The capital of French Flanders, Lille is a haven for foodies with a wide range of local dishes and flavours served up against a backdrop of elegant architecture, world-class museums and a vibrant cultural scene. Traditional dishes here are robust – think hearty, slow-cooked stews and recipes flavoured with local beer or Maroilles cheese.

For full-on atmosphere, try one of the city’s popular estaminets, Flemish ‘pub-style’ restaurants serving authentic regional dishes.

But Lille has something for everyone, including two Michelin-starred restaurants in the city centre and four more in the wider metropolitan area, all working with local produce.

Read Top 10 Things to Do in Lille

Fancy some fast food? Mussels and chips is the go-to light meal here. Visit over the first weekend in September when restaurants vie to have the largest pile of mussel shells during the biggest open-air flea market in Europe, the Grande Braderie de Lille, which attracts some 10,000 sellers

Unmissable local dishes and produce in Lille

  • Carbonnade flamande: Flemish beef stew simmered in beer with slices of gingerbread, and served with frites.
  • Le Welsh: A Flemish twist on Welsh rarebit. Toast with ham and topped with copious amounts of Cheddar simmered in beer. Frites an optional extra.
  • Potjevleesch: ‘Meat in a pot’. A mix of white meats such as rabbit, pig, veal and poultry stewed with herbs and served in jelly, it’s similar to a terrine. Served with frites, of course!
  • Flamiche au Maroilles: a calorific but delicious pie made with pastry and local Maroilles cheese along with cream, eggs and bacon lardons.
  • Les Gaufres Lilloise: visit Pâtisserie Méert’s chic tea room for their famous vanilla waffles, loved by de Gaulle, Churchill and Jackie Kennedy. Visit website here.

Must do foodie experiences in Lille

  • Drop in on expert pâtissier Frédéric Vaucamps to taste Les Merveilleux, his version of traditional meringues with lavish toppings. Visit website here.
  • The first brewery tourist agency in France, L’Échappée Bière showcases the world of craft beer through fun tastings and brewery tours. Visit website here.
  • Enjoy regional dishes at Estaminet au Vieux de la Vieille, a typical estaminet with terrace tables in one of Lille’s prettiest pedestrian squares. Visit website here.
  • Using only organic local produce, young chef Florent Ladeyn brings traditional Flemish recipes up to date at Bloempot. Visit website here.
  • For Michelin-starred food in the city centre, try Le Cerisier or La Table du Clarance.

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Article from Taste of France Issue Four.

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