Bistro Vida

4.6
1457 reviews
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$30 and under
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French
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for a Date
  • Casual
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 Left Bank brasseries has acquired a warm patina over the years, evoking restaurant’s inviting personality and sensually infectious, yet unpretentious style. Our market-driven bistro menu is influenced by a variety of French and Mediterranean flavors and celebrates local, seasonal ingredients. We offer simple, traditional French bistro classics, a carefully curated wine selection, and a full bar featuring hand-crafted signature cocktails.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French, Bistro, Californian
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Hours of operation
LUNCH
Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 2.30pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10.00am- 2.30pm

DINNER
Monday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm

BRUNCH
Saturday - Sunday: 10.00am - 2.30pm

HAPPY HOUR
Monday - Friday 5:00pm - 7:00pm on our heated outdoor patio
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Phone number
(650) 462-1686
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Ali El Safy
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Private party facilities
We have several options for large groups, special occasions, corporate events, and more. Please contact the restaurant to inquire about holding an event at Bistro Vida. We will work with you to create a personalized event including a uniquely crafted menu and a signature wine experience. 

RESTAURANT BUYOUT
​We offer availability for large parties in the form of a full restaurant buyout. Our dining room accommodates up to 100 guests for a seated dinner and up to 150 guests for a standing reception. 

PATIO
​Our private heated patio can accommodate up to 40 guests for a seated event and up to 60 guests for a standing reception. 
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Private party contact
Ali El Safy: (650) 462-1686
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Catering
From a small gather to a large corporate lunch or celebration, we have a variety of menu options for your catered event.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
El Camino Real
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Parking details
Street parking all around and public lot directly to the rear of the restaurant.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1457 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined 5 days ago

Very good food. Very friendly. Nice location. We will go back often.

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5.0Dined on June 18, 2018

Came here for Father's Day dinner with my kids. They were really busy so initially the service was a hair slow, that's ok as we weren't in a hurry and really enjoyed the ambience. Super friendly owner, busperson, and server. The food is fantastic! Perfectly cooked mussels and lamb chops. Beef bourguignon that transported be to France. If you love French bistro food, this is the place for you. I can't wait to go back again!

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5.0Dined on June 18, 2018

Great Place for dinner. The owner is very friendly and works hard.

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5.0Dined on June 18, 2018

We have been going to Bistro Vida for years and Ali treats us like family. It is a great place for leisurely dinner.

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5.0Dined on June 18, 2018

This is my first review, even though we have dined at Bistro Vida many times over the past seven years, both for intimate date nights and larger family dinners. The restaurant has the ambience and appointments of a classic French bistro, and it offers a full menu of classic French bistro dishes, all authentic and well-prepared, with excellent service. Traditional dishes long favored by my family include the escargots, fresh oysters, tomato and burrata salad, steak frites, Boeuf Bourguignon, and profiteroles. I have also enjoyed various specials, including seasonal seafood dishes and a savory pork filet mignon. Good wine list with excellent reasonably priced French wines and wine by the glass offerings. A reliable favorite.

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

Great food. Good service. A wonderful menu.

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2.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Solid two and a half stars out of five. Mediocre but not terrible. Hamburgers not medium rare as ordered but medium well. Buns were lousy. Fries were cold. Don't make a special trip to eat here.

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Literally my favorite place for a summer meal. Great people. Great atmosphere. And everything I've ever tried on the menu has been delightful.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

Great food and service.

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5.0Dined on June 14, 2018

Lovely outdoor patio in front of restaurant that filled in quickly after 11:30 am for lunch. Attentive service. Extensive menu with French favorites and several specials. Available neighborhood parking. Excellent lunch experience.

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5.0Dined on June 11, 2018

Great outdoor seating. Celebrated a birthday here and lovely birthday dessert served gratis. Very friendly and good service.

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3.0Dined on June 10, 2018

As a party of four we had 7 p.m. reservations and when we arrived the place was full. With several groups of 7 p.m, reservations waiting to be seated. They eventually moved after a long period of time a party of two at a table for four in the middle of their meal to a table— not good! Do they not know how to manage their reservations?

After waiting for a long period of time after ordering our entries arrived, but we had ordered appetizers. Really, entries before appetizers. They sent the entries back and did not charge us for the appetizers.

The people working were very nice. Maybe we were there on a bad night?

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4.0Dined on June 3, 2018

We had 16 for dinner. Everyone loved the food, and the service was very good. Noise was not bad, but please but, we were seated outside. It’s louder inside.

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5.0Dined on May 31, 2018

Always great! Ali is so friendly, shakes our hand when we arrive. Brings a bottle of our favorite Cote de Rhone before we even settle in and receive the menus. We always feel like we are in Paris, eating at a cozy bistro and relaxing and enjoying the delicious food and wine!

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2.0Dined on May 31, 2018

I had escargot which I did not enjoy at all because the butter garlic sauce in which the escargot was contained was so garlicky that it was not tasty at all.

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3.0Dined on May 29, 2018

After many enjoyable visits to Bistro Vida, we encountered a less than stellar dining experience there last week. Not sure what was up but the energy and service were not so nice. We were not given the usual friendly welcome and our entrees were literally tossed on the table, making us feel as though our presence was a burden. Food was fine, although not as yummy as in the past.

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Bistro Vida never disappoints. The ambience and food are authentic - like a visit to France without the long flight.

