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Permanently Closed - Bistro Voltaire

4.2
802 reviews
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$30 and under
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French
Top Tags:
  • Cozy
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Authentic

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. Bistro Voltaire is a favorite of the well traveled patron wanting to indulge in the sensibilities of France without leaving Chicago.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
Monday - Saturday, 5-10pm

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Phone number
(312) 265-0911
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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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.
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Private party contact
Bistro Voltaire: (855) 402-4460
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Cross street
Franklin
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Parking details
Plenty of street parking per signs
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Public transit
Across from the CTA Brown-Line, Chicago stop
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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.
Additional
Bar Dining, Full Bar
What 802 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
75% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
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5.0Dined on March 18, 2018

We had another lovely dinner at Bistro Voltaire. The food is always excellent, the service helpful and the ambience comfortable. It's a small restaurant with charming decor that reminds me of bistros I've dined at in France. But the reason we keep going back is the excellent cuisine. The chicken liver mousse, beet salad, risotto and scallops were particularly good on our last visit. The wine list has many interesting selections, most of them French. And, as an added bonus, it's easy to park. One of our favorites!

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3.0Dined on March 17, 2018

Menu was very limites

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Excellent French cuisine and attentive service

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3.0Dined on March 3, 2018

Old fashioned atmosphere, very charming. Food was just ok. Service was excellent.

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1.0Dined on February 11, 2018

The service was good, but the food was horrible: undercooked frog legs, dull lamb knuckle, sour chocolate cake. And it was quite pricey. Will not go back.

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3.0Dined on February 6, 2018

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.

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3.0Dined on February 6, 2018

The service & ambiance was excellent. But the food was mediocre.
Restaurant Week is probably not a fair evaluation but I would think it should be. My appetizer & entree were not great. Dessert superb. Probably will not return.

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5.0Dined on February 3, 2018

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.

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3.0Dined on February 3, 2018

Been here many times, but not recently. Found it to have dropped in quality, service and ambiance. Not sure why.

Still food was ok. Service friendly if not quirky. Surprised they were only offering restaurant week menu.

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5.0Dined on February 2, 2018

The service we receive was spectacular. Our server Adam was so attentive and made us feel so welcomed. The food was divine.

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5.0Dined on February 2, 2018

Great neighborhood French bistro with a classy, New York-ish West Village atmosphere. Food is always solid. The French soup and salmon are always excellent. Attentive, personable service.

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3.0Dined on February 2, 2018

I never thought I'd say this about a french restaurant, but everything sampled was bland except the dessert.

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5.0Dined on February 2, 2018

I think I have a new favorite French restaurant. The food and drinks were outstanding and the staff was very friendly and attentive.

Will definitely be back!c

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5.0Dined on February 1, 2018

Food was mostly great, my salmon was good (though nothing too spectacular), nice ambiance, server was very friendly and polite. Would recommend.

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4.0Dined on February 1, 2018

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!

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3.0Dined on January 27, 2018

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).

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5.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Solid restaurant and menu. Went for Chicago Restaurant Week and I ordered the wrong thing but still enjoyed the meal. Good wine and French beer on tap.

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5.0Dined on January 27, 2018

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!

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5.0Dined on January 26, 2018

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!!
Would recommend!

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4.0Dined on January 20, 2018

We went prior to seeing a show. They had a wine/food pairing menu that was a good value! Food was tasty and the wines were good quality regional french selections, all done in a very thoughtful manner. We would definitely go back.

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5.0Dined on January 15, 2018

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.

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1.0Dined on January 6, 2018

An average, unimpressive, poor quality “bistro”. It used to be better. I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant.

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1.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

If you like French Food this is your place. Owner is French and everything on the menu is "real" French dishes. Staff is very friendly and well priced for this area.

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3.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 30, 2017

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.

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2.0Dined on December 24, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 22, 2017

Matt, our server, was outstanding and attentive. The food and cocktails were excellent and thoughtfully made. Above all, the ambiance was fantastic, quiet and personal.

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4.0Dined on December 16, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on December 11, 2017

Wonderful neighborhood French restaurant. Good menu, excellent food

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4.0Dined on December 2, 2017

Bistro Voltaire serves consistently good authentic food and warmly welcomes all guests. It never disappoints.

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5.0Dined on November 23, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on November 23, 2017

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.

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2.0Dined on November 23, 2017

Disappointing service and food. Staff seemed short for Thanksgiving Day, which meant drinks took a long time and service was indifferent. My meal was cold, and the server never checked back with us after our meals were served.

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5.0Dined on November 23, 2017

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!

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5.0Dined on November 16, 2017

I love this bistro! I had the beef stew and the beet and goat cheese salad. Delicious!
My niece had French onion soup and scallops, which she loved. Our server was great! I highly recommend Bistro Voltaire.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

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

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4.0Dined on November 4, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on November 4, 2017

Remains a consistent favorite! Great French fare and outstanding service.

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5.0Dined on October 21, 2017

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.

Top notch!

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