Bon Vivant - Palo Alto
535 Bryant Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301Neighborhood:
FrenchPrice: $31 to $50
Bon Vivant - Palo Alto
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://bonvivantcafe.net/
- Phone: (650) 485-3228
- Hours of Operation:
5:30 PM - 10:30 PM
5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Bon Vivant is closed on Mondays.
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Wine Bar, French, Contemporary European
- 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
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.Continued
Bon Vivant is about great food, interesting people, music and art. Enjoy and thank you for dining with us at Bon Vivant!
Bon Vivant is about great food, interesting people, music and art. Enjoy and thank you for dining with us at Bon Vivant!
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerNotable Wine List
- Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Bon Vivant - Palo Alto - Best Restaurants in Palo Alto ›
Bon Vivant - Palo Alto reviews from OpenTable diners
44 reviews since July 31, 2014
- Ambiance4.4Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (28)romantic (27)special occasion (25)neighborhood gem (23)notable wine list (17)good for groups (8)great for lunch (8)great for brunch (6)great for outdoor dining (6)hot spot (4)vibrant bar scene (2)late-night find (1)Show More
- Fabulous FrenchOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/23/2014Everything about Bon Vivant was wonderful. The food was scrumptious and the atmosphere was warm and elegant, but definitely not stuffy or formal. Our server was helpful when we asked for help and unobtrusive when my girlfriend and I wanted to enjoy the romantic mood. Try the duck. Try the rabbit. Try the chestnut soup. Try the desserts. OK, you get the idea. Just try it!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A great place for dinner with friendsOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 11/15/2014Wonderful relaxed feel in this place – comfortable and still elegant. Light jazz piano added to the experience and still allowed for easy conversation. Food was creative and delicious.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Super for a relaxed romantic dinnerTeresaDined on 11/15/2014We went for our 40th anniversary. We wanted a quiet place , no kids, good food and time to relax and enjoy. THIS IS THE PLACE!!!! We enjoyed the slow service(requested it!)... everything was there when we wanted it...our waiter was very attentive to when we were ready for the next course. We had a 4 course meal, and portions were great ..we ate everything, but were not stuffed. We ordered a wonderful french champagne, was pricey but the best I have ever had. warning, french tonic water is flat and tasteless..I sent my G&T back. Mussels were delicious, pate to die for, rabbit a bit dry but flavorful, pheasant was excellent, deserts were authentic french renditions, (Napoleon, lemon meringue tart), not the American version. We felt well looked after, could hear what we were saying and were not bothered by other diners. We will definitely keep this on our radar for special occasionsSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Bon BonChefrjVIPDined on 11/11/2014Truly outstanding French restaurant, everything was perfect. Excellent menu with many classic offerings.Special Features:
- Had a wonderful dinnerRitaDined on 11/8/2014We were a table of 4, I had not seen our friends for a long time and we had a wonderful evening. The staff were attentive, and the food great. Our friends live in Palo Alto but this was the first time they had eaten there, I know they will be back as will we.Special Features:
- Coq Au Vin et MoiOnTheTownDined on 11/6/2014My girlfriend and I had dinner at Bon Vivant tonight and enjoyed ourselves completely. The place setting is lovely, but the food is what really made it special. I had a Octopus for my appetizer - wonderful. Exotic, beautiful and delicious. I then moved on to try the Coq au Vin. The chicken was succulent, and I couldn't resist using all my bread to soak up the sauce. To die for. Well, maybe don't die until you have dessert! We split a Napoleon that was creamy and dreamy. We didn't explore the wine list too much tonight - but it looks extensive. I think I will save that for my next trip with my boyfriend. ;)Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- I wish they could get act together!apicVIPDined on 11/1/2014Bon Vivant has much going for it: location, decor, a good menu and wine list. Yet each time we go it's a flop. The service is terrible and the food inconsistent. No one took orders for 30 minutes. Our waiter spoke English so poorly that we could not understand the specials. He misunderstand our order and brought out the wrong starters for half the table. Even though it was THEIR mistake, the restaurant took 30 minutes to rectify the situation so half of table ate cold starters. 40 minutes elapsed between starters and entree and no one even came to pour new wine. One person ordered expensive pheasant and all they brought was a single leg. That's deception and a cooking crime (legs should be made into confit.) Two entrees arrived cold.
