The Best Restaurants In Lyon

Bouchons, boulangeries, and fine-dining—these are the top 24 spots in France’s queen of cuisine.
The Best Restaurants In Lyon image

photo credit: Nicolas Villion

With more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in France, Lyon is a culinary capital within a culinary capital. The third largest city by population after Paris and Marseille—and geographically situated between the two—it’s a top destination for the restaurant-obsessed. It’s a key stopping point for travelers along the Michelin trail, and it’s home to the first chef ever to receive six stars.

Specific to Lyon, a visit to a bouchon is an essential experience, even if they can be a little touristy. Rather than coq au vin or escargot, you’ll find offal and fatty roasts on the menu. The city’s food scene is no longer dominated solely by beef tripe and pâté en croûte, and old-world establishments rub shoulders with trendy food courts, vegan pâtisseries, and spots with diverse international cuisines. 

Many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays. On other days of the week, they shut down between lunch and dinner, which typically starts around 7:30pm. Lyon is gorgeous, but don’t fuss too much over a long list of sightseeing—eating well is the best way to really experience this city.


photo credit: Romain Chambodut


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The exception to Lyon’s touristy bouchons is Le Vivarais, where all ingredients come from within a 40-mile radius, like cheese from Isère or frogs from the wetlands of the Dombes. It’s a good spot for a casual weekday lunch, with the three-course menu du marché that includes an appetizer, main, and dessert. Particularly delicious is their pâté en croûte, which contains nine types of meat and has won awards in the Pâté-Croûte World Championships—yep, that’s a thing.

On a clear day, Mont Blanc is visible from Lyon, and Les Marmottes is a delicious little slice of the Alps in the city. It looks just like a chalet, and extras like wild garlic melted into the fondue or the tartiflette with boletus mushrooms that elevate the place above your average ski station joint. 

A big part of the appeal at Les Marmottes is the all-you-can-eat raclette, served with an equally copious side salad. Let it be a welcome addition to a mostly beige feast—if nothing else, it helps break up the monochrome of your molten cheese-filled cauldron and the blindingly warm wood-paneled dining room.

Corsican food is a combination of both French and Italian cuisines. The dishes tend to be pretty rich and include brocciu, a creamy, fatty sheep or goat’s cheese that's used often in both sweet and savory dishes. On a recent visit to A Cantina Corse, we had it in the cannelloni gratin that had vampire-slaying levels of garlic. The menu here is comfort food at its finest, like the silky tiramisu that sent us rolling out the door in delight.

The frequent blackouts at Brasserie Georges aren’t power outages—it’s the staff arriving with yet another sparkler-studded, meringue-covered cake for whatever table is celebrating a birthday that night. It’s a true Lyonnais institution that hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1836, and feels a little like a train station arrival hall with Art Deco chandeliers, ornate crown molding, and long rows of crimson banquettes.

It’s pricey, the menu is a bit long, and while the food is good and is served in big portions, it won't blow your mind. Come for the vibes instead, and either make a reservation in advance or be prepared for a wait, no matter the day of the week.


This trendy 12-stall food hall is set inside one of Lyon’s traboules, which are labyrinthine covered passageways connecting the old parts of the city. The line to get in winds down the street on evenings and weekends, but it’s worth the wait for the grilled octopus on mashed split peas from the mediterranean stand, ravioles du dauphiné from the bouchon stand, or the pizza with artichoke tapenade, mint and coriander chutney, and dried duck breast from Ludo’s

Once you’re in, head directly to the stalls to place your food order, then grab a seat at a table in any of the dining areas. Hit a water station for still and sparkling, or wait for a server to come by your table if you want something other than water. Come during weekday lunch hours from 11:45am to 2:30pm for better odds of dodging the crowds.

French cuisine is pretty faithfully lard-spiked and vegetarian-unfriendly, so Les Mauvaises Herbes was served a little side-eye when it opened in 2018. But it won over both plant-based folks and open-minded carnivores with fancy dishes that are more affordable than most fine-dining places around town.

The airy, split-level space feels rustic with a little corner of couches upstairs, and plants spill from the railing over the downstairs area. We love dishes like zucchini and pomelo ceviche, romaine leaf tacos with candied lemon tabouleh, and papas arrugadas, or wrinkly potatoes, in a herby green sauce.

