After a crash course in Burgundy wine at Bouchard Aîné & Fils (thanks Ray) we walked through Beaune’s city center to see if things were a little more lively around lunch time….not really. Still a Sunday ghost town.
So we made our way back to our B&B (Les Chambres L’Imprimerie) and asked Marie and Sébastien if they had any recommendations for lunch. Both of them warned us of the shortage of restaurants open for lunch on Sundays, and since it was approaching 1:00pm she thought it prudent we call ahead and let whichever restaurant we choose know we’re “on our way” so they don’t close up before 2pm, which is typical on Sundays. The restaurant she recommended—Le Montrachet—was in Puligny-Montrachet just a few villages south of Beaune (10-15 mins car ride).
The town of Puligny-Montrachet is idyllic. A quintessential French countryside village with narrow winding streets and homes with wooden shudders constructed of stones laid by hand centuries ago.
Le Montrachet was the obvious choice, because it’s part of a small boutique hotel and one of the larger restaurants in Puligny-Montrachet. Marie figured they’d be open and able to take us, and with the weather being sunny and 70, she suggested we sit outside on their beautiful patio overlooking the garden.
The place is definitely popular because when we arrived, it was packed and they weren’t able to seat us.
Bistro L’Estaminet des Maix in Puligny-Montrachet
This ended up being a blessing in disguise, because just steps away, passed a fountain and across the square was a bistro (L’Estaminet des Maix) that ended up being the perfect place for an afternoon meal.
L’Estaminet des Maix, is a small bistro in the heart of Puligny-Montrachet at the corner of a small park in town where if the weather is nice, you can see locals playing boules (lawn bowling). They offer a variety of salads, small and large plates and a selection of local wines. Make sure to look at the special of the day, because it wasn’t until we’d already eaten that I saw an Époisses flatbread appetizer, which looked like the most amazing plate of food I’d seen in years!
Their wine list was comprised mainly of wines from the region with a few exceptions. They offered bottles, half bottles and also carafes of some. It was warm out, we were sitting on their covered patio and thought a rosé would be nice and ordered a carafe of the rosé du pays d’oc, which our waiter recommended. It was thirst quenching!
Jonathan and I each had a Caesar salad, because we desperately needed some fiber after the cheese buffet at breakfast. What wasn’t clear is that we could add chicken, which we did, and that made it an entire meal in itself.
Additionally I ordered an interesting chicken and chorizo dish with mashed potatoes and a saffron cream sauce. It was smoky, rich and delicious!
Jonathan had the tenderloin steak with a shallot cream sauce with fries (cause they’re already French) on the side. The steak was tender and cooked medium rare. The sauce was fantastic on the beef, and whatever was left on the plate, we sopped up with fritz.
If you find yourself in Puligny-Montrachet around lunchtime, I highly recommend you check out L’Estaminet des Maix. In addition to being one of the few places in town open on a Sunday, they offer a variety of classic French dishes (steak tartar anyone) with some a little unconventional to spice things up. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists, and the smiling staff hustles to earn their keep. You can do some great people watching from their outdoor patio where you can smoke if you like, and the prices are more than reasonable.