My first night in Lyon after a 24 hour journey, I was cold, tired and hungry. Perhaps tonight would be a baguette in bed. No, I could not do it, to be in Lyon, the culinary capital of France, and miss dinner – a sacrilege. So off I went to the concierge, Virginie, who speaks perfect English, for the best cafe where the locals dine.

We are staying at the highly recommended, hotel de Crequi Lyon Part Dieu, a great location for walking, dining, shopping and trains.
Lucky me, only a three minute stroll to Daniel et Denise, a place I had admired when I walked by earlier – small, intimate, red checkered linens, bright copper pans and regional French art. Just my kind of place, all the better, because one of employees had smiled at me as I walked past lugging my suitcase with 10 days worth of work and clothes. Maralyn and I are here as press to cover Bocuse d’Or.
Luckier still, I learned after I arrived that the chef-owner, Joseph Viola, is famous. Daniel et Denise won the Meilleur Ouevier de France Award for the best chef of the year in France, also for the Three Colors of Excellence. Chef Joseph has over 20 years among the stars of the Michelin galaxy. He is also on the council giving advice and training in other kitchens. I knew after first bite that all awards were well deserved.
Virginie added, “Make sure you try the boeuf (beef)” and so I did. It is the best steak au pouivre I have ever enjoyed, even in expensive, 5 star Parisian restaurants. I could taste the cognac and fresh pepper in the cream, yet it was subtle and served piping hot – not easy to do. Just thinking about the crispy pomme frites makes my mouth water. A small carafe of house regional Cotes de Rhone with fresh crusty bread made it the perfect first night in Lyon.
Daniel et Denise also was the best second night dinner. Maralyn arrived this afternoon, after an even longer journey from Phoenix. Always game, she said, “Where shall we go tonight?” That is easy, I told her. This is a town of the best bouchon Lyonnais in the world. But, I have to return to Daniel et Denise. I wanted Maralyn to experience the delightful staff and chef, and one of the best meals that I have devoured anywhere.
On my second night, not my last at Daniel et Denise, we celebrated the friendly people of Lyon and the delicious cuisine with a glass of kir royale. Even a simple supper of omlettes and pate tasted like a banquet.
Brenda C. Hill
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