Central Park Bistro
Central Park Bistro

Central Park Bistro

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.centralparkbistro.com/
  • Phone: (650) 558-8401
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Comfort Food, Southern
  • Executive Chef: George Garcia
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: We can recreate our menu or customize it to your needs. Please call for details.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Ellsworth Street
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Metered parking on street and large lot in back of restaurant.
A word from Central Park Bistro
Central Park Bistro is a 100 seat contemporary restaurant in downtown San Mateo featuring fresh seasonal American cuisine, in the $15-$26 range. We offer a carefully chosen eclectic Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. Central Park Bistro is an affordable sophisticated, fun dining experience. Relax and unwind with a house specialty cocktail at our wonderful Martini Bar. We also have several intimate private dining rooms perfect for that corporate presentation business meeting, wedding rehearsal dinner, retirement/anniversary dinner, or any special function you may have in mind. Check out our private wine cellar room which seats up to 8 people for that extra special dining experience.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerAmerican
Central Park Bistro reviews from OpenTable diners
75 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (49)fit for foodies (37)special occasion (27)good for groups (25)notable wine list (17)great for lunch (17)romantic (15)great for outdoor dining (6)great for brunch (4)hot spot (4)kid-friendly (3)late-night find (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Tasty, but could use an overhaul
    JohnDoughVIP
    Dined on 11/22/2013
    Food was well prepared, cooked, and presented and the staff was very nice. Some nit-picky things could be addressed to improve the experience. The food selections could be more seasonally appropriate and fresh. Large, thick paper menus were dingy and wrinkled, like they hadn't been reprinted in months. A flaming pizza oven made the room unbearably hot to the point that we could not stay for dessert because we needed to leave ASAP to cool off. Wines by the glass tasted like they had been open for too long. Communal bench seating, in one of the two dining rooms, eliminates the possibility for private and romantic dining in that area. Perhaps it's just time for a few changes to breathe new life into this enduring and capable place?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent little Bistro
    MichaelVIP
    Dined on 11/18/2013
    Great little Bistro with a really nice menu selection and food prepared beautifully. Menu has lots of variety and some nice creative ideas, all very tasty. Prices are reasonable; wine is a bit expensive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Some creative and some not
    PepperVIP
    Dined on 11/10/2013
    Some good menu items and creative--pizza menu. Other specials were not as tasty and quite bland. For the cost of my fish, it was a bit cold and the prawn was more like a shrimp. The restaurant tries to be a higher end trendy restaurant, but lacks service and consistency in cooking. Our bill was $250 and could have had a better meal.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good
    SA1sanca
    Dined on 11/2/2013
    Great food had the lobster salad risotto and skirt steak.. Portions are not that big... Great food
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Central Park Bistro is an
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 11/1/2013
    Central Park Bistro is an anchor restaurant on the Peninsula - great go to spot with friends or date night. Excellent cocktails, the regular menu is outstanding and we will usually get at least one dish from their daily menu (seasonal items).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great - Deserves its reputation
    SonnySteele
    Dined on 10/25/2013
    The service was excellent (attentive, well-informed, with the perfect level of engagement). The butter lettuce salad was memorable, the scallops were great (I chuckled at the idea of "micro-greens", right up until my tongue informed my brain that this really was something that enhanced the already great scallops tremendously), and the dessert (toffee bread pudding ... don't associate this with what you normally think of when you think of "bread pudding") was delicious. On top of it all, we'd requested a table where we could sit and talk without being in the midst of the Friday night crowd. Not only was our request noted, the staff took great pains to ensure that we felt relaxed and unhurried. No question, we'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great meal
    ShelleyE
    Dined on 10/21/2013
    The appetizers we selected were wonderful-steak tartare and duck pate. As for the entree, the mushroom pizza was fantastic. Thin delicate crust and tons of savory mushrooms on top. The skirt steak was excellent too-a nice portion, great sauce and delicious side of mashed potatoes. Nice ambiance. Great meal and we will go back again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Something for everyone...