- This is not my last visit!happyfoodieDined on 10/26/2014This is an exquisite place with a very very tasty food. They understand how to cook duck probably better then anyone else in Bay Area. Their Duck Confit is to die for, so as Coq-Au-Vin. And I finally found something new for dessert. Their wine list is also worth mentioning. They should have done a better work of advertising. I've been living here for 15 years, and I haven't heard of it until a friend of mine shared it on Facebook.Special Features:
- Very expensiveMarigoldmaryDined on 10/25/2014Allow plenty of time here, which is okay for special occasions, but this is not a hurried place. The "sea scallops" were really bay scallops, which are much smaller. Three of them sat on a puree that was delicious. Since I eat small portions, this was okay with me, but most people would leave hungry. The other diners with me had larger portions that were pronounced delicious...rabbit, coq au vin, and duck. The big complaint from the other diners was that the martinis were watery. I don't drink martinis and my glass of merlot was delicious. The service was friendly and they brought us chocolate truffles at the end...very nice treat. I would recommend Bon Vivant to others with some warning about the cost and the martinis.Special Features:
- Great find in Palo Alto!stillhereforthefoodVIPDined on 10/25/2014We celebrated my husband's sixtieth birthday at Bon Vivant. It was lovely to be right in the center of PA and be able to hear the conversation. Delightful staff, quick service, delicious food. We'll be back!Special Features:
- hsalamoneVIPDined on 10/24/2014The food was great... Except my mother's "light" mushroom soup was mostly butter, and when our main courses eventually arrived almost an hour after we had our appetizers the meat of the pheasent and rabbit was dry and tough. The food could've been great but it fell short. The service was friendly and polite but the food took FOREVER to come out. The waiter took the blame but it was unpleasant no matter whether it was the waiter or the kitchen that screwed up.
- A notable taste of FranceCounterbanderVIPDined on 10/21/2014We just felt like pheasant for a change. Bon Vivant did not disappoint - either in this dish, prepared in armagnac with truffle butter, or in the variety of alternatives like duck, rabbit, snails or pork belly. And a serious cheeseboard. This place gives the feel of a serious French restaurant and overall delivers well on that promise. All the food was well presented and tasty. Service can be improved: wines were served too slowly, one so seriously late we were on to the next course and had to cancel it. Ambiance is classy, more formal than bistro. Favored by animated Silicon Valley types delivering tech sales pitches which the room acoustics does little to quell.Special Features:
- Napoleon marches on Palo Alto...SecondsPleaseDined on 10/18/2014We had a wonderful meal at Bon Vivant. Food, service, ambiance were all great. But in this review the only point I really want to make is that the desserts are *amazing*. I admit to a special weakness for Napoleon (or Mille-feuille if you prefer). It was just heaven - creamy and luxurious, with a delicate but delicious crust. My girlfriend had some chocolate creation that looked beautiful and, judging by her satisfied look afterwards, tasted as good as it looked. I recommend that you come for dinner - our entire meal was exceptional - but be *absolutely* sure to leave room for dessert. General Napoleon expects no less!Special Features:
- Lovely surpriseDianeT1VIPDined on 9/27/2014Bon Vivant was wonderful. It was romantic with very good service and wonderful food. Everyone was friendly and we had a lovely evening.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love at first bite...ShellyDinesDined on 9/23/2014I don't know how I missed this place, but I'm glad that I finally found it. With all the dining options in PA, I was pleased to discover something both distinctive and delicious. I started with a Butter Lettuce and Prawn salad and then moved on to Pheasant for my main course. Both were beautifully presented - Pheasant with royal trumpets and a black truffle and Armagnac sauce. My wife had Duck with a delicious sauce (I nibbled!). Even more interesting was the Octopus salad that she started with. It was also excellent and prepared without the "rubberyness" that too often plagues attempts at preparing Octopus. Dessert was a Napoleon pastry and Chocolate Decadence - both yummy. A wonderful meal from start to finish.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Love this placeArchiPackwoodDined on 9/21/2014The service was professional and non-intrusive. Chanterelle soup was fragrant and delicious. Rabbit was juicy and tender. My client highly spoke of his dishes. He had chosen octopus for start and pheasant with black truffles for entree. I saw his dishes, not only they were elegantly plated but truly appetizing. Chocolate dessert was truly great, table next to us had it and recommend it highly. Will be defiantly back to try those and few others.Special Features:
