Until recently, Burgundy's restaurant scene was defined by traditional cooking in classic settings: châteaux dining rooms, centuries-old coach-stop inns, converted wine cellars. The region's specialties—boeuf bourguignon, garlicky snails, crayfish, frog's legs, Charolais steaks, and coq au vin—are still widely available in dining rooms such as L'Auberge des Gourmets, Le Bistrot des Halles, and Ma Cuisine. But now they're only part of the story. A boom in gastronomic adventurousness in Burgundy, spearheaded by young chefs in Dijon, Beaune, and the wine country, has brought to the table French-Asian fusion, Mediterranean-style seafood, and the kind of creative cuisine d'auteur usually reserved for restaurant capitals like Paris and Barcelona. Look to Le Chassagne, Le Bénaton, and Chez Guy & Family for excellent examples. Burgundy is, of course, famous for its wines—made almost exclusively from pinot noir (red) or chardonnay (white) grapes—so many of the region's restaurants, including Loiseau des Vignes, Ma Cuisine, and Stéphane Derbord, have exceptional wine cellars. Many of Burgundy's finest restaurants are housed in hotels, so in addition to our restaurant recommendations below, you'll also find exceptional meals at Ferme-Auberge de Lavaux in Châtenay-Lavaux, L'Auberge du Paradis in Saint-Amour-Bellevue, Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis, and La Lucarne aux Chouettes in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. For more expert advice on wining and dining in the region, check out Burgundy Culinary Travel: The Ultimate Wine Lover's Trip from our sister site, Epicurious.com.
All over France, restaurant opening hours tend to be flexible, meaning service can start or end earlier or later than advertised by up to half an hour, depending on anything from weather to the chef's mood. Meals tend be served earlier in the French countryside than in the cities, and Burgundy is no exception: A Burgundian country auberge typically starts serving lunch at noon and dinner at 7 or 7:30 pm, and stops serving at 2 pm and 9:30 or 10 pm, respectively. Restaurants in Burgundy's cities—Dijon and Beaune, for instance—are more like those in Paris, serving lunch no earlier than 12:30 pm and dinner from 7:30 pm, and continuing service often until 2:30 or 3 pm for lunch and 11 pm for dinner. Don't be surprised if a restaurant, especially one in the countryside or in a small village, is divided into two sections: an informal bar, terrace, or bistro that serves inexpensive daily specials, salads, and "workers' lunches" (called repas ouvriers) and a more formal dining room that serves the restaurant's full menu.