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Bistro 1491

Bistro 1491 Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.bistro1491.com
  • Phone: (510) 526-9601
  • Hours of Operation:
    Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM.
    Lunch: Daily: 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM.
    Dinner: Daily: 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Bo Tam
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Personal wines welcome, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Curtis St.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Bistro 1491
Bistro 1491, a casual dining, contemporary American restaurant located in the heart of the Bay Area, takes full advantage of the fresh, quality, and organic ingredients that surround us. We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus that are comforting yet with a touch of inspiration. The concept of our menu is simply unpretentious food using only the freshest and the highest quality ingredients. Our model here at Bistro 1491 is "Extravagant Food at a Causal Price!"Continued
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Diner Reviews
  • "Cons: no bar, very limited wines. Pros: the dinners are the best bistro food around, and by far the cheapest. We go anywhere for good food and are not price-sensitive--so believe us when we say if 1491 was near our house we would be here once a week! This is the best pork belly since Robin Low closed up Post Meridian, and the pear salad is killer good! Fried chicken is excellent, and the soups are always amazing. This is beautifully balanced, creative cooking that far exceeds Rivoli, Stella Nonna, Wood Tavern, or Chez Panisse Cafe. Chef/owner Bo Man Tam is doing a terrific job that hardly anyone is noticing."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "We arrived at 5:15 and were invited to sit at any table. I think there was one other couple dining when we arrived. The service was attentive the food arrived hot from the kitchen. The presentation was very nice and we enjoyed the salmon and the pork belly as entrees."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "I was expecting more of a French-style bistro so I was a little let down. But the menu had some fun items. Most memorable was the crispy tofu fries. Would go again if in the neighborhood."
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "We tried this place with some friends and ordered alot of things including fried chicken and pork belly appetizers, beet salad, steak frite, salmon, Cobb salad. Everything was excellent. The ambiance needs a little work but we created our own party anyway so all was good. Looking forward to returning for the pork belly!"
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The food was good - The server did a great job as she was going solo but the atmosphere is really lacking. Turn your lights down, add a candle and soe back light and your whole atmosphere could change and make you much more appealing "
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "I met out of town friends here for an early dinner. We were the only people in the place at 5:30 on a Sunday, which worried me a bit. But the service was good, the food was wonderful, and by the time we left a few more parties had filtered in. I hope they do OK!"
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "The Prix Fixe Valentine's dinner had 3 choices for starters, a good variety, and 3 choices for entrees, a good variety, plus aone fine dessert. My dinner partner and I both had choices that we liked. We liked Bistro1491 so much we went back for brunch on 16 Feb."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "This was our first visit to Bistro 1491 which had been recommended to us by friends. We had a lovely Valentine's Day dinner. The menu was prix fixe that evening and my husband and I both chose the beef filet with bearnaise sauce as our entree. It was absolutely delicious--a very, very tender filet. We also enjoyed the heart shaped gelato dessert. The staff was welcoming and helpful."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We made reservations here for Valentine's Day because our daughter liked the idea of small plates, it had great reviews, and was an easy trip to make on a Friday night. When we arrived, we were given a Prix Fixe menu with 3 choices for 2 courses plus an ice cream dessert. Somehow, we managed to finish every delicious morsel of food, and enjoyed the wine we brought without having to pay a corkage fee. We assume that the menu was limited to the best items they serve because everything we ate exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to returning to taste other dishes too! The service and ambience were fine--not formal but not too rustic either."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "I have strolled past this locale many times and imagined it to be a homey diner. A chowhound friend who sends out email restaurant reviews has praised this place so highly that I finally went this past weekend. Wow! Never judge a book by its cover! The food was incredibly good and a great value. The space might be plain but the dinner and the service were superb. The chef knows how to cook proteins better than more expensive places. You cannot go wrong with the salmon, chicken, or duck. Nice veggie options too. This bistro will definitely be added to our regular rotation."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "As usual, the food at Bistro 1491 was superb. This visit, however, the service was indifferent. Our wait person seemed to be having an off day and rarely smiled or seemed engaged. Usually the wait staff is peppy and energetic. Must have been a bad day to be waiting on tables."
    Dined on 11/8/2013
  • "Smaller, unassuming restaurant on Solano Ave. The food was fantastic!! The service was good although they made a few faux paus that seasoned waiters would not have made - not a big deal but perhaps something to work on. The place is basic but clean(mismatched silverware). However, everything we had was delish - caramelized pork belly - yum!, extremely fresh fish for the fish and sweet potato fries (my kids ate it up), mussels we nice, as was the skirt steak. Had a nice local bottle of wine and all for a very reasonable price - I would definitely recommend."
