Where Do I Eat In Burgundy?


Not so long ago, Beaune’s fine dining scene was either Ma Cuisine or a packed lunch. The knock-on effect of the stratospheric rise in Burgundy’s popularity is restaurants popping up like mushrooms across the town of Beaune over the last two decades. Many rely upon the influx of “Pinot Pilgrims” during high season and Hospice weekend. As a result, Beaune maintains its fair share of run-of-the-mill restaurants whose unimaginative cuisine caters to undiscerning palates. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people eat to live. For gourmands, there is a cluster of quality-driven restaurants that foment a dining scene disproportionately large for Beaune’s size. Most are inspired by traditional Burgundy dishes like coq au vin, oeufs en Meurette and l’escargots, and its dining scene is indeed less diverse than you find in Bordeaux or Lyon. That said, I can see the influence of Japan, a country with a longstanding natural affinity towards Burgundy, either in terms of Japanese restaurants or shaping some of its menus.

Instead of a series of Vinous Tables, over the holiday season, I wrote a single paragraph on places that I frequent during my annual three or four months in the region. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list, and for reasons of length, I reluctantly exclude Beaujolais and Mâconnais, each bejeweled with their own outstanding restaurants that often offer better value. My selection is listed in order of personal preference. Hopefully, it provides a useful guide. Feel free to add your own.

N.B. Readers will find some, not all, tasting notes of the wines ordered at these restaurants in the right-hand column.

La Lune (Beaune)

La Lune is the best restaurant in Burgundy. Period. I’ve eaten there since its doors first opened in 2014 and relish every visit. La Lune is run by chef Seiichi Hirobe and front of house Julien Martin (no relation). Martin takes your order, and Hirobe cooks in front of you, focused and concentrated, saying little because he’s ‘in the zone’. The menu is Japanese with a Gallic twist and rarely less than fantastique. I’ll tell you how good La Lune is… I took my Japanese wife there. Yes, the harshest critic of any Japanese restaurant outside her homeland. She was bowled over by the quality of ingredients, execution and adherence to Japanese simplicity. She even coaxed Hirobe San from behind the stove for a selfie.

La Lune chef Seiichi Hirobe.

Two caveats. There are only 18-odd covers, mostly around the L-shaped counter. Consequently, you have to book way in advance, though they accept late-night drop-ins. Another is the wine list, where there is considerable room for improvement. However, the bottom line is that within Beaune, La Lune is unbeatable value, with many starters at a trifling €8 or €9. La Lune is not just my favorite restaurant in Burgundy. It’s one of my favorite restaurants, full-stop.

Another exquisite dish at La Lune is one of my favorites: trout from the Cordier-Gand fishery in Corgolin, with sliced radish, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cherry tomato and a white sesame sauce and ponzu.

Bistro de l’Hôtel (Beaune)

It’s all about the Poulet de Bresse. Sure, I love the ambiance, the monochrome photographs of wizened winemakers on the walls, the slick, professional service, and the fact that you always bump into someone you know. But at its core, Bistro serves the best chicken you’ll ever eat. Wheeled out on a trolley and basting in its juice, the waiter ceremoniously pares the bird as you begin to drool. Partner it with the fluffiest mashed potato outside Joel Robuchon, and you are in dreamland. Is the poulet hideously expensive? Mais oui! Over €100 for two, the poulade costs more than the poulet. Gender equality has yet to reach here. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. The wine list is extensive, admittedly not a gallery of bargains, but in my experience, keep looking, and you’ll find something worth drinking.  

There’s chicken, then there is the famous poulet, or rather poularde de Bresse at Bistro de l’Hôtel. To be honest, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Maison du Colombier (Beaune)

I am not alone in regarding Maison de Colombier as the epicenter of Beaune. There’s always a buzzy atmosphere inside the 16th-century medieval building replete with octagonal turret: merchants, winemakers, scribes and oenophiles occupying one of the high tables in the gastro-bar or grotto-like cubby holes. On warm nights, there is nothing better than dining al fresco and watching the world go by. The menu offers a useful array of tapas-style dishes, not least their brilliant humus and sardines on toast. In fact, I frequent Maison du Colombier partly because it’s one of the few places I can eat healthily. The magnet here is the exceptional wine list, the most comprehensive in Beaune and reasonably priced to boot. Allow yourself an extra 30 minutes so that you can trawl through the weighty binder and fret about what to choose. Françoise Roux runs a crack team of sommeliers who guide you through and refreshingly offer honest tips about what to drink. Plus, there is always something tempting by the glass.  

