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  • Bess Bistro

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Bess Bistro
Bess Bistro

Bess Bistro Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.bessbistro.com/
  • Email: johnw@bessbistro.com
  • Phone: (512) 477-2377
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 4:30pm-10:00pm;
    Friday-Saturday 4:30pm-11:00pm

  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary French, Creole, Comfort Food
  • Executive Chef: Roman Murphy
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Dancing, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Bess Bistro offers two private dining options.

    Our Library offers a semi-private dining experience that seats up to 16 and features our luxurious fresh-water fish tank, flat-screen television and the comfortable warmth of a private wine room.

    The upstairs Terrace Lounge, seating up to 35, can be reserved for private events and offers a mélange of options including small bites, cocktails and formal dining, with spectacular views of west 6th street.
  • Private Party Contact: Hannah McClellan (512) 477-2377

Getting there

  • Cross Street: San Antonio
  • Public Transit: Accessible by Capital Metro Bus Routes
    #4 Montopolis & #21 Exposition
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Tuesday-Saturday 5:30pm - 11:00 pm
    $7 per car
A word from Bess Bistro
Bess is an authentic bistro in the Stratford Arms building at 500 West Sixth Street, Austin's Old Pecan Street. Originally the Stratford Apartments built in 1918, the vintage building's old bank vault is Bess' kitchen today. Hand-crafted beers, wines and liquors are served from a stunning pewter bar custom-made in Montbazon. The ambiance provides a unique blend of casual elegance, cheeky ease, and European flair. The menu deliberately defies classification, serving eclectic fare such as Creole inspired Shrimp Bess, Mussels from Prince Edward Island, Steak Frites and old-fashioned Mac & Cheese. Natural, organic and local, the menu's common thread is the passion of the chef.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Diner Reviews
  • "We traditionally eat at Bess Bistro on Sunday nights when we are in Austin. We love the ambience and the New Oleans type food. Our waiter was non-attentive, and appeared "bored" with his job. No smiles, small talk, encouragement, etc..."
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "The food was wonderful and creative. A bit of New Orleans vibe. Very very comfortable!! Loved it."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Overall great food and ambience. Had a good time for a group of 5 for a birthday dinner. Would definitely recommend for a special occasion."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "We went for my daughter's 21st birthday to celebrate and it was amazing! Our server Julie went out of her way to make everything special for my daughter and she was helpful in suggesting wine (which was fabulous) and entrees. Everything was perfect and I almost hate to complain about anything but both my other daughter and I felt like our entrees (she had athe pork chop special of the day and I had the steak frites) were a little salty. We do tend to follow a low sodium diet at home so it was more pronounced because of that. My other daughter's salmon was perfection and we decided hers was the best on the table! The beignets were scrumptious and we could have eaten those all night. Would definitely go back again."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We had a great experience at Bess Bistro. Food was amazing we were still talking about it the next day !"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "This place was one of the most romantic places I've been. I told the restaurant I needed a nice table a month in advance and they delivered a very nice table. The food was awesome and the ambience was very nice!! I would come back again. I didn't see Sandra Bullock either. I will come back!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Make no mistake, the food is very good. We shared a salad and had entrees (Creekstone filet with bone marrow, and Grilled salmon with gnocchi) with a side dish. Even with a coupon, the bill was a bit high. The location is cute, below street level. They have valet parking, which is helpful. But the service just seemed a bit spotty that evening."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "A good dinner, just not great. The food was good but, not as good as other restaurants in Austin. Service was very good. I'd go back to try it again -- liked the ambience and location."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Everything we ate was delicious. We will be coming back. Only complaint had nothing to do with the food. It was just a bit too dark. Maybe if the light could just be a slightly bit brighter."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "I had an excellent time at Bess Bistro. Dined with 5 of my friends, and couldn't have asked for better service or food. Jonathon was our server and was just the best. Attentive, friendly and patient with a table of 6 energetic ladies. Can't wait to go back!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "We went back to Bess Bistro again on a return visit to Austin. We were not disappointed to say the least. The shrimp and grits, the risotto with scallops, terrific. And the beignets are to die for! All in a cozy setting without the high volume of noise typical in so many places."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Visited Bess' for the first time on a Wednesday evening and everything was perfect. Had wine, mussels as an app, salmon entrée and beignets for dessert. The food was amazing and service very friendly!"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Food was awesome and served beautifully. Service was perfect. Place was really terrific - all around A+"
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "The redesigned restaurant and menu definitely is doing this restaurant justice. All of the staff were very kind and attentive to add to the awesomeness."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "Some imaginative dishes and twists on presentation. Totally worth a try if you are open to some minor innovations; chef seems to be experimenting and making it work. Only real ambiance downside is that the dining area is a bit chaotic and wait staff tend to bump into diners/tables."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Visited when in town from Phoenix. Beautiful place, awesome service and great food. What a combination. We will be back next visit!"
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Nice atmosphere; staff professional & pleasant. Delicious appetizer of artichoke and lemon wheels. Main: Shrimp over Grits w/ Barbecue Sauce. Satisfactory dish: however, I found the sauce overpowering & shrimp a bit chewy. Staff did bring out extra creamy grits without the sauce. My daughter had grilled vegetables of the season on a board. She found it flavorful and plentiful. Dessert: a pistachio ice cream next to a goat cheese and raspberry tart was phenomenal. Would return again to try another dish. Overall a very good experience…..would have been exceptional if only we had met Sandra, whom we here visits the establishment and guests whenever she is in town."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "I could not be more impressed with Bess! I will be going back very soon. I was blown away from the moment I walked in, to the time I walked out. Two thumbs up!"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "I took a small group out for dinner and had Bess's recommended to me by a native of Austin. The food was excellent, the signature drinks were great too. The service a tad bit slow but lots of tables were filled that evening. The food was a little staggered making it to the table but well worth the wait. I would go back again in a heartbeat. Everyone's food was wonderful and the restaurant it self was clean and comfy! Well worth your time in Austin."
