Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Bistro Voltaire
Bistro Voltaire is a favorite of the well traveled patron wanting to indulge in the sensibilities of France without leaving Chicago.
Chicago, IL 60654
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday, 5-10pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Plenty of street parking per signs
Across from the CTA Brown-Line, Chicago stop
Private Party Facilities:
Bistro Voltaire has become a favored destination for Chicagoans seeking the romantic, spirited vibe of a French bistro without leaving the Windy City.
Private Party Contact:
Bistro Voltaire: (855) 402-4460
Bar Dining, Full Bar
Special Events & Promotions:
Bistro Voltaire lends an intimate and festive dining room filled with Parisian charm and can accommodate up to (45) seated guests. Please contact us for further information.
Bistro Voltaire Ratings and Reviews
We loved the ambiance. It’s typical of a French bistro. Very tiny. Our server/bartender Tiffany, was fabulous. And our drinks were very good. Unfortunately, the food was a disappointment. I ordered frog legs as my appetizer. They were limp and tasteless. I expected lots of garlic. My husband had escargot, which was a unique way to to serve it—no shells, butter or garlic, but with lettuce. My entree was Coq a Vin. This was unique as well. The chicken was shredded and didn’t have much flavor. The lardons and mushrooms were fine. My husband had salmon, which was farm raised Atlantic and it was good. The best was the bread; it was excellent. Would love to return, but won’t until the Chef hones up his/her cooking skills.
Fantastic dining experience! I was there for Chicago Restaurant Week and their prix fixe was delicious and a great value. The chef does a more provincial take on escargots that was fantastic. My main was an amazing lamb roast with the most spectacular ratatouille and polenta, my goodness it was so fragrant and tasty. For dessert I couldn't pass up the profiteroles and was not disappointed. Everything was amazing. I really dug the atmosphere, too - it was small (reservations definitely recommended) and had a very authentic French Bistro feel to it: not fancy, but nice, the kind of café that I assume Parisians eat at every day of the week. Definitely great for date night, small group celebration, or a special occasion.
I went here for restaurant week dinner. The food was mediocre. I had a lamb shank and my companies had salmon and pork shoulder. They were all bland. We had profiteroles for dessert and it was the worst profiterole I had ever. The puff was too hard and the icecream is too sweet to go with dark chocolate syrup - it was more like American dessert, not French. Disappointing!
We went for restaurant week. The food was delish, but the service was pretty horrible. The waiter seemed spacey, we asked for more bread and never got it, and my husband had to wait for his dinner because another waiter grabbed his plate for someone else (or that’s what we were told).
We live in the suburbs but always find a way to make to the Bistro at least once a year, more if we're lucky. This was restaurant week, good reason to come, and we had another wonderful dinner. The service is always good here. Our first course was delayed in coming, we weren't in a hurry so no big deal, but they gave us a glass of wine for the delay without us even complaining.
Now that's service.
The meals were delicious, she had the salmon and I had the lamb shank! yum for both. Wonderful French wines...very authentic French restaurant feel. Just wish they were closer to home!
Went during restaurant week and had a great experience! I had the lamb shank and my spouse had the cassoulet....both were delicious!!
1st course a little disappointing...French onion soup a little too sweet and frog legs blasé.
Dessert though was yummm....chocolate molten cake and apple tart!!
This place is always a winner. You feel like you're in a romantic, side-street cafe in Paris. No pretension. Come dressed up or dressed down. The food is authentic and the place is filled with just the right aromas. Check out the book that is a key to all of the pictures in the restaurant. It's behind the bar so you'll have to ask for it. Fun little activity while you have a cocktail.
My husband and I have dined here many times, both New Years Eve and everyday dining. This year we brought friends for NYE and were very disappointed. We had an 8:30 reservation but weren’t seated until almost 10:00. It was clear that they were missing staff but we were given no explanation or apology. It was a prix fixe menu and they were out of several entrees. Service was slow to nonexistent. The food was good but by the time we were served, we were past hungry and just wanted to get out so we could catch the fireworks. Even though we told our server that we needed to be out by 11:30, it was 11:50 before we left. Missed the fireworks and our friends were very unimpressed. We did get a bottle of champagne from the restaurant but it didn’t make up for this disaster of a night. If we were told they were understaffed, we could have made other arrangements. It will be a very long time, if ever, before we go back. This is a place I always would recommend to friends looking for a great French dining experience. Not anymore, sadly.
The service at Voltaire in incredibly slow. For a Prix Fixe meal for New Years, it was almost 2 hours for just three courses and the place wasn’t terribly busy. The staff needs to be more attentive to customers and move a bit quicker.
