France is one of those destinations which truly offer a feast for the senses. A casual walk down the streets of major French cities is bound to fill you with immense appreciation for the country’s culture, with the delicious aroma of freshly-baked pastries and brewed coffee wafting from numerous quaint cafes, and numerous imposing structures beckoning you to come inside and check what is inside such fantastic works of architecture.

Visiting the numerous museums in France and doing some shopping goes without saying should you find yourself in the country, but another thing you definitely should not miss out on is the food. French cuisine is known for being indulgent and delectable – and also very expensive – so if you intend on spending some cash on French cuisine, you might as well do it while in the country.

The great thing about trying French food while in France is that it is the norm, so it is not difficult to find budget-friendly French fare. In fact, you might be surprised at how many Michelin star restaurants in the country are priced less than French restaurants outside France. And that is not all – even if you do not end up dining in a Michelin star restaurant, you are still bound to find a lot of great restaurants in France.

Trying Out Chez Octave Restaurant

Chez Octave RestaurantTourists tend to gravitate towards better known and more established restaurants in France – and understandably so. After all, these restaurants have established their reputation over the years, sometimes even decades, and dining in such venues are pretty much considered part of the French experience. Unfortunately, most of these popular restaurants have very long reservation lists or are just always crowded.

That said, if you want a more relaxing and more intimate food experience, and if you want to enjoy great food without a hefty price tag, you really should try out newer and smaller restaurants. Not only are you more likely to get a seat, but finding a hidden gem really brings you a certain sense of satisfaction.

One fairly new restaurant in France which is definitely worth checking out is the Chez Octave at Cité de l’Habitat in Lutterbach, France. Lutterbach is in the northeastern part of France, in the region of Alsace, a known historical and cultural hub. The region is close to Germany and Switzerland, and still exhibits traces of German influence. The area is a lot more laidback than metropolitan French cities, so this is the perfect place for long, lazy lunches and quiet dinners.Chez Octave  has been under the baton of Adrien Gontard starting in 2016, and although it has yet to be internationally famous, it has a growing number of patrons and certainly a lot of positive reviews.

Unlike a lot of famous restaurants, the Chez Octave is not in a stand-alone building, so it can be quite difficult to spot. The restaurant is inside a commercial mall complex in an off-beat location but, nevertheless, it really is worth visiting. A lot of people singing praises for Chez Octave have actually stumbled upon the restaurant by chance – and immensely glad that they have, to boot!

Whereas a lot of popular restaurants are often crowded or are very difficult to get reservations to, it is quite easy to get a table in Chez Octave – no reservations needed. It makes for a very relaxed eating experience since you can just pop in whenever you feel like it and still manage to get a good seat.

The Interiors of Chez Octave

Chez Octave RestaurantOf course, when we talk about restaurants, the primary consideration is food, but that does not mean that interior design does not have a significant part in one’s dining experience. Quite the contrary, bad interior and restaurant can ruin even the best dishes, which is why restaurants invest in good design.

For most tourists, dining at a French restaurant typically entails fine dining, luxurious interiors, and maybe perfectly suit-up servers. While this image has some accuracy to it (after all, fine dining restaurants are quite popular in France, with the best ones having very long reservations lists), the French restaurant scene is not solely about fine dining. Newer and more modern restaurants like the Chez Octave have a more casual and laidback vibe, catering to a younger and hipper demographic.

The moment you set foot in the restaurant, you will easily notice how chic and casual the place is. The color scheme leans toward the neutral side, with a lot of black, white, and earth tones, and a splash of color here and there. The black, brown, and white furniture punctuated by the occasional green and yellow certainly looks ultra-minimalist, but also ultra-chic.  Sure, the place does not scream French fine dining, but the place is certainly every inchInstagrammable. The white flower pots with indoor plants is certainly a nice touch, making the restaurant look cool and refreshing, certainly a nice retreat after a morning spent on taking leisurely stroll all over the neighborhood.

One thing that one really has to appreciate about Chez Octave is that it provides diners with a lot of seating options. For diners who want a view of the bar or want to watch people passing by, then the ground floor provides great seating options, especially with the glass panel walls. The area is especially bright and well-lit when it is a nice day out, so it is almost like having a picnic outside, except you are eating perfectly presented food in a cooler area. If you are looking for a more bistro-like experience, then you will surely enjoy dining at the shaded terrace area. The terrace area has a great view and a very laidback vibe, perfect for a fun chat with friends while eating good food. For those who want to be cozier while dining, or want a bit more privacy, then the mezzanine area is the perfect seating.  If you are planning a working lunch with business colleagues or if you simply want a more intimate family gathering, you can also privatize certain areas of the restaurant.

