Bordeaux through the eyes (and stomach) of a California girl

My top 15 trendy restaurants and top 5 coffee shops in Bordeaux! (in no particular order because I can’t choose)

Hi! I’m Sydney, a third-year college student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through the Education Abroad Program, I have been studying at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne for the past four months and have loved every minute of it. I am also an intern at Kweezine, the perfect company for a gourmande like myself.


I am a huge foodie, with a particular love for healthy and trendy restaurants. I am not vegan/vegetarian, however, in my opinion, the plant-based restaurants in Bordeaux have the tastiest and most nutritious food because of how fresh the ingredients are (Don’t worry if this type of food isn’t your thing – not all the spots I listed are plant-based).


One of my favorite activities is going around Bordeaux (and just about any city) and trying new restaurants. I document my experiences through photos on my food Instagram account @french.squirrel. If there’s a bowl on the menu, you’ll find me there.


The French lifestyle also includes “la pause de l’après midi,” where one takes a coffee break in the late afternoon, to either sit and watch the world go by, or chat with friends. Thanks to Bordeaux, this has now become a part of my lifestyle and I will definitely bring it back to the U.S. with me. Every coffee shop I’ve listed has alternative milks (or what the French call “lait végétal”), which in my book, classifies it as trendy. As a student, I’ve gotten many questions about which coffee shops allow laptops, so I will include that here as well.


1. Cofete.B

My neighbor, this restaurant down my street is Bordeaux in a nutshell. Cofete.B is a cozy, hidden restaurant with the sweetest owner and chef. Each day they get the freshest, seasonal vegetables at the market and create a new veggie bowl of the day. I never have to check their instagram to see what the new dish is, because I am certain it’s always good. Because it’s so fresh, there are only a limited amount of ingredients – so make sure to DM them on instagram to reserve your bowl!

The price of their veggie bowl fluctuates by day, their Saturday mini brunch is either 10 or 12 euros depending on the option you choose, and their Sunday brunch is 22 euros.


Insta: @cofete.b

2. Kitchen Garden

Don’t let the vegan/vegetarian name scare you! Kitchen Garden does a healthy take on ethnic dishes and has a lovely atmosphere! I love to sit outside and eat my pretty squash bowl (served with a WHOLE, stuffed mini squash) and watch everyone walk through Saint-Colombe square. The squash bowl is delicious, but my favorite for a cold Bordeaux day is the Habibi bowl- a cozy bowl of couscous with loads of seasonal vegetables. You can also start with a hummus-filled avocado!


Their bowls range from 13-16 euros.



Insta: @bykitchengarden

3. Contrast

The most insta-worthy brunch out there! I told my friend that if I were to save up my money for only one brunch in Bordeaux, it’d be Contrast. This isn’t just a regular brunch, I’d call it a work-of-art brunch. It was my first brunch in Bordeaux, and after trying multiple restaurants, Contrast still earns my must-try title. I’d recommend going during the week because it can get busy. But if you are going on the weekend, my advice is to get there before they open because a LINE forms outside…it’s that good.


When you go (because you can’t leave Bordeaux without trying it), be sure to get the “Formule Brunch,” which includes a taste of just about everything- a coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, avocado or beet hummus toast (get both and with salmon and an egg for sure), yogurt granola bowl or smoothie bowl, and their mini pancakes with your choice of syrup!)


Their regular brunch menu is 22 euros, and their vegan option (which comes with coconut yogurt instead of plain yogurt) is 25 euros.


Avocado and beet hummus toast

Insta: @contrast_brunch


As stated above, my favorite activity is exploring a city and trying new restaurants. However, you’ll know I really like a place if I go back multiple times. That is definitely the case with NALA, a healthy restaurant with a beautiful patio and the most colorful bowls! All the bowls come vegan/vegetarian at first, and my favorite part is that you can add chicken (which is very tasty) to any bowl. They also have hazelnut-crusted chicken tenders- now that’s what I call trendy.


In France it’s hard to find a restaurant that makes accommodations so I appreciate that NALA lets me do so- my favorite is the NALA bowl with chicken and I sub the cheese for avocado. One of the cleanest meals I’ve had in Bordeaux.


Their bowls range from 13-15 euros (+2 euros for chicken).



Insta: @nalabordeaux

5. Charle’s

A hidden gem! My favorite cuisine has to be Mediterranean, and one rainy day I walked into Charle’s, in the same square as Kitchen Garden, and was so happy to find this hummus bowl. I’ve had a lot of pita bread in my life, and I have to say that this was the best pita I’ve ever had.


What made my experience even better- the nicest chef made the hummus bowl right in front of me, which is a base of hummus topped with Israeli salad, a hard-boiled egg, baked eggplant, and Greek yogurt. He then asked me if I wanted a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top and that’s when I knew I found the right place (haha). Love the shakshuka as well!


My meal was around 11 euros.

Hummus bowl and pita

Insta: @charles.atelierculinaire

6. Les Milles et une Nuits

The best Lebanese food in Bordeaux, and even better, their falafel. I recommend doing their assortment spread which comes with a little bit of everything (hummus, falafel, tabouleh, grilled chicken/lamb kebabs, a pastry tasting with baklava, and more!).


Their assortment spread is 21 euros a person!

7. Le Marrakech

Continuing on the Mediterranean train, you can find the most cozy bowl of couscous at Le Marrakech, a traditional Moroccan restaurant. I eat here when craving something warm but still light and clean. I love their vegetarian couscous that comes with a side of the plumpest chickpeas and sweet, golden raisins.


Their couscous ranges from 13-16 euros.

