18 Avenue du 23 Janvier
Tel: 33 3 85 51 01 74
Decades ago, food lovers began driving out of their way for the classic Burgundian cooking of Michelin-starred chef Michel Carrette, whose handsome, family-run hotel and restaurant was—and still is—a favorite insider's address. For the last few years, it's been in the capable hands of second-generation chef Jean-Michel Carrette and wife Henriette. Neither the location (on the southern edge of Tournus, facing a supermarket and condo complex) nor the comfortable and affordable yet uninspired guest rooms ($84 to $100) are anything to write home about—but they never were. Aux Terrasses's dining rooms still look like a provincial bourgeois home, with solid wooden furniture, upholstered chairs, flowery curtains, and oil paintings in the style of centuries past, though the Carrettes have added a splash of red lacquer paint here or a snaky Moroccan table lamp there. The food is also resolutely contemporary in presentation, but Burgundian traditions shine through in dishes such as ravioli escargot and wine-braised local pike-perch wrapped in cured ham from the Morvan mountains. Seasonal desserts are remarkably light (macarons bedded on shaved strawberries, wine-poached pears with gingerbread), and there are plenty of fine, affordable wines, some served by the glass. In summer, book a table on the terrace: It has attractive teak furniture and lots of green plants. Prix fixe menus start at $40 ($34 for weekday lunch); expect to pay $70 to $90 per person à la carte.—David Downie
Open Wednesdays through Saturdays noon to 1:30 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Sundays noon to 1:30 pm, and Mondays and Tuesdays 7 to 9:30 pm, February through December (closed January and ten days in June).
3 Place de la Mairie
Tel: 33 3 80 58 51 51
Chef-owners Yves Rebsamen and Eric Cherval trained on the Michelin-starred circuit but abandoned the luxe temples of gastronomy for this surprisingly unpretentious restaurant. The small terrace on the square and the even more attractive dining room (which updates stone walls and heavy timbers with blond wood furniture and contemporary artwork) are always packed with migratory hipsters. It's also become a hangout for Gevrey-Chambertin's winemakers. Eavesdropping is easy, and if you're not shy, you might be able to get some insider information. On the menu, you'll find the kind of international haute cuisine you've seen in San Francisco and Sydney—but dinner (prix fixe only) will set you back only about $50 per person. Look for updated regional classics such as house-made ham in parsley aspic or beef cheeks in a bourguignon sauce and perhaps fresh truffles and panna cotta for dessert. The wine list includes entry-level bottles by young winemakers and dozens of Gevrey's biggest, most expensive vintage reds, many of which are impossible to find elsewhere.—David Downie
Open daily noon to 2 pm and 7:30 to 9:30 pm (except holidays).
5 Rue Michelet
Tel: 33 3 80 50 88 88
Dijon's hippest hotel-restaurant is the fiefdom of neo-fusion master chef William Frachot. Whether you order à la carte (about $115 per person) or select one of the many prix fixes ($55 to $136), you'll be presented with an exquisite orgy of edible exoticism—much of it complicated beyond reason, all of it presented like jewelry. The menu is seasonal, but expect dishes like soft-shell crab tempura in peanut sauce, crispy phyllo filled with chicken curry, Burgundy snails flanked by coriander-flavored yogurt, or roasted heirloom pork wrapped in Spanish Jabugo cured ham. Desserts are vertical and modular, a challenge to eat; don't miss the rum-caramelized banana on condensed strawberry jelly topped with chocolate sauce and paired with a ball of cocoa sorbet. Both the service and the clientele are casually hip yet thoroughly professional. The Asian-Californian feel of the dining room (black-rubber bucket seats with Plexiglass legs pulled up to linoleum-topped tables, back-lit bamboo poles behind glass panes, and black slate or acid-green walls) continues in the hotel's 30 air-conditioned guest rooms. But upstairs, comfort and practicality—big closets and bathrooms with full tubs and heated towel racks—outweigh wacky designer notions ($185 to $386).—David Downie
Open daily noon to 2 pm and 7:30 to 10 pm, mid-January through December. Hotel open year-round.