The Food at Chez Octave

Chez Octave RestaurantOf course, more than the aesthetics, the actual food is of paramount importance when considering a restaurant. The good thing is that the food served at Chez Octave is just as promising as the overall look of the restaurant. Food is quite affordable but just as delicious, plus you will be pleasantly surprised at the twists that the restaurant adds to well-known and well-loved dishes. If you have never been to a fancy Fresh restaurant and is a bit apprehensive about fine dining etiquette, no worries, because Chez Octave leans more towards casual dining. This is a place where you can let your hair down (although once the food arrives and you realize how delicious everything is, you will most likely end up putting your hair up and digging right in).

One thing you have to know about Chez Octave is that food is never the same – and not in a bad way. Quality is always top-notch, but the restaurant changes the menu depending on the available produce during the season. This way, diners are guaranteed that every single dish served is made with only the best and the freshest ingredients.  This also allows the restaurant to offer their food offerings at a more affordable price without sacrificing taste and quality. So, if you are looking for good food made from scratch, then this is certainly the restaurant to visit.

Another goodthing about Chez Octave is that no matter how often you eat at the restaurant, no two visits will be exactly alike. The restaurant offers a different lunch and dinner menu every day, so you can visit multiple times a week and never get tired of the food offerings. This makes Chez Octave perfect for adventurous diners and foodies.

As previously mentioned, Chez Octave has affordable meals, with seasonal starters typically costing around €5, bistronomic dishes around €15, beef dishes around€21.50, and cheese platters as well as desserts around €8. If you have a little more money to spend on food, you might also want to try Chez Octave’s tasting menu which includes starters, main course, and dessert – all of which are made from produce in season – for €34. Feeling a little fancy? You should go ahead and order the Chef’s Menu which is also a tasting menu, but with royal hare for the main course. Trust me, you certainly would not regret spending the extra amount on such a delectable selection.

Although the menu changes every day, you should watch out for dishes like the seared pigeon and the pan-fried duck breast and try them out when they are available. The beef tartare and the veal head are also to die for, although the veal head dish might be better suited for more adventurous diners. If you do decide to try it out, however, you certainly would not regret your decision.

For those who want something a little easier to eat, the restaurant also offers their own take on the burger, which is made from brioche bread, chopped steak, and cheese, served with a side of fries or homemade potatoes and a salad.

Now, one thing that makes a lot of fine dining restaurants not family-friendly is the fact that a lot of items on the menu are typically not enjoyable for kids. That certainly would not be a problem when you visit Chez Octave because the restaurant has its very own children’s menu. If you are planning on holding a business meeting at the restaurant, you would be glad to know that Chez Octave also offers a business menu. And if you are meaning to dine at the restaurant with a group of friends, you certainly can go for the group menu. As an added bonus, the restaurant also serves amuse-bouche formulas!

Service at the Chez Octave

Of course, no dining experience is complete without exemplary service and Chez Octave nails this front, too! The servers are all very friendly and very welcoming, so you certainly will have a great time at the restaurant. Service is very quick without quality being compromised. And you do not have to worry about not being able to speak French because the staff can speak English. The owner is also very funny and accommodating, so you should really say hi and stop for a quick chat when the chance presents itself.

Also, since the restaurant is located at a mall complex, parking is not much of a problem. While you might have a difficult time finding parking spaces near a lot of bigger, more frequented restaurants, you certainly would not have that problem in Chez Octave. Parking is free, too! What more can you ask for?

The Chez Octave is fully-airconditioned, making it is a nice refuge from the heat when it gets too hot out (especially in the summer). Various payment options are available, including cash, check, Visa and Mastercard, locally-issued credit cards, and even luncheon vouchers. To add even further to how convenient it is to dine at Chez Octave, the place is wheelchair-accessible and even allow pets. There is also Wi-Fi, so feel free to document your dining experience.

The restaurant does not serve breakfast seeing as it does not open until 12 noon. It serves dinner up until 9:30 in the evening. Just note, however, that the restaurant is closed during Sundays.

Chez Octave might still have a long way to go in terms of establishing itself in the gastronomic scene, but it certainly has been gaining popularity ever since 2016. The expert mixture of affordability and high quality easily make the restaurant a great choice for those who want to enjoy great food but with a limited budget. True enough, the restaurant’s dedication to good food and good service has earned it a very special place in the heart of its patrons, locals and foreigners alike. So if you ever find yourself in Lutterbach, do not pass up on the opportunity to visit this gem.

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