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“Pale imitation of previous gem”

219 An American Bistro
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Ranked #11 of 711 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $18 - $31
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Brooke Ave
Description: 219 an American Bistro continues downtown Norfolk's tradition of chef inspired and locally owned restaurants. With its location central to the vibrant downtown district, 219 an American Bistro is the place to see and be seen. The cuisine is American with an Asian twist and the ambiance upscale but never pretentious.
1 review
“Pale imitation of previous gem”
Reviewed December 21, 2008

This is a restaurant my wife and I ate at many times over the past 10 years and had many excellent meals. However, our latest experience was terrible. The server was pleasant but the kitchen is really messed up. On a Sunday evening with a very light house, it took 45 minutes to get out salads, the shrimp appetizer took 10 minutes more. Then our pizza arrived burned and had to be re-done, taking another 20 minutes. Although we were offered a gift certificate for a free pizza, we will not be returning. Too many things have slipped from the old days.

Thank TigerbobNorfolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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254 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Norfolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wanted so much to like this place but disappointed!”
Reviewed December 7, 2008

We went to the 219 for brunch today and were so disappointed. We eat out brunch in Norfolk almost every Sunday and have wanted to try this one hoping to add to our list of places in rotation.

The server wasn't rude, but she really wasn't very good at her job, either. She was unfamiliar with their menu in terms of what orders were eligible for sides, etc. She had to be asked repeatedly for coffee refills, more sugar, and so forth.

We were also really put off by the fact that she had to come back twice to tell us that items we ordered were unavailable because the kitchen didn't have the ingredients. We were there at opening on the only day they do brunch and they didn't have sausage?

Everyone in our party left most of their meals on their plates and she didn't seem to find this odd. The bacon was mediocre, the eggs undercooked for scrambled, and the french toast way too "eggy" and made with a strange choice of bread... almost like they had semi-stale french bread left over from Saturday night and needed to use it?

We can't tell you much about the litle visitor who crawled over my husband's leg, either, because review sites don't like that, but be forewarned.

We really wanted to like this place, but we won't be going back. For better brunch in Norfolk try Kincaids, Sams, or Green Onion. And we'll keep looking for others...

Thank rosenva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“8 Year Customer Disappointed”
Reviewed May 5, 2008

We've come to 219 for years but no longer will. The last two times we have had unacceptable service. During both visits, the bread came out towards the end of the main meal. During one visit, my entree came out wrong (completely wrong order) and the waitress was put out when I sent it back. When my husband was almost done with his meal I asked about mine. She said, "Well, they have to cook it." I finally got it when he was done. The appetizer was cold the next time we came. We rarely saw our waiter and couldn't get drinks refilled. What has been a favorite of ours for years is now past history to us.

Thank lea743
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk, VA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Long time customer”
Reviewed April 27, 2008

We have been going to 219 since it opened, probably 15 or more years ago. The food has always been great and we have never had a bad meal.

We used to eat out a LOT and we went there often. The seared ahi tuna is great, as it the crab cake, the rockfish, the pizzas... everything. We don't go out quite as much as we used to, but when we do go back, it is still great. Good selection of beers and other libations as well.

When friends are in town and I want a nice, consistent meal, where you don't have to yell to be heard, this is where we like to go.

1 Thank Cant-drive-fiftyfive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joisey - the Corruption State
Level Contributor
129 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Fabulous effort; well done!”
Reviewed April 19, 2008

Downtown Norfolk has made some tremendous progress during the past 5 years. The new "yuppie" / retiree developments west of Boush along with the Ghent / Hague neighborhoods are now supporting some very nice restaurants.
219 was very interesting and special. Maybe this was a hole-in-the-wall diner 20~30 years ago, but it is now upscale and incredibly delicious. Crab cakes, salad, vegetables, dessert, fish were all cooked and presented well. I went here two nites in a row -- ordered different items and I would go again on my next visit!
First nite's service was indifferent as I am going to guess they employ a transient wait-staff from local colleges. Still the food was great.

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

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