14 Quai de la République
Tel: 33 3 86 51 68 88
Michelin-starred chef Jean-Luc Barnabet is Burgundy's truffle king. Between October and late December, earthy, sweet Tuber uncinatum (Burgundy truffles) are the exquisite highlight of Barnabet's haute French menu. The restaurant occupies a landmark town house with conservative yet chic dining rooms (white walls, antique buffets, upholstered armchairs, linen-draped service tables) and a garden terrace in the most appealing part of historic Auxerre. Fricasseed snails, roasted veal sweetbreads, and slow-simmered heirloom pork are also available seasonally, but if you're here for the truffles, sign up for a "discovery day" that starts with a truffle hunt in the woods (complete with hounds) and winds up back at the restaurant with truffle-and-wine tastings and a lunch of truffled scallops, poultry, and cheese ($140 to $180, truffle hunt and lunch; $42, truffle hunt only; prix fixe menus start at about $30; à la carte around $140 per person).—David Downie
Open Wednesdays through Saturdays 12:30 to 2 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Sundays 12:30 to 2 pm, and Tuesdays 7 to 9:30 pm, mid-January through late December. Truffle discovery trips, October through late December.
78 Avenue du 4 Septembre
Sennecey le Grand
Tel: 33 3 85 44 86 34
Formerly a funky auberge, this unlikely address—located on a charmless highway 11 miles south of Chalon-sur-Saône—has been transformed into a destination for gastronauts from distant Dijon, Beaune, and Lyon. The dining room, done up in a smart brown and beige color scheme and starched white tablecloths, is usually filled with young, beautiful diners, but the real attraction here is in the kitchen. Chef Cédric Burtin, who did time with marquee practitioners around the country and won a Michelin star in 2008 (while still in his twenties), cooks in a highly personal yet classic style, using ingredients sourced from near and far. The vermouth-flavored veal with fennel and bacon has become a fast favorite, but also great are the house-made duck foie gras and monkfish slow-cooked in butter, seasoned and dressed with spicy chorizo sausage and paired with saffron-scented potato. The reasonably priced prix fixe menus are $40 to $80; on the wine list, look for organic Montagny Premier Cru Les Burnins, Les Coeres, and Le Vieux Château bottles from rising star winemaker Stéphane Aladame. Reserve a week in advance.—David Downie
Open Thursdays through Saturdays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Sundays noon to 2 pm, and Mondays 7 to 9:30 pm.
Place de l'Église
Tel: 33 3 85 32 58 80
Don't be fooled by this auberge's studiously rustic vibe (old ceiling timbers, caned chairs, red tablecloths on wooden tables), location on the main square of an unremarkable town, or reasonable prices (prix fixes, $30 to $60; about $45 per person à la carte). Chef Daniel Rogié is a consummate pro who ran the kitchens of Le Rempart in nearby Tournus when it had a Michelin star. The market-based menu includes everything from snails and local ham to Atlantic fish, precisely cooked in regional style and plated in an artful but blessedly unfussy manner. Local regulars and migratory epicures hang out in the restaurant's clubby bar area, making it a good place to pick up tips on regional wines and the best seasonal dishes.—David Downie
Open Mondays and Thursdays through Saturdays noon to 1:45 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Sundays and Tuesdays noon to 1:45 pm. Closed Christmas through New Year's, other holidays, several weeks in January, and one week in June.
