highly talented and brilliantly named Aymeric de Gironde, whom I’ve known for years. (I was so impressed with the wine glasses and carafes, from a young French brand called Sydonius, I had to track them down to the supplier.) Lunch menu €48, two at €82 and €100, and a tasting menu for dinner at €165.

La Terrasse Rouge €€€ **(*) 1 La Dominique, 33330 Saint-Emilion
+33 5 57 24 47 05 - 25km (our last visit 2020) - 6km from St-Emilion Outdoor tables
Views from the terrace over Saint-Émilion and Pomerol vineyards. Beef a highlight.
A modern, open air and airy restaurant on the roof of the winery at Château La Dominique, out of town and quite close to Libourne. Right next door is Château Cheval Blanc with its modern winery also, and opposite sit the vineyards of the plateau of Pomerol, like L’Evangile, La Conseillante, Petrus, Vieux Château Certan and so on. So, a spectacular setting, yet in the past I thought the terrific location gave the food and service a much needed leg up (three visits). However, this changed with the presentation of a delicious côte de boeuf for dinner for four in early 2020. The wine list is only viewable on an iPad, which personally I find tiresome unless the list is extensive (it isn’t) but it’s, well, that sort of place. We should go back and give it another go, post pandemic.

Pomerol, not far from Saint-Emilion - recommended

La Table de Catusseau €€(€) **** 86 Route de Catusseau, 33500 Pomerol
+33 5 57 84 40 40 - 25 km (last visit 2022) - 7km St-Emilion Outdoor tables
Fine, modern dining for a fair price in the heart of Pomerol. Eat in or small terrace.
Fine yet unpretentious dining within walking distance of some of the most famous vineyards in the world, let alone Bordeaux - Le Pin, Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan… Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. A busy, modern dining room with a smallish but comfortable terrace to the side. Seriously good food and reasonable value too, and you don’t have to go silly with the wine list. There is also a fair BYO policy, eg for four people or more, in that you can bring a bottle if you take one from the list, such as a bottle of Champagne to start with. But you should check with madame first. This is undoubtedly busier now as it is one of two restaurants in the whole region that’s noted in the Michelin guide for a Bib award, for price/quality. (The other is La Réserve du Presbytère in Montagne, below.)

Other suggestions not far from Saint-Émilion

Atelier de Candale €€(€) ***tbc 1 Grandes Plantes, 33330 Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, nr St-Emilion
+33 5 57 24 15 45 – 26 km. Outdoor tables
Tuesday to Sunday, lunch and dinner in summer. Attached to Château Candale and owned by Magali and Thibault Decoster of Clos des Jacobins. We’ve enjoyed lunch and dinner here in the past, both inside and out on the large terrace. Must go back soon. La Réserve du Presbytère 22 Grand Rue 33570 Montagne, nr St-Emilion +33 5 57 79 03 43 One of two restaurants in the region that’s noted in the Michelin guide for a Bib award, for the price/quality. (The other is La Table du Catusseau, above.) Must go.

Le Clos Mirande €€(€) ***tbc 9 Mirande, 33570 Montagne, nr St-Emilion
+33 5 57 74 50 16 – 32 km Outdoor tables
Lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, in summer. We’ve been a few times, both for lunch and dinner, but not since a year or so before the pandemic. Always had an enjoyable meal, so it’s on our list to return, even if it’s a little further out from us.

Le Grand Barrail €€€ **(*) Hotel Spa and Restaurant
+33 5 57 55 37 00 4km west of St-Emilion on D243 Route de Libourne – 25 km
Under new ownership since 2019 and I enjoyed both a good value lunch and a much more expensive dinner here in 2020, and an overnight stay with business colleagues in 2022. This largish, quite ostentatious hotel has seriously upped its game and it’s also popular now as a spa destination. A fine outdoor space too, although I’ve always eaten inside. Quite modern yet formal in style, it’s classic fare but pretty good.

