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“Good, but not quite as good as expected”
Review of JaJa Bistro

JaJa Bistro
Ranked #67 of 427 Restaurants in Littleton
Price range: $9 - $27
Cuisines: European, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Good food,comes in small houses. We are a small french Bistro open for Brunch & Dinner. Many of our dishes have an america element because we try to source locally. We made butcher and cure all of our own meats and at brunch all of our eggs are cage free.
Reviewed December 15, 2012

In my seemingly endless search for a good French restaurant in the "burbs" south of Denver, I was informed of this bistro. I was most lured by the fact that they claim to serve authentic soup a l'onion in the winter months. Since today was a cold day, I decided to give it a try. I called the bistro first, to ensure they were open on a Saturday for lunch, and got a recording with their hours. I was going to ask to ensure they had the soup today, but couldn't, as it was a recording.

We found the quaint little place tucked away on a side street off Main Street in Littleton. It only seats about 25 people, so was glad to see they were not crowded. The first thing I asked was whether they had the onion soup. The server said it was only available at dinner (something that should be made clear, as real French onion soup is so hearty that it is a lunch staple and even substitute for many who find the real thing). I expressed my profound disappointment, and asked if they could possibly make it for me anyway, or if there was any left over. She checked and said no on both counts. She offered the cream of broccoli; but I told her I was there for authentic French food.

I had also read about the herbs de Provence fries and mussels, so consoled myself with ordering that. That dish, I was told, was not available, either, as they had a crowd the night before and did not have enough for the next day's lunch--even though it was on the lunch menu. I asked for unsweetend iced tea, and without any explanation, a flavored tea was brought to me. That, too, should be disclosed. It was pleasant, but I don't always care for flavored tea. I was not offered any refills.

My husband chose the Poulet Bechamel crepe ($12), and I finally chose the "Le Provencal" ($12) baked dish without the red sauce mentioned in the menu. The server was nice enough to bring me a complimentary large bowl of the fries with the dipping sauce while we waited, to compensate for my lack of being able to order what I really wanted. They were quite good, but not as sensational as I had imagined. The dip was quite good, as well.

The server brought out the food (not knowing how to pronounce "provencal", but thanked me for correcting him), and my plate included a small metal bowl that was the baked dish and a tasty oil and vinegar salad.

The baked "Provencal" looked quite small but promising. It had a thick stripe of cheese on top, and small chicken thin squares below, in addition to onions, spinach and a broth. I had to use a knife to cut through the cheese, but that was no problem--more cheese is better than less. The problem was that the dish wasn't particularly tasty; the chicken pieces did not seem to have been simmered with the broth, as they were not saturated and not tender or tasty. I ended up leaving most of the dryish chicken pieces while eating the rest of the contents.

My husband's crepe was quite substantial, and my small taste of it was good. The Bechamel sauce wasn't as tasty as it could be, but the crepe was quite filling. We eat crepes a lot in the months each year we spend in France. There also could have been a bit more of the sauce to more saturate the crepe, as we are accustomed to in France. A salad (greens with oil and vinegar) was served on the plate, as well, as is the French custom.

It is quite a cute and quaint place; but I don't think we will return. It turned out to be farther from us than we thought; and, maybe we just caught them on a bad day, but nothing was outstanding. Because it is so small with such limited seating, and because they don't take reservations, we are unlikely to chance it for dinner, even though I would like to see if their onion soup tips the scales as far as really good French food goes.

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Thank janels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jajabistro, Owner at JaJa Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded December 19, 2012

Bonjour and thank you so much for visiting our restaurant. We value your opinion and take these seriously. First I wanted to apologize for not being able to offer you the soupe a l'oignon! We pride ourselves on our soup and offer it nightly during the winter months. It is made by small batch so that we can properly caramelize the onions in the wine to really develop the flavor. After an incredibly busy evening, we sometimes run out and aren't able to have the new batch prepared before the next dinner service. While we do not advertise it via menu or website for lunch, we are rethinking things to see if we can offer this fabulous soup to our lunch guests on a regular basis. I also am sorry you did not fully enjoy your lunch choice. While we respect your right to alter a dish to your liking, The Provencal, consisting of chicken cheese, onions and spinach is not the same without the sauce that you asked your server to omit. After all, it the sauce's job to bring everything together and add moisture to a dish. ;)

While we wouldn't consider this a bad day at the restaurant, we hope you will reconsider giving us another try, perhaps even for dinner. You can, indeed, make a reservation. We take them anytime during the week and within one hour of seating Friday and Saturday nights. We do this simply because we experience an unfortunate number of "no shows" and this is deadly to a 45 seat bistro such as ours. Thank you again and we hope to see you soon!

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Reviews (86)
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55 - 59 of 86 reviews

Reviewed December 15, 2012

We have been to Jaja Bistro many times over the years, but not recently until last evening.
It was a pleasure to be welcomed back to this warm and quaint little gem in downtown Littleton.
This past summer we spent a week in France, and Jaja brought back many fond memories- it was almost like being back there- maybe even better!
The food is high quality and the service and atmosphere are also first rate.
Highly recommended for a special evening or just a casual meal out.

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Thank Colovoyageur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2012

Jaja Bistro is a nice little (and I do mean little!) French restaurant tucked away off Main Street in downtown Littleton. I've eaten there for dinner several times and always enjoyed the meal. I have yet to try brunch because I'm gluten-free and that will require some advance planning (the chef apparently is willing and able to make gluten-free crepes, which is awesome, but he needs some notice).

They have some wonderful appetizers -- my favorites are the bacon-wrapped apple-stuffed dates (and I don't usually like dates) and the truffle fries. There are only three main courses on the permanent menu, and I've had two of them (the other isn't gluten-free). The steak au poivre is, well, peppery, as expected, and always cooked perfectly. I was a little leery of the moules frites because hello, we're in Colorado, it's not exactly the catch of the day here, but they were fine as well, if not quite as fresh as the ones I had in Nice.

The menu may seem limited, but then there are the specials. There's always at least one extra entree and one extra appetizer available, and these are changed regularly. You never know what they might be until you show up (or you can call ahead). There are also salads for the vegetarians. The wine list is pretty good and the prices for wines by the glass are fairly reasonable.

This place doesn't knock my socks off, but it's cozy and accommodating. Definitely give it a try.

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Thank erdehoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2012

Set in a renovated home just off Main St. in Old Town Littleton, this little French Bistro is one of my Denver favorites. It is a welcome relief to the ubiquitous chain restaurants of the suburbs. I love their crepes at lunch and the Assiette Campagnarde appetizer plate at dinner.

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Thank fellowtraveler5852
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2012

This is a "Hidden Gem" in Littleton. Wonderful atmosphere; old home renovated for a restaurant. Service is very nice overall. Food is wonderful. I have been several times and do not have a complaint. Go for a unique experience from the chain restaurants!

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Thank Joelle50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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