8. Horace Cafe

I love the unique breakfast and brunch at Horace Cafe, but especially their fresh cookies (tip: ask them to re-heat it!) Their main dish comes in 2 forms: vegetarian or with meat. It’s perfect for when you are going out with friends who have differing eating habits because in this way, everyone is pleased! They certainly have a more creative style of food, and even though the main dish changes, it is always interesting to see what they come up with.


Their weekend brunch menu is 22 euros and includes a coffee, juice, main dish and a dessert, but you can go during the week and have one of the items off their regular menu (like a yogurt & granola bowl)!



9. Bibibap

I am now obsessed with bibibap and Korean food because of the restaurant Bibibap. Please come to Los Angeles ASAP!! They do traditional bibibap, Korean rice bowls, but with a modern twist – with black rice, fresh vegetables, a poached egg and your choice of protein (They are famous for their crispy chicken but I prefer their delicious glazed tofu!!)


All their bibipaps are 12 euros!

bordeaux | 5

Insta: @bibibapbordeaux

10. Munchies

I wish I had discovered Munchies earlier because they make an amazing veggie bowl! They’re a 100% vegan restaurant but unfortunately are only open Monday-Friday. They use seasonal ingredients, so, like Cofete.B and Cafe PIHA (who I will mention later), make sure to call to reserve your bowl.


The bowl of the day I had was 11 euros.

Rainbow bowl

Insta: @munchiesbordeaux

11. Le Petit Commerce

For the freshest fish in Bordeaux and a French dining experience, make sure to eat at Le Petit Commerce. The owner is my absolute favorite human, and his dog Napoleon is the cutest. This was the first restaurant I ate at in Bordeaux with my mom, and it was a lovely experience I’ll never forget.


The price fluctuates depending on the fish/catch of the day but I usually get the salmon or sole. P.S. They have the best homemade cannelés (and I don’t even particularly like cannelés)!!


Insta: @lepetitcommercebdx

12. Restaurant LouLou

To have another typical French dining experience, but still healthy, I recommend LouLou for sure. I have been here multiple times, and their staff is just wonderful.


It is such a pleasure to enjoy a meal outside, so if their patio seating is open, it’s a must. If you’re dining with others, split the quinoa salad (which is normally a main course) as an appetizer. I am in love with their seared tuna and roasted vegetables and their sea bass fillet that comes with zoodles (zucchini noodles- trendy alert!!)


Insta: @restaurantloulou

13. Michel’s

Another hidden trendy gem, Michel’s Bistro is the cutest restaurant on the corner of Rue du pas. They serve the best falafel platter in a cast-iron skillet with seasonal vegetables, and the most luxurious tuna tartare in the game.


When I sit on their patio, I feel like I am a part of a classic French movie scene.


The falafel platter is 13 euros and the tartare is 16 euros.


Insta: @michels.bistro.bordeaux


14. Mampuku

Another one of my neighbors, Mampuku has to be one of the hippest restaurants in Bordeaux. A Korean and Middle-Eastern fusion restaurant, it is the perfect place to go with a group of people because you share multiple plates (totally worth the price as the food is an ART and includes dessert). The staff hands you a checklist of their 10 dishes, and you and your group of friends mark the ones you want- and they come out separately).


My favorites were the #2 (Freekeh- artichoke and laban kishk with an egg, atop spiced grains), #10 (Taleh – lamb meatballs with tahini) and the Dla ‘At dessert, a mini pumpkin filled with an amazing ice cream and topped with rosewater jelly). Needless to say, this was one of the coolest meals I’ve had.


I split the 4-dish menu + dessert with my friend, which was 28 euros a person.


Insta: @mampuku_restaurant


15. Komo Mai Poke


If you are a California native, you understand when that poke craving hits. And Komo Mai Poke definitely satisfies that craving with their fresh fish and endless toppings. My favorite part is their option for a quinoa/bulgur base and that avocado isn’t extra!


The price depends on the bowl that you build.


Poke bowl

Insta: @komomai_poke


(all of which have good food, too)

1. Blacklist

Absolutely adore this cute, little coffee shop! You will find me at Blacklist at least three times a week sipping on my oat milk cappuccino. The woman who works there most days of the week, Clementine, is the sweetest and makes the best cappuccino. They also have mostly plant-based food during the early afternoon and a delicious carrot cake amongst other baked goods. When the weather is nice, I love to sit outside by their purple and red tables and watch the Bordelais walk around, with the tram going by.



Insta: @blacklistcafe



Cafe PIHA has an inviting, friendly environment. It is the perfect sized coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee, eat, or work. I love the actual taste of their coffee, as they roast their own coffee which you can see in the back of the place! In my opinion, they have the best food of all the coffee shops– their veggie bowl is so yummm. You can call to reserve it, too!


Veggie bowl

Insta: @cafepiha_bordeaux

3. Cafeincup

I love the vibes in Cafeincup and I definitely recommend for studying/working! It reminds me of back home in California, which is probably why I feel so comfortable there. The only thing on the menu I am able to recommend is the veggie bowl of the month which has been great so far. Whenever I want a snack, I always have their perfect snack-sized yogurt granola bowl with fruit.



Insta: @cafeincup

4. Plume

One of the best and strongest cups of coffee in Bordeaux! Their soy milk cappuccino wakes me up in an instant. And if you’re like me and not always in the mood for pastries or banana bread, Plume offers a side of fresh fruit that you can enjoy with your coffee. I also recommend their bright and refreshing yogurt and granola for breakfast!



Insta: @plumesmallkitchen

5. SIP

SIP is definitely one of the bigger coffee shops in Bordeaux because of its higher ceilings. It is a nice place to talk with friends, but in order to work on your laptop, you have to sit upstairs by the designated table, and I prefer the downstairs much more. Word on the street is they serve a goo-d lunch but I have yet to try it!

(Semi laptop-friendly)


Insta: @sip_coffeebar

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