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The best of Burgundy?


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A couple of years ago we visited a little hotel (actually, a chambre d’hote) in the Morvan, a national park in Burgundy. We were so taken by the chateau, the owners, the wonderful countryside and the great food this region has to offer, that this year we decided to go back for our 10th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful week that was centered around the enjoyment of good food and good wine. Our goal was to eat simple but well – which is not difficult in the Bourgogne. Here’s the report of our trip (with lots of pictures).

We started in Beaune, the lovely town in the heart of the Burgundian wine country. Our first night in Beaune we had a very nice dinner in a little restaurant called Le Vieux Vignerons. I had never had Oeufs en meurette before, but have always been intrigued by this dish. Poached eggs in a red wine sauce seems an unlikely combination.. but oh boy was this good. Very rich but very more-ish, I could have had another plate of that!

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My husband ordered a Salade au gesiers confits, although we both had no idea what gesiers were. I tasted some and decided it was definitely something from the inside of a chicken (I looked it up later and now know that they’re the chicken’s stomachs). Very tasty. The salad was served with a syrup of sweet sherry, not very Burgundian maybe but it went well with the gesiers.

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For the main course my husband had sweetbreads (Ris de veau persille), he loves sweetbreads and always orders them when he sees them on a menu. I had lamb cutlets that were spread with course Dijon mustard and grilled. It was some of the sweetest lamb I ever had, even the fat (that I normally don’t like) was so sweet it tasted like marrow, and I had to restrain myself or I would have eaten it all.

dessert: Crème Brulee flavored with the local Pain d’epices, a kind of gingerbread. Yum!

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Next day I had made a reservation for lunch at Ma Cuisine (thanks to some recommendations for that place I found on Egullet). The menu du jour was 18 Euro for 3 courses, very good value for an exeptionally good meal.

Starters: Rillettes de maqueraux for my husband, and Terrine de campagne with fig compote for me. The mackerel tasted very light and fresh, the terrine was deliciously rich.

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After that, we both had the Filet de Lieu Aioli. I did not know what lieu was, translated it’s pollock, but I have no idea what that would be in Dutch. I don’t think I ever had it though. A good fish, firm and tasty. The fish was perfectly cooked, served with braised tomatoes, and a pungent, yet creamy and velvety aioli. We drank a half bottle of white Pernand Vergelesses with it which was a good combination.

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I already had my eye on the dessert table, here’s what we had: Tarte aux amandes and Tarte au chocolat. The chocolate tart was divine, it still had the lingering warmth from the oven, the chocolate was still a little bit wobbly. A very intense and dark chocolate flavor. Served with a cool vanilla custard for contrast.

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After lunch we drove to the little village of Pernand Vergelesses to see where that wine was made. Here are the vineyards:

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The next day we went on to the Chateau de Vareilles. This is in the Morvan, Parc naturel Regional in the middle of Burgundy. The Chateau:

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This area is absolutely beautiful. May is certainly a great time to visit – spring was just transgressing into summer, everything was green and luscious. The creamy coloured Charolais cattle, with baby calves, roaming the meadows yellow with buttercups – that sort of thing! Very idyllic.

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Breakfast in the Chateau. Fresh fruit, fresh bread, and different cheeses every day:

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The Morvan, with it’s forests and hills and tiny villages, is ideal for hiking. We went on a long hike and took our picnic lunch: baguette, a little chevre, saucisson au poivre. Everything tastes better when you’re lying in the grass, watching the clouds drifting by..

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For dinner that night we went to the town of Autun to the Hotel du Commerce et Touring, a restaurant recommended to us by the owner of the Chateau as “a place where the French go to eat”.

First course: Jambon persille, one of the regional specialties, for me; and in the background my husbands Oeufs en meurette. The Oeufs were not as good as the ones I had in Beaune, but it was interesting to taste the different versions. The sauce was actually a bit sour, as if the wine had not been cooked long enough? The Jambon was very good, the parsley aspic had a nice tang which made it light and fresh-tasting.

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For main course my husband had Coq au Vin, which was perhaps not a great choice because it featured a sauce almost identical to his Oeufs en meurette, and I had a grilled steak also with a red wine sauce. Both were served with french fries. Red Rully which was very good with the meats.