    Dined on 3/17/2014
  • "We come to Austin once a year for the Formula 1 race and Bess Bistro is one of our favorite restaurants. We were a party of 5 this time and everybody enjoyed the great food. Best french fries in the US, we even ordered french fries for dessert! Great service! Looking forward for this fall to go there again."
    Dined on 11/14/2013
  • "Had a wonderful time with my wife and I. She just got off of a long flight and wanted something delicious. This was perfect."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "I wanted a place to meet an old friend, eat good food, and catch up with things. Food was great. Ambiance was comfortable and inviting. I loved that we could talk and not have to yell over then noise or loud music. I'd love to go again. Wouldn't take kids though--seems like a grown up place."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "After a little confusion over who was waiting on our table the experience at Bess was just great. The food was excellent. Great selection of food items. We booked an early (7 PM) dinner which was not crowded and the atmosphere was charming."
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "Took wife to Bess during a stay in Austin, great find good atmosphere, fantastic friendly service and outstanding food. Make you feel like a regular on your first visit!"
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Food was fresh, wine was fantastic and it was overall a great night out."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "We walked 15 mins in the rain to eat here and it was totally worth it. The interior is old-world style with a lot of warm textures and finishes so it's comfy and intimate. There are a few different rooms and none of them is cavernous or too loud for conversation. We sat in a lovely red leather booth. The food is N'Awlins style, very rich and delicious. I had a kale salad, fried green tomatoes and a grilled vegetable platter, hubby had shrimp and grits that had a good amount of heat but not too much. Not an extensive wine list but def a few decent (if overpriced) choices. Nice service, and it was a pleasure to be in a civilized and romantic setting that was obviously designed for the comfort of the diners and not the ego of the designer."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "I haven't ever craved to be in a city for the sole purpose of eating at a specific resaurant until I discovered this Austin Gem a couple of years ago. The Mac and Cheese is a staple, but the Shrimp and Grits was... well... a gastonmical emotional ride. Creamy, with a kick to it and so fresh! I'll be back as long as they're waiting for me."
    Dined on 3/6/2014
  • "This was a surprisingly quiet evening with family, great food & wine."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "The food and service was great! I highly recommend!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Food was delicious and ambience was perfect for a date night. Definitely making a trip back."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Just loved this place! Visiting from So Cal and heard about it from friends that live in Austin. I had a really nice date and we were happy to find some Pasa Roebles wines on the list. The server was outstanding and fireplace going with natural stone pillars....very pleasant. They also have a second floor outside lounge. A little cool for that!"
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "I surprised my wife with a birthday dinner at Bess. The ambience was right up our alley. Very nice, but also warm and laid back - not like the more polished 5 star restaurants that can be a little cold and stuffy. We could be ourselves. They had reserved an out-of-the-way booth for us. The food was excellent. We had: fried artichokes, salmon, foie gras, the filet, and brussel sprouts. They surprised us with 4 complimentary delicious beignets for dessert. All was excellent. Service was just right, attentive and friendly, but not intrusive. My wife kept repeating how it was just right, especially after suffering through a long day at work. Highly recommend."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "we had 2 good meals and 2 that were way over cooked. it took way to long to get our food so we didn't have time to redo our 2 over cooked meals or we would have been late to a concert."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Took my parents here for there birthdays and they were impressed. It had a "speakeasy" vibe to it. Service was outstanding where our waitress Tasha went above and beyond the call of duty. The food was great. The wine list I felt could of been better for my taste but overall it was good. My wife and I would definitely dine here again if not just relax in the bar. Even though Sandra Bullock is the proprietor, there was no mention of it and not one thing of Hollywood about it. That was very nice and refreshing. Cheers!!!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "We never miss a chance to dine at Bess when in Austin."
    Dined on 2/17/2014
  • "We visited Austin for Valintines day. My wife and I had a fantastic dinner at Bess Bistro. Our waitress was phenominal, The food was exceptionaly good. Bess's offered a wonderful romatic expierience for us. Can't wait to come back."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "My husband and I went for the first time on Valentines Day. From the service to the perfect food to the amazing architectural design with perfect lighting. We were beyond impressed and Bess will definitely be our Date night favorite!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "This bistro is bad. In a food town like Austin, this place would not survive except that it's owned by Sandra Bullock. Everything from the staff to the food was off. My chopped salad was meager at best. I found the rind/skin from the diced deli turkey meat they used. Diced deli meat in a reataurant salad? Not exactly a true chopped salad. My partner had the shrimp dish. He had to peel the shrimp. Really? It was a messy dish and he had to peel the shrimp. I travel a lot for my job so I eat out in nicer restaurants 5-6 times a week. I will be telling everyone I know not to eat here. There are too many good restaurants in Austin to waste your time here. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone under any conditions."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "Bess Bistro has a wonderful atmosphere and exquisite food. The portioning for the dishes is appropriate for a light meal. The shrimp and grits far exceeded my expectations as did the gumbo. I only ordered the cup of gumbo, and it was full of flavor that both satisfied me and left me wanting more. My compliments to the chef and his kitchen for creating such great food."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "The wait staff here is at the top of the game, Attentive without being intrusive. Great food as always"
    Dined on 2/8/2014