I love finding hidden gem restaurants. They usually serve creative dishes with very fresh ingredients. It’s even better when you can eat in a wine cellar! I’m referring to a small French restaurant tucked away in Montpellier’s historic centre called Ô LOFT. Ok, it’s not really in a wine cellar but it definitely feels like one with the beautiful half-domed ceiling, exposed walls and romantic dimmed lighting.
I found Ô LOFT completely by luck since it’s not located in the busy spots where tourist traps line the streets. You know it’s a good sign when this restaurant is always filled with locals during lunchtime, creating a bustling yet friendly atmosphere.
Charming setting aside, the food exceeded my expectations. Ô LOFT offers quality market ingredients on their lunch menus. At 13 euros for a plat du jour + dessert combo, it’s comparable with most downtown restaurants, but in my opinion, at a higher quality.
For the main, I tried the Saint-Pierre, one of the most popular white fish in French restaurants. The fish was grilled to perfection – it was flaky and tasty, firm but not over cooked. The Saint-Pierre was served over a bed of rice with bite-sized zucchini and mushrooms, which complemented the texture of the fish very well. The highlight of the dish was definitely the sauce. It was surprisingly light for a cream sauce, with traces of onions and white wine, topped with capers to bring out the flavour of the fish. I only wished that the kitchen was a little more generous with the sauce.
Moving on to dessert. Oh, the Tarte Tatin. Originated in France, Tarte Tatin is an upside-down apple pastry. I love apples, but apple desserts are never my first choice. Since I’m in France however, my curiosity got the best of me and I trusted the waitress’ recommendation…and I was so glad that I did! Imagine puff pastry layered with apples caramelized in butter and sugar, garnished with whipped cream and caramel. I had never tasted an apple dessert that good. The cooked apples tasted delicious and melted in my mouth. It was moist without being mushy or overly sweet. Needless to say that I devoured it in no time.
I always enjoy eating at Ô LOFT, especially since their customer service is outstanding. The staff will go out of their way to make your experience a pleasant one. One time I had to step out for a long phone call, upon my return, I was asked if my dish had cooled down too much. It’s always the small details that make establishments like this stand out.
- Food rating: 4/5
- Dessert rating: 4.5/5
- Service rating: 4/5
- Price range: $$
Ô LOFT: 28 Rue Candolle, Montpellier, France