The picturesque Maison du Colombier in central Beaune. The best wine list in town. Be warned, you promise yourself just an hour, bump into someone you know, and it’s gone midnight the next minute.

Maison Lameloise (Chagny)

This rundown would be incomplete with the institution that is Lameloise in Chagny, which is an approximately 20-minute drive from Beaune. Three generations of the Lameloise family have run the restaurant-cum-hotel since 1921. Jacques Lameloise took off his whites in 2009 when Eric Pras and Frédéric Lamy, who worked under the legendary Paul Bocuse, started running the kitchen and modernizing the menu. Lameloise is your archetypal three Michelin-starred French restaurant with pristine, ironed white tablecloths, besuited sommelier, verbose explanations about the minutiae of each dish and a ceremonial, quasi-comical “Voilà!” as the silver cloche is whisked away to reveal the next culinary masterpiece. It’s all the theatre you expect at this level. It’s utterly pretentious and reassuringly expensive. But the last time I went, in 2021, it delivered delicious cuisine from start to finish. The wine list has plenty of Burgundy blue chips, as you would expect, and depending on your income, you may have to re-mortgage the house if you insist on that Coche or Rousseau.  

Resto La Jeanette (Gevrey-Chambertin)

La Jeanette is a bit of an oddball, and I don’t mean that pejoratively, but in a good way. I once saw a very famous wine critic sitting in La Jeanette, seething with embarrassment because it is quirky with a capital “Q”. I love it: the kitsch décor, the fairy lights, and her French bulldog snuggling up to you. There’s the open kitchenette where host/chef Karine (so famous that, like Madonna, she only needs her given name) rustles up l’escargots, boeuf bourguignon, and my own favorite, a delicious trout salad, perfect for those like myself desperate to eat something light and scrumptious. You’ll probably walk or drive straight past it, so trust me when I say that it’s located in the heart of the village, opposite the entrance of Domaine Hereztyn-Mazzini. Wine choices are obviously very limited. It’s the kind of place you go for a quick lunchtime glass.

The quirky but delightful interior at Resto La Jeanette. It is one of my favorite places to have lunch in the Côte d’Or and a pertinent reminder that money doesn’t buy character. A bit like La Lune, this is a place where one person cooks for you in a little kitchenette just out of shot.

Le Soleil (Savigny-lès-Beaune)

The opinion is split over Le Soleil, which opened as an annex of Domaine Simon Bize in Savigny-lès-Beaune just before the pandemic. I don’t know why. I adore Le Soleil. I find the Italian and Moroccan-inspired dishes to be well-cooked and offer something different from what you find in Beaune. Sometimes I struggle with the wine list that is predominantly natural/low-intervention, which occasionally corrals me into something too funky. Yet you can spot some names that are difficult to find, and of course, there are always back vintages from Bize. Le Soleil comes into its own when, as its name suggests, the sun is out. Come in summer and dine alfresco; away from the bustle of Beaune, you can switch off and relax.  

Le Relais de Saulx (Beaune)

The first incarnation of this restaurant was written up as a Vinous Table. The chef parted ways, though I’d heard good things about it when visiting Beaune last year, so I checked it out on my final night. The rumors are true. This is a great little restaurant with just seven tables, bijou like La Lune, run by a two-person team, chef Charles Danet and front of house, Agnès Peyre. It feels warm and homely inside, the dishes perhaps less adventurous than during its previous incarnation, yet my scallops with pea purée were executed to perfection. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and of excellent quality. The wine list is not extensive and leans towards low intervention/natural wines with some decent choices from L’Horées and Benoît Moreau. The value is pretty good, given the quality.  

