Monday, 14 October 2013

La Plage

40 Quai de Paludate
If you want to forget your evening, then La Plage is the club for you. One of the biggest venues I have ever stepped into, La Plage is one of Bordeaux’s most notorious night clubs for young people who don’t start their night until 2am and then don’t want to remember it. Unfortunately, despite their 20,000 Facebook followers, I’m not a huge fan.

Getting there is the first issue, a minimum of 30 minutes walking and upon entering the door you are forced to hand in all of your belongings. Yes ladies, no handbags allowed. After paying an entry fee and buying a drink for 10euros which will inevitably be spilt all over you by an enthusiastic dancer, you then have a choice of 5 dance floors and various poles to swirl around. Losing your friends is a common occurrence.

Although I sound entirely negative about La Plage, it does provide for a merry night out. If you want to drink a lot and dance your socks off, it gives you exactly what you need. You are guaranteed to meet some interesting people and to find some music that suits. It’s not even that far away from the tram which you can sway into at 5.30am in the morning to get home. 
1 of 5 rooms!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Au Bouchon des Chartrons

52 Quai de Bacalan
I decided to venture past the newly renovated 'Hangers' and head to this tiny French restaurant on a recommendation from Tim, writer of Invisible Bordeaux. Not having a clue what to expect, it couldn’t have been a more suitable suggestion. The small restaurant is perfectly quintessentially French with its maroon coloured walls, wine bottles scattered everywhere (including already on the table) and attractive bearded waiters.

The food was sublime and presented beautifully. We were told that the menu changes every day depending on what the chef buys in the market and so were treated to a variety of original options. I chose the salmon and goats cheese and couldn’t have been happier, it was absolutely delicious and cleverly put together.

If you’re in the mood for a meal with a touch of charm then Au Bouchon des Chartrons is for you. Fantastic service, beautiful food and plentiful amounts of wine all come at a very fair price and the waiter even bought a jug of water the first time we asked; a very rare thing in Bordeaux. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


4 Cours du 30 Juillet
The restaurant that every guide book in Bordeaux will tell you to visit is this famous little bistro that sits beside the impressive Grand Theatre. L’Entrecote’s charm is that they only have one dish; steak with salad and chips. It is not a concept that I’ve seen in England, where the only preference you can specify is the cooking of your meat and the colour of your wine, but this seems to work brilliantly in France.

The grand interior with mirrored walls juxtaposes in an intriguing way the bright yellow and green awnings outside that could easily signal a post-club burger bar. However, you may struggle to get a peek through the window as a result of the permanent queue that winds around the corner every evening. Even a visit at 10.30pm had us waiting for a good 20 minutes before we could get through the door.

The popularity means one thing; that the food is absolutely delicious, and it is. Reasonably priced wine, delicious steak cooked to perfection and so many chips that you can no longer see the white of your plate all make this restaurant an absolute must for anybody visiting the city. 
Queue around the corner!

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Houses of Parliament

Image: Magazine Voyage
If you want a taste of Britain that will make you forget that you are in France, then The Houses of Parliament is for you. The pub, located just off Place du Parlement, is beautifully British. English bar tenders (and one Polish), English writing on the wood-panelled walls and even a pub quiz in English as well, it is no wonder that both Brits missing home as well as French in search of an international evening love this pub equally.

The drinks aren’t as cheap as might be hoped, but the atmosphere is unrivalled. The Sunday pub quiz involves guessing the print on the bar tenders boxer shorts, and the prize is a minute behind the bar. (The winner last night pulled an impressive 10 pints simultaneously...) The Saturday disco playlist has you laughing as much as dancing and the choice of cocktails with R-rated names is fairly expansive.

Entertainment is easily found and there isn’t a shortage of good company either at this pub reminiscent of Blighty. The Houses of Parliament is not for the faint hearted however, expect to get drawn into the rowdy atmosphere and stay until last orders (which happen to be 2am on a Sunday night). 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ibaia Café

Quai des Chartrons 
Most people who have visited Bordeaux will tell you that the main Quai is worth a visit. From the chic and recently renovated hangers at one end to the Place de la Bourse all the way towards the station, the Quai is the place to go for a view of the river. Ibaia Café is a swanky restaurant that sits right in the middle of the Quai’s hustle and bustle, allowing you to take in the view while nibbling on sweet potato fries and sipping a glass of Sauternes wine.

As the first restaurant I visited in Bordeaux, I was welcomed into a world of gourmet food and attractive bar staff from the onset. The menu is fairly limited, but the dishes are all well thought out and there are plenty of sharing options, especially for the starters. However, do not let this put you off, as the food that they do serve is delicious and a far cry from home cooked food. The puddings are particularly adventurous, one even incorporates candy floss, but their particularly generous Café Gourmet steals the show every time.

As darkness begins to fall, Ibaia Café turns up the music and the chic restaurant turns into a stylish bar. Strawberry Mojitos are to be drunk as you watch the world roller skate and cycle by from the safety of the covered restaurant. Although it’s not the cheapest dining option, it is definitely the perfect choice for anyone wanting to watch the world go by, while feeling particularly glamorous at the same time.  

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Café Japonais

Café Japonais, 22 Rue Saint-Siméon
Although not quite on Paris’ level when it comes to Sushi, it does seem like the Bordelais are fairly into their Japanese food too. Café Japonais is universally loved as a sushi stop in the centre of Bordeaux that would be a shame to miss out on. The restaurant has large, elegant wooden tables that add to the authentic atmosphere and there is certainly something quite special about all the waiters actually being Japanese as well.

It must be said that sushi isn’t actually their speciality, with a selection of Bento rice and noodle dishes allowing for a meal for everyone. However, for me it is the quality that wins every time, and Café Japonais certainly pays attention to the quality of their food. Even if the price is a little higher than most sushi establishments, the little extra is definitely worth it.

If you’re looking for something slightly off the generic tourist track that’s a little more exciting than your usual French restaurant, why not head to Café Japonais? They even have a desert of the day that was one of the best cheese cakes I’ve had since being in Bordeaux! Perhaps that does depend on the day though… 

Saturday, 7 September 2013


This well-known restaurant can be found at one corner of Place du Parlement, a very busy, and quite touristy, square near the Quai. If you’re in search of something quite French with a very reasonably priced three-course menu (13.50 euro), then l’Ombriere could be the perfect dining spot for you.

With a large outdoors area which allows for people-spotting and fountain-watching from your table, this restaurant is a fantastic spot to while away a late summers evening over a glass of wine and a bowl of Moules Marinière. It’s also perfectly situated if the party spirit takes over your mood, with a host of bars just around the corner, and even The Houses of Parliament English pub.

I can’t pretend it was the quickest service that I’ve ever experienced, but adopting the laid back French south west attitude for the night meant it didn’t seem a problem. I am certain that this is one restaurant that I shall return to.