As far as the ambiance and food, it was great! Just like a little Parisian bistro with tasty food. Could wine selection as well.
We chose Bistro Voltaire because of its rating as one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago. We had our anniversary dinner there and both Adam and Scott were great as hosts and the food was excellent. I would recommend this restaurant as a little gem in Chicago. And, I would definitely return for the ambience, the food and the service.
To start I ordered the pea soup with truffle oil and Parmesan crisps. The soup was under seasoned, there was no hint of truffle oil, which is typically very strong, and the Parmesan crisps were not crispy. No depth of flavor and the presentation lacked. It was very homemade and sad looking.
Second course was the lamb shank. The meat was cooked nicely; very tender and fell off the bone but unfortunately here again the dish lacked seasoning and flavor. The ratatouille looked and tasted like I made it; the eggplant was undercooked for my taste, and the polenta was too grainy.
The decor is charming but I think there are much better bistros in this city for the same price if not less expensive.
The service was inexcusable. I got the sense that there was not a manager on duty. No host on duty. There also was not a bar tender. The servers had to do everything, which made for clunky service. After I was seated it took seemingly ten minutes just to get a menu; I almost asked for one because it was reaching that point. This really felt like amateur hour.
Wine list was good.
I shan’t be back. Terribly unimpressed.
This was our second time here for dinner. The first time, our waiter was top notch. Prompt, interactive, knowledgeable. This time, our waiter was forgetful, indifferent and had a lot of excuses why things were late or wrong. Very irritating. The food was exceptional just like the first time, perfectly prepared and presented. The salmon and Parisian gnocchi were to die for! We will be back, we’re hoping that waiter issue was just an anomaly.
We were in town for Thanksgiving and chose the bistro, since they offered traditional dinner plus other items from the menu. We had a reservation, but since it was a holiday, people lingered longer than normal and we were seated quite late. However, the owner was very apologetic and generous and we were eventually seated at a prime table. Food was wonderful! We will definitely visit again.
Nice restaurant but obviously struggling with a busy Thanksgiving. Long, long wait for food &, judging by our own experience and the tables around us, may errors with the orders. That said our waiter was really nice and made his best efforts to correct or compensate the orders. Would go back ....but maybe on a quieter night.
charming and cozy with great service. Perfect for a date, holiday or special occasion. Food was quite good-but could have been warmer. Our waiter made us feel welcome and was excellent at describing menu choices and helping us decide on menu options. The French onion soup was excellent! I would highly recommend to friends!
Bistro Voltaire never fails to impress. Wonderful service that never rushes (if you're in a hurry, nota bad idea to let them know, since rushed dining isn't their typical style). The mussels, duck and creme brûlée are my favorite. My husband loves the scallops and escargot. Personable server with just the right amount of interaction. This was our go to spot when we lived in the city, and now our spot for date nights when we're back in town
Restaurant was a good value for the neighborhood, especially the wine list. The food was very good. Started with mussels and French onion soup. I had coq au vin and my husband the lamb chops. Also kept room for crème Brule and molten chocolate cake. We were looking for something different than the typical Chicago steak house and wanted a smaller place with a cozy feel. This definitely fit the bill.
Excellent all around!
The food is fantastic, and -- having traveled throughout France several times per year for several years -- very authentic IMHO. The service is bright and helpful, and the ambience perfect for a romantic date or a get together with friends.
We were there on Monday night and there was only one waiter serving the entire restaurant with probably 6-7 tables. We had the Prix Fixe dinner which was a good value and you still get to choose selections of appetizers, main course, and dessert. The food was very good, cocktails were fine, the service seemed very slow and our waiter did not remember each of us (3 people) own selection of each course put on wrong orders...We felt we were back in Paris..a dinner can take more than 2.5-3 hours. I noticed some other guests were there earlier than us but their main course were came out much later than us. We enjoyed our dinner just hoping the service need a big improvement.
Another reviewer commented about the slow service and that there were others who'd been there earlier but hadn't gotten their food. That was certainly the case with our table. We've dined here several times (I'd written a positive review!), and our friends had been to Bistro Voltaire with their friends, so we were expecting a wonderful evening. Something was definitely amiss in the kitchen, not the waiter having to work alone that night. There was also an owner/manager (??) present. Our main course took more than 2hrs. to arrive at the table. Our food was tough, bland, and all brownish (even the ratatouille). Meat on a lamb shank should fall off the bone. I struggled to cut it. The polenta (not much there) was a disappointment. The Coq au Vin had no flavor. The steak frites was tough though the frites were plentiful and quite good. Hopefully, whatever problems there were behind the scenes on Monday have been solved. This restaurant is definitely a hidden gem when everything goes right.
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