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  • Bon Vivant - Palo Alto

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Bon Vivant - Palo Alto
Bon Vivant - Palo Alto

Bon Vivant - Palo Alto Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://bonvivantcafe.net
  • Phone: (650) 485-3228
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner:
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday
    5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    5:30 PM - 10:30 PM

    Tuesday - Friday
    11:30 AM - 3 PM

    Saturday, Sunday
    10 AM - 3 PM

    Bon Vivant is closed on Mondays.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: French, Contemporary European, Wine Bar
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, High Tea, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Entertainment: Live music most Fridays. Check FB for upcoming events: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Bon-Vivant-Palo-Alto-CA/156252334390713

Getting there

  • Cross Street: University Ave
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Bon Vivant - Palo Alto
Bon Vivant recalls the charm and pleasure of Parisian brasserie, located in the heart of Downtown in Palo Alto. Bon Vivant food is inspired by bistro classics which showcase French tradition and technique. We composed a menu that celebrates traditional French cuisine alongside seasonal ingredients. The wine list has a great selection of French and Californian wines by the glass, as well as assortment of cocktails and mixed drinks.

Bon Vivant is about great food, interesting people, music and art. Enjoy and thank you for dining with us at Bon Vivant!
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNotable Wine List
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Diner Reviews
  • "We made a reservation through open table the day before going to the restaurant @11:45. And when we got there at 11:45, the door was locked and nobody was in it. And we were forced to eat at another restaurant. After we finished lunch and come back, the restaurant was still not opened. This is on a Friday. By all means, avoid this restaurant. If I could give zero star in my review, I would."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Another great meal at Bon Vivant. After a late meeting, I went with a co-worker to Bon Vivant for dinner. Everything was perfect. I had the rabbit and my friend had salmon. We each had scrumptious desserts with our coffee afterwards. I'm fast becoming a regular here. The food is just superior."
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "Broad veriety of French "tapas": tongue, duck pate, crab salad. Excellent duck confit. Unexpectedly good beet root tart tatan. I'd say I got hooked on it. New classy desserts. Our choice was Napoleon cake and Souffle Grand Marnier. Everything is beautifully plated, delicate and fresh taste. I look forward trying the rest of the menu."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "I've come back to Bon Vivant a few times now - both for lunch and dinner. My experiences have been uniformly wonderful. From the Coquille St-Jacques, Pate de Canard and French Onion Soup appetizers to the Salmon Fillet, Coq au Vin and Rabbit main courses, I've enjoyed everything (as have my companions). The service has been attentive and professional without being obtrusive. I've already written about the desserts in an earlier review. ;) So what else can I say: I'm a fan and am spreading the word."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "The service was good despite the presence of a large party and they were accommodating for substitutions, but the food was not great... Both the rabbit and duck breast were so-so... I'm glad we didn't get the duck confit, as the table next to us seemed to strongly dislike it. The music selection was awesome though! I forgot to ask them for the playlist"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Perhaps there were not enough servers. Perhaps there was not enough training. Perhaps the kitchen was overwhelmed. It started out when our server greeted us...and then simply walked away. We had to call him back to order our cocktails. (One was sent back two times beore it was acceptable.) We requested our food to be brought AFTER we finished our cocktails. That did not happen either. And then we waited over twenty minutes for our desserts...the only reason we finally got them is because we asked the busperson to see what happened.. our waiter never returned. And FINALLY, when the bill came, we had to ask the hostess to taker the credit card because, again, our waiter had disappeared."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Fantastic! I came with my wife for dinner on a Thursday night. Mother-in-law agreed to watch the kiddies and give us a date night. Before catching a late movie, we had a lovely and romantic dinner at Bon Vivant. Everything was fresh, delicious and beautiful. We both liked the decor - elegant without being stuffy. But for me, the food for the real draw: delicious duck, and an amazing souffle for dessert. My wife had salmon and seemed very well pleased as well. It was just what we needed - well fed, with the nice tastes of food, wine and dessert leaving us cozy and satisfied. We will definitely be back!"
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "The service was uneven and the oysters , which had been impeccable the last time I was there, left a film on my teeth. Lobster with pasta-- tiny tails (perhaps that's not unusual) but one was hot and one was cold. Neither the waiter nor the chef detached them from the shell so they were a struggle to remove. Pappardelle was heavily sauced-- not a good companion for the minuscule lobster. The mussels were the best dish we ordered."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "We have been making this place a regular spot, but am reconsidering after this last dinner. Our waitress was also the bartender and she was nice but very inexperienced. for the prices here one shouldn't have to continually ask for everything and basically tell the sever what to do when. Also, while all the other dishes were very good, two of us were served an inedible sort of lemon merengue dessert that must have been refrigerated all day. We like this place and want it to succeed as downtown Palo Alto is really lacking fine dining experiences - and has regressed to catering to the the tastes (and manners) of teenagers.."