Dessert was a cheese plate for me and a pear tart for my husband. The cheese was a bit too cold and not very special.

Next day, after a long hike, we had a late lunch in our room at the Chateau.. baguette, but a different cheese (this one was called Reves de Nuits) and a different sausage: saucisson de l’ail – garlic sausage.

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That night, dinner at the Chateau. It’s not really a restaurant, but the guests can have a home cooked dinner here almost every night. The Chateau is owned by a Dutch/Belgian couple who take care of their guests very well and make them feel exceptionally welcome. This evening was the actual day of our wedding anniversary, and not only had they decorated our room and put a bottle of wine and some glasses on the bed, they also laid our table with beautiful tableware and crystal, flowers and candles which made us feel very special.

Aperitifs: Ratafia de Bourgogne, a sweet liqueur made of grape must and marc de bourgogne.

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First course: Cream of chicken and leek soup. Like a Vichysoisse, but with strong chickenflavor and bits of chicken in it.

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Second course: Salmon with a lemon/caper sauce. The salmon was cooked to perfection, which is not easy to do if you’re cooking for 10 people all on your own!

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Dessert: Chocolate ice cream and chocolate mousse in a chocolate basket. These were brought to the table with sparkling candles, hence the foil (to support the candles)

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Cheese plate: St Augur, a chevre that I forgot the name of, and Epoisses, the Burgundian specialty. The wine for dinner was a Meursault.

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Next day we went to the tiny little village of La Chapelle sous Uchon for lunch, to this picturesque little place, la Grousse. Frieda from the Chateau recommended this which was a good thing, because we never would have found it otherwise:

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I ordered Grenouilles au Pouilly Fusse. I had never tasted frogs legs before but I loved them and I licked clean every single little bone! They were served with a lovely creamy wine flavored sauce, that had lightly sauteed tomato and shallot to balance the richness. Really a lovely dish.

My husband had some hearty country fare: Rotie de veau avec endives braises - Roast veal with braised begian endive, in a buttery wine sauce.

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Desserts: Chocolate cherry cake, and gratin of pears with croutons of the famous pain d’epices.

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A couple of hours later it’s time for dinner again..

First course: Feuilletee de chevre. Tangy goatscheese in crisp puff pastry.

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Main: Filet de poulet de Bresse, sauce a l’orange. Moist chicken breasts with a slightly sweet sauce, served with wedges of quiche. A bottle of Hautes-Cotes de Nuits went down really well..

For dessert my husband had the tarte Bourdalou, almond pear tart with chocolate sauce This tart was so good that one hour after dinner he requested another piece!

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and I had the cheese plate: Fourme D’Ambert, Delice de Bourgogne, Mont d’or. Delice de Bourgogne is an extemely buttery cheese, melting in your mouth, delicious indeed!

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A glass of marc de Bourgogne to help digest all of that and unfortunately, the next day we go home.

One bonus of travelling by car, is that you can bring all sorts of good stuff home with you. Here’s the loot: Ratafia de Bourgogne, some interesting wines (some of them ready for drinking, others for the cellar), a couple of jars of terrine, mustard from Dijon, chestnut honey, and chocolate.

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There are so many more good things to eat that we did not have time for. I guess that means we have to go back!

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Thanks for writing this up. We have been to Burgundy several times and it is just the best place to eat and visit. Your descriptions brought back so many good memories for me. Coincidently next year is our 10th anniversary and we have been thinking of a trip to Burgundy.

Dan

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BTW, "gesiers" translates into gizzards in English.

yes, I knew that.. :smile: but for some reason, I always thought that gizzards meant everything: heart, liver, stomach etc. Another translation trap!

Oh well, live, eat and learn! I always think it's fun to order something without knowing exactly what it is. Although I made a big mistake once when I ordered Rognons de veau in Paris, thinking I could not go wrong with veal.. I was not prepared for the kidneys that arrived. But my husband ate them with gusto! :biggrin:

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Klary, I travelled around Burgundy with my family (parents and brother) in the summer of 2002 on a very different kind of trip and enjoyed your photo journal very much for bringing back some great memories.

