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Travel Tip: Beaune Restaurants

The medieval city of Beaune is an ideal base from which to explore the Côte d'Or

Jennifer Fiedler, Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 1, 2013

Note: This is an excerpt of an article, "Enjoying Burgundy," that originally appeared in the June 30, 2012 issue of Wine Spectator.

Burgundy is rural France at its best for wine lovers. Ancient villages huddle along the roadsides, surrounded by fields and forests. It's always exciting to cross the slopes of the Hautes-Côtes, descend past the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune and enter the walled city of Beaune. This is the Côte d'Or, the heart of Burgundy.

The small charming city of Beaune, an important commercial center, boasts beautiful buildings made of limestone drawn from the region's quarries, and colorfully patterned tile rooftops dot the skyline. Beaune is also home to some of Burgundy's finest restaurants.

BISTRO DE L'HÔTEL
5 rue Samuel Legay, 21200 Beaune
Telephone: (33) 3-80-25-94-14
Website: www.lhoteldebeaune.com
Cost: Entrées $31-$48; prix-fixe menu $52
Open: Lunch, Monday to Saturday; dinner, daily
Credit cards: All major

This restaurant, in a high-end hotel in central Beaune, has a breezy, stylish air. Swedish chef-owner Johan Björklund and his partner, Margie Thybulle, preside over the 40-seat room, a favorite haunt of collectors. The menu, which changes daily, is geared toward a well-traveled crowd, with international accents on well-executed fare rooted in classic French technique. Tuscan olive oil comes alongside butter for bread; lighter preparations take cues from the Mediterranean or Asia. The cooking is precise: A crisp-skinned roast quail over a bed of peas with pommes purées ($45) was simple and excellent. The wine list has more than 1,000 selections, many of which Björklund has sourced from the vintners themselves, and includes wines such as Domaine Ponsot Morey-St.-Denis Clos de Monts Luisants 1997 ($72/375 ml) and Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Taillepieds 2006 ($124). —Jennifer Fiedler

CASTEL DE TRÈS GIRARD
7 rue de Très Girard, 21220 Morey-St.-Denis
Telephone: (33) 3-80-34-33-09
Website: www.castel-tres-girard.com
Open: Lunch and dinner, daily
Cost: Entrées $30-$45; prix-fixe menu $48
Credit cards: All major

The grand country manor exterior of this boutique hotel in the tiny village of Morey-St.-Denis belies the sleek, modern decor of the restaurant inside. The menu offers refined country fare, such as veal tongue cooked in red wine sauce, and poached eggs over a mushroom fricassee. Wines by the glass might include Nuits-St.-Georges 2008 from David Duband ($13), or order a bottle from the large list, such as Dujac Clos de la Roche 2004 ($246). The restaurant and hotel sit atop the 17th-century wine cellars of Domaine Lucie et Auguste Lignier, now run by American Kellen Lignier. —J.F.

CAVES MADELEINE
8 rue Faubourg Madeleine, 21200 Beaune
Telephone: (33) 3-80-22-93-30
Open: Lunch, Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday; dinner, Monday to Wednesday and Saturday
Cost: Menu $18-$31
Credit cards: All major

This cozy, casual restaurant and wineshop is located just outside the Beaune city walls and draws a regular crowd of vintners and wine folk. Choose the long communal table if you're looking for conversation, or one of the stand-alone tables that ring the room for more privacy. The menu, written on a chalkboard, is artfully simple and changes daily with a focus on hearty local specialties. A lunchtime prix-fixe included a colorful vegetable terrine and a perfectly crisp leg of duck confit ($20). Three whites and three reds are available by the glass, or browse the retail shelves and open a bottle for a nominal $8 corkage fee. The selection, overseen by cheerful young owner Laurent Brelin, covers a good swath of Burgundy but also features smaller producers from all over France, many with a biodynamic or organic bent. In the evenings, come for live R&B and jazz. —J.F.

