A foodie’s guide to Bordeaux

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Nicky deBouille

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

When Siri, from our very own team, visited Bordeaux, she discovered there is no substitute for a local’s tip. Here she shares the local knowledge that helped her explore Bordeaux’s historic bakeries, bustling markets, and hidden cocktail bars.

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Starting the day the same way locals have for centuries, passing through the doors of Au Pétrin Moissagais in the Chartrons district of the city. Here, the bread and pastries are made in the same wood oven that was built in 1765. Different types of loaves and sweet treats line the sides of this dark cave-like bakery, marvel at the choice, take your pick and leave along with the scented trail of bread and coffee up to the river to sit, watch and eat.


I tend to plan my holiday in two halves, planning a few places I want to try and leaving the rest of the time to discover the otherwise-overlooked street-side wine bars and hidden coffee shops. Today’s lunch fell somewhere in the middle, after a local told us to head to Le Marche des Capucins and take our pick of the numerous corner-counter food stools. We settled on  Le Guet A Pan, where the deep red tiles and bar stools enticed us. Perching among the friendly Bordelais, we asked the bartender for a mixture of their favourite dishes and an Aperol Spritz to accompany them. We were soon served a medley of squid and peppers, a whole baked camembert with fries, a pork-filled filo pastry tart and of course, a bowl of bread. The food was packed with flavour and history and left us full until our exciting dinner later that evening.


Swanning back from lunch, feeling happier and heavier than the hours prior, we stumbled across LOLA Boutique Hotel, just 100 metres from Saint-Michel Basilica. The outside tables, sitting under the Basilica were too inviting to pass. We ordered a schooner of pale ale and  another 30 minutes later before hopping on an electric scooter up the river to our hotel in Chartrons.


Dinner definitely came under the ‘planned’ element of our trip, my foodie-obsessed boyfriend had read about this Michelin starred spot, popular with locals and visitors and was eager to try. Arcada was inconspicuous but elegant, with its tall curved stone ceilings and wine cellar for you to explore. The service was impeccable and the food matched. We had a 4.5 course meal, with the perfect balance of theatre, charm and modesty. I like to think we chose the perfect bottle of sancerre, but like most of our trip, that was recommended by the expert in front of us. 


Post dinner cocktails are non-negotiable on holiday, so we took a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets and found La Comtesse, a cocktail bar overflowing with outside smokers but almost desolate inside. The dark, sultry interiors were inviting, so we browsed the book-style menu and ordered, by no shock, the bartender’s choice. Add the evening grew closer, people trickled inside, and after a few drinks, decided it was time to tram back to the north and call it a day.


Places to stay in Bordeaux

Le Domaine de Raba

Talence, Gironde

  • From €196 p/n
  • Hotel
  • 9 rooms for 2

Bordeaux Apartments

Bordeaux, Gironde

  • From €120 p/n
  • Self-catering
  • 1 room for 2

Domaine de l'Espelette

Haux, Gironde

  • €200 p/n
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • 2 rooms for 2

Nicky deBouille

Sawday's Expert

Nicky has gone from roots in the mountains of New Zealand to her home in an 18th century merchant's house on the banks of the Loire. Armed with an eccentric soundtrack from Bach to Radiohead via Beirut and Herbie Hancock, she goes on the road for weeks at a time, in search of new special places. What matters most to her is connecting with the owner, because it's the person that creates the place. She loves that she can give them an alternative to, and they love the fact that she's "gone native".
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