- Great place and service...Food mehFoodiemomVIPDined on 9/20/2014The place is very charming and the service is great. However, the food portions for the dinner were small and my pheasant wasn't very flavorful. For the price, I think one could do better. I did enjoy the appetizer and the dessert... Those seem more appropriately sized. However the chocolate "sauce" in the small pitcher for the soufflé didn't pour out properly. The beet tartin was good but not spectacular.
- Food and drinks are very badOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/14/2014Price is reasonable but food or drinks didn't taste good. It was not worth it. We will never come againSpecial Features:
- Excellent service, great atmosphereChekkabooDined on 8/27/2014Beautiful little gem in the middle of downtown. Irene (from Paris, France) provides amazing service and the food is delicious.Special Features:
- Bon Vivant real French foodNeivnsVIPDined on 8/22/2014If a menu display duck confit, I will definitely try it out. Same to Bon Vivant, this item attracts me to make the booking. Not disappointed by the quality of this dish. The crème brulee is even better. Try the beef tongue also. Next time I will order escargots and cog au vin.Special Features:
- Just what we wanted...SimonEDined on 8/7/2014Another 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.Special Features:
- French in Palo AltoOpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 8/2/2014Bon Vivant is a restaurant in Palo Alto serving French cuisine. The space is attractive and is not fancy or stuffy but does feel a bit special. + Nice selection of wine and champagne + Nice variety of French dishes featured on the menu + Food good but not great, only let down by poor cuts/ingredients
- The following 195 reviews are from the Bon Vivant - Palo Alto reviews archive.
- Like FrancehappyfoodieDined on 7/11/2014Broad 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- I'm a regular now...ready2enjoyDined on 7/1/2014I'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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- good service, but ok foodOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/28/2014The 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
- nice french restaurant, BUTsnuffyVIPDined on 6/28/2014Perhaps 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.Special Features:
- Date night destination...SimonEDined on 6/25/2014Fantastic! 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!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not As GoodCalWVIPDined on 6/24/2014The 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Need to step up service!NicknamesrlameVIPDined on 6/14/2014We 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..Special Features:
- Wonderful!OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/14/2014Tried 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!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Dazzling Dessertsready2enjoyDined on 6/8/2014We 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.Special Features:
- BummerOpenTable Diner Since 2003Dined on 5/31/2014Disappointing...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.
- Okay, Not GreatGrantDined on 5/30/2014The 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.
- Tasty, Stylish, Exceptional ServiceFoodieFetishDined on 5/25/2014So 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.Special Features:
- Standing BrunchallegedsageDined on 5/18/2014This 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.Special Features:
- Salmon crepePinkyDined on 5/10/2014I 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?Special Features:
- We loved our brunchOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 5/4/2014The 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- traditional French a good effortkht2002Dined on 5/3/2014had 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Tres bon!OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIPDined on 5/2/2014Lovely unassuming spot in Palo Alto. Get the mussels!Special Features:
- YumChadVIPDined on 4/25/2014Excellent food, nicely presented in a romantic atmosphere.Special Features: