The Nord region has a strong culinary identity, with a range of local specialities like Maroilles cheese, chips, beer and waffles. Its gastronomy is renowned for being hearty and generous, just like its people.
Lille, the region’s capital, is a Mecca for the culinary arts. It was even voted best European city for food in 2020! It boasts many restaurants, especially “estaminets”, the region’s typical brasseries, where you can always expect a warm and inviting ambiance. This beautiful city will delight your taste buds with its numerous specialities, as well as its unique and eclectic establishments.
So, if you’re a food lover, Lille is definitely somewhere you’ll want to visit the next time you’re in France!
MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS AND ESTAMINETS IN LILLE
Au vieux de la Vieille
A traditional estaminet offering typical northern dishes. You’ll be treated to welsh with Maroilles cheese, Flemish stew, potjevleesch, chips, and much more besides… It’s the ideal place to taste Lille’s emblematic flavours.
Located on the little Place aux Oignons in Old Lille, this spot will seduce with its charming setting as well as its excellent food.
Les Compagnons de la grappe
This restaurant at the end of a cul-de-sac often catches the eye with its beautiful terrace. And it’s just as stylish inside. Everything combines to create a warm and intimate atmosphere that contrasts with the bustling Grand’Place, just a few steps away. Les Compagnons de la Grappe offers “ch’tis” specialities and more. The dishes are delicious and the prices reasonable. The terrace is extremely popular, so you’ll probably have to wait a little to get a place in summer.
Chef Florent Ladeyn, a Top Chef season 4 finalist, offers us two concepts in his Flemish style restaurant: On the ground floor is Bierbuik, a “brewpub”, which is a mix between a pub, a beer hall, a microbrewery and a restaurant. This new generation estaminet serves drinks and dishes made exclusively with local products. It’s open for lunch and dinner, with no reservation required.
Upstairs is Bloemeke, offering bistronomic cuisine with a unique formula: a blind menu (starter, main course, dessert and drink for €25 per person). It’s great value for money and the food is excellent! It’s all local cuisine, with a strong identity, and some original and out there flavours. A real treat!
The perfect place to enjoy delicious home-made and 100% vegan dishes! The menu changes every week and offers generous dishes based on fresh, local, and organic produce. They also serve brunch every Sunday.
The cheerful team is there to welcome you to this cosy, beautifully decorated little spot. It’s one of my favourite places in Lille. Pets are also welcome.
MY FAVOURITE PÂTISSERIES IN LILLE
Les Merveilleux de Fred
A must-have on any visit to Lille! This meringue-based dessert coated with chocolate shavings is, as its name suggests, just “marvellous”. With dark chocolate, white chocolate-speculoos (my favourite), coffee flavour and many more, you can buy these little delicacies to share or in individual sizes, and they simply melt in your mouth.
You may have to exercise a little patience to get one though, as there’s always a queue for the famous Merveilleux! While waiting your turn you can watch the pastry chefs in action, as they make them by hand in front of the customers. Their reputation has even transcended borders and they now have shops in several countries around the world!
MY FAVOURITE TEA ROOMS IN LILLE
A Lille institution since 1849! Their speciality: the Meert waffle, whose recipe has remained unchanged since its creation. This iconic delicacy has made the company famous. Traditionally filled with vanilla, it’s available in a number of flavours, like chicory or speculoos.
This chic tea room is the perfect place to enjoy this speciality, with a cup of tea of course. You can also try some of their other tasty offerings.
L’Impertinente has become one of Lille’s must-visit establishments, offering little sweet treats, each more delicious than the last, accompanied by flavoured teas. The “Impertinents” make their famous “gâtals”, as they call them, with lashings of flavour, humour, and downright deliciousness. All this combined with a warm and friendly atmosphere! This charming little spot will really make you feel at home.
Their speciality: the millionaire peanut shortbread, a real treat!
Expect to queue at teatime, as the tea room attracts hordes of foodies (and it’s easy to see why!)
MY FAVOURITE BAR IN LILLE
The Luck offers home-made food and craft beers but above all hundreds of board games. This fun-filled brewery proclaims “Drink. Eat. Play”, all in a warm, family-like atmosphere. It’s a great bar for discovering or rediscovering games, as explained by the game sommeliers. Their food and cocktails are excellent, and they offer a great à la carte brunch at the weekend.
Access to the games library is 5 euros per person.
Le Bistrot de Saint So
This bar-restaurant is located in the Gare Saint Sauveur, a former marshalling yard transformed into a cultural space. This atypical industrial setting plays host to numerous events, including concerts and exhibitions. The “St So” bistro is a friendly, dynamic place, perfect for enjoying the bar, the restaurant or the terrace in summer. They serve tasty traditional dishes, including brunch on weekends, and they organise a number of themed evenings (shows, concerts, DJ sets, and so on).
A great place to eat, drink and dance!
MY FAVOURITE BRUNCH SPOTS IN LILLE
Located between République Beaux-Arts and the Lille-Flandres train station, Wallys is a bright, friendly café with industrial style décor. Here you can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch or even an afternoon snack!
They’re particularly known for their “freakshake”, which consists of a milkshake topped with a cake of your choice + a coulis. Maximum indulgence! They also offer delicious weekend brunches with pancakes, toast, bowls, etc…
La Wilderie is both a café-restaurant and a garden centre. You can buy pretty plants, sit down to eat, or both! The restaurant’s philosophy is to create a new menu every week, always with a vegetarian option, using fresh, seasonal produce.
A daily brunch is served, and it’s always really tasty. La Wilderie also organises creative workshops on selected Sundays, including topics such as pottery, embroidery and upcycling.
Now you know where to treat yourself during your next stay in Lille. Whether you want to taste Lille’s specialities, discover new concepts, have a drink with friends, have a little snack break or enjoy a good brunch… There’s something for everyone! This is by no means a comprehensive list. Lille has a host of other great places that I will leave you to discover on your next visit.