[boo-shon; Fr. boo-shawn]

A bouchon is a type of restaurant found in Lyon, France, that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork. Compared to other forms of French cooking such as nouvelle cuisine, the dishes are quite fatty, and heavily oriented around meat. There are around 20 officially certified traditional bouchons, but a larger number of establishments describing themselves using the term.

Typically, the emphasis in a bouchon is not on haute cuisine, but rather, a convivial atmosphere and a personal relationship with the owner.


The tradition of bouchons came from small inns visited by silk workers passing through Lyon in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

According to Le petit Robert this name derives from the 16th century expression for a bunch of twisted straw. A representation of such bundles began to appear on signs to indicate restaurants, and by extension the restaurants themselves became known as bouchons. The more common use of "bouchons" as a stopper at the mouth of a bottle, and its derivatives, have a different etymology.


These bouchons are considered "authentic", as certified by the organisation Les Authentiques Bouchons Lyonnais: Abel, Brunet, Café des deux places, Café des fédérations, Daniel et Denise, Chez Georges le petit bouchon, Les gones, Hugon, Le Jura, Chez Marcelle, Le Mercière, La mère Jean, Le mitonné, Le Morgon, Le musée, Chez Paul, Les Trois Maries, A ma vigne, and Le Vivarais. The list is somewhat subject to fluctuation.

The Petit Damier and Le Connétable on the Rue de l'Arbre Sec should also not be missed.

While many bouchons are now oriented strongly towards the tourist market, with increased prices and less traditional fare as a result, a typical meal in a real bouchon costs around €12-15 as of 2006.


Typical items in the bouchon repertoire include:Soup: Tripe soup, pumpkin soupSalads and cold entrées: Chicken liver salad, pig's head cheese, groins d'âne moulinhuile, marinaded herrings, salade Lyonnaise (lettuce with bacon, croutons, and a poached egg)Hot entrées: Chicken liver cake, boudin (sausage, usually served with warm apples)Offal: Andouillette (pork offal sausage), assorted offal gratinFish: Stingray, quenelles (fish dumplings), grilled filletsMeat: Coq au vin, pot au feu (pot roast), chicken thighs stuffed with morelsVegetables: Cardoon à la moelle (in bone marrow), barboton, pailasson de LyonCheese: Saint-Marcellin, Saint-Félicien, Rigotte de CondrieuDesserts: Walnut pie, lemon meringue pie, caramelized apples, bugnes de Lyon (miniature beignets)


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