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Going out to eat in Lyon


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Lyon is considered the gastronomic capital of France: myth or reality?

Before anything else, I have to say that my experience in Lyon was that of an Erasmus student, therefore it depended on grants and I could NOT go to gourmet or tapas restaurants as I would in Seville eeeeeevery weekend because France, when it comes to restaurants, is EXPENSIVE. It is not too bad if you plan it well... but it is not the same as Spain (and can be more expensive than London) and that is something that must be known from the beginning to avoid surprises.

I will tell you here about my gastronomic experience in Lyon, apt for all budgets from "junk" food, and therefore obviously much cheaper, to typical dishes of the region and typical Lyonnaise restaurants (called Bouchon) and some other restaurants that I have been to and that I have liked enough to recommend.

I will exclude chains such as Burger King, Subwat, McDonald's and Domino's Pizza, where we ate many times (but not all the time! ) when we went out or ordered food through Domicilio (yes, friends, Domino's has many offers for those days when you're feeling at your most lazy and there is nothing in the house to eat... ).

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(For those that have not yet dominated the language:

Crazy Tuesdays and Saturdays: Pizzas for €7. 99, including family pizzas).

I also, as well as the usual chains, went to Lyon's own chains, where you can try one of the famous "Tacos de Lyon" which have nothing on Mexican tacos... (on the contrary, they are more like a kebab, but it is worth trying them because they are good and everything... besides, they cost around €7 and there are many types to choose from... ).

The taco bars are spread out across the whole of Lyon, so it's not too difficult to find one. Between Hôtel de Ville and Place des Terreaux there is a single street full (entirely) of this kind of bar.

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Following on from this, I will tell you about an American-themed hamburger restaurant that is in the Part Dieu shopping centre.

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Basically, they serve very tasty hamburgers, a little more elaborate than those from McDonald's or Burger King (the latter of which has hardly any stores in France, in Lyon I believe there are two, which I think is very few in comparison to the size of the city and to the quantity of McDonald's that are around). Prices range from around €7 - €10 but there is a code for students that, if I remember correctly, gives a good discount. And it is very welcoming.

Starting to change the topic a little bit... another one of my favorite places was one that we discovered in Strasbourg, but as it was a franchise we could then find it all over the country.

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The way the place works consists of you choosing the type of bread you want for your bagel, which is like a sandwich made from a kind of salted doughnut, and then you choose the ingredients you want to go inside the bagel. You can also choose bagels that are ready-made. They are very good and the truth is that I miss that style of place now that I'm back in Seville.

For vegetarians or those who are fans of Arabic and/or Oriental food, and leaving behind the idea that "fast food = cheap", here there is a falafel bar.

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It is a place that serves pitas, filled with falafel and other ingredients that you can choose, or you can choose those that are ready-made. Without a doubt, I recommend The Greek, which is the best one.

Continuing with Oriental food, I have a proposition for lovers of sushi like myself. It is a restaurant located near to Gare des Brotteaux, not too far from Part Dieu.

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I recognise that it is expensive during the evening, and it can be overprices, but during the day (until 3pm if I remember correctly, let's not forget that in France they start lunch at 12pm) there is an open buffet for €15 or so. The truth is that it's not at all bad compared to the price of the sushi in Spain, and because you can eat until you're full. The concept is of a typical Japanese restaurant with a conveyor belt that brings small dishes non-stop and you help yourself to a serving of whatever you fancy. There are quite a few alternatives for those who do not like or tolerate the taste of raw fish, such as meat dumplings, vegetable tempura and much more.

Not far from this there was Hindu, which I never got to go to and I regret that greatly because they ran a tempting offer during the day: a free buffet for €9. It was called Indian Prince and it was a few steps from "Place Jean Macé", just in front of Dia supermarket.

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Leaving aside international food, we return to French cuisine, passing by a bar that serves typical food from Alsace, a region near to France's border with Germany.

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As its name would suggest, it's a Flammekueche bar, a typical dish of Alsace that is really nothing more than a kind of pizza made with a very thin dough. They are good but they contain a lot of cream and, for me, they can feel very heavy. But it is interesting to try them because they have a variety of them and they are not badly priced.

The second time I went it was with my mother. I asked for two menus for €10 each or so, which included a starter or a dessert, and unlimited flammekueche, which meant that they brought you the first type of flammekueche that you had ordered from one of the menus, large enough to share, and when it was finished you could order another one from the other person's menu, also large enough to share, and so on and so forth. Unlimited.

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Another of the excellent streets to go to eat is the famous "Rue Mercière":

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A few metres from "Place des Jacobins". It is full of charming and typically French bars where mainly only the French go, as well as a few tourists. Which is why it has to be good.

In one of them, the one called La Cabane, I remember that we ate what they call "Tartines" which are like toasted bread with things on top. I asked for the salmon that was finger-licking good, and the price was around €10 , with the drinks and potatoes to share.

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To finish, we conclude this gastronomic tour with the famous "Bouchon Lyonnais".

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The name has many different translations in English, but it could mean "Lyonnaise cork", "Lyonnaise plug" or "Lyonnaise stopper", and there are several hypotheses about the name. One is that they were very small bars where they always made bottle tops.

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And another is that, after eating copious amounts of food, you end up with a plug in the stomach. And from the images of the dishes I am going to show you below, you just might believe that one...

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Gratin Dauphinois (French dish of sliced potatoes baked in milk or cream)

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Quenelle (a giant meatball made with fish and breadcrumbs)

All this, and some other dishes too, can be found in "Le Laurencin", a typical restaurant in the historic center, in the area of Old Lyon, full of more "bouchones" like this. Which was not bad since you could have a menu for either €15 or €20, and which would include dessert if you were lucky. The portions are really very big.

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And speaking of dessert...

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A pink praline cupcake, super typical of the city.

With this I say goodbye and I hope that this has been helpful or has inspired you to learn more about Lyonnaise cuisine.

A few metres from "Place des Jacobins" which is the market in Lyon, a very big one too, and one that honours the most reputable chef in all of France, whether they're from Lyon or not. It is a place of gourmet food, which I did not go to, but for the lovers of good food and all things chic, below are some photos in case anyone wants to go. And that's everything. Until next time!

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