CHEZ GUY
3 Place Mairie, 21220 Gevrey-Chambertin
Telephone: (33) 3-80-58-51-51
Website: www.chez-guy.fr
Open: Lunch and dinner, daily April 1 to Nov. 14; lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday, Nov. 15 to March 31
Cost: Menus $36-$56
Credit cards: All major
Best of Award of Excellence

Chez Guy is the place to have lunch or dinner when in Gevrey-Chambertin. Modern, yet relaxed and warm, it's cozy in the winter with the fireplace blazing in the corner. Outdoor dining is available in spring and summer. The menu updates regional dishes with a touch of elegance, relying on local products. The well-priced wine list is oriented toward growers from Gevrey-Chambertin but takes in selections from the broader Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune as well. It holds a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. —Bruce Sanderson

LE BENATON
25 Faubourg Bretonnière, 21200 Beaune
Telephone: (33) 3-80-22-00-26
Website: www.lebenaton.com
Open: Lunch, Saturday to Tuesday; dinner, Saturday to Tuesday and Friday
Cost: Entrées $42-$55; menus $44
Credit cards: Visa, American Express

Chef Bruno Monnoir creates refined, sophisticated dishes at his tiny jewel of a restaurant just off the main boulevard in Beaune. Drawing primarily on market ingredients, there are four tasting menus, ranging from seasonal and local items to the menu découverte. The house specialty is tête de veau, roasted, with fried langoustines. The 200-plus selections on the wine list emphasize value. —B.S.

LE COMPTOIR DES TONTONS
22 rue du Faubourg Madeleine, 21200 Beaune
Telephone: (33) 3-80-24-19-64
Website: www.lecomptoirdestontons.com
Open: Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Cost: Menus $33
Credit cards: Visa

This funky little bistro specializes in products grown organically and biodynamically, including the wines it serves. There is both an à la carte and a tasting menu, featuring local, seasonal ingredients. Nothing fancy—just fresh meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables, well prepared. The inexpensively priced wine list focuses on small producers. —B.S.

LE TERROIR
19 Place du Jet d'Eau, 21590 Santenay
Telephone: (33) 3-80-20-63-47
Website: www.restaurantleterroir.com
Open: Lunch, Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Sunday; dinner, Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday
Cost: Entrées $33; menus $46-$66
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard

This restaurant on the main square in Santenay is ideal for a quick lunch. The chef dishes up tasty regional cuisine, sourced locally, in a bustling, convivial atmosphere. The extensive wine list is weighted toward Côte de Beaune and local growers, with many half-bottle options. —B.S.

MA CUISINE
Passage Sainte-Hélène, 21200 Beaune
Telephone: (33) 3-80-22-30-22
Open: Lunch and dinner, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, September to July
Cost: Entrées $21-$54; prix-fixe menu $31
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard

Tucked in an alley off a main thoroughfare in central Beaune, this tiny restaurant has long been a favorite destination for wine lovers, and with good reason: The wine list may have the best selection of Burgundy in the region. Emptied, large-format bottles from top producers line the walls and tell of Bacchanalian nights past (there's a stack of DRC in one corner). The well-executed country fare—rustic terrines and rillettes, tripe stewed in a tomato-based sauce—lets wine shine. It's popular, and open only four days a week, so plan accordingly. —J.F.

RESTAURANT LE CHASSAGNE
4 Impasse des Chenevottes, 21190 Chassagne-Montrachet
Telephone: (33) 3- 80-21-94-94
Website: www.stephaneleger.com
Open: Lunch, Tuesday to Sunday; dinner, Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday
Cost: Menu $35-$51
Credit cards: All major

Launched in 1999 by several local vintners to promote their village and wines, Le Chassagne is currently owned by chef Stéphane Leger and his wife, Vanessa, who arrived in 2001. The cuisine is modern and artfully presented. Less reliant on local ingredients, the menu draws as much from greater France as from Burgundy. The excellent wine list showcases most of the growers from Chassagne, as well as good representation from the broader Côte d'Or. —B.S.


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