    Dined on 11/2/2013
  • "We had never been here before and decided to try it for our anniversary dinner. The food was great and the service was even better."
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "I had never been to Bistro 1491 and chose it based on other reviews and the location - we like going over to Solano Avenue. Hands down, the BEST waitress ever - Stella! We loved her, she was so much fun, great attitude and superior service. The food was really great! We had grilled salmon BLT, fish & chips, beet salad and a green salad. It was all REALLY yummy, plus we had a fabulous bottle of red wine. Bistro 1491 was a FIND. We will definitely be back and continue to bring people there!"
    Dined on 10/19/2013
  • "This is where the old Walker's Pie Shop was. When arriving I was apprehensive since the decor is simple and there were not a lot of people. However I was pleasantly surprised on how good the food was. While not high end dining, the food was tasty and portions were ample. I had the buttermilk fried chicken which is something I would never eat. It was crisp, not greasy and moist. They also have a selection of sandwiches that you can have for dinner..The wine and beer list is small but adequate. Not a lot of vegetarian or vegan options however."
    Dined on 10/10/2013
  • "I have been here for dinner several times since moving to berkeley and this place always delivers a memorable experience! The waitstaff are gentle and kind and the food is delicious! My favorite dish is the beef short ribs drizzled with a hoisin glaze and served with a side of potato pave and cauliflower....soft, savory, and always leaves me wanting more! I highly recommended giving this neighborhood gem a try if you are tired of waiting for a seat at Bowl'd next door!"
    Dined on 7/3/2013
  • "Don't let the plain exterior and interior keep you from trying the food. My wife had the pork belly appetizer. It was a good size for $6 and she proclaimed it to be one of the best she has ever had. We also had the short rib and shrimp quesadilla which sounded odd but actually tasted very good. We are looking forward to going again."
    Dined on 5/25/2013
  • "My family and i enjoyed our dinner at 1491. Although, my beet salad was rather tiny, the cauliflower cheddar soup was delicious. I also think that my seafood pasta could have used more moisture. Moms duck confit was terrific! But they should have asked my sister if she wanted her fish grilled or deep fried with her fish tacos. They oddly enough, came served with fries. She may as well of had fish and chips. In fact xhe wished she had. Expresso broule is delicious, though the need to carmelize the top.Our French speaking hostess was friendly and helpful. She really is terrific."
    Dined on 5/25/2013
  • "When you go in one of the first things you'll notice is how bare and echoey this restaurant is. The lighting and decor are cold and barren. It's just not pleasant. Regarding the food, the items on the menu sound promising but they end up disappointing. The salmon croquette was more of a patty than a croquette, it was mostly flavorless, and served too cold. The short ribs were well cooked but lacked flavor. The duck confit was just a greasy leg-quarter that after being confited was probably stored for a while and then poorly seared in a pan. The sear was not done properly so that it had soggy skin with a single small patch that was crisp. The only thing that was done properly was the meatball appetizer. We did not have desert."
    Dined on 5/24/2013
  • "This is a great bistro with reasonably-priced great tasting food. Pork belly appetizer was outstanding! The menu is varied so there is something for everyone. The service is friendly - you can get a nice dinner without dealing with an intimidating staff. It is possible to have a conversation at dinner too, always a plus. Definitely recommend this place for a nice dinner."
    Dined on 5/3/2013
  • "Had a lovely dinner here. The beet salad was a highlight for me."
    Dined on 4/26/2013
  • "At a family dinner with 2 young kids Bistro 1491 was ideal. Great food for discerning adults and for kids as well. All of this came with perfect service"
    Dined on 4/13/2013
  • "Nice place for a meal after the races or an afternoon on Solano -- not a "destination," but good food at good prices."
    Dined on 4/12/2013
  • "We have visited 1491 several times, and are always impressed with high level of execution on the dishes, at reasonable prices. The salmon with miso is superb, short ribs excellent also. Salads very fresh and tasty. Service is friendly and knowledgable. We feel the dinner business may suffer due to the restaurant decor having more of a breakfast/lunch atmosphere. Do not hesitate- try it!"
    Dined on 1/11/2013
  • "We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious food! I've driven past this place for the past four years. And now I'm wondering what I've been missing all this time. The food was solid, and the waitress was wonderful. 1) Duck confit with lentils and Chinese sausage. Chinese sausage?! Who came up with this one? and it totally worked. 2) Miso glazed salmon with couscous. Solid dish. Fish could have been a bit fresher, but the flavors came together well. 3) Cheeseburger with sweet potato fries - Solid burger. Yummy fries. Overall, nothing was offensive. Will definitely be returning."
