Since Lyon is known as the food capital of France, any restaurant within its borders has high expectations to live up to. It doesn’t come as a surprise than many establishments boast extravagant menus with a minimum of three courses, including lyonnaise specialties such as French onion soup, quenelles (special dumplings, often served in crayfish sauce), and elaborate meat dishes.
But while any of these dishes sound – and taste – wonderful, finding an affordable place to eat in Lyon can prove a little difficult.
Luckily, during a visit to Lyon last summer, I discovered L’épicerie – Bistrot à Tartines. This place offers great food at bargain prices and specializes in delicious, freshly prepared tartines.
These are essentially thick slices of homemade bread with a variety of hot or cold toppings. Smoked salmon and capers, honey and brie, goat’s cheese and rocket salad, chicken and pesto or Mediterranean (with olive tapenade, sundried tomatoes and chorizo)… the list of toppings is long and will make your mouth water. Additionally, there is also a range of soups and salads on offer.
My friends and I sampled the Mediterranean, goats cheese and anchovy tartines, all of which were rich in flavour and surprisingly filling. The side salads were sprinkled with sesame leaves, which added a nice touch to our meal, and I won’t deny I used my last morsels of bread to wipe up the balsamic and honey mustard dressing, it was that delicious.
L’épicerie is popular with the local crowd, so it can get very busy around lunch and dinner times, but the service remains friendly and helpful at all times. If you enjoy your meal at one of the outside tables, you can people-watch while you eat and observe locals wander around the cobblestone path at a leisurely pace.
After we had polished off our tartines, we decided to finish our delicious lunch with coffee and cake. A glance inside the bistro revealed a large selection of home-made cakes and tartes. It was a close call between lemon meringue and chocolate banana, but we eventually settled for the latter. Not only did our dessert of choice come served with a hand full of jelly beans, it was also a heavenly mixture of thick chocolate fudge cake and fruity banana slices.
All in all, our delightful little lunch of salad, tartine, cake and coffee set us back less than €10 per person, a price which is astonishingly low for the location (Bellecour neighborhood, 2ème arrondissement) and quality of food and service. Another perk was the restaurant’s interior, which has a very unique and kitschy yet rustic feel to it.
I left highly satisfied and would always go back for another slice of cake or another crispy tartine smothered in melting mozzarella and fresh herbs.
L’épicerie – Bistrot à Tartines is located on 2 Rue De La Monnaie, 69002 Lyon. You can follow their Twitter feed here.Tweet