    Cara
    Dined on 10/18/2013
    Went out with a group and we ordered duck, lobster, steak and even a diet plate! There was a perfect meal to suit every taste and they were all delicious. Also ordered decaf coffee and it was really decaf...no up all night switcheroo. Service was great, friendly and helpful but also left us alone to catch up.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, clean flavors entrees
    localdiner
    Dined on 10/16/2013
    Good food, clean flavors entrees in the $25-$35 range. Ambience amenable to conversation, and private dining for small groups. Overall service was attentive, yet not overbearing. Would recommend.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Good in Downtown San Mateo
    Robert
    Dined on 10/4/2013
    Nice assortment of appetizers, salads and entrees. Better than average wines by the glass. We're going back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service needs improvement
    CPO1
    Dined on 10/2/2013
    The food was excellent, but the service was very slow. We had to flag down the wait staff to order and each time we needed assistance. They never checked in to see if we needed anything, which is unfortunate, because the food was quite good.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our dining experience was
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/19/2013
    Our dining experience was very good. We were at Central ark Bistro to celebrate the retirement of a friend. We all enjoyed the excellent food and service was very much improved over past experience. We all remarked on how nice it was that the restaurant was quiet enough that we did not strain to hear our conversation. All in all, a pleasant dining experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loved the food and atmosphere!
    SouthBayTraveler
    Dined on 9/12/2013
    We had to drive a bit from San Jose to get to Central Park Bistro in San Mateo, but it was so worth it! From the minute we entered the restaurant, we felt welcomed and enlivened by the vibrant atmosphere and friendly staff. The service and meal were wonderful; I especially loved the beet salad, which was unusually tasty, sort of sweet and tangy. The petrale sole dinner was delicious, and the Caramel Toffee Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean gelato is a must-try! We'd love to go back when we have the opportunity.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what we hoped for
    thansVIP
    Dined on 9/3/2013
    We were expecting more from this restaurant. My husband ordered his steak very rare. What he got was a medium rare steak. The service was very slow. Unusually high mark-ups on the wine. A real disappointment. The only portion of the entire meal that was good was my husband's appetizer. At these prices you deserve more!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A favorite that never disappoints!
    zippyVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2013
    Each visit is positively delightful with fabulous food, friendly service, and dessert soo-good you might not want to share :) There is outdoor dining, which looks appealing, however, we have only sat inside ourselves. We find it perfect for a romantic dinner when just two of us, and enjoy going with small groups of 4-6. There is a small private room which I am certain would be fantastic for a larger group! We have even enjoyed a to-go order and the food was equally delicious; we only missed the ambience of CPB. A friend recommended Central Park Bistro to us several years ago, and we still make a point to thank them for sharing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Repeat satisfying experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/10/2013
    This restaurant is the place to go when you want good food and good service. They have a nice varied menu- just enough offerings that it is not over whelming and a good selection if you are a small eater (as I am) or have a big appetite: I usually have a hamburger (rare for me, juicy, and tasty!) and share an appetizer with my husband who goes for something like fish or lamb. I have seen folks eating a full course meal while others order an appetizer and dessert.- reminds me of a New York type neighborhood restaurant. Give yourself extra time to park in downtown san mateo- especially on the w/e- and don't leave without having eaten their bread pudding!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Central Park Bistro was Very Good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 8/6/2013
    We had a large group (8) ...and they did a very good job...the menu is broad enough to appeal to all tastes and the service was very good...attentive without being intrusive...my only complaint...the bread was mediocre...especially with so many excellent bread bakeries (read Acme or Semifreddi) in the Bay Area...
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Jury is still out
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 7/26/2013
    We thought the food was perfectly executed. We felt service was good, too. It wasn't quite "French" as it was classified to be. There were more Mediterranean/Italian dishes on the menu than there was French. A turn off was having to box our own leftovers. We were given the boxes not the option. Having given the option to box our own or they do it for us would have been a touch of class.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • we were the only people
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/22/2013
    The food was just ok and the service was very good, but since there was no one else there between 6 and 9 on a week night it felt a little odd.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • An Enjoyable Meal
    Robert
    Dined on 7/20/2013
    Very good food and service. Some nice menu options and interesting combinations. Great desserts. Had not been here in at least a year, but we are going back soon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently great food & service
    LauraW
    Dined on 7/19/2013
    Wonderful place for lunch with friends or a work lunch too because the food and service are really excellent- including beautiful presentation- and it's quiet enough to hear each other even in a bigger group. Always satisfied!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • our 57th anniversay
    foodamore
    Dined on 7/15/2013
    Odd that the resturant asked if this was a special occason. We said yes - thought maybe they'd bring a candle popped into a piece of cake. Nothing! Everything went very well. Wine list is rather pricey, to say the least. Why it is called a " Bistro" with nothing french on the menu , i.e. steak tartare, onion soup, etc. is a puzzle. Would and did recomment it.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I have always had a great
    Brittany317
    Dined on 7/10/2013
    I have always had a great experience at Central Park Bistro. It's a great place for special occasions-- I just took my great-aunt for her 85th birthday. The food is consistently tasty and the staff really go out of their way to make you feel special.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Bums Rush
    Simbrady
    Dined on 7/8/2013
    The food? Fantastic! It was a romantic evening and it was not a busy night for the restaurant, the setting was great. However, while the restaurant was listed to be open until 1000, about 915 we started to get rushed by various staff. Until around 930 we were asked to take care of our bill so that they could close. I really liked the restaurant (especially the food), and may go back, but not for such an evening. I guess if I want a long romantic dinner I need to go to Paris and what's with 1000 PM anyway?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This place surprised me
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 7/8/2013
    I've been to a a lot of restaurants in San Mateo but never here before. The food was great, and the service was just about right. We were there early and they sat us at a nice private table. Took a bit longer than I liked to finally order dinner especially considering we were practically the only people there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently good
    loves2dineVIP
    Dined on 7/2/2013
    Lobster salad is a favorite. Staff are very accommodating -- will modify a preparation to suit.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Practical Menu!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 6/24/2013
    We have eaten here many times for dinner and lunch- and our conclusions are always the same: The menu is varied, the service is excellent, and the noise level is tolerable. It is especially accommodating when you have a group of people with different food preferences and/or different quantity preferences. The staff doesn't seem to mind if you want to order a smaller portion, just an appetizer, and/or a dessert. Speaking of desserts, do not miss the bread pudding!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love this place!