Perfectly cooked scallops at Le Relais de Saulx.

L’Expression (Beaune)

L’Expression is a regular haunt of both me and Antonio, and we enjoyed a fine dinner here last November. It was born out of two chefs who left Bistro de l’Hôtel, and the menu specializes in shared dishes such as poulade, sweetbreads, and côte de boeuf. Actually, the last dish that I ate there, sea bass, if I remember correctly, was one of the best I’ve eaten. Prices are quite punchy: sharing plates around €110. That said, I really like the restaurant's modern décor, its lively ambiance, enhanced by the open kitchen, and the service is always excellent. It is a very good rather than great wine list, but fairly deep. Tip? I usually go for a Bouzeron from A. & P. de Villaine. It’s also one of the few places that is open on Sundays.  

L’Agastache (Volnay)

I must confess that I’ve only lunched here on a couple of occasions, but I do remember an absolutely delicious pumpkin soup and departing, wondering why on earth I don’t frequent here more often. Probably because it is in Volnay rather than Beaune. I’m not the only person to sing its praises, and it is definitely worth visiting, though given its size, it would be wise to book in advance.  

La Table de Levernois (Levernois)

Chef Philippe Augé runs the swanky Relais & Château, one Michelin-starred restaurant that’s a 10-minute drive outside Beaune. It’s an easy taxi ride if you are staying in Beaune. Most of the times that I’ve been here, I’ve eaten at the bistro, Le Bistrot du Bord de l'Eau because it’s cozy and obviously cheaper, plus you can still request the main wine list that has the occasional bargain. I know a few people who stay here just to get out of Beaune.  

Comme Chez Moi (Meursault)

The running joke about this small bistro, just off the main square in Meursault, is that you never knew when it would be open. Alix de Montille, Etienne's sister, runs it. During my first week in Burgundy last year, I ventured down and found it open. Maybe it did lack a bit of atmosphere? But my word, she rustled up the best plate of fresh tomatoes drizzled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with burrata I’ve ever eaten. It was perfect. I asked where she sourced the tomatoes, and she replied that they are local and organically grown. For people like me who strive to eat healthily, Comme Chez Moi was a Godsend. I would guess this is more a lunchtime than an evening haunt. It was simplicity at its very best.

Fresh tomatoes drizzled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with burrata.

La Rotisserie de Chambertin (Gevrey-Chambertin)

La Rotisserie de Chambertin is the bistro part of an upmarket hotel in the heart of Gevrey-Chambertin. Drop in during the autumn barrel tastings, and you can spot familiar faces of winemakers, merchants or scribes refueling for the afternoon’s visits or having a good chinwag. The menu leans towards the richer side, hearty French fare, but it is consistently well-cooked. Returning three or four times in 2023, I found a couple of excellent lighter, even vegetarian dishes. When I asked if they could rustle up a quick salad not on the menu, they returned with an exemplary bowl of green leaves and fromage. Their gougeres, the litmus test of any Burgundy restaurant, are superb. The wine list is one of the best you will find in the Côte de Nuits; it's not cheap, but there are always a couple of tasty bottles at the lower end. You can usually find a table because it is a relatively large bistro, though it fills up quickly at lunch in October/November.

Caves et Cuisine (Demigny)

Sometimes it’s nice just to get out of Beaune and even away from the famous villages. Head to Demigny and Caves et Cuisine, located next to the church. It was opened in March 2022 by Fabienne Parra, once of Ma Cuisine. It’s hearty, rustic, classic French cuisine that might not be the gustatory apotheosis of the Côte d’Or, but it leaves you feeling warm and tingly. The white truffles on toast are remarkably delicious. The extensive wine list has over 1,000 lines housed in an air-conditioned cellar that adjoins the dining area. I couldn’t find any absolute bargains, but there’s plenty of choice from Côte Chalonnais rubbing shoulders with the odd DRC. What I appreciate is Caves et Cuisine’s atmosphere and the friendly service.

The aforementioned white truffles on toast. Delicious – even though I still prefer ‘em black!

