10 essential dishes that define Lyon’s cuisine

Located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is a French city renowned for its vibrant culinary scene.

Known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon offers a blend of traditional and innovative cuisine, mirroring the city’s rich history and dynamic modernity. In this gastronomical journey, we explore the top ten dishes that exemplify Lyonnaise cuisine, a testament to the city’s delicious heritage.

Each dish is steeped in history and reflects the culinary prowess of this gastronomic city. Whether you’re dining in a humble ‘bouchon’ (traditional Lyonnaise restaurant) or a Michelin-starred restaurant, Lyon’s gastronomic delights are sure to leave you craving more.

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Quenelles de Brochet
A quintessential Lyonnaise dish, Quenelles de Brochet are made from pike fish and bread crumbs. These light and airy parcels are typically served with a rich, creamy lobster or crayfish sauce known as “Nantua sauce”. The texture of the Quenelle is unique, a pleasant mix between fluffy and firm, beautifully complemented by the sauce’s richness.

Salade Lyonnaise
Salade Lyonnaise is more than just a salad; it’s a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. This iconic dish combines curly endive lettuce with crisp lardons (small strips or cubes of pork fat), perfectly poached eggs, and crunchy croutons. The warm bacon fat dressing poured over the salad slightly wilts the greens and gives the dish a savory punch.

Andouillette Lyonnaise
This dish is not for the faint-hearted but is a must-try for adventurous food lovers. Andouillette Lyonnaise is a coarsely cut, tripe-based sausage, usually served grilled or poached with a mustard or red wine sauce. Its distinctive, potent aroma and taste make it a memorable part of Lyon’s cuisine.

Cervelle de Canut
Cervelle de Canut, translating to “silk worker’s brains”, is a delightful cheese spread or dip. Made with fromage blanc, it is seasoned with finely chopped herbs, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar. It’s traditionally served with toasted bread and is a perfect appetizer or snack.

See also: The tourist’s guide to all nine arrondissements of Lyon

Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin is a classic French dish that has been embraced wholeheartedly by Lyonnaise cuisine. This slow-cooked chicken dish is prepared in a luscious red wine sauce with mushrooms, onions, and lardons. The result is tender, flavorful chicken that pairs perfectly with a side of potatoes or a fresh baguette.

Tablier de Sapeur
Tablier de Sapeur, translating to “fireman’s apron”, is a dish made from beef tripe. The tripe is marinated in white wine, breaded, and then fried to create a crispy exterior and tender interior. This is a traditional Lyonnaise dish, typically served with a tangy sauce gribiche (mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce with pickles, capers, and herbs) and boiled potatoes.

Rosette de Lyon
Rosette de Lyon is a type of dry-cured sausage, a specialty of Lyon. Made from pork, it’s seasoned with fresh garlic and wine, then aged for several months. The result is a firm, flavorful sausage that’s typically served thinly sliced as an appetizer or included in a charcuterie board.

Tarte à la Praline

Chef Richard Sève holds up his tarte a la praline. Image credit: Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Sève

This dish is a testament to Lyon’s love for pralines. The Tarte à la Praline is a stunningly pink tart made from red pralines (almonds coated in cooked sugar) and a rich, buttery pastry crust. The tart is sweet, crunchy, and a delightful end to any meal.

Saucisson de Lyon
Another traditional sausage, Saucisson de Lyon, is a must-try. Made from cured pork, it’s seasoned with spices and sometimes wine. It can be eaten cold, cut into thin slices, but it’s also commonly cooked “à la Lyonnaise,” simmered in red wine with onions and served with warm potatoes.

Poulet de Bresse à la Crème
Last but not least, we have Poulet de Bresse à la Crème. Bresse chicken, renowned for its tender and flavorful meat, is a regional product protected by French law. This dish features the chicken cooked in a creamy white wine sauce, often paired with morel mushrooms. The result is a velvety, indulgent dish that showcases the quality of locally sourced ingredients in Lyonnaise cuisine.


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