Bistro Vida

4.8
1997 Reviews
$30 and under
French
We are currently not open for indoor/outdoor dining. We remain open for takeout 7 days a week from 4pm-7:30pm. Please visit our website to see our regular menu and our new special Family Style menu. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Established in 1998, Bistro Vida is a neighborhood restaurant inspired by the great Parisian bistro culture and traditions of French cooking. Our mission is to bring the joie de vivre, comfort, and community of the City of Lights to downtown Menlo Park. The name " Vida" the Spanish word for life, was chosen as a toast to the enjoyment of life, love, and food. Each delicious detail of the chic interior from the smart bar to the blackboard menus, the huge cylindrical chandeliers to the long mirrors reminiscent of brasseries has acquired a warm patina over the years.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 1997 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LG
LuvGoodService
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Happy to support Bistro Vida on the last day on in-person outdoor dining. Service was great. The mussels, clams and bouillabaisse were delicious. Great to see every table occupied and to see lots of people coming out to support their local favorites up ans down the street. Very festive!

SC
SherriC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best salmon on the peninsula- the savory coq au vin melted in your mouth. Superb martini, great service. Creative, distanced and warm outside dining, protocols strictly observed. We will miss dining there in person-

MD
vipMattD
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Been visiting this great establishment for years. Awesome food, service, and ambiance. Highly recommended!

b
bigfella
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2020
Overall2food4service3ambience1

Don't get me wrong -- the food was good. But after arriving on time for our reservation, and waiting in the cold for almost ten minutes, I got chewed out by the owner/maitre d' for "having an attitude". I am not sure how I had "an attitude" -- I had not said anything and I was wearing a mask. Perhaps my expressive eyes? This was a first for me -- in 40 years of dining in restaurants, I have never been dressed down by an owner.

The food was good (I am going to overlook the lukewarm martini) but the inexcusable happened -- our entrees arrived at very different times. I was almost finished with my linguini before my wife got her swordfish. The waiter apologized, and, to his credit, comped us a dessert.

I recommend that in the future the owner stay in the kitchen, where they clearly need help. That would have the benefit of putting some distance between him and the dining public, which could only help the restaurant.

There are many restaurants that don't deserve to go out of business. This is not one of them.

Bistro Vida
Responded on December 18, 2020

Restaurant owners and valued guests please BEWARE! This is disgruntled, mean-spirited bully taking out his anger on a struggling restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. If you want a full account of this guest’s visit please see his Yelp review under Tom H. to see our response. Due to Open Table’s character limit we were not able to appropriately respond via this forum. Bigfella you don’t deserve to eat here and you don’t deserve our kindness. We plan to be here for many years to come!

Report
EH
vipEricHB
Washington DC
57 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ali and his team really rock! Great food and service. We ate twice this weekend. They have a great outdoors setup. Feels very European. We were kept warm from the multiple heaters. He’s expanded the outdoors area. Great experience. Our go-to restaurant for lunch and dinner in Menlo Park! Thanks Ali!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant is doing a great job especially considering

RU
ReginaU
1 review
Dined on December 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed a delicious meal with excellent service in a warm, outdoor Parisian atmosphere.

M
Martin
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best restaurants to go out for date night. Their service was outstanding, ambience was beautiful and the food, well that was simply delicious!
Will be back very soon.

C
vipChristian
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best restaurants in the Peninsula - full stop.

The halibut special was mind-blowing! If it's on there, it's better than the halibut cheeks at Flea St. And I love both.

FA
vipFredA
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The wine, calamari appetizer, and halibut were outstanding. the service was extraordinary!

VA
ValerieA
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is always great. They have done an amazing job of outdoor dining...please keep supporting this place.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful and warm outdoor dining

B
Babbe
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Very good food and interesting options. Especially in todays environment! Service was outstanding and they brought a heater right to our table;-) We got to listen to live music! Very nice!

j
vipjudic
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outside eating set up well. Heaters and overhead protection provided excellent environment.

C
Christopher
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just fantastic. And the blocked off Santa Cruz makes the setting more like a European dining experience.

DT
vipDougT
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Vida is an 18-year go-to spot for me. Following s two-year stint in SoCal, I couldn’t wait to go back. The outdoor set-up works; Ali is as graciously welcoming as ever, and the typical bistro comfort fare was just what we needed.

BB
vipBunny8Bear
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this place. Great food and great service.

RT
vipRosemarieT
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always we enjoyed anther wonderful dinner at Bistro Vida. Would recommend this venue for both lunch and dinner. The indoor dining was set up perfectly —social distancing-wearing masks etc. the outdoor dining is also set up perfectly and with great ambiance.

LF
LeslieF
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always friendly service, consistent food! We sat outside and the heater kept us warm!!

a
alex99
San Francisco
46 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bistro vida has created a beautiful and cozy outdoor patio for covid safe dining . Food was delicious and the service always good and attentive . PS great french ambiance , MERCI

PK
PatriciaK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is always great here and the outdoor ambiance that the owner has created is terrific!

JP
JoannaP
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience4

Only one dish out of four was realny good. Coffe was terrible.

l
vipluv2eatout
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent all around! Such a cute outside eating area!