    KrisR
    Dined on 6/8/2013
    This place is great. I have been here a few times and never have any complaints. The food is delicious and our waiter was awesome. I would definitely recommend this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Reliably good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/6/2013
    Always good food. Our server was a little slow to address the table for drinks but after that was prompt.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, poor service at lunch
    mcmsfVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2013
    Food was very good, although portions were small (beet salad was excellent but size of an appetizer). Problem was lackluster service despite the fact that only 6-8 tables were occupied and two wait staff were working.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great brunch place in San Mateo
    lisa
    Dined on 6/1/2013
    I went to this place for branch, and it was perfect. They serve great branch cocktails, good food. Service was great too. It's a perfect environment to relax on the weekend. Will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food is A+
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000
    Dined on 5/30/2013
    I love this restaurant. I've been here several times for business lunches and the food is always so good! My favorite is the skirt steak. The service is great too. Everyone in our party of 8 was happy with their meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surprisingly good
    Rich30kVIP
    Dined on 5/25/2013
    We are hardcore foodies (we have eaten at the French Laundry and Meadowood thrice). We took our son here for a family night out while our daughters were at swim night at La Petite Baleen. The food was much better than our last visit. The beet and butter lettuce salads were proportioned correctly -- not too large. The ribs were decent, and the salmon was cooked just right -- medium/medium rare. Both the bread pudding and the panna cotta dessert were just right. The service was friendly and attentive. E.g., our waiter accidentally spilled something on my arm. After apologizing, he also brought me a new napkin to replace the soiled one. The wine list was a surprise. There are some higher end and unusual/small production vintners.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great time all around!
    durkster
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    Fantastic experience: quality food with a flair, but at a reasonable cost. Chic atmosphere and our waiter was freindly and top-notch. Will definitely return! Thanks.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Central Park Bistro, great!
    adbcampbell
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    Excellent food, attentive waitstaff and close-by parking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • IF YOUR IN A RUSH!
    13chairs
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    This is your place. The moment you sit down a waiter Is asking are you ready to order I nearly put mt coat on the back of the chair. When I said to give us a few, there he was again. It was annoying. Its suppose to be a dining experience not a timed event. I ordered a salmon pizza which came absolutely right out of the refrigerator. My Mom had lobster pasta which I took a taste of and the sauce tasted canned not to mention the lobster pieces looked mangled. My husband had eggs and bacon which I thought would be an easy dish for them. The bacon was so over cooked that it almost looked unreal. The whole experience was disappointing. My husband and I dine at least three times s week. This place will not be on our list.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I've dined at Central Park
    viciousvicsf
    Dined on 5/11/2013
    I've dined at Central Park Bistro several times for different occassions; meeting with friends for dinner, Valentine's Dinner, Mother's Day Brunch, and each dining experience was excellent. The service, the food, and the atmosphere is great and really glad the restaurant accepts opentable reservations - so convenient. It's a great place for brunch or dinner without having to drive in to the city to dine for a special moment. My family and I will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We enjoyed a perfect family dinner.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 5/10/2013
    Service was friendly and patient. Food was outstanding. The swordfish was the best ever, ever, ever. Nice wine selection. Atmosphere was warm and welcoming.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of my favorite neighbor
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 5/3/2013
    One of my favorite neighbor restaurants - always good and service is so professional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Friendly staff, outstanding
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 4/23/2013
    Friendly staff, outstanding food. Our new favorite restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet