Paul Bocuse

bridge of Colonges, 40 Quai de la Plage, Lyon, 69660, France

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Born into a family of chefs. Paul Bocuse’s culinary skills were honed at the famous Mere Brazier, in Paris at Lucas Carton and at the iconic Vienne restaurant La Pyramide. In 1959 he returned to the family restaurant and earned it a star in 1961, a second the year after and three Michelin stars in 1965, an accolade that it has held ever since.

To get here, follow the west bank of the Saone out of Lyons, about five miles north of the centre, just beyond the city limits. The restaurant is well sign-posted (this is France!) but anyhow could not be missed in any case due to the garish Swiss-chalet style decor in red, green, yellow and black with “Paul Bocuse” emblazoned at the top in huge letters. Modest is not the word that springs to mind. The car park is large, and on the evening we visited was full of a recently disgorged coach-load of tourists - presumably dinner was not included in their package. The restaurant is entered via the lobby, which opens out directly onto the dining room,the latter decorated in a highly ornate fin-de-siecle style.

Nibbles were a little tuna, grilled (and quite well done), served hot on a bed of cold Provencal aubergines, tomatoes and peppers, drizzled with olive oil (16/20). Bread was a choice of either a white roll or a white bread, served cold (practically all the breads on the trip were served cold rather than warmed up). Bread was of very good quality and texture (18/20). To start with, I had a truffle soup, with the top of the bowl covered in a pastry case to seal the flavour. This all looked rather better than it tasted, with plenty of truffle flavour but rather one-dimensional (13/20). A vegetable soup was in fact better, consisting of leeks and potatoes, finely chopped, with some herbs and croutons (17/20).

Next course for me was lobster Americaine, grilled with lobster sauce - all very competent (17/20). For the main course my wife had a very nicely cooked turbot with garlic butter sauce and capers, served with some grilled chanterelles (18/20). I had a beef fillet, actually a little overcooked and suffering from a few bits of gristle, served with a nice reduction of the juices and red wine, with rather ordinary roast potatoes to accompany it (barely 16/20). Following this was a blackcurrant sorbet, with good flavour and reasonable texture (16/20).

Cheese tried were: fresh goat (18/20), Reblochon (18/20), Camembert (18/20), Brillat Savarin (18/20), a wonderful Faurme d’Ambert (20/20), and a fairly mild local cheese with an orange rind (17/20). Overall a solid 18/20, with the cheeses well kept. After this a little pre-dessert of creme brulee arrived - this was rather ordinary, with decent texture but lacking sufficient vanilla and also rather too sweet (16/20 at best).

The desserts arrived on a veritable convoy of trolleys, for which an extra table was drawn up to accommodate. We tried chocolate gateaux (bought in from the famous Bernachon chocolate shop in Lyons), which was made with bitter chocolate and flavoured with alcohol (19/20). There was also a cherry clafoutis, with cherries pitted and still suitably sour, the dish having a cake-like consistency (18/20), some raspberries (19/20), strawberries (18/20), and a rather ordinary vanilla ice cream, lacking sufficient vanilla and being rather too sweet (16/20).

Petit fours consisted of: toasted flaked almonds in bitter chocolate (20/20), toasted almond tuile (20/20), chocolate truffle (18/20), strawberry tart with pistachios (18/20), raspberry tart (18/20), pistachios in pastry (18/20), macaroon (16/20) and a choux bun with caramel topping (18/20). Coffee was only 16/20. For wine, we had a Rhone Jaboulet Aine 1992 at FF 260, and a glass of the excellent justice (second wine of Gillette) at FF 50. The restaurant bill was FF 1626, the set menu FF710. Unusually, both menus had prices on, and the menu had an appealing selection. Crockery was modern, and service superb. There was a weird tasteless touch: an organ grinder, an Algerian in an absurd costume who hung around hoping for a tip - a completely incongruous element which defied belief. Overall it was a solid performance but one lacking in excitement - I imagine that the identical food would have been served here 20 years ago.


Further reviews: 19th Nov 2014

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User comments

  • Andrew

    Having just got back from Lyon I had the opportunity to eat here and at two 2 star restaurants. Of the three this was the most expensive and the most disappointing. The food was ok as was the presentation. I would have given it 6/10 compared with the two 'lesser' restaurants which merit 8/10. For dinner the others worked out at £100 a head cheaper. You are certainly paying for the name. I'm really surprised it retains its 3 stars.

  • Name unavailable

    I visited the restaurant only recently and I still find your comments and your rating perfectly reasonable. Surely, this is not an exciting, creative cuisine, but I liked the old-fashioned no-nonsense-approach to food. The service and the atmosphere were impeccable, very attentive, yet unobtrusive. I paid € 173.- (no vine, I do not drink) which I found an extremely favourable price for the meal I had. Exotic touches like the black servant in his red costume I found rather funny than weird, and surely was very glad to have my foto taken with the chef. In respect to what one pays I was more than satisfied and will surely miss no occasion to return.

  • David W

    This was the first three star restaurant I visited, when I was about 16, so I was looking forward to seeing what it was like now. This is cooking of the real old school - I doubt things would have been different here 50 or maybe 100 years ago. Unfortunately that meant gallons of super reduced sticky sauces on almost everything, which tended to all be either too salty, too sweet or too sharp. The bright orange sauce on our lobster was completely indistinguishable from what might appear out of a Tesco value mary rose bottle. This restaurant makes it clear to me why top end food has moved the direction that it has. However, the strawberry sorbet was sensational.

  • Pamela A. Martell

    The moment you step up to the restaurant you are transformed into the most important person at their business. The staff from matre'd on to bus boy you are treated with the finest service one could possible imagine. Nothing is to want here. Your desire is anticipated and accomplished in advance of your request. The menu is over the top with excellent dishes and all served in appropriate timing. Sauces match the foods completely. The wine list excellent and quite extensive. No up selling if you prefer a 40 euro bottle no one tries to up sell you to the high priced wines of which he has many. No hurry to get out and no stuffiness. Truly an excellent restaurant one to judge others by their standard.

  • Irene Boyd

    In September 2008, we visited Paul Bocuse whilst travelling on our boat through the French canals, heading for the Med. This restaurant is first class and clearly deserve their 3 Michelin stars. From the moment we were escorted into the restaurant, it was quite apparent that this was going to be a night to remember......and it was. Course after course were impeccably served and classic dishes executed to perfection. Of course, we knew it was going to be quite pricey, after all, you don't visit a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in France and expect it to be cheap and in my view Restaurant Paul Bocuse, with their ultra extravagant exterior and beautifully traditional interior simply delivers on service, quality, presentation and ambiance. And the fact that they have a landing stage on the Canal for a boat, just adds that final, perfect touch.

  • Roger C

    The negative comments for Paul Bocuse seem out of all proportion from this writer's experience of dining there. Sure, this is not a restaurant redrawing culinary boundaries, as Andy Hayler rightly points out, but then it is not trying to. One look at the online menu prior to a booking should confirm that surely, even to the least knowledgeable diner. Paul Bocuse delivers honest, classic dishes, beautifully executed, and an absolute delight to indulge. The cheeses presented were sublime, the pudding trolleys unashamedly decadent beyond compare, and a triumph for it. The wines are certainly not cheap, but neither did this diner expect them to be. Not at an establishment that runs as a going concern. The service was warm, friendly and impeccable, and PB was perfectly hospitable & welcoming whislt doing his rounds at table. The dining room is very comfortable, certainly neither garish or as unpleasant as some claim, with very generous space between tables. To make fun of the crockery and the decor of this restaurant is a moot point, really: but then I only want to dine there, not move in. This writer and his fellow diner have been fortunate to travel and dine at some fabulous establishments, the great and and the humble, snd we had a wonderful evening outside Lyon at Paul Bocuse.

  • A.O.