18 Rue des Moulins
Tel: 33 3 86 42 47 30
Water cascades beneath the dining room at this Chablis hot spot housed in a converted medieval mill over the Serein River. Winemaker Michel Laroche and his wife Gwénaël spared no expense designing the stainless steel bar, blond wood tables, stone floors, and banquettes. Chef Philippe Legrand (who trained with cult chef David Zuddas in Dijon) crafts a menu of creative cuisine to match: perhaps a mini-appetizer of smoked trout with caramelized cabbage, or entrées such as smoked carp sushi with piquant carrot and horseradish cream, or a suckling pig in a Granny Smith crust. At lunch (under $40 for a prix fixe), you'll eat with local wine experts and business people; dinner is more romantic. Upstairs in the seven guest rooms, contemporary decor—candy-striped cotton curtains, white linen bedcovers—provides a fresh counterpoint to the stone walls and heavy timbers ($150 to $366 per night); views from the rooftop terrace, which is open to overnight guests only, reach to Laroche's vineyards. The entire range of Laroche wines from Chablis, southern France, Chili, and South Africa are available for both diners and hotel guests—the best is a Chablis Grand Cru Réserve de L'Obédience.—David Downie
Restaurant open Thursdays through Saturdays noon to 1:45 pm and 7 to 8:45 pm, Mondays through Wednesdays 7 pm to 8:45 pm, mid-March through mid-December. Hotel open mid-February through mid-December.
25 Rue du Faubourg-Bretonnière
Tel: 33 3 80 22 00 26
On the outskirts of Beaune, next to the Fallot mustard factory, chef Bruno Monnoir incorporates ingredients both indigenous (truffles, snails, squab) and imported (salted codfish, giant prawns) into nouvelle dishes that are sumptuous, gorgeous, and often not for the faint of heart. Witness the strangely wonderful poached snails: a puff pastry "shell" filled with snails, smoked eel, and calf's trotters, presented with either a nest of caramelized onion "spaghetti" or a spoonful of frothy salt cod and tomato fondue. Lacquered pork ribs and baby vegetables with béarnaise may sound somewhat ordinary, but here, the béarnaise is solidified and diced (yet still soft and creamy). The showy cuisine and equally creative decor (yellow ostrich-skin upholstery and hemp floor coverings that soften the centuries-old stone-walled dining room) attract a see-and-be-seen mix of Beaune regulars and upscale travelers. Prix fixe menus start at about $30, and à la carte will set you back about $100 per person. The wine list includes bottles from some of France's most prized estates, many with high three-digit price tags.—David Downie
Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays noon to 1:30 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Thursdays and Sundays noon to 1:30 pm, April through November; Fridays through Tuesdays noon to 1:30 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, December through March.
8 Rue Monge
Tel: 33 3 80 22 23 24
Beaune's first wine bar, Le Bistrot Bourguignon opened for business in 1985 and remains remarkably unchanged—a friendly hangout with a shaded terrace located in the pedestrianized area between Place Monge and the Hospices. Around 20 wines are available daily by the glass, and the classic menu includes comfort foods such as charcuterie, cheeses, snails baked in garlicky butter, boeuf bourguignon, and crème brûlée. Owner Jean-Jacques Hegner founded the Beaune Jazz Festival, so expect good background music—or go on a Saturday night for live jazz in the back room. If you like your wine bars more contemporary, check out Via Mokis nearby.—David Downie
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:30 am to 3 pm and from 6:30 pm onward (depending on the season and demand). Closed Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the off-season.
10 Rue Bannelier
Tel: 33 3 80 49 94 15
A bouncy atmosphere, affable service, and quality food (overseen by Michelin-starred chef and owner Jean-Pierre Billoux) make this bistro fronting Dijon's covered market a perennial local favorite. Chef François Temmermann helms the kitchen: Some dishes, such as pork pâté en croûte and caramelized pork shanks, are as classic as the dining room's bentwood chairs, red banquettes, and brass wall sconces, while seasonal produce shines in dishes such as beet and chèvre salad, blanquette de veau, and slow-roasted lamb. Ordering à la carte will set you back only about $50, and a weekday prix-fixe lunch can be had for under $25—making it a much more affordable, albeit more casual, option than Billoux's high-end Le Pré aux Clercs near the Ducal Palace.—David Downie
Open Mondays through Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 10 pm, Thursdays 7 to 10 pm.