Most visitors to Lyon stick to the Presqu'île, or city center, but it’s worth venturing out to this food court where many popular restaurants got their start as pop-ups. New stalls with cuisines from all over the world regularly set up shop, so take your time to suss out the options, hear the sales spiel, and figure out if you want large portions of Korean fried chicken and merguez couscous, or just a few gyoza and profiteroles.

After your meal, hit the bar for a round or two of the draft beer that’s very good despite being expensive by Lyonnais standards. Be sure to time your trip with the events like 90s karaoke, kid-friendly brunches, DJ sets, and more.

This Brazilian spot reliably draws South American expats and longtime locals with its crisp cassava fries, chewy pão de queijo, all-you-can-eat churrasco, and the richest, thickest feijoada imaginable. Caipirinhas are obligatory—get a little spicy with the ginger version, or sweeten it up with passion fruit.

Rattan furnishings, indigenous folk art, colorful wood paneling, and mosaic floor tiles give it a warm and authentic vibe, and the samba dancers who parade through while you’re having dinner give you a little taste of Rio de Janeiro during carnival.

Forget the equinox—summer in Lyon doesn’t really begin until this rooftop terrace opens. From May to September, folks eagerly line up in front of the opera at 6pm, but the show they’re here to see is the sun setting over Fourvière Basilica and the Hôtel de Ville. 

Les Muses de l’Opéra easily has the best views in the city, so we don’t mind the cost of an apérol spritz at €9.50 a pop (that’s spendy, by Lyon standards). The food won’t win any awards, but it's fresh and the charcuterie, truffle sausage, and eggplant caviar are tasty enough.


It’s difficult to say what’s prettier: the presentation of the dishes or the panoramic views at this modern spot on Fourvière Hill. It’s the unshowy kind of fine dining where you’re equally welcome in jeans and sneakers as a pants suit.

Set lunch and dinner menus have courses like pike quenelles in green crab and ginger bisque, candied duckling leg, or risotto with Pastis-flambéed prawns. Best of all is their liberal approach to sauce—after your cod ballotine gets doused, it’s left on the table so those who wish to fish for their own lunch in molten butter are welcome to do so. The café gourmand is a showstopper.

Picasso said every act of creation starts as one of destruction, so don’t feel too bad about wrecking the artful plates from Takao Takano’s ever-changing menu. Picasso also said every child is an artist, and our niece can't draw for sh*t. Anyways. Courses of rich crawfish bisque over swiss chard, seared tuna topped with samphire and edible flowers, and lavender-infused clementines with chestnut mascarpone are as beautiful as they are delicious. It’s tiny, so book well in advance.

La Mère Brazier’s reputation precedes it. Opened in 1921 by the first chef to ever be awarded six Michelin stars, today it holds two and is still the pinnacle of Lyon’s dining scene. Each dish on the multi-course menus reflects the city’s culinary history: neatly whipped cervelle de canut, an herbed cheese spread, as an amuse bouche, followed by artichokes with foie gras as an entrée, and a main of tender, marbled chicken (from a breed that’s protected by government regulations), drenched in a nutty, dry yellow wine.

L’Établi’s set menus of three, six, or seven courses hit the spot without leaving you stuffed. Most impressive is the sheer variety of textures—confit egg yolk, melty squid ink risotto, and sugary poached asparagus for dessert (it works!). They’re all great, but you’ll still be dreaming about the humble bread you were served with it all: a crusty cob smeared in black sesame butter with a flavor that isn't humble at all. Look under your coffee cup to find a hidden dessert.

Make a reservation for lunch or dinner at Regain, where set menus feature delicious courses like lamb tartare, barbecued squid, and rose-infused meringue, all served on antique floral china. It gives the place a cutesy levity and takes the edge off an otherwise too-serious midcentury modern vibe. Service is exceptional and everyone who works here is delightful.


Make a reservation for Bieristan’s three-course lunch menu that changes weekly, or just show up anytime in the evening when it really turns into a vibe. Hear live music, or even a human beat box, while you chill out back on the patio and hang with the friendly crowd. 