L’Alentour (Beaune)

An arriviste in Beaune, L’Alentour is where La Poppiette used to stand, a stone’s throw from Le Bistro de l’Hôtel. It was a bit disconcerting to find only a couple of tables busy when I dropped in last November, but I found the cooking accomplished and a tad more adventurous than elsewhere. The wine list does lean towards the no sulphur/natural side, although I polished off a delicious and well-priced Pouilly-Fuissé from Domaine Robert Denogent without complaint.

La Goutte d’Or (Meursault)

This is a popular haunt just outside Meursault. Many just drive past looking out for Coche-Dury, but Thomas and Yuki Broyer serve possibly the best homemade pizzas in the Côte d’Or, and they know how to make karaage and sushi, having spent several years in Japan. The wine list is better than you might expect, again leaning towards natural wines and reasonably priced. La Goutte d’Or is a little gem.

Le Benaton (Beaune)

I confess when I went to Le Benaton a couple of years ago, I found the service a little cold and decided not to rush back, especially because this is one of Beaune’s most expensive places to dine. Returning with friends in 2023, I must admit that their award-winning paté de croute was not just an objet d’art, but the best example I have ever eaten. Service could have been a bit smoother. Nevertheless, this was my first time eating here, and I considered returning.

Possibly the best paté en croute that I have ever eaten.

La Superb (Beaune)

To be honest, my initial two or three dinners at La Superb did not make a positive impression. However, the last visit was easily the best, thanks to its technically detailed and finely executed dishes, especially fish. I wondered about the uptick in quality, and a friend in the know advised that the husband-and-wife proprietors are handing the reins to their son. If that’s true, his skill is evident in the cooking. There’s also a good wine list here, not bargain central, but you’ll find something that demands attention. One to watch.  

La Dilettante (Beaune)

This popular haunt is run by “Lou-Lou”, ex-Caves de Madeleine, one of the most recognizable figures in Beaune. Very fine charcuterie here, and the menu has a slight Asian twist. The wines (again) veer towards organic and natural, but there’s always something I find. It’s not a place I frequent as much as others nor a place I would come to if famished, but I always enjoy the lively atmosphere, and the ingredients and food are of good quality. 

Restaurant Le Maufoux (Chablis and Beaune)

There are two Le Maufoux – one in Chablis and the other in Beaune. The menu here is extremely basic, with just a couple of options per course: classic French fare such as snails, oeuf en Meurette and terrines de campagne. Frankly, this would not be on top of my list if ravenous, and I’ve been known to order two mains. However, what they do rustle up is good quality, and they bake some of the best gougères in Beaune. The real attraction is the wine list. You’ll find some blue-chip names at prices that you won’t find unless you have a direct allocation, and the Chablis branch has a treasure trove from around that region. Prices are certainly very reasonable.

La Roma (Beaune)

Sometimes, I need a break from French food, so I head to this pizzeria, La Roma. It’s often full, so it's wise to book if there are more than two persons. I don’t normally go for the pizza for calorific reasons, but they do a delicious cherry tomato Stracciatella that is simple but delicious. The wine list is nothing special but offers some decent Italian alternatives to Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. It's very reasonably priced, too.

Ma Cuisine (Beaune)

Ma Cuisine will always have a place in my heart. It’s where I discovered Burgundy in the late nineties. As I remarked in my intro, in my formative years visiting Beaune, it was the only decent place to eat. Inevitably, the wine list is not as stellar as it was a few years ago; bottles are now just too expensive to stock, and any mature vintages are immediately plucked off the list. Some look down their noses at Ma Cuisine and lament that it has not moved on. That’s why I like it. All I want is a rabbit terrine and coq au vin, and I’m happy. Prices are fairly reasonable, and there’s always something tempting on the list.