    Dined on 1/3/2013
  • "We had considered 1491 a hidden gem: excellent mac'n'cheese, fried chicken; best were the outstanding salads: properly sized, truly fresh, lovely combinations. But the pork belly Caesar was a slop: Romaine had wilted (it takes A LOT to wilt Romaine). Pork belly was fine but croutons mediocre and overabundant. Good: salmon gumbo, duck confit, salmon filet w/honey-miso & couscous. Bad: lentils w/duck were horrid al dente; hard in the middle/unpleasant. Pork chop too thin, came medium instead of medium-rare so it was chewy, but maple glaze was tasty. Overall a disappointment this time!"
    Dined on 12/27/2012
  • "A surprising find for such a reasonably priced neighborhood spot! The food is classic French, with a little Asian twist occasionally thrown in. The preparation is exceptional. There is always a version of duck confit on the menu. The sides tend to be gratins and haricots vert. The wine list is notable in that it is small, well selected and reasonable. The setting is clean, sweet and simple. The service is friendly, but not as professional as you'd expect for the style of cuisine. My only complaint is that the desserts are very run-of-the-mill."
    Dined on 12/19/2012
  • "The place was empty, though it was a rainy Halloween night, but the food was delicious! My dining companion and I split the pear salad, the burger and the fish and chips. The fish and chips were perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned and some of the best I have had in the bay area. Give it a try, it will not disappoint."
    Dined on 10/31/2012
  • "We've been here several times. Dinner is best, and despite the clean-but-plain IKEA-type decor, we have found the food better and more reliable than Lalime's, Cafe Rouge, and even Rivoli. The soups are excellent--my pumpkin/cauliflower/curry soup just needed a spoonful of sour cream (stolen from my SO's quesadilla) to lift it into perfection. The salads are amazing here: beautifully balanced with gentle acidity, clean flavors, and NEVER too much dressing. There are 4-star restaurants who don't do salads as well as B-1491. Fried chicken is excellent; mac'n'cheese is lovely. Short ribs were fabulous. Desserts are very nicely done, coffee is great when freshly made. A real bargain on Solano!"
    Dined on 10/18/2012
  • "Experience was "okay". I went here with my family for my mother in laws birthday. Service had kind of a forced friendliness to it. (I.e. how are you doing over here.....subtext.....please don't say anything and I could give a dam...... Food was bland even tasteless....I had the buttermilk fried chicken and macaroni anc cheese.....my cheat night...wasted. Not worth the price tag could be better, good lunch fare but probably won't be in business long."
    Dined on 10/5/2012
  • "Great food. Attentive service. Decor and atmosphere weren't there: a bit sterile."
    Dined on 10/1/2012
  • "The former Walker's Pie Shop, now a nicely decorated down-home bistro with decent food, low prices."
    Dined on 8/24/2012
  • "We met for a dinner meeting, our waitress Tina was outstanding and strategic. The food was delicious."
    Dined on 8/18/2012
  • "Friendly service; attention to details. The menu is interesting with variety and periodic change and the price is very reasonable. It is interesting how ethnic flavors are incorporated."
    Dined on 8/3/2012
  • "What a happy surprise Bistro 1491 was. I booked the restaurant thinking it was another restaurant. Bistro 1491 is not elegant but the food is very, very good; the service was pleasant and appropriately attentive and corkage was gratis! The buttermilk fried chicken is sooo good."
    Dined on 6/16/2012
  • "I was really looking forward to their calamari appetizer and really sad to hear that they had just changed their menu the day before. It was like having your best friend move out of town without saying good-bye. Bummer! We had the salmon which was good, but not what we had expected, the grilled steak salad which was tasty, and the flat iron steak which was very good. Our favorite dishes there are the calamari, fish &chips, braised short ribs and the flat iron steak."
    Dined on 5/12/2012
  • "Two of the mussels in the seafood stew were not open and should have been removed in the kitchen before service. Otherwise the menu, the service, and the food were way above average; we plan to return."
    Dined on 3/9/2012
  • "Great food at an affordable price. Outstanding grilled salmon salad! Good wine list."
    Dined on 2/4/2012
  • "good selection of dishes at a very good price. enjoyed the meal."
    Dined on 1/22/2012
  • "Food was excellent! Went this past weekend and it was almost empty. Almost turned around and walked down the street, but wanted a quiet place to visit with friends so we stayed. Great choice...food was excellent. The rain must have kept people home....but definitely good place to check out."
    Dined on 1/20/2012