Restaurants in and near Cahors
Le Balandre *** (in the Hotel Terminus, near the station) Telephone: 05 65 53 32 00
Once the best restaurant in the Lot (it had a Michelin star), it's elegant but friendly. The food is excellent and the wine list is incredible. About 100 euros per person including fine wine.
L'Ô à la Bouche *** 56 les allées Fénelon. Telephone: 05 65 35 65 69
Attractive restaurant with out-of-the ordinary food, centrally located (above the underground car park). Good service.
Le Lamparo * Opposite the covered market (La Halle) on the South side. Where the local business folks eat lunch. Inexpensive. Fills up by 12:30. For those days when you don't want to spend two hours on a meal. In the evening, the service is not so frenetic and the food is better.
Le Palais On the West Side of Boulevard Gambetta, a little up the hill from la mairie.
Open all day. Some English is spoken. The terrace under the white wisteria is great in fine summer weather.
Several Chinese restaurants serve a variety of Vietnamese and Cantonese dishes.
North of Cahors
La Garenne St-Henri *** Telephone: 05 65 35 40 67
About 5 km outside Cahors on the D820, this family-run restaurant serves excellent food in a converted farmhouse.
West of Cahors
Le Vinois, Caillac *** Telephone: 05 65 30 53 60 Near the lake at the centre of Caillac.
La Récréation, Les Arques *** Telephone: 05 65 22 88 08
Made popular by the book "From Here You Can't See Paris" by Michael Sanders, it's largely frequented by anglophones.
Very good food, but pricey . Lunch is a good option, as the country roads are difficult at night.
East of Cahors
La Truite Dorée, Vers Telephone: 05 65 31 41 51
A large hotel restaurant, not fancy, but a great place to eat a leisurely meal, especially on the terrace on a sunny day.
Some general observations
Restaurants generally open at noon (last comers at 1:00) and at 7:30 (last seatings around 9:30). If you call to make a reservation, a good time is when they are about to open (e.g. 11:45 or 7:00), preferably on a previous day, of course. Most restaurants are closed two days a week, usually Sunday and Monday. A few are open all day and every day, notably Le Palais (half way up the hill on Boulevard Gambetta) and Le Bordeaux (at the top of Gambetta, opposite the large parking lot).
The French often quietly say "bonjour" or "bonsoir" to neighbouring tables when they arrive and "au revoir" or "bonne soiree" as they leave. It's all to do with sharing space.
Tipping is optional, but customary at a low level, for instance 20 centimes on a coffee, one euro per person on a budget lunch, 5% on a dinner (maximum 10% if the service is really exceptional).