On a small little street in Lyon sits a culinary treasure – Café des Federations. Suggested to us by one of my dear friends in Geneva, Lauren Collins, who is a talented free lance writer for the New Yorker magazine, this restaurant was nothing short of amazing. The small space is ornately decorated with posters, pictures and memorabilia from the region while the noise carries from table to table as people coo over the delicious Lyonnaise cuisine.
Lyonnaise cuisine refers to the cooking traditions and practices of Lyon, brought the the region in the 16th century by Catherine de Medici. She brought her cooks to the court and requested that they prepare dishes using the local produce while still leveraging their Florence training. Since then the cuisine has become known across the world and it had since helped put Lyon on the map as the ‘’world gastronomy capital”.
The common dishes include coq au vin, Lyonnaise potatoes, poached eggs in red wine, pistachio sausage, charcuterie, and Beaujolais red wine. Sharing a bottle of wine at lunch felt like such an abnormal treat as it isn’t often that mom and I have wine with lunch, much less sip our way through an entire bottle!
Their lunch menu is quite simple, which after a few overwhelming menus this weekend was a welcome change. The classic menu, which is 19.50 euro per person, included the following delicious dishes:
- Delicatessen Lyon
- Caviar de la Croix Rousse
- Salad of the day (lentils)
- Rillette herring
- A hot dish of our choice – Stewed pork cheek, crayfish dumpling and chicken liver
There really is no way to describe the lunch other than to say that every dish was absolutely incredible in a rustic, French way that left us craving more but too stuffed to think of having another bite. The staff, including the owner, was so sweet and hospitable that we found ourselves laughing and making conversation with them. It didn’t hurt to see that for once we had planned accordingly, thanks to Lauren’s guidance, and made reservations. In the two hours that we sat enjoying our meal more than 40 people walked in, trying to snag a table to no avail.
When in Lyon, go to Café des Federations. We just discovered that they also serve dinner which will be a no miss destination on our next trip. Until then, when in Lyon, do not ask questions, do not question the menu, do not think about a diet, but instead indulge and enjoy everything they serve or offer you. It will be incredible and you’ll remember the meal for ages.