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Lyon’s specialities

The best of Lyonnais cuisine

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Last updated date : 08/02/2024

World capital of gastronomy, Lyon boasts many absolutely delicious specialities. From starter to dessert, there is something to suit all tastes.

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Salade Lyonnaise

Let’s begin with something light: salade Lyonnaise is made with lettuce (usually dandelion greens), smoky bacon, croutons and a poached or soft-boiled egg. It can be enjoyed all year round.  It is an ideal dish to whet your appetite at the beginning of a meal.

Where to buy/taste it: try the one at La Meunière, then go to the Marché Saint-Antoine to buy the ingredients to make it at home.

Pâté en croûte au foie gras de canard et ris de veau - Joseph Viola © Julien Bouvier

Pâté en croûte

This is a delicious combination of charcuterie and pastry, made with cooked pâté in shortcrust pastry. It was one of the main dishes of medieval French cuisine. Originally, the pastry was not eaten, but helped preserve the meat for longer. Today, pâté en croûte is eaten pastry and all, and what a treat it is! Making it has become a true art form and there is even a world pâté en croûte championship!
Where to buy/taste it:
take a gourmet break at Daniel et Denise Croix-Rousse to taste Joseph Viola's pâté en croûte with duck foie gras and veal sweetbreads.

Rosette de Lyon

This saucisson sec, 40 cm long or more, is one of Lyon’s most iconic specialities. Rosette de Lyon goes very well with bread and butter, and can be enjoyed without moderation (or almost!)
Where to buy/taste it: follow the advice of Maison Duculty to buy the perfect rosette.

Le saucisson brioché de Jérémie Crauser © Delphine Castel

Saucisson brioché

This is made with a cooked Lyonnais saucisson, usually filled with pistachios, and wrapped in soft brioche bread. The delicious saucisson brioché is one of the stars of Lyonnais cuisine. It is simple and hits the spot. Find out whether you prefer it with or without pistachios!
Where to buy/taste it: Reynon Traiteur, an essential stop-off for mouth-watering Lyonnais specialities.

Quenelle Lyonnaise

Whether plain or pike-flavoured, quenelle is THE Lyonnais dish par excellence. Generally oven-cooked au gratin, and served with a tomato sauce, shrimp sauce (the famous Nantua sauce) or béchamel, quenelle Lyonnaise is a perfect dish for winter days, even though some people will tell you that it can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Where to buy/taste it:  at Maison Giraudet Bellecour, you can enjoy your quenelles on the spot or take them home with you.

Tablier de sapeur

A piece of tripe, marinated in white wine, cooked in stock and then coated with breadcrumbs. A culinary delight! Tablier de sapeur owes its unusual name to the Maréchal de Castellane, Lyon's military governor under Napoleon III and a former sapper (‘sapeur’ in French) in the military engineering corps. These soldiers wore a leather apron (‘tablier’ in French), which bears a canny resemblance with the dish.
Where to buy/taste it: La Tête de Lard or La Meunière, near Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Cervelle de canut

This recipe is a treat for the taste buds, which is made with drained fromage frais, garlic, shallots, chives, salt and pepper, mixed together and served with toast or boiled potatoes. Served as a starter or cheese course, cervelle de canut is named after Lyon’s silk-workers, known as ‘canuts’, who were unable to afford the delicacy of lamb's brains, and so instead ate this cheese speciality.
Where to buy/taste it: in any good Lyonnais bouchon such as Les Lyonnais or Les Fines Gueules.


We also talk about it in...

Cervelle-canuts-tricolore-couronne-de-pain - Stephanie Iguna


Cervelle de Canut, a refreshing spread



Originally from Saint-Marcellin in Isère (so not really from Lyon, we have to admit), the eponymous cheese does, however, owe its popularity to Mère Richard, a famous Lyonnais cheese seller specialised in maturing Saint-Marcellin, located at the Halles de Lyon indoor food market. We highly recommend going there for a taste! This cow’s milk cheese, soft with a bloomy rind, is considered by many to be one of the best French cheeses.
Where to buy/taste it: the La Mère Richard cheese dairy at the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse and the Café du Jura, 25 rue Tupin in the second arrondissement.

Tarte à la praline

While this tart topped with pink pralines seems to have been part of Lyon’s culinary heritage for ever, it only dates back to 1975. As visually attractive as it is delectable, it is a perfect sweet to end a meal. It also makes an excellent afternoon treat to go with your tea or coffee.
Where to buy/taste it: at Sève in the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse for a tasting at home, or served on a plate in the Lyon "bouchon" L'Acteur.

Coussin de Lyon

Made with a chocolate ganache filling coated in almond paste and flavoured with curaçao, this typically Lyonnais sweet was created in the 1960s by the chocolate-maker Voisin. A true local institution, which takes four days to make! Its shape and name recall the cushion on which municipal magistrates are said to have placed a seven-pound candle and a golden escutcheon, in 1643, to entreat the Virgin Mary to spare the city during an outbreak of the plague.
Wher to buy/ taste it: Wherever you are in the city, you'll never be far from a Chocolats Voisin shop to choose your Lyon confectionery.

Bugnes moelleuses © Delphine Castel

A sweet treat: bugnes

These delicious fritters are generally made just before Shrove Tuesday. Their name is derived from the local word ‘bugni’, which means ‘beignet’ (French for ‘fritter’ or ‘doughnut’). Here is a more detailed explanation from Antoine.

Where to buy/taste it: at Pignol on place Bellecour

Has this little selection of local specialities whet your appetite? To taste the best of Lyonnais cuisine, head to one of Lyon's certified bouchons or the Halles de Lyon.