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“Valentine Dinner”
Review of Bistro 26

Bistro 26
Ranked #30 of 429 Restaurants in Erie
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed February 14, 2014

Not what I would call an upscale restaurant. Food was ok but not outstanding. No salad fork and no separate plate for bread. Napkins were like large paper towels. Not having a full bar is a real drawback. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate Bistro 26 a 6.

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Thank Gary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 - 62 of 109 reviews

Reviewed August 28, 2013

Bistro 26 seems to be walking the tightrope between fine and casual dining. The service during my luncheon visit was excellent. My waiter was personable, timely and attentive. I ordered an unsweetened iced tea and perused the menu. For this meal I ordered the muffuletta. The sandwich comes with one side dish, I chose the side salad with the house vinaigrette on the side.

My salad came out quickly and I was pleased with the size, definitely a larger portion than you might get at other restaurants. Another wonderful surprise; a variety of spring greens (I'm used to a side salad being all iceberg lettuce). The greens, cucumbers and tomato were all fresh and chilled. As I tucked in, two things struck me.

First of all, the salad had shredded "cheese" in it. Cheap, flavorless, pre-shredded cheese. My thinking is, don't put crappy cheese on a nice salad - or if you do want to dress it up, crumble a small amount of feta cheese on it. The second oddity was the dressing. My server had said the dressing was a red wine vinaigrette. What came out to me was oil and vinegar. No herbs in the dressing, not even pepper. Certainly no red wine vinegar, it was cheap white vinegar. The balance of the dressing was off as well, too much oil. Once again I ask; why would a restaurant put a nice salad together and then miss the mark on the dressing?

In a timely fashion my sandwich arrived. It was presented unceremoniously on a large plain white plate, cut in half. No garnish of any kind, no additional color on the plate. The sandwich was a reasonable size,the flavors were balanced and tasty. I personally like more greens on my muffuletta than what was presented. As I dove in I noticed that the sandwich was barely warm. This type of sandwich needs to come out of the kitchen toasty and hot, with the cheese oozing, this one needed to be on the grill longer.

The atmosphere was very clean and the waitstaff were dressed professionally. All of the servers in my area seemed to be well trained. The fine plates, heavy flatware and tidy linens all spoke to a restaurant with high standards. There is a 'crispness' to the place that I feel is lacking in most restaurants I go into now. The pricing was quite fair for my meal, my total with tip was $16.

My advice to Bistro 26? Eliminate the cheap cheeses from your budget and serve good flavorful cheeses instead, I can't imagine it would increase costs substantially. Serve your hot sandwiches hot, not tepid. Get a little color on those plates, a little fresh basil on the edge perhaps. Take that pretty sandwich and turn one triangle up onto the other half. These things show the customer that the cook is paying attention to what's going out the door. ~TH~ http://thefoodandthefun.com

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1  Thank Tomhitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2013

I had lunch here with my parents during my recent visit. The food was excellent. I had the Ham soup and Italian panini. Both were awesome. Other than a small screwup in my parents orders service was pretty good. Prices are reasonable. Will be back on my future visits.

Thank AVisitor80126
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

My family and I stopped in Erie, PA (a frequent overnight point for us when traveling to and from central New York) and learned that our favorite restaurant there (see my previous reviews for specifics) would be closed that day. Disappointed, we requested information about other fine dining in Erie from our hotel staff and were told that Bistro 26 (3557 West 26th Street, Erie, PA 16506) was a very good "French" bistro that we should enjoy. Well, 'pas de français' as they say. In fact, the only things French about it were a few paintings on the walls and a couple of signs in French. The food was simply what today one might consider 'upscale' American: steaks, seafood, pasta, salads, sandwiches, etc. And a very limited (and not especially good) wine list. I had the salmon entree, my wife the salmon dinner salad, and our son a sandwich with soup. The salmon was overdone in both cases (no one had asked how we would prefer to have it cooked). While the dinner was certainly characterized by quantity, the quality factor was missing. Our server, however, was very good and attentive. Overall: a B to B- experience in academic terms (roughly a 6 to 7 on the European 10-point scale). No comparison to our favorite, family-owned restaurant in Erie. 'Quel dommage'.

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2  Thank Philip R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

Bistro 26 is just the place I need when my taste buds tell me it's time for more than just a quick meal. It's that 'Tickle My Taste Buds' type of restaurant.

Great service!

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

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