Every so often, you stumble across a restaurant that you love visiting. There’s just something about it – well usually it takes more than one thing, but you know what I mean. We are fortunate to have such a place right on our doorstep in Saint Matré.
What makes it so unique? It oozes simplicity and authenticity.
Everyone knows this restaurant as Nadine’s, named after the owner. A bar for the locals by night and by day, a lunchtime meeting place frequented by the local community.
You wouldn’t be blamed for driving past this little jewel, without even giving it a second glance. Please take my advice and never judge a restaurant by its exterior, as you will miss out on so much in the beautiful Occitanie Region of France.
It’s not Just Lunch…It’s an Experience.
When you walk through the door, it will be Nadine that you see behind the bar – welcoming visitors and locals with the same warmth. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised by the size of the dining area and the contrast of stepping through the door from a very sleepy village into the lively restaurant with an outdoor covered terrace. You’ll be shown to your table by Tanya, one of the loyal team and then your lunch experience begins.
As you look around, you’ll see a snapshot of the region’s community – the local workers grabbing a hearty lunch, friends catching up over a lovely meal. Then there might be a family celebration and a few ‘in the know’ holiday-makers thrown in for good measure. Although everyone is different, they are all at Nadine’s for the same reason – good food and great company.
There’s a blackboard outside letting you know the menu for that day, but I prefer not to look, allowing the lunch to be a selection of lovely surprises. There’s something very liberating about avoiding menu choices and trusting in the judgement of the restaurant.
You wouldn’t go to a friend’s house for dinner and expect to know exactly what you were going to eat would you?
I regard Nadine’s as a combination of eating at a friend’s house but with the atmosphere of a lively restaurant – a perfect combination and the essence of its charm.
So What’s on the Menu?
The food is delicious and tasty in a traditional home-cooked kind of way. Although there isn’t a choice there are always 5 courses with local wine – leaving hungry is not an option! Here are some examples of what you can expect:-
This is usually a type of vegetable soup, sometimes chunky, sometimes smooth, served with slices of bread.
Local melon with cured ham is popular or what about hors d’ouvres with salami, pate, egg and rice salad.
Confit of Duck with seasonal vegetables, Lamp Chops with rich dauphinoise potatoes, Steak and homemade chips or Fish with a herb crust and roasted vegetables.
Always a lovely selection of hard and soft cheeses with the locally produced goat’s cheese.
Fruits of the forest ice-cream roulade, apple tarte tatin or chocolate mousse.
What Makes Nadine’s Restaurant Special?
As with most restaurants, what makes them special is rarely just about the food, it’s the whole experience that decides whether you add a place to your must re-visit list.
For me, and pretty much all the people to whom I have recommended this restaurant, it’s the feeling you get from having lunch at Nadine’s. Yes, you leave completely satisfied after several hours of delicious food, local wines and wonderful ambience with like-minded people – that goes without saying.
However, I think the best part of lunch at Nadine’s is that feeling of savouring the slice of French life that you have experienced while you are there.
So my advice to you is book a table because it gets very busy 0033 (0) 565 31 96 01, go with an open mind and you too will be captivated by the personality of this lovely place.