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“Great steak sandwiches” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bistro Vida

Bistro Vida
641 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025-4502
650-462-1686
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Ranked #29 of 99 Restaurants in Menlo Park
Price range: $25 - $40
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: El Camino Real
Atherton, California
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great steak sandwiches”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Vida has been a favorite of my family for a long time, and they have a great selection of meat, fish, and classic French dishes. I highly recommend the steak sandwich, and the salmon never disappoints. The setting is very nice, and the outdoor seating adds another nice touch. Not being a very experienced French diner, I always find something new and interesting to try here.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    18
    8
    6
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“A Bargain at Half the Price”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2012

At Bistro Vida you can enjoy ordinary food (at best) at SF Bay Area (that is, very high) prices.
The restaurant itself is pleasant enough, with a few tables out on the sidewalk and more inside, where it is, however, quite dark.
My wife and I started with a couple of "signature cocktails." Mine was a concoction called "Assaul de Bastille," which contained Cognac, Chartreuse, Benedictine, and champagne; it was an undistinguished hodgepodge. My wife's drink was similarly vague and unmemorable.
Then we shared a small plate of red tomato slices with fresh mozarella and basil. Oddly, the tomatoes were cold and unripe, even though this was at the height of the season for fresh tomatoes. The main course for my wife was a slice of quiche Lorraine, quite ordinary, with ham plainly out of a cold cuts package for sandwiches. I had a steak, very fatty and with a hefty portion of gristle. The bread brought to our table was not the classic French baguette, with an airy center surrounded by a light, crisp crust but something much heavier and more ordinary.
The service was fine, the waiter helpful when we wished to change tables so as to be in the shade on a hot day.
If the prices were half as much--my run-of-the-mill steak with ordinary French fries cost $19--then Bistro Vida could be touted as a place providing okay diner fare. But at such high prices food that is worse than anything you could throw together quickly at home will not tempt us to return. There is a reason that Left Bank, a bistro right next door, is always full of diners, while Bistro Vida has only a few.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
menlopark
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Creative French Cuisine”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

Tuna carpaccio, couscous w/ merguez, quail, and more--and that's just some of the lunch offerings. Bistro Vida is small but offers a wide and intriguing array of plats. The atmosphere is oh so French, service very efficient; combined with the creative menu, makes Bistro Vida a go-to destination.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Atmosphere, atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2012

Est-ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphère?
The whole French experience.
---------------------------------------------------
We like this French bistrot. It's not a fake French bistrot, it's a real one including the atttitude of the wait staff. As you can see on the other reviews, this is disconcerting to many customers, but for those of us who like to travel, we take it with a grain of salt.
I like going here because it is much quieter than the Left Bank next door and provides very good standard French meals.
Steck-frites and Moule-Frites are very well done, they often have coque au vin or tarte tatin and many stanbdrd Brasserie dishes just like in France. So if you are nostalgic after your stay in Paris, this is a good place to visit, they even have French newspapers for you to peruse while you're waiting....

  • Visited April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Nice French bistro decor, good food with plenty of options, below average service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

My partner and I booked reservations through Open Table the day before. We got there and no one was at the front. After about 5 minutes, someone came by and was then not able to find our reservations. However, they were not full and we were seated. The decor of the place does remind you of an old-fashioined French bistro and the seating is quite close together. I am a petite person and found the bench seating uncomfortable but my partner and I switched seats so I could sit in the chair and we were then both comfortable. Our food overall was pretty good, my parnter did the menu du jour which is a three course prix fixe menu but he wasn't happy with the choice of main plates that day (it changes daily). While food was good overall, service was not great. They forgot my expresso at one point and our server was not very warm or friendly. While we did not find anyone rude as noted by other reviewers, we did not feel much warmth from any of the employees. There is an $18 corkage fee so wouldn't recommend bringing your own wine. They had about 30 wines available by the bottle, and about 15 wines that are available by the glass, as well as a small list of beers, pastis, and cocktails. Overall, not that bad but there is better French food in the area and much better service.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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