La Cuverie (Vosne-Romanée)

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair was fed up. The most illustrious village in Burgundy had nowhere you could drink its wines. That would not do. So, he founded La Cuverie a couple of years ago, located behind his winery, just off the main square. This is not a restaurant per se, though they do serve “light bites”. I always nip in for a revivifying espresso and the restroom (check out the wallpaper). It’s been a Godsend in that respect. The décor is essentially the Côte de Nuits’ chill-out zone, offering a splendid view directly over the vines; plus, there’s an adjoining convenience store that sells mainly natural/organic ingredient foodstuffs. I suppose what really attracts people is the exceptional range of wines with a long list of local growers, including multiple back vintages from Comte du Liger-Belair. You know already that they’re not cheap. It’s a deluxe café, and I highly recommend it.

Le Complexe de Gevrey (Gevrey-Chambertin)

Lunch in a sports center? It’s a joke, right? Actually, no. Locals know that, for some inexplicable reason, the simple, traditional food served in the bistro at Le Complexe is way better than you would expect and represents good value. There’s even quite a juicy roster of wines, probably direct allocations from a number of winemakers you bump into unexpectedly.

Bissoh (Beaune)

When Bissoh first opened in its original location, I quite enjoyed its take on Japanese cuisine. However, I had a couple of ordinary dinners in recent years, and returning twice in 2023, I departed unimpressed. It’s not bad. But Japanese cuisine is all about execution, and if you are seeking that, then pop up the road to La Lune. Bissoh does boast a comprehensive list of grower-champagne, but otherwise, the wine list reflects the premium one must pay for Burgundy these days. If you are unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, you might enjoy this restaurant. It pains me to write this because the owners always seem friendly. However, I always depart feeling frustrated.

Premnord (Premeaux-Pressey)

The construction of Premnord seemed to take years. Located directly on the RN74 in Premeaux-Pressey, the building gradually took shape, and its exterior looks impressive, enticing me to book a table with friends despite hearing mixed reviews. Sadly, it was a disappointment. The interior is smart but soulless, large, to the extent that when there are few diners, it feels too spacious, more like an out-of-hours airport terminal. (Someone told me it can be excessively loud when there are people here.) It’s the opposite of, say, Caves et Cuisine, that brims with atmosphere. The wine list dictates what you must drink, i.e., natural or low-SO2 wines that resulted in a friend choosing the worst bottle of 2023 (see my Review of 2023). Most seriously, it failed to deliver on the plate. My chicken was woefully under-seasoned and just uninspired. I tried to look for the positives: the dessert was satisfactory, it was expensive though not outrageously priced, and the staff was friendly. Otherwise, based on my one experience, this felt a bit like the emperor’s new clothes.

Best baker in Beaune: Boulangerie Marie Boucherot in Place Monge. There’s a reason that a queue forms at Marie Boucherot each day. This is an artisan bakery that bakes the most delicious bread imaginable.

Yours truly reflected taking a photo of that day’s freshly baked bread at the Marie Boucherot bakery.

Best patisserie in Beaune: Patisserie Marie Simon. You’ll find this just opposite Marie Boucherot in Place Monge. Exquisite cakes to eat with a coffee or take away.

The following are restaurants, whether I have only eaten there once or not for a long time. Certainly, I have positive memories of Soul Kitchen, Bar du Square and definitely L’Episode, the latter, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of Meursault. I was a regular at the popular Caves de Madeleine, but, for no reason in particular, I have not booked a table for a while. Très Girard is a place that I avoided after a rather subpar dinner a decade ago; however, I returned to meet friends in November 2023 and was delighted to find a refurbished interior and devoured a delicious mushroom soup. I’ll return next time I’m down. Au Petit-Bonheur, up in the hinterland of the Côte d’Or in the village of Curtil-Vergey, because they always had the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc from DRC on their list for a pittance. Indeed, I saw Aubert de Villaine “chillaxing” there, perhaps escaping from Vosne-Romanée. I have not been for a while, but I have always enjoyed their traditional French cuisine. La Cabotte in Nuits Saint-Georges is a place I’ve frequented several times with positive memories, but I’m overdue a return. Finally, I’ve found Le Soufflot just a bit hit-and-miss recently and did not return in 2023. Certainly, the wine list is worth browsing for hard-to-find cult producers, although some of the dishes on my last visit didn’t quite come off.

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