Typical Lyonnais Meals You Have To Try

Published: 2024/03/13

Find out about the typical Lyonnais dishes you have to try to get the best French cuisine experience


Once you know the base of the Lyonnais Specialities, it’s high time to learn about the typical meals you’ll find in Lyonnais restaurants.


As per France in general, and Lyon in particular, the main typical Lyonnais meal will consist of an appetizer, a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert. A quick word of warning: “entrée” can be used in other parts of the world to mean “main dish,” but in French it actually means “appetizer.” So stick with “entrée” for appetizer and “plat” for main dish, and you’ll come out on the other side with a full stomach and a great experience.


Best appetizers in Lyon, France

In Lyon appetizers are called “Entrées”

  • Salade de foies de volailles (Chicken liver salad): lettuce with pan fried chicken liver
  • Cervelle de canut (Silk worker’s brains): a cheese spread/dip. The dish has a base of fromage blanc, seasoned with chopped herbs, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar.
  • Tripe soup (Pumpkin soup): nowadays served mainly in bouchons
  • Fromage de tête (Pork head cheese) – and surprise here. Head cheese is not what you think it is. It is not a dairy cheese, but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig, or less commonly a sheep or cow.  It is a type of cold cut.
  • Groins d’âne salad (literally, “donkey snout” salad): salad made with bacon and eggs
  • Marinated herrings
  • Salad de clapotons (Sheep’s trotters salad)
  • Tête de veau (Poached calf’s head): usually made of beef, veal or calf’s brains
  • Salade Lyonnaise: green salad served with lardons (bacon strips), croutons, mustard dressing, and a poached egg)
  • Gateau de volaille (Chicken liver cake)
  • Boudin noir: blood sausage, usually served with warm apples
  • Cochonnaille de porc (Cold meats): rosette, jésus, saucisson are different kind of air cured pork meat
  • Soupe à l’oignon Lyonnaise (Lyon onion soup): a soup with onions (obviously;-)
  • Fonds d’artichauts aux foie gras (Artichoke hearts with foie gras)
  • Saucisson de Lyon brioché (Sausage in brioche): this is the cooked sausage in a brioche
  • Gougères au fromage (French Cheese Puffs): great as an apperatif
  • Saucisson cuit (Cooked sausage): this is a boiled big sausage that could have pistachios or truffles inside and served with boiled potatoes and butter
  • Tripes à la lyonnaise (Assorted offal gratin): pan fried tripes in thin pieces with onions and garlic and grilled in the oven with bread crumbs. It is usually served with potatoes puree.
  • Cardon à la moelle (Cardoon in bone marrow) a very typical vegetable prepared in gratin with a kind of béchamel, cream and flavoured with bone marrow.



Main dishes

Top dishes to taste in Lyon, France

Typical main dishes or “plats” you can try out in Lyon.

  • Quenelles (Ground fish dumplings): mixture of minced and creamed fish, chicken, or meat, sometimes combined with breadcrumbs, with a light egg binding. It is the most famous, popular and typical Lyonnais meal. Its very time consuming and difficult to make so havea  look how the real chef makes them.
  • Coq au vin (Rooster in wine sauce): chicken, herbs and vegetables cooked in a Burgundy wine sauce; very popular in Lyon
  • Tablier de sapeur (Breaded Tripe): part of the beef stomach that has a typical shape of honeycomb, boiled and marinated in white wine before to be pan fried with bread crumbs
  • Pot au feu (Pot roast): French stew made with beef meats like oxtail or marrow bone with turnips, potatoes, leeks, celery and carrots
  • Poulet de Bresse aux morilles ou poulet de Bresse à la crème  (Chicken thighs stuffed with morels or chicken with cream sauce) made with chicken from Bresse which is located near Lyon and so it is its speciality
  • Gras double (Tripe cooked with onions)
  • Gâteau de foies de volaille et quenelles sauce aurore (Chicken liver cake and dumplings aurora sauce)
  • Oeufs en Meurette (Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce)
  • Petit salé aux lentilles (Salt pork with lentils)
  • Poulet au vinaigre à la lyonnaise (Chicken in the vinigar sauce) make it or visit Lyonnais bouchon
  • Sabodet et pommes de terre à la Lyonnaise (Sabodet and potatoes Lyonnaise)
  • Barboton: lamp stew with potatoes and vegetables, this it a traditional dish of Saint Etienne



Side dishes

Best side dishes in Lyon, France

Side dishes: ask for les accompagnements in French

  • Gratin Dauphinois (Gratin potatoes) a rich gratin of sliced potatoes and cream, typically made with thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream, cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic. Check out for this amazing bistro style recipe and try out or learn more on how to make a perfect gratin potatoes when you are not French…
  • Gratin de queues d’écrevisses (Gratin of crayfish tails)
  • Paillasson Lyonnais (Doormat from Lyon): a simple dish which is easy to cook as it is only made from potatoes and butter!
  • Paillasson de pomme de terre au jambon (Apple doormat earth Ham)
  • Sauce lyonnaise: a French sauce of white wine, vinegar and onions served with small cuts of meat principally for left-overs
  • Leeks gratin: a very popular gratin among others (pumpkin and onion)
  • Gratin de cardon (Cardoon gratin): made of the vegetable’s stems, which are topped with a browned crust and often served with cream





Les Desserts Lyonnais

Les Desserts Lyonnais

  • Bugnes de Lyon (Angel Wings, Miniature beignets): typical dessert Lyon’s fritter with icing sugar. Here is the recipe.
  • Pralines which are made of almonds wrapped with cooked sugar and pink food colouring. This hard sweet is for eating directly or for baking more desserts. Looking great, tasting very sweet!
  • Tarte aux pralines (Pralines tart) Don’t try to make just visit Jocteur Boulangerie for an unforgettable experience
  • Brioche aux pralines (Pralines brioche)
  • Caramelized apples
  • Coussin de Lyon: a sweet specialty of Lyon composed of chocolate and marzipan. It has a pillow shape of pale green marzipan, with dark green netting, filled with a chocolate and flavoured with curacao..unusual & interesting taste from Voisin
  • Beignets de fleurs d’acacia (Fritters acacia flowers)
  • Papillotes – chocolate pralines for a Christmas period but I would eat it all year long. Thanks Revillon Chocolatier
  • Galette bressane / Pâte à tarte montée (sweet pie dough) Check out for this easy to follow galette bressane recipe
  • The Matefaim Lyonnais looks a lot like a cross between a normal cake and a traditional crêpe. It is a big French crêpe with an apple
  • Bresse praline pie is an another pie made with yeast and obviously pralins
  • Tarte au citron meringue ( Lemon meringue pie)


Wow, there’s certainly plenty to choose from, and everything is good in its own specific way. So how does it sound to you?

Try them out, enjoy, and impress others…. Hope you like it!

Want come over to try it out yourself? It is an experience that you will not forget. But it’s not always so easy to pick up and travel just for the sake of a meal!

Looks like it’s time to put Lyon on your list of places worth visiting, and in the meantime you can cook up a storm with these recipes of top lyonnais dishes.



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