A quick report on the restaurants we tried in Bordeaux this year (part of a bigger trip to Spain & Portugal)
20 Place Gambetta, 33720 Podensac, France
Stopped in for dinner and we were very happy we did! Easy location to find in Graves, not too far from Sauternes. Nice facility, some outdoor and plenty of indoor seating. Menu has lots of wonderful options, both ala carte and with several prix fixe menus to choose from. Wine list is adequate with both local and other wines. Snail starter in "meat" sauce is very good. The hamburger was extremely well received. The veal (tenderloin?) with mushroom sauce was also very nice. The french fries were amazing and the puff pastry with vegetables side dish was a delight. The duck confit (very good) came with mashed potatoes mixed with diced confit. What a great idea! Can't decide what dessert to try? Get the Cafe Gourmand which includes a sampler of all of them. Service was attentive and friendly and the prices are fair. Really happy to have eaten here!
105 cours du General de Gaulle, 33640 Arbanats, France
Good food but nothing memorable. Fries were very crispy, some thought they were the best of the trip. I enjoyed the gazpacho. Basic salad was just that, basic. We had beef in bordelaise sauce and roast duck. Again, nothing bad, but not special either. Wine list was interesting. Lots of local things you've never heard of. Decent prices. A few of them had some age on them (which I look for in a land where most wines are NOT meant to be drunk young). Settled on a 2003 (at a very good price) and it was quite lovely. Staff was helpful, attentive and friendly.
Les Delices du Roy
1 rue de la Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Emilion, France
On the south side of Saint-Emilion, a short walk up from the parking lots on that end of town. Owner is quick to tell you that they only use fresh ingredients --- nothing frozen, no microwaves, etc etc. Only the best stuff purchased that day. No fish on the day we came in because there was no fresh fish to be had that morning. There are several salad options that are large and wonderful. Lots of different main options too, along with the appetizers. I really liked the variety on the menu. Special here is the duck "hamburger" which is really just a sandwich as it is sliced duck (not ground). Extremely tasty! English spoken, good, friendly service; good location.
Passage du Desquet | Village de Bages, 33250 Pauillac, France
An oasis in a sea of vines? Loved the food. Service wasn't as attentive as it should have been. Daily salad special (Green bean) was tasty. As was the charcuterie plate starter. I enjoyed the veal hanger steak as well. Wife ordered the daily special main: Roast Veal. Except she got roast pork. It was good, very good. But... no mention of the switcheroo. But we heard them explain to the next table what was going on. We have nothing against pork, but it does seem to us that we should have been told. Certainly some people would not appreciate the change. Also, the restaurant opened at 12 and we were the first people in the door. The daily specials were hand written on a chalk board. There is no excuse for it to be wrong, right? Additionally, service just seemed to be a bit inattentive. However, everybody was very friendly! Overall a good place to stop between winery visits.
2 Place de la Comedie, 33000, Bordeaux, France
Location is terrific, right on the square across from the Opera building in downtown Bordeaux. Lots of outdoor and indoor seating. Right next to a delightful chocolate shop too, but that is another story. Nice selection of local wines, large selection, in fact. Staff is fairly helpful, though one of our meat entree's came out medium instead of the requested medium rare. To me, the duck confit and foie gras in lettuce leaf appetizer was the hit of the night. The Chateaubriand was fine. My wife enjoyed her "Chef's special" chicken very much. Was recommended by our lodging, but didn't really sing for me. Good but not great.
Cafe de l'esperance
10 rue de l Esplanade | Bouliac, 33270 Bouliac, France
Stopped in for lunch between wineries. Small, comfortable little cafe/restaurant with a few outdoor seats. Helpful, smiling staff. One "menu of the day" and an ala cart menu. Decent selection of wine. My veal was fine, perhaps overcooked, but tasted nice. Ratatouille was good as well. French fries were really "chips" in the English sense, but with skins on and done well. Pork was outstanding. Salads were fine, but only lettuce, nothing else. Decent Jamon platter. Should have tried the menu of the day as it sounded nice. But just didn't need that much food.