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Étoile Café in Okayama

A quaint eatery in Hokancho

Located a few steps away from the popular tourist accommodation Torii-Kuguru, is the local, quaint café and restaurant, Étoile. Being that I stayed in Torii-Kuguru, I found that unless you are staying near the train station or towards the center of Okayama and around Okayama's tourist attractions (Okayama Castle and Okayama's various art museums) it is difficult to find restaurants. Torii-Kuguru is situated in a more residential neighborhood of Okayama, and although there is a Shotengai or shopping street nearby with many stores and restaurants, often some of these only open for dinner or late lunches, making it difficult to find a place nearby and near Torii-Kuguru if you are looking for a bite to eat for breakfast.

Stumbling across Étoile café and restaurant, which opened at around 11 am when I visited, I found the prices reasonable and the food tasty for its reasonable prices. The first morning I visited, I ordered the toast and drink combination for ¥500, a very affordable deal . The next day for lunch I tried their Vegetable Ramen and the Katsu-don. The ramen was very tasty, a salty and light broth smothered in Japanese vegetables including bamboo shoots (sadly I don't have a photograph since I shoveled it down without remembering to take a photograph). The Katsu-don's aroma filled the entire café, as the owners fried the katsu in the mini kitchen situated in the center of the café itself. The katsu in the Katsu-don was fried perfectly to a crisp finish and covered with the fluffy and sweet signature egg of the Katsu-don dish. The flavors were plentiful, and I felt very satisfied afterwards. The prices were around ¥700 per dish, which is a benchmark for a good budget-level meal.

Overall, Étoile café is a convenient dining location for tourists staying in the vicinity of the neighborhood near Torii-Kuguru, in the residential neighborhood located about a ten to fifteen-minute walk from Okayama train station. I would recommend this café for a quick, budget-level meal that may not be as easy to find if you want somewhere very local instead of a chain restaurant situated in the heart of Okayama train station.

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