One bizarre incident was when my wine importer friend, who was paying for a suite and two rooms at the hotel over two nights in January 2020, agreed to taste a dozen samples which had been brought over by an agent for the wineries. We had checked with the hotel first, and then tasted the samples in a few minutes in a side room next to the empty bar, just before we had an expensive dinner at the hotel. When the bill for dinner came, my generous friend had been charged an extraordinary €20 per sample (€240). (After the stonking corkage charge we tasted a few later samples in my bathroom at the hotel, spitting into the basin as we did so.) My friend’s bill for the stay was over €3,000, even after they reduced the corkage charge by half. There are times when, like in grey January and when a wine region needs to sell the stuff, it’s advisable not to charge corkage.

Four inexpensive restaurants for lunch on the ‘right bank’
Near Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Castillon and on the Gironde near St-André-de-Cubzac

Routier: ‘Roadside restaurants originally designed for lorry drivers and now well known for providing high-quality food at reasonable prices.’

La Puce € ** 323 Grand Bigaroux, 33330 Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, St-Emilion
+33 6 42 39 51 97 – 24 km
Inexpensive, busy lunch spot near the Union des Producteurs 4km from St-Emilion.
On the main road Libourne to Bergerac road, just outside St-Emilion near the Union des Producteurs co-operative at Bigaroux. Inexpensive, lunch only, and very busy. Must return as it was great value spot for the local pros, workers and artisans. I think the menu is still around €14 for soup, starter, mains, cheese, dessert and wine.

Les Platanes €(€) ** 30 Route de Perigueux 33500 Pomerol
+33 5 57 51 99 64
Inexpensive, filling place for lunch near Pomerol on the main N89 road. Good value.
On the main N89 near Pomerol, NW of Libourne. Value place for locals, buffet starter, plats du jour. Get there early. Lovely tarte aux pommes as I recall. Used to go a fair bit and must return.

Le Chaudron du Père Marches €(€) *tbc 18 Allée de la République, 33350 Castillon-la-Bataille
+33 5 57 40 45 40 – 30 km (further away). Outdoor tables
Good value and quality for lunch in the centre of Castillon, says a friend.
“This town centre brasserie has much to commend it” suggests a visitor to Bauduc. “This is a bistro and wine shop in one. The outside area is covered and seating well-spaced. There is a restaurant inside and wine shop upstairs. Situated opposite the tree lined parking area in the centre, it offers enormous value for money. Yet it undersells itself as the quality of the food and service on offer – not least by madame - go beyond expectation. We reserved our lunch table in advance. Good decision.”

Côte Fleuve €€ ** 28 Quai Laurent Coureaud, 33240 St-André-de Cubzac
+33 5 57 47 78 96 27 - 42 km. Outdoor tables
A no-frills, welcoming restaurant on the Dordogne at St-André. Good value for lunch.
This is on the river near the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne, where they join to form the Gironde estuary. It’s a decent, friendly restaurant tucked along a fairly uninspiring quayside, but all the more authentic for it, I guess. A mains of gambas à la plancha was just the job on a lunch visit in 2020. Good set menu and a tasty range of à la carte options - especially fish but not exclusively. Wines of the month, including by the glass, are likely to be the local Cubzadais (Bordeaux Supérieur) as well as from Bourg and Blaye on the Gironde.

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Bordeaux – city centre

L’Entrecôte €€ *** Cours 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux
No bookings, must queue - 26 km (our last visit 2022)
Bordeaux’s busiest restaurant and the one we’ve been to most. Great steak-frites.
You have to like steak-frites and the wine list is restricted to just one or two Bordeaux reds and rosé. After a starter of salad with walnuts, the finely sliced beef arrives on a silver platter in a delicious sauce, and leave room for the second helping of frites which is welcome and dangerous. For best results, when asked about the cuisson, order the beef ‘à point’ (medium rare) or ‘saignant’ (rare) or a mixture if you like for four or more. Anything else isn’t really acceptable. There’s a wide choice of classic puddings, like the famed chocolate mousse - delicious - or profiteroles. No bookings are allowed and as this is the busiest place in town, queue 15-20 minutes before midday for an early lunch or likewise for an early supper queue 20 mins before the doors open at 7pm, or risk a longer wait later on. Proof that keeping it simple really works if the product is right.

