Le Bénaton, Beaune
Tel: 33 3 80 22 00 26
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.