Did you fit in any visits to any of the wonderful cathedrals and other places of artistic importance in Autun, Beaune, et al. in between visiting vineyards and eating all that delicious food?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Klary, I travelled around Burgundy with my family (parents and brother) in the summer of 2002 on a very different kind of trip and enjoyed your photo journal very much for bringing back some great memories.

Did you fit in any visits to any of the wonderful cathedrals and other places of artistic importance in Autun, Beaune, et al. in between visiting vineyards and eating all that delicious food?

Yes, I read your reports on that trip when researching for mine! :biggrin:

I actually wanted to eat at the Chalet Bleu in Autun, but it was closed on the days we were in Autun.

We were in Burgundy for the second time en we really enjoyed visiting the Hotel Dieu in Beaune, the Autun Cathedral and the Musee Rolin for the second time. The cathedral in Autun, with Gislebertus Tympana and the capitols, is absolutely wonderful.

So yes, it was a trip that had everything: history, romance, food & wine, and art!

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Chufi, this is really wonderful. What beautiful photos! Happy 10th!

The oeufs en meurette look amazing. That is definitely a Burgundian dish.

This recipe will go into the gullet, but I will post it here for discussion first.

It is a recipe translated from one submitted by Bernard Loiseau for the book Les Six Grands Cuisiniers de Bourgogne, published in 1982 by JC Lattes editions.

Oeufs en Meurette

For 4 people

8 eggs

2 dl of red wine vinegar

Sauce:

2 Tablespoons of cooked carrot puree

1 minced shallot

100 g butter

3dl of red wine

1 Tb of chopped chives

salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring 2 litres of water with the red wine vinegar to a simmer. Break the eggs each into a bowl and add gently to simmering water, and bring them out after 4 minutes. reserve.

Reduce the wine and the minced shallot for a few minutes. Flamber the wine - i.e bring to a boil and set it aflame just off heat. When the reduction is down to about half of the original volume, add the 2 tablespoons of carrot puree. Incorperate the butter little by little while briskly whisking the sauce. Season, pass the sauce through the chinois, and serve:

Eggs on the plate, covered with the sauce, and garnished with minced chives.

Chufi, thank you so much for sharing your week in photos with us! :smile:

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Thanks Bleudauvergne!

the carrot puree in the meurette sauce is interesting. To thicken/sweeten it?

Btw both versions of Oeufs en meurette that I tasted in Burgundy, had little bits of bacon (nonsmoked, I think) in the sauce. What do you think?

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I am off to France on Tuesday, May 24th and I'll be in Beaune May 30th - June 1st so I'm really looking forward to enjoying some lovely food and wine. I won't have an auto so I'll be spending my time in the old city center, which is fine by me! If anyone has any suggestions for where to eat, especially on a modest budget, I'd love to hear them.

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Congratulations on your 10th anniversary Chufi and thank you so much for sharing the food on your trip---absolutely wonderful.

If I had to choose one meal among all the ones you had it would be so difficult! A great selection of desserts also; the photo of the chocolate tart is magnifique!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 5 weeks later...

I, along with my wife and another couple, are going to Burgundy for a week in November. It is the first time for any of us to go there and we are very excited. The last thing we want to do is tour the region's many "once upon a time" icons that endure for what they were, rather than what they are (a la Paul Bocuse). I see a few older threads speaking on restaurants, shops and wineries but I fear many of them may be out of date.

We will be based in Lyon and Chambolle Musigny but hope to be traveling throughout the region. I think we will be good on winery visits... but if there is one that you really recommend please let me know. Any suggestions on new and exciting food destinations (I know Burgundy might not do allot in the way of "New and Exciting"), as well as affirmations of old greats that are still delivering the goods, would be greatly appreciated. While I can't quite say that "money is no object", none of us at all mind paying more if we actually get something in return. Thank you in advance for your time and effort and I look forward to hearing what anyone has to say.