Le Noailles €€(€) *** 12 Allées de Tourny, Bordeaux +33 5 56 81 94 45 – 26 km
Classic French brasserie in the centre of Bordeaux. Traditional fare and we enjoy it.
A very good, dependable brasserie in the centre of town, in a fine location. A solid choice if you’re looking for classic French food in a busy, typically French restaurant on one of Bordeaux’s finest streets. The round tables for 5 or 6 people in the window are fun spots to book if the number fits, but we’ve enjoyed our lunches at the back as much. Nothing too adventurous here, menu wise – but the steak tartare is excellent, though ask for the spicier version. Reasonable wine list, with some decent values around €35-50 a bottle.

Café Français €€(€) **(*) 5 Place Pey Berland, Bordeaux opposite the cathedral +33 5 56 96 69 – 27 km (our last visit Nov 2021). Outdoor tables
Classic large bistro for a sunny lunch next to the cathedral, lots of outdoor space.
Location, location. This fairly old fashioned restaurant with a huge terrace area facing the newly cleaned cathedral, and adjacent to the Hôtel de Ville, is a fine spot to sit outside with friends and family and enjoy French classics like steak tartare with frites, or copious salads, with reasonably priced and attractive wines. Or go just for drinks. There is a reduced menu after than the normal lunchtime hours so a later lunch, which is not always easy to find, is at least possible here. The vegetarian options are limited and service is professional and friendly - in our experience - if a little unhelpful at times apparently. This gets mixed reviews online as it’s a touristy spot but sit in the right spot, go for the classics and choose good, mid-priced wine and you’ll be just fine. (Easy for us from Château Bauduc as it’s a short walk from where the express coach from Créon, the 407, ends up at the Place de la Republique, or the Musée d’Aquitaine stop.)

Le Pressoir d’Argent €€€€ ****(*) Gordon Ramsay. Place de la Comédie, 33330 Bordeaux +33 5 57 30 43 04 – 26 km
Gordon Ramsay’s fine dining room in Le Grand Hotel deserves its two Michelin stars.
This is Gordon Ramsay’s fine dining restaurant in the smartest hotel in Bordeaux, and a terrific location opposite the Grand Théatre. Based on one dinner that we were treated to in 2018, the food was sensational and utterly delicious. The service too was excellent. As can be expected at this level – it has two Michelin stars as of 2022 - it is a properly expensive restaurant, with a wine list and prices to match. We really need to go back for a special occasion – or perhaps just for a cheeky lunch. As it’s a few years since we went there we’re relying on Michelin and our Gordon’s reputation with our **** rating.

Exploring the old town

There are scores of excellent, smallish restaurants in the attractive older parts of Bordeaux, many with a few outdoor tables when the weather demands it. Head to the area around Rue St-Remi - – not far at all from the places mentioned above - through to Place de Parlement and beyond to Place Camille Jullian for starters, though there are plenty of other areas to go to. These are three places which have served us good food and wine at fair prices, on outdoor tables, since the pandemic. And the Brasserie is a well know spot.

Le Michel’s €€ **(*) ext 15 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, Bordeaux. Outdoor tables We enjoyed a simple lunch outside at this charming spot on Tom’s 18th in October 2021 – and this is a street with lots of character, to explore. Some good wines by the glass.

Le Petit Commerce €€ **(*) ext 22 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, Bordeaux.
Specialises in seafood and I loved the prawns and shellfish, sitting outside in 2022 watching the world go by. Outdoor tables

Big bistrot Girondin €€ **(*) ext 64/66 Rue Saint-Rémi, Bordeaux.
Lunch outside in May 2022. Good sharing plates, because the group didn’t have enough time to dig deeper in the menu. Plenty of space inside too and the quality of the food and service suggests its worth revisiting. Outdoor tables

La Brasserie Bordelaise €€/€€€ *** 50 Rue St-Remi, Bordeaux +33 5 57 87 11 91
A busy spot in Rue St Remi, the narrow street in the centre of Bordeaux, between the Bourse and the Place de Parlement - an area stuffed with bars and restaurants. Brasserie Bordelais is like a tardis, given the small frontage and substantial interior. Great steak - griddled on the fire – with no shortage of alternatives. Sizeable, well thought-out wine list with plenty of Bordeaux values. The red wine is stored and served a tad warm for our liking, so don’t feel embarrased if you want to ask for an ice bucket. A thumbs-up from guests who went in 2022.

