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Dijon’s incredible gastronomic scene Dijon is foodie central, seriously it’s all anyone talks about here – or at least that’s what it feels like. People in Dijon LOVE good food so there are plenty or restaurants from Michelin starred Loiseau des Ducs to budget cafés. Restaurants the locals love for lunch Brasserie des Beaux arts: Savvy locals have sussed this one out in it’s superb location inside the courtyard of the Musée des Beaux Arts in the former Ducal palace. Chef Fred Guilland says “Regional, seasonal, weather, local products - these are my guides” as he prepares exquisite dishes for the lunch time crowd. He uses incredible spices in his classic and creative dishes and personally visits the farms where the produce comes from. “Knowing where the food comes from is essential to happy cooking” he says, and yes, this place did make me happy. Very happy. Maison Milliére: In a former house built in 1438 you will find a rather wonderful restaurant and shop. Run by affable husband and wife team Lydia and Jean Francois Lieutet, there’s an upstairs, downstairs and gorgeous little courtyard for a sunny day. Tea room, open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday, dinner Friday, Saturday it is superb. Fans of Cyrano de Bergerac will recognise it from the film. It’s a listed historical monument, authentic and memorable. Restaurants the locals love for dinner L’Essentiel: This is one tourists rarely, if ever discover since it’s not right in the centre but a very short walk away. This is where the locals go, lured by the delicious dishes of chef Richard Bernigaud whose deft hand creates memorable and delectable flavours. The menu is terrific value, the ingredients are top quality, friendly service, and if I lived in Dijon, this would be my go to restaurant.
Sitting at Le Pre aux Clercs Brasserie par Georges Blanc, in the big, light Place de la Liberation with a glass of good local wine induces happiness. Listening to the tinkling fountain, the low hum of people talking and laughing, enjoying al fresco happy hour, knowing that you’ve got a delicious dinner coming up. Brilliant. Dine outside on a fine day, inside with its elegant interior when it’s cooler. This place serves classic dishes with aplomb. I went for the traditional, eggs poached in Pinot Noir, boeuf bourguignon – seriously good, and a really welcoming restaurant too. Brilliant bars If you like your cocktails served with finesse in a memorable location (a 13th century mansion no less), Monsieur Moutarde is THE place to go. Seek out the terrace area (go through the bar), it’s gorgeous and if you go early evening you’ll have it almost to yourself (I went at 17.30). There are little enclaves, a vintage looking interior and a long list of cocktails. Place de la Liberation has some terrific bars and is great for people watching. If you like live music, try Le Pop Art. Place Francois Rude is another great people watching place. Known to locals as Place du Bareuzai, because of the statue of a grape picker atop the fountain in the centre of the square. In years gone by wine growers would tread the grapes by foot which would give them “red stockings” (“bas rosés”/bareuzai). For a lunch time bevvy there are lots of bars around the Les Halles covered market. For sheer wow factor the bar of the Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne takes some beating. It’s In the former 15th century church of Saint Jean which is now a theatre. Dr Wine is popular with locals into wine, a bit bobo (bourgeois- bohemian French for middle class!. It’s very designer with a lovely courtyard in a posh mansion house (5 rue Musette)
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