There’s a massive selection of draft beer from local breweries that changes almost daily, but all they serve in the evening is flammekueche, a flatbread from France's Alsace region that’s similar to a thin, crispy pizza. The one topped Morbier cheese,  a soft, sweet, and slightly elastic cow’s variety, has a divinely equal ratio of dairy to dough.

France doesn’t have brunch culture—lunch and dinner are the bigger meals, while breakfast is typically a small affair, where a buttered tartine is all people can stomach in the morning. Le Desjeuneur is one of the few places in Lyon that serves breakfast and brunch favorites like truffle croque monsieur, banana pancakes, and avocado brioche toast. They don’t take reservations, so there’s usually a line out the door each day.

This 100% vegan cornerside spot manages to serve up the butteriest-tasting pain au chocolat in the city, and the vanilla flan would fool any purist capable of sussing out a single drop of sweetened condensed milk. There’s a couch and a handful of tables in the bright interior, but the spacious outdoor patio is where you want to be—there are two levels with bistro tables, where a pedestrian path running along the side of the building makes for great for people-watching.

In a city of baguette-peddling boulangeries, the focaccia selection at Les Frères Barioz is a welcome change of pace. Get one topped with pesto and mozzarella, tomatoes and herbs, or simply plain. The usual baked-good favorites like mille-feuille, choux pastries, and croissants are good, and the latter has won several awards. Less appealing is the setting—there are just two tiny outdoor tables wedged along the sidewalk of a non-descript sidestreet, so plan on getting your order to go.

Just steps from Bellecour, Lyon’s main square and tourist hotbed, isn’t where you’d expect to find the contentious titleholder of the city’s best pizza joint. But after evaluating the dough, toppings, and vibes far and wide, we’ve crowned Casa Nobile the champ. Gingham tablecloths? Yep. Chili and garlic oil available? Check. Tangy tomato bases? Oh, yes. Dinner service goes until 10:15 pm, which is late by Lyonnais standards.

Head to this spot just steps from Place des Terreaux before going out in Lyon. There’s an empanada for everyone in your squad: chicken, ham and cheese, spicy beef, caprese, vegetarian—or just order a bunch for the table, with lots of the well-seasoned chimichurri to go around. Pregame with cheap Argentinian lager, or end on a sweet note with a glass of torrontés and an alfajor.


Lyon is a city of wine drinkers at heart, but many trendy restaurants that serve small plates have started offering beer. While that’s all fine and well, the €10 price tag you’ll see at most places is double or more than a glass of vin. But Le Bouillon Paradis has stayed resolutely cheap and cheerful, with draft beers at rock bottom prices, and vibes by the ladle with regular live music nights. Generous sharing platters spill over the edges of their wooden boards—in a true break from tradition, the best one here is vegetarian, with snacks like olive-infused cornbread and homemade guacamole rather than charcuterie.

Parsnip prepared three ways hardly sounds like a journey to the vegetable version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—but pureed, roasted, and baked into a savory cake is the golden ticket at this French-Japanese fusion spot with top-notch service. Even though the plain décor feels a bit like a chain hotel conference room, it's a great option for the value and quality of the set lunch menu. The low ceilings are just high enough to make the place feel intimate instead of claustrophobic.

Come to this spot in the evening for tapas and more than a dozen wines on tap that you’re highly encouraged to mix. The menu’s infographics and tiny, emoji-like illustrations of fruits and aromatics will school you on their origins and tasting notes, and the bartenders are always happy to help you decide before they pour your custom concoction. 

Once you’ve blended your grenache with a mourvèdre, order some lavish cheese boards, patatas bravas, and other often lactose-heavy options to share and gear up for a cheese-induced haze. This place stays consistently lively both indoors and on the front terrace right up until closing time, so go ahead and ride that dreamy dairy train all the way to the last call.  

Lyonnais dine close to where they dwell for the most part, but the lure of this izakaya’s killer donburi and strong sake has them traipsing across town to Villeurbanne. The ramen is so flavorful you’ll have to resist the urge to lick the bowl clean—but tasty matcha desserts like tiramisu with adzuki bean paste or the gourmand will take your mind off the impulse. The ambience is casual and relaxed, but the place is tiny, so arrive early and prepare to rub elbows with the next table.

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