Also recommended for drinks

Bar à Vins €/€€ **(*) 3 Cours du 30 juillet, Bordeaux
On the ground floor of the Bordeaux wine bureau (CIVB), opposite L’Entrecôte and close to the Grand Théatre. A large, smart bar serving a good selection of Bordeaux wines by the glass, at very reasonable prices. There are often queues to enter. Tables outside as of summer 2020.

Night Beach bar €€€ *** 2-5 Place de la Comédie, Bordeaux
The roof terrace bar on top of the Grand Hotel in Bordeaux, opposite the Grand Théatre, with spectacular views of the city. Outdoor tables.

Bordeaux – other suggestions

La Tupina €€€(€) **(*)tbc Rue Porte de la Monnaie
+33 5 56 91 56 37
The most famous restaurant in Bordeaux, arguably, but living on past glories?
The traditional South West cooking and classic décor, set in a narrow cobbled street behind the quays, has as many distractors as fans these days. We have had both really good and indifferent meals in recent years, but most recently it was excellent, though the ‘bought in’ desserts aren’t great and it is pretty expensive. Still recommended though for its atmosphere, cooking and the uncompromising menu of classics. There’s a car parking service and they will allow you to bring your own wine if you ask in advance, for a hefty fee - the wine list is seriously toppy. Corkage, or droit de bouchon, is €30 for non-Cru Classé, or €50 for a Cru Classé wine (2019).

By all reports (in 2022) the cooking on the open fireplace near the entrance is no more, sadly – and that was what gave the place a unique charm and a real sense of authenticity. Has that gone completely or is it merely a seasonal move?

“What’s happened? This great culinary haven is not what it once was” writes one friend. “And you see that at once. The splendid open coals flaring away waiting to flame-grill lamb, beef or chicken are No More. Sad to say, the fire is out at La Tupina (literally and metaphorically). And the flavour imparted by the open fire was the USP.  It seems such a shame yet it may be a short term thing.  You’d have thought they’d have mentioned it though. We shall see.”

L’univerre €€/€€€ *** 40 Rue le Cocq
+33 5 56 23 10 53
Bistro with very good food and a diverse and interesting wine list, beyond Bordeaux.
Small restaurant that’s best known for its diverse wine list. Haven’t been back since a while before the pandemic so should give it a go.

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South of Bordeaux – Graves and Sauternes

Les Sources de Caudalie €€€/€€€€ **(**) 33650 Martillac
+33 5 57 83 83 83 - 28 km
La Grand’ Vigne €€€€ **** La Table du Lavoir €€/€€€ **(*). Outdoor tables Several restaurants on a vineyard, one with very fine dining and another more relaxed The best hotel in the region is set in the vineyard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte and is well known for its fabulous Vinothérapie spa. There are two good restaurants – the two Michelin-starred La Grand’ Vigne – and the less formal La Table du Lavoir, which is stylish too and has a charm about it. Good wine list if very pricey in parts. I’ve been to both restaurants several times in the past but not since the pandemic, so we really need to return. The fact that La Grand’ Vigne still has two Michelin stars is a strong indicator that standards haven’t fallen.

Sauternes

Hôtel & Restaurant Lalique €€€€ **** – Château Lafaurie Peyraguey, 33210 Bommes
+33 5 24 22 80 11 – 35 km
Two Michelin stars and exquisite tasting menus, all beautifully presented.
Two Michelin stars, and it shows. We were lucky enough to be treated here one Saturday night in June 2022, and this is a gastronomic adventure. There was no à la carte for dinner at this newish establishment, just two tasting menus, one of which was vegetarian, the other mainly vegetarian but with two small additions of smoked eel (not everyone’s idea of a nice fish dish) and sweetbreads (likewise for meat). When the five of us chose the latter option, two opted for lamb in lieu of the sweetbreads, and the lamb itself turned out to be the tiniest and neatest of lamb cutlets. That said, everything was delicious, all impeccably prepared in the impressive kitchen into which we had a prime view from our table.
It was more of a journey than a meal, and the service was impeccable too, and uplifting. A terrific young sommelier worked hard, decanting and pouring, and advising of course. His wine list was a veritable tome, with an extensive list of wines from many of the leading châteaux in Bordeaux. There were numerous top estates represented, each with several vintages on offer. It’s an impressive list for sure, notably going well beyond Bordeaux, as can be imagined for a two-star Michelin. We drank very well, though my question at the time was whether the food was the right match for so many top Bordeaux reds. Or was it the other way round?

