By Bob & Sue
While known more for its wine than its food, the greater Bordeaux area offers some memorable dining opportunities:
La Grande Vigne
La Grande Vigne (Michelin one star) sits in the heart of the Smith Haut Lafitte winery south of the city of Bordeaux. A young chef brings a wonderful sense of flavors to his cooking with such dishes as lobster with tandoori spices served with an avocado cream and a slow-cooked lamb loin and lamb confit in crustelon with white garlic puree. Located at a comfortable inn, Les Sources de Caudalie, a great place to stay during a Bordeaux visit.
Chemin de Smith Haut Lafitte, 33650 Bordeaux-Martillac; +33 05 57 83 83 83; sources-caudalie.com
La Tupina in downtown Bordeaux offers delicious, classic specialties such as whole chickens and steaks cooked over an open fire near the entrance. We loved the traditional duck and sausage cassoulet and a perfectly cooked large veal kidney. This was former President Jacques Chirac’s favorite restaurant in the world.
6 rue Porte de la Monnaie, 33800 Bordeaux; +33 05 56 91 56 37; latupina.com
Le St. James
Le St. James (Michelin one star) is in the Eastern suburb of Bouliac overlooking the river and downtown Bordeaux from a hilltop. Highlights included scallops wrapped in seaweed, sweetbreads with fresh morels, a roasted wood pigeon served tableside, and a hot banana soufflé with licorice ice cream.
3 place Camille Hostein, 33270 Bouliac; +33 05 57 97 06 00; saintjames-bouliac.com
Chateau Cordeillan Bages
Chateau Cordeillan Bages (Michelin 2 star) in Pauillac in the Medoc wine country north of Bordeaux. This has long been the Bordeaux area’s finest restaurant, and chef Jean Luc Rocha’s creative menu does not disappoint with a pairing of a croustillant of cold crab with tempura crab, wood pigeon with a beet root reduction, a citrus crusted lamb shoulder and rack of lamb served with a pea stuffed onion, and a mushroom mousse with veal juice and a hazelnut emulsion.
Château Cordeillan-Bages, Route des Châteaux, 33250 Pauillac; +33 05 56 59 24 24; cordeillanbages.com