La Grand Vigne, Bordeaux, France



Chemin de Smith Haut-Lafitte, 33650 Martillec, France (00 33 5 57 83 83 83)

View and clientele

Overlooking a lake. The vineyards of Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte complete the portrait of bucolic bliss. Bordelais businessmen eat here to discuss vintages and vendanges. 8/10

Design and service

The wood patio for warm-weather eating, the airy and elegant interior for cooler days. Service is discreet and leisurely. Chef Didier Banyols won two Michelin stars at his former restaurant; one assumes they will be transferred to La Grand Vigne. 9/10

Romance factorAt sunset the lake reflects a light that flatters everything and everybody around it. 9/10

Snoot factor

This is the oldest and largest fine wine producing region in the world. 10/10

The menu

Three formulas: five courses with five wines; five seasonal courses with cheese; or a tiptoe through Banyols' repertoire. 9/10

Wine list

You choose from thousands of superb wines. You can stock up at the chateau's boutique and tour the vineyards after dining or take the lift to the Cigar Tower and crash out with a finely rolled Havana and a glass of vintage Port. 10/10


Fr300-Fr550 (£30-55).

Oh yeah, and the food

Exciting and original. Starters include rabbit with garlic and thyme and fricassee of scallops with chanterelle mushrooms, clams and pig's feet. Mains include red mullet stuffed to the gills with black sausage and vegetables and roasted pigeon with dry fruits and a date puree. And if you want to eat low calorie, there are gastronomically marvellous but nutritionally correct 500-calorie meals.