La Chapelle €€/€€€ *** Château Guiraud, 33210 Sauternes
+33 5 40 24 85 45 – 36 km
A really charming, professionally-run bistro in the grounds of this famous Sauternes estate. Great for a reasonably priced lunch, and good wines as you’d imagine. Definitely worth a visit, not least if you’re looking at châteaux in the area, like Châteaux d’Yquem, Suduiraut or Rieussec down the road.

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The Médoc – recommended restaurants

Or, more accurately, the Haut-Médoc along the route des châteaux - the D2 – to the north of Bordeaux on the ‘left bank’ of the Gironde estuary.

Au Marquis de Terme €€€ *** 3 Route de Rauzan, 33460 Margaux
+33 5 57 08 25 33 – 50 km (GQ last visit 2022). Outdoor tables
A recent opening at a Château in Margaux, just off the D2. Modern, with a fine terrace.
A newish and welcome addition to Margaux and the Médoc, and well placed just off the D2 at the Grand Cru Classé estate, Château Marquis de Terme. Modern and adventurous cuisine in a plush, snappy dining room, along with plenty of outdoor tables on the terrace if the weather allows. Delicious oysters served on ice was a good start. There’s a lunch ‘menu du marché’ for around €30 for three courses, or a more upmarket ‘retour de vignes’ at €42 for lunch or dinner, or the full monty ‘menu du Marquis’ for €75. Sound.

Le Saint-Julien €€€/€€€€ ***(*) 11 Rue de Saint-Julien, 33250 Saint-Julien-Beychevelle
+33 5 56 59 63 87 – 68 km (GQ last visit 2022)
Traditional restaurant with very good food, run by the colourful chef Claude and team.
The chef-owner Claude Brossard recently invested a small fortune in smartening up and expanding his well-known establishment on the D2, adjacent to some of the most famous vineyards in the world, let alone the Médoc. Deep blue décor might not be everyone’s choice but it somehow works. For best results go for some of his classics, like lobster salad followed by roast lamb. The wine list is fairly toppy at the upper end, to say the least, although if you ask nicely and buy a dry white or Champagne off the list to kick off with, you can take some fine red. Or there are less expensive reds on the list. There’s an impressive temperature-controlled wine cellar next to the dining room.

Bistro Chez Mémé €/€€ *** 30 Rue de Saint-Julien, 33250 Saint-Julien-Beychevelle
+33 5 56 73 85 32 – 69 km (GQ last visit 2021)
As shown on Rick Stein’s ‘Long weekend in Bordeaux’. Classic, small bistro for lunch.
I took Rick Stein and his TV crew here for his Long Weekend series on BBC, and it worked a treat. Rick’s director, David Pritchard, loved this place when we went up to do the recce trip a few weeks before and it lived up to its promise on the big day. It’s a fairly small, classic French bistro with simple yet tasty cooking in a famous Médoc village, right on the D2. Run by an enthusiastic couple, and some good value wines given the location. Essentially a lunchtime venue for when you’re visiting châteaux up here, and service can be punctual if needed. The plat du jour is usually more than acceptable for a swift, inexpensive option to the main menu. Terrific Haut-Médoc reds for the money, given that the top appellations are often just too expensive for restaurants like this now.

The Médoc – other suggestions

Le Lion d'Or €€/€€€ **(*) 11 route de Pauillac, 33460 Arcins
+33 5 56 58 96 79 - 58km near Margaux (last visit pre-Covid)
Traditional and famous lunch stop in the Haut-Médoc, north of Margaux on the D2.
Classic regional cooking and some dishes – lampreys stewed in red wine, pig’s trotter, kidneys, various offal and so on - are possibly not for the fainthearted but are extremely tasty. Seasonal produce too, such as local asparagus from Blaye in the spring. Unless things have changed since 2019, you can take a bottle of red but not white (they like to sell you an aperitif or a white wine with your starter). Le Lion d’or is a classic, and even if friends have been a little underwhelmed on occasion when we’ve been, I should take note soon of the plat du jour that’s written on the big board outside, right on the main road, and give it another crack when the dish looks tasty. Seems rude not to.