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Tried this for the first time to celebrate my graduation from college! Perfect for a special event! All of the food was superb (I had the mushroom tart and scallops - delicious) and the wine was perfect!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "We had a great time at Bon Vivant. The food & service were excellent. But I wanted to call attention to the dessert menu. I've been going to Bon Vivant for a while, but never wrote a review until now. We tried the Napolean and the Panna cotta. I order Napolean's whenever I come across them, but few were as light and creamy as this one. Perfect. Because I wasn't eager to share my treat (!) with my girlfriend, I only had one bite of her Panna Cotta. But it was wonderful as well and she seemed just as jealous about guarding her portion. Anyway, the desserts were a wonderful conclusion to a delicious meal. There were a couple of other desserts that looked yummy (Choc decadence, some custard dish,...), but I guess those are for next time."
    Dined on 6/8/2014
  • "Disappointing...again. Duck Confit had little taste. Ragout was very vinegary. Vegetables were less than warm. Coq Co Van: basically the same problems as the duck. With one mushroom soup (way too salty), tax and tip...over $84! Too many better choices in Palo Alto."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "The service was very attentive, tops marks. However, the food came so slowly, it took nearly two hours for an appetizer, main course and dessert, in a less than half filled restaurant. While the food was competent, it had nothing to make it noteworthy or worth going back for. The fish serving was tiny, it should have been a couple ounces larger. The chocolate souffle was disappointing and overpriced. We tried the wine flight, three 2 ounce glasses of wine for $25, really not a good value. The also served us one souffle when we very clearly stated we want two souffles (turned out alright since neither of us liked it). The single standout dish was the beetroot tart tatin appetizer. "
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "So much to recommend at Bon Vivant; I'm surprised more people haven't discovered it. The food is tasty -- light French Country with a dash of California locally grown, and we loved the art gallery vibe to the decor. Best of all was the very willing staff. We went seeking a leisurely brunch spot where we could share fine food, a bit of bubbly, and tales tall and true with friends we hadn't seen for 25 years. Bon Vivant was perfect. When my husband asked for his eggs a special style the staff called an expert to make sure they got it right. When I left my favorite sun hat, our waiter ran three blocks to catch us and return it. That's classy service with a smile. More than a delicious meal; We had a lovely day. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "This has become our "GoTo" place for Sunday brunch. The place evokes a Paris Cafe vibe, with unobtrusive service, quality food, and a great environment. A Mimosa and a Bloody Mary for each of us to start the morning, a carafe of coffee in a French Press (what else), and perfectly prepared Eggs Benedict in a rich hollandaise sauce, or a wonderful crepe."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "I had the salmon crepe. It was not bad but a special sauce could be added to make it superb.maybe a lemon champagne sauce will do the trick... To up lift the tasting experience. Maybe the waitress could greet the customers in French to make it more of an experience? "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "The food was great. Service wonderful. We felt very comfortable and really enjoyed ourselves. The only odd part was that it was not very busy. We could only figure that it may be a bit on the more fancy side for such a casual town. Regardless, we loved it and look forward to going back. "
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "had a 6 45 reservation on a Saturday only two or three tables occupied not a busy night apparently. Our server was Frank was very helpful. Started with oysters on the half shell which were excellent followed by beet salad also very good, then entrees: duck breast was excellent rabbit was overcooked and returned. overall it felt pricey for the quality and experience."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Lovely unassuming spot in Palo Alto. Get the mussels!"
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Excellent food, nicely presented in a romantic atmosphere."
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Bon Vivant is newly open, but has that traditional Parisienne Brasserie feel and food quality that teleports you straight to the Champs Élysées. Palo Alto's foodies and Francophile wannabes will discover this gem soon enough and you'll have to wait a week or two for a reservation. Go now - while you can!"
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Bon Vivant is a fun open-room restaurant. Service was very friendly and efficient, the food was delicious though not outstanding. The menu has many great items, however, and we'll be back to try them all."
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "I was very disappointed in Bon Vivant. Although the atmosphere is quite lovely the food was dull. We started out with an amuse bouche which was a mini roll of some kind. It had no tasted and seemed to come right out of the freezer/refrigerator. My onion soup was ok but not really caramelized oniony as I would have expected. My husband's crab salad tasted canned and mayonnaisey. Yuck. Our main dishes were pretty good. My portion of salmon was small but tasty. The side veggies were overly salted. My husband's duck breast was good. Our dinning companion ordered ice cream. It was the tiniest portion I have ever seen. My fruit place was excellent."
    Dined on 4/22/2014
  • "All excellent: Coquille St. Jaques, French Onion Soup, House Salad, Duck Orange, Pepper Steak, Grand Marnlier Souffle, and Rum Baba. The server brought soup and salad at the same time, and it crowded the small table, but the good outweighed this oversight."
