Midwest Living Review
Cafe Navarre really has it going on when it comes to ambience. The two-story windows, sumptuous trim and barrel-vaulted ceiling create a glamorous vibe, inviting diners to relax in a polished setting that feels vintage and modern at the same time. The airy bar is the centerpiece, and a vast wine list and cocktail menu require careful consideration. Small plates include market oysters in a cucumber mignonette ($15), crispy pork belly ($12) and foie gras ($16); expect thoughtful details like chilled salad plates, warm-from-the-oven rolls and butter shaped into pretty rosettes.
The dozen or so entrees cover classics like filet mignon ($36) and roast chicken ($20), as well as more imaginative offerings like a Basque stew ($30) stocked with seafood in a tomato broth that will have you reaching for the bread to sop up each drop. Cafe Navarre is big on seafood, with fresh choices and specials daily. A rather chewy New York strip steak ($38) was the only disappointment during our visit, but the perfect crème brûlée ended our meal on a high note.
Ask to sit in the roomy main-floor dining area if you have accessibility issues; there’s no elevator to the mezzanine dining level—even for staff who carry plates up and down the stairs with a smile. Patio dining is an option in the warmer months. Regardless of your seating preference, you’ll want to make reservations for weekend dinners because Cafe Navarre is one of South Bend’s most popular dining destinations, with good reason.