4 Impasse des Chevenottes
Tel: 33 3 80 21 94 94
Imagine the cushy dining room of a well-off French family—Mozart on the sound system, the hum of hushed, reverent voices—add contemporary art to the walls, throw in wildly creative food that makes diners exclaim with delight, and you have an evening at Le Chassagne. Irrepressible chef Stéphane Léger is shamelessly ambitious in the kitchen. The menu follows the seasons and Léger's whims—some possibilities include giant prawns in a galanga-root vinaigrette, a savory foie gras crème brûlée with a scoop of green-apple-and-tarragon sorbet, or lobster meat mounted on veal short ribs with a side of squid-ink spaghetti. The surrealist desserts might include hazelnut praline biscuit with a "minestrone" of exotic fruit and roasted pineapple ice cream. There's also a surprise tasting menu: The chef will not describe its ever-changing dishes in advance, but you can expect wildly creative pairings of ingredients from around the globe. Plan to spend over $100 per person ordering à la carte, and much, much more if you select one of the rare bottles off the lengthy wine list. By the end of the night, you might feel like fending off an obsequious staffer as he swoops on your fallen napkin, but the neo-fusion food is exceptional, and you're unlikely to forget a meal here.—David Downie
Open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays noon to 1:45 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, Sundays and Wednesdays noon to 1:45 pm, mid-January through July and mid-August through mid-December.
25 Rue Paradis
Tel: 33 3 80 24 91 00
This small but stylish restaurant near Beaune's wine museum combines tradition and creativity without unnecessary complications. Chef Vanessa Laudat prepares everything from scratch, and while her menu follows the market, perennial favorites include rabbit terrine in tarragon mustard sauce, slow-simmered cumin-spiced pork jowl, and Charolais steak with a luscious Époisses sauce. If you still have room, try the wildly rich Toblerone chocolate mousse. Among the 100 wines on the list, you'll find good value for Maison Alex Gambal bottles and stellar vintages from Bouchard Père et Fils, plus rising star Alain Gras, and liqueurs from Joseph Cartron in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The 16 tables (10 inside, 6 on the terrace) are often filled with devoted regulars, while others wait their turn—a good reason to book two or three days in advance.—David Downie
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 11 pm; closed for two weeks in March, August, and December.
Tel: 33 3 86 32 31 31
In tiny Pierre-Perthuis, a town four miles south of Vézelay that's famed for a stone arch carved by the Cure River, chef Philippe Bariteau and his wife Marianne transformed an old roadside property into this hip restaurant with a handful of tasteful guest rooms ($80 per night). Bariteau trained with marquee chefs, but his refinements and aestheticism don't get in the way of authentic regional flavors. The seasonal menus ($40 prix fixe; about $70 à la carte) might include house-made pork paté with wild mushrooms, creamy crayfish tails and baby heirloom vegetables, or slow-roasted filet mignon of pork. And save room: Bariteau's signature strawberry millefeuille is unmissable. The reasonably priced wine list includes a number of labels from top local winemakers. Fine white china, quality silverware, starched linens, and candles add a touch of romance to the big, sunny, dining room, which is housed in a former stable. When the weather's cool, a fire roars in the lounge; in summer, reserve a table on the front terrace. If you stay the night in one of the Spartan but squeaky-clean rooms upstairs, ask for one that has a peekaboo view of Vézelay.—David Downie
Hotel open daily from late February through early December. Restaurant open noon to 2 pm and 7 to 9 pm, daily in summer, in late February, and at Eastertide, Thursdays through Mondays the rest of the year.