    Dined on 4/22/2014
  • "my wife and i had a wonderful meal and champagne after a long day in a relaxed and cheerful atmoshpere. The waiter was cheerful and engaging and the food (appetizers, salads, entrees and dessert) was terrific. I'm amazed this place isnt packed every night. (We had an 8 o'clock reso on short notice.) Please ntoe: the French food label should not discourage anyone. This is not a snooty, rich sauce-all-over-everytihng French restauant. Just excellent fresh food prepared wonderfully. "
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • " This was a special occasion evening. Selected Bon Vivant because original choice restaurent had to cancel our reservation as they were hosting a private event. So glad this happened and we had a most wonderful dinner. I enjoyed some delicious cauliflower soup and some very good Duck Confit. We also had salad Frisée and a pork dish with calvados....ending our meal with Grand Marnier soufflé...all this accompanied by an amazing bottle of Premier Cru Chablis...Our waiter -Jack was excellent - he and my co guest conversed in French - so if I closed my eyes I could almost believe I was somewhere in France. I highly recommend Bon Vivant."
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "We had a big lunch with a friend last Friday. We had an appetizer, soups and entrees, also added wine. The food was excellent, the waiter was perfect, ten out of ten!"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "We chose Bon Vivant for an informal birthday lunch because of the pleasant atmosphere, the interesting menu, and the very helpful staff. When we asked questions about individual items on the menu, the staff gave clear reasons for their recommendations. We had the Salade Nicoise, Salmon Crepes, and Baba Au Rhum. All were close enough to the classic recipes to be enjoyable but also used slightly different ingredients to create a memorable lunch. The low noise level and the leisurely pace of the service allowed us to enjoy a very pleasant visit over lunch."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "Excellent French cuisine. We had the escargo was divine. The salad with smoked duck and truffle oil was very tasty. Duck was well prepared. The filet mignon was a tad over done - more medium than medium rare, so should order on the rarer side. Desserts were heavenly as was the coffee. Service was good. A better command of the menu items especially the specials or the substitutions. Need to listen more carefully."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I find that the bon Vivant is not there yet, food or service wise. My husband never got his ice tea. The potatoes were cold under by scallops and his was really cold along side his duck. The attending waiter had other things on his mind so couldn not totally concentrate eventhough we had a 5:30 reservation. It has a nice setting but it not there food wise."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "The food was delicious and presentation was great. The service was excellant"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Nice ambiance but food quality was pretty poor. Not what I would expect for Palo Alto. Nice presentation, but not an impressive showing for true foodies. Needs help. Not cheap."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Made you feel that outside is Saint Sulpice or St Germaine in Paris Staff and service is super appetizers were very good the salmon is tops seafood forté"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Everything was a perfect balance of flavor and quality from the Astor, to the Mousse de Canard, to the salad, through my duck, and punctuated by the chocolate soufflé. No over seasoning, no over saucing. I recommend letting your server make recommendations for wine pairings and cooking style (my duck was perfectly pink). Service was fantastic."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Outstanding pot de creme! Wasn't crazy about the smoked salmon crepes--will try something different next time. Atmosphere and service will tempt me back."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "After reading the other reviews we arrived with high hopes and this place did not disappoint - Everything about the meal was outstanding. We couldn't believe that we were able to get in on a Friday night, last minute in Palo Alto. Can't wait for our next visit - have already recommended the place to a few friends."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "I went to Bon Vivant for the first time on a Friday night with a few friends, and was shocked at how wonderful the experience was! The restaurant was very quiet for 7pm Friday by Palo Alto standards, and the decor was tasteful and contemporary. Our waiter was a very sweet person who served us with delicacy and humor. The food was GREAT. I had an acorn soup that blew my mind, delicious scallops in saffron cream, and a transcendent creme brulee. I had not expected Bon Vivant to be such a sleeper hit, and I will certainly go back again and again!"
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "I live nearby; and I should have learned about this place a while ago. Yesterday I ordered Fruit de Mer. This is a huge plate of fresh seafood incl mussels, scallops, oysters, shrimp and a few more items. Coming with tasty sauce. I'd say it is the best Fruit de Mer I ate in America so far. Very, very impressive. Their Souffle Grand Marnier was also excellent. I highly recommend this place."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "This restaurant was empty, which speaks volumes perhaps about its attractions. Everything is nice, but nothing special. We went for lunch; I expect it would be much nicer for dinner."
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "We came between hours of brekfast and lunch, They were still serving breakfast, we asked if we can get lunch menu. No problem The waiter was exellent, he knew every single item on the menu to the little details. We ordered, french onion soup-tasty, scalop-very good, and rabbit dish (it was amazing) and a poached pear in wine for dessert(outstanding). Love everything about this dinning spot."
    Dined on 12/1/2013