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“Great Intimate Dining” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bistro 220 - CLOSED

Bistro 220
220 Cook St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147-1836
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Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dessert, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Beloit, Wisconsin, United States
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great Intimate Dining”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

A wonderfully different little restaurant. Beautifully decorated to mimic an italian bistro. The rooms are small - one with a fountain, and one with a fireplace. The menu is varied, with excellent food and great prices. The bar features drinks made with high end sake and are very imaginative. An all around terrific experience.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

123 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Valentine's Day Disappointment”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

This was our first time dining at Bistro 220. We had heard mixed reviews, especially from locals. Some loved it, some thought it was over-hyped and pricey. Valentine's Day seemed like a good excuse to see for ourselves. My wife had seen that they had a special menu for the occasion and was excited by the options. She had made a reservation for us for dinner more than a week ahead of the day.

We arrived at the appointed time and after ascending the stairs to the second-floor restaurant (two shops are on the ground level) and standing a few moments in the entryway without being greeted or our presence even acknowledged, we were finally asked if we had a reservation (no “Welcome” first), said yes, and the greeter looked at the reservation sheet without any hint as to whether she actually saw our name on the list or not. She told us to wait, then came back and told us there'd be about a 15-minute delay and we could wait at the bar. No apology or "sorry, we're running late."

When we took our seats at the bar, my wife was handed a rose (nice touch!), but without even a "Happy Valentine's Day" greeting...more like "Here ya go." It took perhaps 3 or 4 minutes after being seated at the bar before we were able to get the bartender's attention; if it had been busy, that would be one thing, but the attention seemed to be focused more on behind-the-bar activities than looking for and tending to the newly-arrived customers (we were the only new ones). Anyway, as neither of us drink, we each settled for bottled water and bided our time checking out the eclectic decor.

About 20 minutes or so later, we were told our table was ready and were finally going to be escorted to our table. But before we could exit the bar area we were told we needed to settle things up there first; apparently the notion of running one single check from the bar to the restaurant for the convenience of the customer, rather than the convenience of the business, had somehow not caught on here. So it goes. Anyway, by the time we were ready to order, virtually all the specials for Valentine's Day were unavailable. (I recall hearing Gordon Ramsay on more than one occasion on his shows reminding restauranteurs that they should never, ever, run out of their specials; that's why people come and the restaurant better have them.) As a result, I wound up having a grilled pork chop ($18) while my wife ordered the salmon stuffed with crabmeat and brie. The salmon was highly recommended by our bartender, our waiter and also a customer we had talked to while waiting at the bar who had just had that dish.

The soup that came with the dinners, a tomato-basil, was OK, but certainly not great. Seemed as if there were actually too many flavors at work in it, including parmesan cheese and pepper which seemed to dominate just a bit. The dinner rolls (2) were average and a bit on the small side. They were accompanied with a seasoned dipping oil which tasted stale, as if it had been sitting a while. It was more oily than seasoned. Not good.

The grilled pork chop was fairly large, seasoned just right, and was moist enough. I'd recommend it. The smashed potatoes were OK but had a bit of an odd flavor I just couldn't put my finger on. The entree was served on a bed of small, grilled asparagus...not crisp, but tasty nonetheless. My wife said with her first two bites that her salmon dish tasted "fishier" than it should have been. It seemed just a bit off, but she finished it...to her regret (more on that in a moment). For desert, my wife ordered a cheesecake and I had mint chocolate chip ice cream on chocolate fudge. Both deserts were huge and very good, but really we could have probably split just one between the two of us. Oh, the cheesecake was ordered because the desert special of the day -- red velvet cake -- also ran out just before we ordered.

Now to the story about afterward...my wife woke up in the wee hours of the morning with severe stomach pain. Nausea, diarrhea and a sleepless night ensued. I wound up having to make a trip to Walgreen’s to get a bottle of emetrol to mitigate the stomach pain and nausea. We can’t say with certainty what caused this episode. Could have been entirely coincidental. But the initial taste of the fish probably should have made her stop and send it back. For the price one pays here…

My wife called the restaurant 2 days later after finally feeling better to let the owner know about what happened and to ask if anyone else had called indicating a similar experience. She was told by the owner that no one else had called. There didn't seem to be, from what she said afterward, much concern expressed by the owner. She was not even asked her name. And whether or not an apology was required, none was offered. Nor was any type of "We hope you give us another chance," offer of a credit, or even a free beverage or desert as a bit of good will. It wasn't what we were looking for, but we have seen other establishments have that type of customer relations business sense which just didn't seem present here at really any point in the overall dining experience (other than the rose upon arrival).

It is probably not surprising that we will not be eating here again. Sorry, Bistro 220. Our one and only special occasion, our first time spent in your restaurant, was disappointing to say the least.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Very good food-dessert was too big for one person! Dining area was unique, like sitting in an old home but decorated nicely, Did not enter bar or gift shop below, but plan to on next visit.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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.
Chicago, Illinois
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Hidden gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

I just discovered this place last week-end. I have been to many restaurants in Lake Geneva and this one instantly moved to the top of the list. The ambiance is beautiful and comfortable. The bar area is very nice, too. The food was very good and the staff was all lovely. Don't miss this place.

Visited January 2013
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Kenosha, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

Stopped in on a Sunday afternoon. I read reviews and felt like I was going to have a great meal. The steaks were average but the fish was very good. Bar is wonderful and the the tender was very pleasant. The place was empty and I think it would be more fun on a Friday or Saturday. Large dessert menu gave us something to take home. Enjoy!

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 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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