Some restaurants we have enjoyed at lunchtime are listed here. All are located in the 1st, 4th, or 5th arrondissements. This list is a random drop in the pool of wonderful restaurants that you can dip into here in France’s food capital.
Des Galets Bleus la Nuit: The affordable, three-course lunch at this tiny Croix-Rousse restaurant, is served by a friendly two-person staff that is concerned that you will enjoy the food and is happy when you do. The small selection of fresh, seasonal dishes includes a choice between two entrés, two plâts, and several desserts. My favorite entré was a fresh pear, cored from the bottom so it retained its stem, stuffed with green tapenade, and baked and served, upright, in a creamy rouquefort sauce. Like many restaurants, there is always a choice of a fish dish and beef, chicken, or veal, accompanied by vegetables that complement your selection. The desserts are all rich, homemade, and delicious. See video, pictures and information.
Les Enfants du Paradis: Also on the plateau de Croix-Rousse at 2, rue H. Gorjus, is another amazing, small restaurant. We tried Les Enfants a few days after stopping to ask directions from a group of laughing and chatting smokers huddled outside. It seemed like a friendly place and the name is taken from the classic French film. Good choice. This paradise features a tasteful, simple décor and food that is fresh and beautifully prepared. The young waiter managed to single-handedly serve the first two courses to a full house that arrived almost at once. The simple chicken dish that I enjoyed as the main course had the real taste of chicken that is rarely available back in the States. Tel 04 78 29 99 47
Café de la Place: We keep returning to our local café for lunch and why not? It is close to home, just across the Place Sathonay. Its two- or three-course dejeuner is consistently good and Annie Perrier, at front of house, is infinitely kind and helpful. I am always happy with whatever fish is on the menu. While rich dessert is a special treat at home, it is the new normal for lunch in France. My favorites are anything chocolate and anything chestnut (marron/châtain). Tel: 04 78 28 26 88
Bangkok Royale: Also close to home for us is one of two tasty Thai restaurants that we have sampled. Bangkok Royale, at 40 rue de Sgt Blandon, offers a two-course lunch that features exotic tastes and good value. We enjoyed the vibrant Thai salad first course and flavorful curry plat. Tel: 04 78 28 19 83 The other tasty Thai is Les Chats Siamois, located near the Rhône on rue des Feuillants. Here they encourage you to “partager” (share) dishes to enjoy the maximum “goûts” (tastes) of their fresh and flavorful cuisine. Tel: 04 78 39 34 72
La Cuisine Restaurant: More slick and branded than our usual choice of restaurant, La Cuisine Restaurant surpassed our expectations. Located downhill from St Polycarpe’s big clock on rue St. Polycarpe, we stopped here on a rainy Monday when many restaurants are closed. As les parapluies (umbrellas) passed by, we were cozy inside enjoying an entré of perfect mussels, followed by a flavorful plât of white fish in a wine sauce. (I am still struggling to learn the American names of fish since they often differ from both the French and their British translations.) Open daily, La Cuisine has a warm atmosphere, free wi-fi and good prices. Tel: 04 78 28 15 31
Les Ventres Jaunes: Vieux Lyon is the city’s tourist center and a don’t-miss destination if your time is limited in Lyon. It is a lovely and fun place to visit, with a wide selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants that feature eclectic, ethnic fare as well as classic French cuisine in a range of prices. Of the handful we have sampled, Les Ventres Jaunes, at 2, Place Neuve, can be good. Influenced by Bresse (known for its poulet-chicken) in both its charming décor and menu, this is where we go with out-of-town visitors. Unlike Lyon’s quaint bouchons that celebrate foods I usually avoid, such as tripe and other organ meats, Les Ventres Jaunes is less intense. Here you find Lyon’s traditional meats and quenelles as well as other area classics including salad Lyonnaise with its poached egg and lardons, escargots and other Burgundy favorites, and a classic poulet à la crème. Tel: 04 78 42 16 49