Dijon has a marvelous collection of restaurants within its domain. If you ever long for a splendid table and fine tablecloths then, you must stroll to La place de la Libération, right in front of the Ducal Palace. There you will find one of the finest restaurants in Dijon: “Le Prè aux Clercs,” Jean Pierre Billoux chef. His creations are always classic, with flavorful ingredients and seasonings. I recommend the full degustation menu as the staff offers an exemplary service as well as a full description of each item served. Furthermore, Mr. Gillard, the poised sommelier has an extensive and refined wine list. From experience, all of his recommendations are a perfect match to the visitor’s chosen fare. One of the courses before dessert are the cheeses. These represent a true French experience while the desserts are a marvel accompanied by other morsels and petit fours. In the summer time, you can eat outside while enjoying the blissful setting of La place de la Libération (square). In the winter time, you can enjoy the elegant indoor ambiance of the restaurant. The restaurant also has beautiful entertainment rooms on the second floor for special gatherings. I have never been disappointed with my experiences at the Prè aux Clercs since they have presented and delivered on every occasion an exquisite epicurean experience.
Dijon has other restaurants that make up its varied gastronomy. “Les Oenophilis” is a restaurant who has a romantic and elegant atmosphere. It is located on 18 rue Sainte Anne by the hotel Philippe Le Bon. This serene and inviting location, has a menu consisting of traditional and regional specialties such as “les escargots” and the Charolais steaks. Every course is delivered with precision and grace. They also have a varied and extensive wine list. Another favorite restaurant on my list is: “Pourquoi pas?” located on 13 rue Monge and not very far from the Emile Zola square. This place has an intimate and cozy atmosphere. The daily menu is always presented with creativity and taste which always highlight the experience. However, reservations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance to assure an opportunity to experience its fine cuisine.
A truly unique and historical restaurant is the “Maison Millière” located 10, 12, 14, rue de la chouette, behind Notre Dame Cathedral. The house was built around 1483 by merchant Guillaume Millière and has kept its medieval appearance and façade till this day. Period films such as “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Gerard Depardieu have used its historical decor. Traditional foods like Filet de Boeuf sauce Morilles and Cassolette d’escargots forestière lutée are a few of its delicious specialties. In the summer, you can sit in the garden and during the colder months you will enjoy its charming interior rooms. At Maison Millière you will also observe on the rooftop the famous Owl & Cat effigies placed there in the beginning of the 20th century.
Similarly, the Emily Zola (previously the area was called Place du Morimont) square has a place in history since during the French Revolution heads were guillotined here. Now, it has a much happier atmosphere as it offers an interesting gamut of flavorful restaurants. Located in this square is the restaurant “Le Germinal” which offers the best frog legs in town. The house specialty is the “Grenouille Germinal,” but I also love the “Grenouille Provençal.” A permanent fixture in this square is the restaurant L’Epicerie & Cie offering regional food such as baked Camembert, boeuf bourguignon, fine wine and desserts. If you are craving Asian food then the Sushi King is a good choice and it is located just opposite from L’Epicerie.
Of course, there are other mainstream places in town that are excellent for a nice lunch in the middle of a busy work week. One such places is the “Petit Marché” an organic restaurant just above the bio/health food market La Vie Saine on 27-29 rue Musette. The restaurant is opened Monday through Friday 11:45 – 14:30, and Saturday 12:00 – 14:30. When I eat there, I always feel that I have made a healthy choice. From its many windows, there is a beautiful view of Grangier square, the historical and stately main post office and the bustling street below. The food is simple, healthy and delicious. Often, I like to order the “salade verte des Cévennes avec son filet doré, tomates, fromage de chèvre chaud, pan et noix,” or the “saumon bio avec de crudités.” In addition, the health food market below offers excellent bio and organic products. On the adjacent street, 54 rue des Godrans, there is a little restaurant perfect for a lunch break: Bol & Tasse. They serve an excellent variety of soups, salads, tartes, crepes, smoothies, teas and coffee. The owners, Mimi and Vivie are super friendly and welcoming.
These are just few examples of the range of restaurants available in Dijon. Certainly, there are many others to discover. For example, L’édito restaurant at place Darcy is rather convenient because it is open for business all the time. Yet, there are numerous pleasant and smaller restaurants surrounding the market or on the petites rues around town such as the popular “Le petit roi de la lune” on 28 rue Amiral Roussin as well as a genuine pub and sports’ bar “Flannery’s Irish Pub” in front of St. Benigne’s Cathedral.