31 Rue Malfoux
Tel: 33 3 80 22 12 06
Located on the ground floor of Beaune's Hôtel du Cep, Loiseau des Vignes is an homage to the late chef Bernard Loiseau run by his widow, Dominique. (Loiseau is perhaps best remembered for taking his own life in 2003 after hearing rumors—false ones—that his La Côte d'Or restaurant in Saulieu was about to lose its third Michelin star.) Walls of glistening lacquer and stuccoed stone, thick wooden timbers, modern tableware, and a gold-and-red color scheme lend it the look of a neo-bistro housed in a château—while the studiously casual atmosphere and polished, sometimes obsequious service are in keeping with Loiseau's restaurants in Saulieu and Paris. Many of chef Gilles Bérard's dishes, such as pâté en croute façon Alexandre Dumaine (a pâté of veal, pork, and foie gras in a pastry crust) and pike-perch dumplings, skillfully evoke Loiseau's classic cuisine. Others are excellent originals—sautéed sea bass fillet with a frothy shellfish emulsion and thick veal steak with sage, for example. You'll rarely find a better selection of cheeses, and you won't regret saving room for desserts such as a Grand Marnier soufflé. The seasonal lunch prix fixes (starting at $30) are an excellent value, and there are about 70 wines by the glass priced from $3 to $50.—David Downie
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 1:30 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm.
Passage Sainte Hélène
Tel: 33 3 80 22 30 22
Local gourmets and winemakers favor this cozily cluttered restaurant for its rustic fare, casual atmosphere, and remarkable wine list (around 650 bottlings, most from Burgundy). Chef Fabienne Escoffier, née Parra, grew up watching chefs work at luxury hotel-restaurant Ermitage de Corton, near Beaune. That early training shows in her confident transformations of seasonal ingredients into authentic, delicious dishes as unfussy as the dining room's wooden tables and chairs. The â la carte (around $40 per person) and prix fixe menus ($20 to $30 for lunch) change often, but expect to eat succulent pork pâté, classic coq au vin, squab roasted in its own juices, beef stew, local goat's-milk cheeses, and fresh-fruit tarts. Wines by the glass are only $5 to $10, depending on the day's offerings, but you will also find some of the rarest and most expensive bottles in Burgundy. Reserve at least several days in advance, as this is one of the hottest tables in Beaune.—David Downie
Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 11 pm.
10 Place Wilson
33 3 80 67 74 64
At this 12-table restaurant with faintly Asian decor in central Dijon, star chef Stéphane Derbord takes seasonal Burgundian ingredients and transforms them into works of culinary art. Calf's trotter wrapped in phyllo dough is an ethereal preparation; escargots à la nage is scented with cardamom. In season, you'll find pheasant torte with Burgundy truffles, or venison baked into a succulent shepherd's pie. Derbord is equally famous for his wine cellar, containing about 800 different bottlings that range from inexpensive organic Côtes d'Auxerre to $5,000 giants from Domaine de la Romanée Conti. A primarily business clientele settles into the upholstered armchairs during weekday lunch hours; join them and you can sample Derbord's $34 prix fixe. At dinnertime, these patrons are replaced by romantic couples willing to splurge upward of $80 per person for a prix fixe or $115 à la carte.—David Downie
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 1:45 pm and 7:30 to 9:15 pm; closed one week in February and two weeks in early August.
1 Rue Eugène Spüller
Tel: 33 3 80 26 80 80
At the other end of the spectrum from Le Bistrot Bourguignon, trendy Via Mokis wouldn't be out of place in New York or London. It's first and foremost a wine bar, but the establishment also includes a restaurant, spa, and boutique hotel. Beyond the see-and-be-seen value, it's worth seeking out for the 300 wines, 50 of which are available by the glass. But unless you enjoy bizarre foods (such as pasta alla carbonara au siphon, which is blended and run through a seltzer bottle to create gooey pasta squiggles), plan to eat elsewhere.—David Downie
Open Wednesdays through Sundays 12:15 to 2 pm and 7:30 to 9:30 pm.