Where to eat in Bordeaux? A question I asked myself just before the recent weekend trip away with my two besties celebrating a 30th birthday milestone.
After extensive restaurant research (standard), here’s a quick overview of my Top 3 food stops I can highly recommend after visiting in person, you know, before you read on to discover all about my suggested ultimate dining out experience at Le Chien De Pavlov (translating as Pavlov Dog).
So 3 lunch stops:
- Mama Shelter – My favourite Rooftop bar located on the Place Saint-Christoly in the historic centre; this restaurant offers simply delicious food, embodying Bordeaux with all its rich quality and generosity. Order the dry Rose (obvs Bordeaux) and a Chicken Quinoa Salad, as there’s plenty of home baked bread to satisfy that carb craving with unlimited refills to your table…
- Au Reve translating as In Dream – To the dream “who never dies”; this bistro offers fantastic traditional cuisine and is situated just around the corner from Notre Dame Rue – if you want the absolute’raw’ tasting experience, there is a Beef Tartare option (of course served raw, with a raw yoke in the middle, which can be nicely mopped up with fries if you’re in to that kind of thing).
- La Reserve is a fabulous Tapas restaurant just next door to Au Reve mentioned above, highly recommended by the locals. Great atmosphere in the outdoor seating area so worth a visit for the vino alone, overlooking the Chartrons Square.
Now, for my ultimate dinner recommendation if ever in this fabulous French city, introducing Le Chien De Pavlov;
A fantastic French culinary experience.
Owners Maxime & Mary opened Le Chien De Pavlov at the beginning of 2014, of which the restaurant came about as a result of two common passions for ping pong and cheesecake.
This creative and uninhibited, lively contemporary bistro is fantastic value for money; a huge variety of quality and unique dishes not overly priced, but enough to feel it’s differentiation from the lower price point.
Interestingly, as this restaurant visit was in light of a special occasion, my two friends and I had just spent a little too much time celebrating at the Grand Hotel’s Rooftop Bar (overpriced but fabulous viewpoint overlooking Bordeaux’s central square), it was actually quite late by the time we arrived at Le Chien De Pavlov.
Concerned we wouldn’t be seated, it was quite the opposite!
Welcomed by the owner Maxime himself, timing was clearly no issue and he was extremely accommodating, seating on a great table with a view of both the chefs in the kitchen as well as the entrance looking out on to Rue de la Devise, a very quiet & quaint street so very pleasant to sit near.
After the owner talked us through the translations of each dish hand written in French on their restaurant chalk board (though my French is pretty sharp so I did have a good idea on what there was on offer despite what my girls say!) we were actually then recommended to go for the five course tasting menu priced at €43 pp.
Again, a special occasion and knowing my friends and I were likely to get a starter and pudding anyway, we thought this was excellent value for money and couldn’t wait to try each unique course; ranging from a surprise amuse-bouche, to the starter & mains, to the fish, meats and ending on a dessert.
We also asked for a bottle of red wine and were given a local red which the waiter chose for us; this was reasonably priced without us asking which instantly gave us a genuine vibe from both the service and high expectations of the food to follow.
A great way to start the meal – Pâté on a crumble accompanied by a sweet plum sauce, and freshly baked bread served on the side to mop up the remaining relish.
Salmon served cold with green beans and a smoked cream cheese sauce; although not my first choice (being more of a red meat fan), the salmon was complimented extremely well with the surrounding ingredients and a proved to be a very refreshing dish.
The red wine also pictured below matched this plate perfectly, with its smokey aftertaste to wash down the flavours of the smoked cream cheese.
Raw Tuna with a garlic clove, baby tomatoes and sweet fruit sauce – I just wish I had the waiter’s delightful French accent to explain this to you in a little more detail holding much more complexity…
Bottom line – this was simply delicious and highly satisfying as a fish dish.
Now on to the red meat course we’d all been waiting for – the Beef fillet with mini mussels and pink grapefruit, positioned on a bed of a light and refreshing mint sauce.
May have to try replicating this back at home – just divine…
For me, this was the highlight of fantastic service going above and beyond; the waiter had arranged for a candle to go in my friend’s dessert for her 30th birthday, and we all had a little ‘Bon Anniversaire’ tune to end the meal on a high.
The dessert consisted of a baked apricot with vanilla ice-cream; the sharp taste of the fruit complimented the sweetness of the dish flawlessly, laid on a bed of biscuit base for a nice crunchy finish.
So there’s my latest French cuisine experience – a must go-to eatery for whenever visiting the City of Bordeaux; very central and fairly easy to find.
- Tuesday evening
- Wednesday lunch & dinner
- Thursday noon and evening
- Friday noon and evening
- Saturday noon and evening
- CLOSED Sunday & Monday.