Café Lavinal €€/€€€ **(*) Village de Bages, passage du Desquet, 33250 Pauillac
+33 5 57 75 00 09 – 72 km (last visit pre-Covid). Outdoor tables
Modern, comfortable bistro next to Lynch Bages with outdoor tables. Still hit and miss?
Great location next to the new winery at Château Lynch Bages and a popular destination for locals and wine tourists alike. A good idea to book. It’s also worth a stop-off - or was - for a 9 o’clock coffee before visits to châteaux in the area, and there’s a bakery bang opposite that’s owned by the Cazes family too.
I’ve been many times to Café Lavinal for lunch and occasionally dinner, with fairly mixed results. It can be frustrating when you take guests – especially if they are picking up the tab - who are looking for the best possible experience: we are, after all, close to some of the most famous wine estates in the world. If your expectations aren’t too high then I think you could comfortably enjoy this, assuming you get good service and choose well from the menu. That’s unfair, possibly, as I haven’t been back since the pandemic - I am determined to return and see how it’s doing, and with the newly renovated cellars of Château Lynch Bages right next door – the whole village is under the same family ownership – they must surely have upped their game.

La Brasserie des Châteaux €€ *tbc 32 Ave de la République 33460 Cantenac
+33 5 57 10 43 72 – 50 km (last visit 2022)
Lunch menus in the €20s. I’ve stopped off here and had coffees or refreshments with friends but the restaurant looks worth a visit too if you’re going to some of the famous wineries around the corner. Cantenac is on the D2 as you approach Margaux from the Bordeaux direction, and you can’t miss La Brasserie by the church on the main road.

Le Bontemps €€ 5 place de commerces 33460 Cussac-Fort-Médoc
+33 9 83 02 14 16 – 60km (last visit pre-pandemic)
Handy small restaurant for unpretentious lunch on D2 between Margaux & St-Julien
I’d eaten here a few times before the pandemic and always had a decent plat du jour or similar. I should go back because I can’t remember anything other than it being perfectly ok.

La Salamandre €€/€€€ *tbc 15 quai Léon Perrier, 33250 Pauillac
+33 5 56 59 24 87 – 80 km (last visit pre-pandemic). Outdoor tables
Great location on the quais in Pauilllac, facing the estuary, but very hit and miss food.
This busy and well situated eatery, located right on the quais in Pauillac facing the Gironde estuary, used to have a great value wine list for Cru Classés and a huge choice of food. After a few less than thrilling experiences, all pre-pandemic, I should probably give it another go. Of late, I’ve only used it for an afternoon expresso reviver or an early evening beer with friends, mainly because the terrace is a fine spot and easy parking is close by. There’s a choice of the bar menu or the full restaurant menu, with atypical food and oversized portions. The moules frites are popular. It gets busy outside in the warmer months so booking is advised for tables for lunch on the terrace.

Le Pauillac €€ *(*) 33250 Pauillac +33 5 56 59 19 20
Simple enough, traditional restaurant on the quais by the Gironde estuary.
Traditional food, efficient, occasionally iffy service and perfectly ok for lunch. The set menu used to be reasonable value.

Château Cordeillan Bages €€€€ *tbc 33250 Pauillac
+33 5 56 59 24 24 - 80 km
A good hotel though the main restaurant is closed for now, summer 2022.
Stylish, modern hotel and restaurant if you are in the northern Médoc. It’s a really fine place to stay, with large, spacious modern bedrooms and luxurious bathrooms. The dining room is modern, and there’s an excellent buffet-style breakfast. The cooking for dinner though was off the charts weird - and expensive - when I last went a few years ago. I was invited a couple of times by friends in the trade, with an overnight stop, but we struggled with the fancy style-over-substance approach to the cooking. Hugely flamboyant yet without the flavours to match. The wine prices, equally, were enough to make you wince, though I should go back and re-evaluate the restaurant because the staff are welcoming and they make a big effort. And it’s a good, well-placed hotel.