-JR

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(Quite) new and (quite) exciting: le Charlemagne, in Pernand Vergelesses, where a young chef (trained in France and Japan) serves a quite modern Burgundy-Japanese fusion cuisine. Have a look at their site (in French), Le Charlemagne, it'll give you an idea. And don't miss the wines there! :wink:

"Mais moi non plus, j'ai pas faim! En v'là, une excuse!..."

(Jean-Pierre Marielle)

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Places to go to in Burgundy :

- Le Chassagne in ... Chassagne-Montrachet.

Great food, great prices. Amazing wine list. Full of gems.

- Ma Cuisine in Beaune.

Great food, simple but perfect execution. A dream winelist (for the content *and* the prices)

- Les Tontons in Beaune.

Maybe not up to "Ma Cuisine" for the food but definitely in the top league. Another winelist that it fantastic.

Place where NOT to go in Burgundy:

- Le Jardin des Remparts in Beaune.

Over pretentious, too expensive. In one dinner, I had a badly denerved foie gras, a severely overcooked risotto, ice cream that looked like a heavy mousse... To top it all, wine service was not anything near satisfying and two of the waitresses were simply downright rude....

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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(Quite) new and (quite) exciting: le Charlemagne, in Pernand Vergelesses, where a young chef (trained in France and Japan) serves a quite modern Burgundy-Japanese fusion cuisine. Have a look at their site (in French), Le Charlemagne, it'll give you an idea. And don't miss the wines there!  :wink:

That's quite interesting. I noticed that he and his wife also appear to own a sushi restaurant with a Japanese chef. (For those that haven't followed the link, the chef's wife is Japanese and he's spent some time cooking in Japan.) The proof is in the tasting, but some of the dishes seem less restrained in their fusion than I might like. It's not the Japanese influences that struck me as such, but rather the coating of chorizo on a saddle of lamb.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Places not to go in Burgundy: (Lyon)

Paul Bocuse. Like eating inside of a birthday cake, and just as sickenly sugary. Plus we've never been able to figure out the traffic patterns or directions in Lyon, which have certainly coloured our view of the city. Don't drive into Lyon! You may never get out. It's easier driving in Paris.

We still love Georges Blanc, if you consider Vonnas/Macon- Burgundy. Even though its a bit like Disneyland, the food is very, very good. (Georges Blanc items for sale everywhere) and there are at least three options as to where you can dine. We've not tried anywhere but the gastronomique three star, though the other places look good.

There's an old fashioned place, bar/tabac in Flagy/Echezaux (sp?), that's extremely old fashioned and heavy, but delicous French food...Chez Jeannette is okay, near Savigny-les-Beaune...I know we went to some good places in Mersault or around there. (Memory, help!) Nolay, and then the town south of there! AARGGHH! I'll find it all and write later...

Added on edit -

Go to Ripert in Chalon-sur-Saone. We had lunch there, purely by accident and found out later that it's a Michelin rated place. Tiny, behind the sous prefecture on 31 rue St-Georges

F - 71100 CHALON SUR SAONE

Téléphone : 03 85 48 89 20

From the Michelin guide:

Périodes d'ouverture : fermé 17 au 25 avril, 1er au 22 août, dim. et lundi

Prix repas : 14/29

Only one waiter, charming room, but small.

In Flagey - Losset Robert

Adresse : Place de l'Eglise

F - 21640 FLAGEY ECHEZEAUX

Téléphone : 03 80 62 88 10

We've been there twice. He was one of the chefs on the SS France. Old style, small room and maybe a little past his prime, but enjoyable - if you're not after that real high end experience.

Edited by TarteTatin (log)

Philly Francophiles

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That's quite interesting. I noticed that he and his wife also appear to own a sushi restaurant with a Japanese chef.

Yes, absolutely. The place is brand new, but I didn't eat there: from what I saw on the menu, it was the same kind of french-japansese fare (did I see a camembert with shisho leaves?!

:blink: ), but not as expensive as Le Charlemagne. And there's a lovely japanese garden behind... People in Beaune told me they were really happy to have that kind of restaurant in the centre ville: it's new and really different in a place like that.

Btw, I also had lunch at The Jardin des remparts: everything was OK (it was two monthes ago), I especially remember a pigeon with petits pois (some of them were actually prepared like Adria does with his "melon caviar": small and jellified, really good!) and a pommard from Philippe Pacalet.

