One of my favorite corners in the first arrondissement in Lyon is Place Fernand Rey and Rue de Fargues. It’s a hidden street corner below Croix Rousse and right next to Place Sathonay. It’s about a five-minute walk from Place de Terreaux and a must visit when in Lyon.
Right before you enter Rue de Fargues, stop by Place Sathonay. It’s a square filled with energy and beauty. During the summer, you’ll find friends playing a game of Pétanque, families taking a stroll along the square and kids running around endlessly enjoying the outdoor space.
Then there’s Rue de Fargues. This vibrant and energy filled street is lined with great restaurants and shops painted in bright colors. The cobblestones take you back in time and the row of trees whisk you away from the hustle and bustle of Place des Terreaux. It’s my secret garden, although, I’m pretty sure every Lyonnaise already knows how lovely the street is.
It was a Wednesday afternoon and I just finished catching up with a friend over coffee and I was starting to get hungry. The weather was perfect and I knew Le Saint Vincent was the ideal spot to sit outside and completely escape.
I’ve walked by Le Saint Vincent many times, but I have never vistied. As I look at the menu written on the chalkboards, I got excited because it’s exactly what I was on the hunt for, innovated Lyonnaise dishes. I grab a table and as I was waiting for the waitress to hand me the menu, I was mesmerized by the restaurant and entire ambiance.
Plus, I’m a big Instagramer and this street will caption the best pictures of Lyon.
Le Saint Vincent is a small French Bouchon with a great terrasse (patio sitting area). The patio is right underneath a tree and you feel as if you’re on a movie set. The best part of my afternoon, besides the food, was seeing the bread delivered by the local boulangerie. The delivery man, whom I’m pretty sure was the baker, was carrying an empty bag of wheat flour stuffed with baguettes and an assortment of bread. As I watched him make his rounds to the different restaurants dropping of bread at each location, a smile came over me and I felt sublime. At that moment, the waitress walked over, snapped me out of my daze and showed me the menu.
For lunch, I decided to go with the entree, plat and wine.
I ask white wine, the demi bouteille, or half bottle of wine. Why not, it’s lunchtime.
The menu of the day was a mix of Lyonnaise classics with a twist. My waitress suggested for the entrée (which is your starter, it always throughs me off), Tartare de Harengs aux Deux Pommes. A mix of cooked herring (white fish), shallots, parsley, diced carrots, pommes de tierra (waxy potatoes), topped with julienne radishes, green apples and horseradish on the side for a bit of bite. I would consider it a twist to Herongs a la Lyonnaise or Herring Lyonnaise Style. The green apples bring a pleasantly sweet and light sour taste to the dish. The radish was refreshing and provided a nice contrasting texture with the softness of the fish and pommes de tierre.
The second dish arriveed and it’s Escalope de Veau au Saint Marcellin. Cooked veal lightly seasoned and served with a cream sauce. The sauce is made of three main ingredients, cream, veal stock and cubed Saint Marcellin cheese, a favorite among Lyonnaise. The veal also came with a side of ratatouille, roasted potatoes and you can bet I used my warm toasty bread to clean up my plate and soak up any leftover sauce.
At the end of the meal, I’m asked if I was ready for dessert. I look at my options, debating whether to get the final course. So many choices, but I eventually decide to opt-out, only because I’m seriously going to pop.
I do find it funny how I can’t manage to eat a three-course meal for lunch and some nights I can manage to eat a whole wheel of cheese and an entire saucisson sec all to myself. It could be all the delicious bread, I consume while I wait for my meal, who knows.
It was a perfect way to end a Wednesday afternoon and I’m glad I finally ate at Le Saint Vincent. It’s a quaint restaurant tucked away on a beautiful street. The food is excellent, the service is good and the view is whimsical. It might not have the look of your usual Bouchon, but the food is Lyonnaise with a modern take and that’s what I love about it.
Helpful Dining Tip:
If you’re dining in Lyon and having lunch in the city, here’s a useful tip. Some restaurants will have a set menu for the day and you have the option to choose a menu complet or choose different courses from the menu. Meaning, if you go with the menu complet, you’ll have a starter, main and dessert or in French, entrée, plat et dessert. The menu complet is usually a set price and it does not include drinks. You also have the option to choose the starter and main, or main and dessert. Or you can order the main alone. All options are priced slightly different but only by a few euros.
Typically, you go with the menu complet, but I personally still struggle to eat a three-course meal during lunch, because I always want to take a nap after. It could also be the wine.