    The restaurant feels like a circus; it is completely kitsch, over the top. Once inside, you feel like having stepped back in the 70's. The man's name is everywhere, from the plates, the cutlery, the glasses etc etc. And yet I must admit I had one of the best meals of my life. Everything tasted fabulous from his "Soupe aux Truffes VGE" to his "Sole aux nouilles Fernand Point". The dessert tray was excellent, from the Bernachon chocolate cake to the Rhum Baba (Savarin style). Don't get me wrong: I love the modern chefs as much as anyone else. But most of them I would visit only once. But Bocuse is different: there was no fuss, no formality. Everything felt simple and honest. I felt like going back. If you expect fancy looking plates with swishy patterns, food prepared in test tubes and cappuccino style mousse everywhere and over-attentive service in a minimalist decor then you will be disappointed. However, if you want simplicity, great ingredients, honest and genuine service then you are in for a great time. Bocuse has been around since 1941. He must be doing something right. Now that the culture of bling and inflated prices is (finally) over, it is good to (re)discover some classics.

  • michele

    It was a great disappointment. 1) didning room is old fashioned without a particular taste nor atmosphere; 2) service is poor and ceratinly without the attention to details expected in a starred restaurant; 3) food is good but without any particular emotion. It seems that old good stuff cooked by grandma; 4) I think it's tacky give as a present the menu. Looks cheap and a bit pathetic. Waste of money, unfortunately and does not give the deserved tribute to Mr Bocuse for what he represented in the "haute cusine"

  • robert aitkens

    Having been taken here by a very beautiful French woman, an old friend who lives in Lyon, it was difficult for me not to walk out of this place. I have come to the conclusion that icons of French cuisine are long past their sell buy date in France. This Restaurant is from the dark ages, as, I'm afraid to say is its fare, there was nothing memorable about the meal or the service, sorry, the cost was unforgettable. I have not frequented many Michelin Restaurants in France, those that I have, have been dissapointing. Unfortunately the locals from these areas revere these Restaurants with vengeance. For the sake of my benefactor, i agreed with her views, very british

  • Jonathan Cooper

    Ate here last night.. wow.. SO OVER THE TOP.and the food.. which is good isnt AMAZING.. overpriced and so tacky it isnt funny.. man that bocuse guy has an ego the size of france.. get over it.. they need to demote this restaurant to 0 stars.. nothing special except the ornate shrine to Mr bocuse

  • Stewart Smith

    I can not believe that this is still a 3-star restaurant. A few points (1) Amazingly there was a fly in our decanted bottle of wine. The waiter took the decanter away, fished out the fly and returned it to us. No apology or offer to replace the wine or give us a free dessert or something as recompense (2) The whole place is a shrine to Paul Bocuse rather than a shrine to good cooking: everything (plates, napkins, toilet roll etc) has a picture of Paul Bocuse on it and can be purchased at the large shop adjoining the restaurant. There is even a large gold statue of the man himself in the upper dining room (3) At the end of the meal Bocuse appeared in the dining room and "demanded" to have his picture taken with us and all the other tables. A nice souvenir if you want it but annoying if you just want to eat your meal in peace (4) The food, whilst edible, was a throwback to the 1970s - overlarge portions, heavy sauces and little to excite the palate (5) The dessert trolley had about 10 desserts, nine of which involved raspberries. The only alternative was a creme brulee that could have come out of a packet. It seems that Bocuse is such an icon of French cooking that Michelin will not remove his stars as it would almost be like saying that traditional French cooking is not what it was or that cooking in general worldwide has moved on and that the likes of Bocuse are basically living on past glories.

  • Mark Reynier

    I entirely agree with this comment. A parody. "Just one more waffer-thin mint..." springs to mind.

  • Pierre

    It seems everybody forgot that the 70s' were more than thirty years ago. Why this places still gets three stars is a big mystery. Sure it is the chef of the seventies, sure he invented "nouvelle cuisine", but it's as revolutionary today as the new mini. It's old stuff chewed up again. Unless you believe in gastronomy's darwinism and want to see where it all started, i would avoid it.