And there's this place that I find quite interesting as well: the Benaton, classic with a twist, not too expensive, cute and nicely designed salle à manger, cool staff. It's a small restaurant, so reservations required.

"Mais moi non plus, j'ai pas faim! En v'là, une excuse!..."

(Jean-Pierre Marielle)

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I can recommend a great place in Beaune where I ate a few weeks ago, Aux Vignes Rouges on rue Maufoux. Oeufs en meurette, tron Burgundy (sorbet), Charolais faux fillet with vegetables, lovely cheese, and chocolate tarte with a half bottle of an excellent Gevrey-Chambertin. Reasonable too - 57€10 for one, which included a kir and a bottle of water.

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Zouave, the disastrous dinner I had at Le Jardin des Remparts was about 3 months ago. While I know a restaurant can't always be grand on all aspects, this was a major f*** up and any critic would have downgraded them straight away. It was a very busy saturday night dinner, btw. But it does not excuse anyhting, we paid the full price.

I second "Le Benaton" as a recommandation. Very nice indeed.

"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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Places not to go in Burgundy: (Lyon)

Paul Bocuse. (...) We still love Georges Blanc, if you consider Vonnas/Macon- Burgundy.

Just to set our regional geography right, Lyon is by no means in Burgundy. It is the center for its own region, the Lyonnais. Mâcon and Mâconnais are part of South Burgundy, though Vonnas, at a short distance Eastward, is located in Bresse.

I, too, like Georges Blanc very much. The Disneyland aspect is undeniable but stops at the doors.

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I should also mention that if at all possible you try some of the fromage made by the monks of Abbaye Notre-Dame de Cîteaux. It is amazing!!! If you are driving through Burgundy, it is well worth a detour to purchase some cheese at their store and if you can combine it with a guided visit I think you'll find it very interesting. Their website has the necessary information. Their cheese is sold and served throughout Burgundy (and Europe) so if you make a point of asking for it, you might find it in other places.

It's a really yummy cheese :wub: and this site has a nice description. If you have the chance to try it, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

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I dont know if any of these suggestions are "new and exciting", but my wife and I were in Burgundy (Beaune, mainly) last fall for a few days and had two very good meals:

-Looks like you're already set for a place to stay, but if not, you should think about the Hostellerie de Levernois, which is just about 5 minutes SW of Beaune. This is a relais & chateaux property that is wonderful. Even if you don't stay there, a trip for dinner would be in order, as we had possibly our best meal (out of 10 days) in France at the Hostellerie. Very fresh, lively cuisine with the best cheese carts (yes, carts--there's a separate one just for the chevre) we saw during our entire trip. Service was impeccable--the sommelier even did a good job of hiding his surprise when he saw that my wife (the white burgundy lover) was going to be selecting the first wine of the evening.

-As far as other meals in the area go, we had a great dinner in Beaune at Caveau des Arches. This was a recommedation of the owners of the Hostellerie...I was slightly skeptical of this recommendation at first, as the picture of this place in the book we had looked EXTREMELY dated. But it turned out to be reasonably priced and excellent...this place is basically underneath the walls of the city near Place Madeleine. Far from being dated, the interior was wine cave meets sleek spa, with wood and stainless accents at the bar. This menu was somewhat traditional (escargot, jambon perseille), but with modern touches.

http://www.caveau-des-arches.com/

Edited by smorris291 (log)
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Place where NOT to go in Burgundy:

- Le Jardin des Remparts in Beaune.

Over pretentious, too expensive. In one dinner, I had a badly denerved foie gras, a severely overcooked risotto, ice cream that looked like a heavy mousse... To top it all, wine service was not anything near satisfying and two of the waitresses were simply downright rude....

i've always eaten well at jardin des ramparts, and it would be top on my list again when i head back to beaune. Most of the restaurants in beaune are very traditional (not necessarily a bad thing) but this is quite modern in a lovely old building.

ciboulette is nice for casual dining, and i too have heard good things about the hostellerie du levernois.

you don't win friends with salad

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