A few steps from Bitexco Tower in the very heart of Saigon’s District 1 lies a narrow, dimly lit alleyway, at the end of which a winding staircase leads to the many restaurants and bars hidden among the multiple levels of the charming building. On the second floor sits OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR - push open the heavy, dark-wooden door to reveal cool industrial interiors complete with raw brick, steel beams, high ‘New York loft’ ceilings, glass, and timber. The young and attentive floor staff greets guests with a friendly welcome and warm smiles and there is a buzz in the air as diners clink wine glasses and share a laugh over quality food and delicious drinks.
Cool industrial interiors at OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR
Since opening their doors in April of 2018, OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR has been serving some of the best Spanish tapas in Ho Chi Minh City to a legion of adoring fans. The large open kitchen headed by Executive Chef Julien Thabault serves up excellent Spanish food with modern flair. Dishes are served in traditional tapas style on plates that are to be shared amongst loved ones and friends. The kitchen at OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR prides themselves on making all of their own breads, mayonnaise and sauces, sausages and stocks, with a menu that features impeccable produce, skillful cooking technique, and simple plating. The Sourdough Bread, daily baked in-house, served alongside rich garlic mayonnaise or fresh tomato and highgrade olive oil is a beautifully simple way to whet your appetite and perfectly embodies the soulful quality that OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR is all about.
Video source: #iAMHCMC
For a more indulgent and luxurious start to your dining experience, opt for the Octo Bikini Toastie - cleancut, golden triangles of sliced housemade bread, generously filled with gran reserve Serrano ham, loads of fresh local mozzarella for the ultimate ‘cheese pull’, and intoxicating black truffle. Nothing beats however, the simplicity of their Jamon Iberico de Bellota - the caviar of hams, cured for 36 months, the fine shavings of Iberico ham served at OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR blesses the palate with the divine and distinctive oily nuttiness that no other ham in the world can give, and is highly recommended to be enjoyed with a glass of red or a Spanish sherry.
Some of the best Spanish tapas in Ho Chi Minh City, like this black squid ink paella
In fact, all of the dishes that feature Iberico pork are absolute home runs - from the Iberico Pork Katsu Sandwich, Chorizo Iberico, and rich Iberico Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, to the delicate Iberico Broth with Monkfish and Porcini Mushrooms. OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR’s signature dish, Iberico Secreto with piquillo peppers and kale, uses the most tender, most flavourful part of the pig and is an outstanding dish that is not to be missed. For an alternative choice of protein to please meat lovers of Saigon, we highly recommend the luscious Ox Cheeks, slow braised for 48 hours in a Pedro Ximenez sherry sauce. The delicate, slow cooked ox cheek melts seductively in the mouth and fills the palate with a deep, heavenly flavour that is rich and warming.
Hanger steak with mixed mushrooms
Pescetarians and lovers of seafood are also spoilt for choice, with a divine Tuna Ceviche with avocado and prawn crackers, and Garlic Prawns with chilli and olive oil that never disappoints. The standout dish for us however, from the entire menu, would without a doubt be the Pulpo a la Gallega - grilled octopus with capers, potato and paprika. OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR source only the biggest octopus, which weigh upwards of 5kg! For such sizeable beasts, the perfectly cooked octopus is incredibly tender and with an addictive lick of smokey flavour imparted by the kiss of the chargrill you’ll be hard-pressed trying to resist ordering seconds.
The term ‘restobar’ means that guests at OCTO TAPAS can enjoy a premium selection of Spanish wines and some fun and creative signature cocktails that are sure to get the party started. In creating the Signature Cocktail menu, bar staff focus on playing with Spanish sherries and Spanish cava that are predominantly not so famous in this part of the globe. They are passionate about bringing something different, unknown, and always delicious to their patrons. With an irresistible Happy Hour - 5PM to 7PM weekdays / 4PM to 7PM weekends - you can enjoy 40% off all alcoholic drinks (except Japanese whiskies). Pull up a stool at the bar counter and enjoy the laid back ambiance of the lofty space whilst savouring a Tio Bueno - a perfectly balanced tipple of Tio Pepe fino sherry, Campari, spiced sangria syrup, soda, and orange peel. Peek into the open kitchen and watch as the skillful chefs prepare some incredible share plates for you and your mates to casually graze at.
It’s always time for a negroni!
The menu at OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR is never dull or boring, with 8 to 10 new specials offered every week, the talented team are able to showcase the freshest, most flavourful, premium produce that is in season or imported from abroad. And for the perfect work lunch, OCTO TAPAS RESTOBAR offers some of the best set lunch deals in Saigon. The Executive Set Lunch (VND 350,000++) includes your choice of one starter, one main, and one dessert, from a premium selection of dishes, as well as tea or coffee.