The building on the corner of Neureutherstraße and Schraudolphstraße has been home to many things: an Indian restaurant, a Greek restaurant, an Indian again. But nothing every really stuck. Until Frenchman Guy Ody took over in 2013 that is.
Converting the location into a bright and airy space with beautiful wooden floors and a large concrete bar in the centre, Guy gave the restaurant a new identity. And a new cuisine.
Originally from Provence, he wanted to serve rustic French food that he knows from his home and his family. This includes salade octopus à la provençal, onion soup, tian provençal (a vegetable gratin cooked in earthenware pot) and carré of lamb with gratin dauphinois. All of which are staples at Le Refuge.
Next to certain items on the menu is a small note explaining they will take a little longer to serve. But then this is exactly what this restaurant is all about: “The two most important ingredients here are time and patience,” Guy explains.
In fact some dishes take require so much time (and love) to prepare that they are only available in the restaurant once a week. The first is daube, a traditional slow-cooked beef stew, which is only served on Sundays. The second is bouillabaisse, the popular fish stew found bubbling away in restaurants across the south of France. Available at Le Refuge on Fridays, the team starts making it two days before.
“Our focus is on quality,” says Guy, “we’re always looking for ways to grow.” At the end of service, he often sits down with the head chefs to discuss how existing dishes and the menu could improve and evolve. The options listed on the restaurant’s large blackboards are the result of these meetings. “Many guests come regularly, so we need to have something new to offer.”
The name Le Refuge refers to the French word for a mountain hut, a safe place to find shelter, warmth and something to eat. While Guy and his team certainly deliver that, they also go far beyond, offering attentive service, a friendly atmosphere and wonderful food. The wine list is also excellent, full of delicious reds, whites and rosés – all imported from France.
We met Guy in the run up to New Year’s Eve, as they were preparing to serve a six-course set menu to a booked-out restaurant. Asking if he felt stressed, he chuckled: “Nothing that the sight of clean plates can’t cure!”
Neureutherstraße 8, 80799 München
Tues – Sun | 18.00 – 01:00
Mon | closed