S
vipSwankie
San Francisco
82 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A real charmer! Best French bistro experience in Bay Area. Close your eyes and you could be in Montparnasse!
Fine authentic food prepared to perfection.
Stroll right past Left Bank and head straight for the real thing at Bistro Vida on beautifully appointed parklet under shady trees on Santa Cruz Ave in Menlo Pk. Worth the drive. We feasted on ahi salad, mussels, roasted chicken, steak tartare and Croque Madame with a killer mornay sauce.
For dessert it was classic Tarte Tartine carmelized apples on a delicate crust with vanilla ice cream.
Ooh lala!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food, excellent service and the outdoor sitting was perfect. We had a lot of fun and will come back

S
vipStephanie
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bistro Vida is always a great way to spend an evening with friends outside in a comfortable atmosphere with consistently great food and service. On Friday evenings they have live music too, which is very nice!

LB
LisaB
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Lots of fun to go here. Food for the most part good. Escargot had sauce with fennel. Stick with traditional garlic. For the life of me I can't understand the fennel craze.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food in a great setting outdoors. Benefited from outdoor dining due to pandemic. Setting was very nostalgic to being in a Paris side street/alley restaurant. Food was delicious and very much take you back to French comfort food.

F
Foodie
Central Coast
23 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Restaurant is very accommodating with outside seating. Tables are spaced. They do have heaters although we did not need one. Food was very good and service was also very good. Bee would go back.

TS
vipTimS
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience4

We loved the outdoor set-up and vibe of the place, but the errors left us having to repeatedly register complaints- very valid ones. To start, the red wine we ordered was a 2015 vintage. After the waiter opened the bottle and left the table, we noticed that the bottle they served us was from 2017. The price of the bottle on the menu was $50, we took a pictured of the label in the bottle served to us and Vivino app indicated it retails for only $9.85! That is some mark-up. When we pointed out the error, it was clear the waiter knew he had served us a different vintage and that it was common for the restaurant to do this. He offered to take $10 off the bill. Next, I ordered the special soup of the night as presented by the waiter-mushroom. When my soup came, it was butternut squash. I had to point this out and the answer was that they must have run out of mushroom soup and switched the special to butternut. That is normal- right? Last, I ordered muscles with frites. The mussels were fabulous, but the frites were brown, hard and cold- clearly overcooked and sitting around a while. I didn’t bother saying anything, but my husband did and I was brought a new batch that were only slightly better. Most of the food was quite good, but they really let themselves down with the lack of attention to what they are serving.

VA
ValerieA
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Always a great meal here....they are making it work outside even as it gets colder with blankets. The salmon is fantastic

c
vipcarolb
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience3

This is one of our best local spots . We sat outside and although they have heaters set up, the owner came over and placed a warm shawl on my shoulders. Such service! We had the beef bourguignon, which is one of their special dishes and delicious and the sole meuniere, served with french green beans sauteed with shallots and cherry tomatoes and pommes frites, so delectable, very hard not to lick the plate!

P
vipPatti
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lunch out in the open air, socially distanced, with lovely staff tending to us was terrific. The Snapper special was delicious as well as the Salmon Fume sandwich, prepared with perfection. This restaurant is a gem, the food, ambiance, and service was outstanding. I'm already looking forward to our next visit!

G
vipGmclking
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding! The host was wonderful and accommodating and the staff was highly professional. And the food was exceptional as always.

n
vipnoname
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2020
Overall2food1service4ambience3

We have been here before and were very disappointed with this last visit. Our server was amazing! It was the food itself!

We order appetizers and didn't have a chance to finish before they brought out our meals. The steak tartare was over-powering in onion and capers - was not pleasant to eat. We also ordered the Assiette de Fromages, which was OK at best. We informed them that we were not in a hurry, so please take their time, however, we were not even done with the appitizers before they were bringing out our dinners - so needless to say, we didn't finish our appitizers.

I ordered the Steak Frites and my partner ordered the Sole Meunière. I order the steak medium rare and received it well done! The fish dish was really good and had a nice side of creamy sauce t0 accompany it along with the assortment of vegatables. I tried the fish, and really like it, however my partner didn't like the vegetables.

We have been here several times prior however, this time was a very horrible expereince! For the price of what we paid, and for this resturant indicating it's French - we will not be returning unfortunately.

A
Aatheus
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food, friendly staff, nice ambience. Pricy but not enough to break the bank. A pleasant night out in a nice recreation of a French avenue

N
Nochains
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful. Outside with lots of space. Great food. Great service.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Tahoe
5 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2020
Overall3food4service3ambience2

I’ll start by saying we dined here for the first time AND it was in the middle of the pandemic, so outdoor seating. I was very concerned about my pick walking up. The staff’s dress was casual, the outdoor seating was very casual, and the service was slow (in the beginning). If I had been with my family, all of this would have been perfectly fine with me (I was with a customer who wanted French dining). An older man came by after awhile who we discovered was the owner. After he told us about his place, we felt much better. I asked him to bring me whatever his favorite dish was. It was good. I think given the circumstances (pandemic), the did an above average job. I will go back with my family, but probably not for business.

DR
vipDebraR
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service by owner Ali and his serving staff. Prompt seating, they were ready for us at our reserved time. Food is beautifully presented, wonderful wine, and the creme brûlée is one of the best I’ve had.

We ate outside and felt very safe during COVID. All servers wore masks. Thank you.

LP
vipLaraP
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2020
Overall5food2service4ambience5

We had a great time at the Sunday brunch thanks to the lovely outdoor patio and live music. So much fun we will be back!

FAQs

Bistro Vida offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (650) 462-1686.

Bistro Vida is rated 4.8 stars by 1997 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.