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.
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
Readers will find some, not all, tasting notes of the wines ordered at these
restaurants in the right-hand column.
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.
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.
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.
de l’Hôtel (Beaune)
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
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.
du Colombier (Beaune)
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
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.
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.
La Jeanette (Gevrey-Chambertin)
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
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.
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.
de Saulx (Beaune)
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.
cooked scallops at Le Relais de Saulx.
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.
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)
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.
Chez Moi (Meursault)
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
Fresh tomatoes drizzled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with burrata.
Rotisserie de Chambertin (Gevrey-Chambertin)
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.
et Cuisine (Demigny)
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.
aforementioned white truffles on toast. Delicious – even though I still prefer
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.
Goutte d’Or (Meursault)
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.
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.
the best paté en croute that I have ever eaten.
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.
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.
Le Maufoux (Chablis and Beaune)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Complexe de Gevrey (Gevrey-Chambertin)
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 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.
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.
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.
truly reflected taking a photo of that day’s freshly baked bread at the Marie
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
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