Much of Bordeaux's cuisine involves wine, but the nearby Atlantic coast and the countryside provide excellent natural produce.
Sauce Bordelaise, served with grilled meats, is famous, while oysters, particularly local gravettes, are a good match with dry white wines, as are sole and mussels. Sturgeon, which used to be native to the rivers of the region, died out in the Gironde in the 1990s, but is being reintroduced, while caviar is being farmed.
Lamprey ? la Bordelaise is cooked in a sauce of its own blood and red Bordeaux wine, and for that reason, along with the quite striking ugliness of the fish, it may not be to all tastes.
Local snails, mushrooms, beef, lamb and foie gras all feature prominently on restaurant menus. Traditional dishes include entrecote ? la Bordelaise, made with rib steak from the Bazadais cattle that take their name from the southern Gironde town of Bazas. Pauillac is as famous for lamb as Bazas is for beef.
On the sweeter side, Bordeaux is known for delicate pastries called canele, first made, it is believed, by nuns to be given to the poor. St Emilion macaroons are also highly esteemed.
Visitors to Bordeaux have plenty of excellent restaurant options, serving not just Bordelais food but also cuisines from Asia, North Africa and further afield.
Frequent Bordeaux visitor Patricio de la Fuente Saez, of Hong Kong wine importer Links Concept, likes to go to Le Lion d'Or in Margaux, but at some point he finds time for a taste of home. 'There's a very good Chinese restaurant called Au Bonheur du Palais about 15 miles from Margaux, and I always go there because after a few days in France I need my rice and Chinese food. You can get fed up with duck and foie gras.'