Le Peyrat € *tbc 33250 Port of St Estephe
+33 5 56 59 71 43 Outdoor tables
Good value lunch spot for visitors to the northern Médoc, used by local wine people and artisans. Off the beaten track, right on the Gironde estuary near the back door of Chateau Montrose, Meyney and Phelan Segur. Good menu for locals inside, while outside it’s the more expensive tourist menu only. At least that’s how it used to be, to great amusement.

Le Savoie Margaux 33460
+33 5 57 88 31 76 Outdoor tables
The food was very good here with tasty seasonal dishes but I haven’t been back for a while. This being Margaux, the Badoit was €8 a bottle which bizarrely cost more than the two glasses of wine (though the wine wasn’t Margaux, obviously).

Relais de Margaux 33460
+33 5 57 88 38 30 Outdoor tables
The Brasserie, which overlooks the golf course, used to serve a good set lunch for less than 20 euros. I went a few times but haven’t been back for a while.

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On the coast - so quite far

Club Plage Pereire €€/€€€ Plage Pereire, near Arcachon
+33 5 57 16 59 13 - 90 km (regulars pre-2019 but yet to go back!) Outdoor tables
A popular, spacious summer restaurant on the beach near Arcachon.
Excellent, quite large summer-only beach restaurant, near Arcachon. Must book, especially for the outside tables. This place has mixed reviews but we’ve been many times – in sunny weather, mind - and always had a really good time with family and friends. Reasonable prices with lots of choice from tapas to fish and seafood, and burgers, and good wines too without crazy prices. (Château Tour de Mirambeau dry white an easy choice). Plus a terrific view out from the beach to the Bassin and the open sea. Snooze the lunch off on the beach afterwards and stroll along by the water’s edge and then back along the promenade near the road. Great day out as long as you avoid heavy traffic both in out of Arcachon.

Chez Hortense €€€ **** 26 ave du Sémaphore, La Pointe, 33970 Cap Ferret
+33 5 56 60 62 56 - 100 km, on the sea (regulars pre-2019 but yet to go back!) Outdoor tables
Wonderful, classic fish restaurant with vine-covered terrace and views across the sea.
On the coast and this used to be a firm favourite in the summer – open July and August. It’s just we haven’t made the time of late. You must book ahead and it’s worth the long drive - though not at the busiest times - for lunch or supper, when combined with a day trip or a long stroll up the beach. Take the signs to ‘La Pointe’. It’s a super spot with views over the opening of Arcachon bay across to Pyla - and more importantly simply great seafood. Try the moules cooked in oil, garlic, bacon and breadcrumbs, with frites, followed by fresh, grilled turbot. Relaxed and informal. Some good Entre Deux Mers, like Château Turcaud, close to us, and Graves whites and other fair prices on the wine list – no need to go grand. Weekends only out of high season, closed winter. Do book ‘sur la terrasse’. I took Rick Stein there to film his ‘Long Weekend’ in Bordeaux and we had a wonderful time with madame, her son and their team – including in the kitchen. Preceded by the recce trip (mussels, turbot, etc) with the late, great David Pritchard – Rick’s director and producer – and his wife Fiona.

Pinasse Café €€/€€€ in Cap Ferret is a decent alternative.

Le Ponton €/€€ 105 Avenue de l’Herbe, 33950 Lège Cap Ferret +33 6 87 74 88 56
(our last visit summer 2020). Outdoor tables

Number 12 is, quite suitably, one of many oyster restaurants you’ll find on the Cap Ferret side of the Bassin, or far away across the water opposite on the approach to Arcachon. Le Ponton is in a great setting overlooking and above the water, and plum next to a small but charming beach. It’s also alongside numerous other oyster shacks in this Village Ostréicole. This is one of the smarter ones and we really enjoyed the oysters (medium probably being the safest size to go for), the chilled prawns, shellfish and paté de campagne, and a bottle of our neighbour’s white from Château Thieuley. Worth booking a table right at the water’s edge for the view. Good service and terrific value for such a treat. You can park up at the top and walk down the beachside steps. We had a morning coffee outside the Hotel de la Plage, just a short walk away.

L'Ajonciere €€, Plage du Porge, 33680 Le Porge (last visit summer 2021)
As much to recommend the Atlantic beach as this perfectly acceptable restaurant nearby, in truth. A lovely day out in the sun, and off the beaten track when the traffic to Cap Ferret or Arcachon looks too daunting.

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