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

My second date looking for a romantic quite spot.
In both cases the other guests were enjoying the "joie de vivre" and occasionally were a bit out of control.
I can understand, its not the restaurants fault.
A great place to enjoy a romantic evening with a special date.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Been going to this restaurant for a few years now. We live in Redwood City. Such amazingly yummy food, Good variety of both country French food and gourmet French food. Great outdoor patio on the street as well as a very pretty, cozy inside dining area.

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5.0Dined on May 22, 2018

Great place for business lunch. The food is excellent and the atmosphere casual and comfortable

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5.0Dined on May 21, 2018

Excellent and a hidden Gem!! I will be back! Food was incredible

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Always enjoy my outings to Bistro Vida. This time it was for brunch, and I enjoyed an omelet while my companions raved about the special salmon dish. It was an unusually windy California day so we weren't able to eat outdoors; perhaps next time.

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5.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Service was excellent, food was distinctly French.
It did bring the joie de vivre and comfort of the city of lights to Menlo Park.

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4.0Dined on May 19, 2018

As we both left the house Friday morning, my wife mentioned that she wasn't sure when she'd get back. Rather than trying to throw something together, I asked her, "Want to meet for dinner in..." then changed course. "How about Bistro Vida tonight?"
She liked the idea of course, and I told her to drive carefully. On the train ride to work, I made a reservation online and texted her "rez made."
Between things that afternoon, I took a look at Bistro Vida's menu online. The sole and a glass of rose', I thought.
I arrived first and was greeted warmly. At our table, I ordered my glass of wine and awaited my bride. Our waiter mentioned the short ribs, which she says were delicious. My sole was for me "la chose juste" (pardon my French).
Service was great as usual.

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4.0Dined on May 14, 2018

Reservation was prompt. Mousse de canard au Porto, salade de laitue, Sole meuniere followed by creme brulee were all tasty w/excellent accompaniments. Service was unobtrusive and efficient. Enjoyed dining here. Will be back!

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4.0Dined on May 6, 2018

We love this place. The food is always delicious and wait staff have great personalities, but very professional. Highly recommend.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

Love that restaurant !

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5.0Dined on April 27, 2018

Wonderful, as always, I love this place. Both familiar and feels like a treat. Last time I had the moules frites and this time I had the bouillabaisse. The bouillabaisse was a good balance of delicate and flavorful. It was wonderfully satisfying - full of clams, fish, scallops and large shrimp. The staff is lovely. A bit too expensive to visit regularly with the family but perfect for dinner with friends.

Good selection of wines and authentic french cocktails too.

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5.0Dined on April 23, 2018

Bistro Vida remains one of our favorite French restaurants since moving to the Bay Area from Canada in 2005. Cozy, little authentic bistro in Menlo Park is our Go-to whenever we are craving steak frites, mussels & fries (fries are delicious here!) with nice glass of Bordeaux. Bon Appetit!

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5.0Dined on April 21, 2018

Always dependable and always good. If the weather is suitable, eat outdoors--very delightful but can be cool if the heaters are not in use and sometimes the service can be spotty as it may be difficult to find a waiter when you need one. Overall, a very good experience and doesn't cost an arm and a leg!! Ali is very helpful and knowledgeable.

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5.0Dined on April 21, 2018

Delicious food and we appreciated the nice and friendly service.

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5.0Dined on April 16, 2018

Service was very good. Food was delicious. Very good selections on menu to satisfy everyone in your party. Wine selection was good as well. Definitely worth trying.

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5.0Dined on April 15, 2018

What a gem! Came here on a sat night , it was very busy ! the food was great , highly recommend the oysters , the moules , and the hanger steak . The service was friendly and fast .

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4.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Upon entering Bistro Vida my wife & I were met by the owner and served a complimentary Mimosa. Outdoor seating was not available on this particular day, but we were shown to a nice table in the primary dining room.

Bistro Vida serves tasty food with good service at reasonable prices. The menu is varied, and diners have numerous options for appetizers, soups & salads, sandwiches, as well as entrees. We were most satisfied with our selection of a Bistro burger with French fries and a Quiche Lorraine.

This restaurant is good choice for brunch, lunch, or dinner. We'll definitely return in the near future.

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Excellent ambiance, consistently delicious food. Great menu choices. Proprietor takes a personal interest in clients, and is there almost nightly to oversee his well run establishment. One of our favorite restaurants on the Peninsula. A little bit of France in Menlo Park❣️

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3.0Dined on April 4, 2018

This was our go-to restaurant for lunch, but twice now it's been just ok. Last time one person ordered the boeuf bourgonogne, and the meat was ok, not great. And this time we had a slightly disappointing experience which could have been avoided - we wanted to try the asparagus soup, but knew that the lunch was more than adequate, so asked if we could purchase a container of the soup to go because it sounded so good. They explained that they don't have containers for the soup. We were disappointed, but even more disappointed that they didn't come back with a small (maybe a shot glass) taste of the soup so we could try it. And we're regular customers! We will be looking for a new go-to restaurant!

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3.0Dined on April 3, 2018

The food is of modest quality, so do not expect much. The service is poor. Even when the restaurant is not full, a diner has to flag down servers or even get up from the table to get their attention. The only advantage of this restaurant is that it is open on Mondays. This was the sole reason why we chose it as it is uniformly disappointing.

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5.0Dined on April 3, 2018

This is a the most authentic French food in Menlo Park. The owner takes care of every guest even if he is not your server. Great for business lunch, amazing out door dining. Feels like Europe all over again. I'm here at least once a week for dinner and 2 or 3 times for lunch, that good.

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4.0Dined on April 2, 2018

Brought my mom for Easter. They were busy but winding down from what appeared to be a steady flow of business all day. Ali took good care of us and we all enjoyed our meals. Loved the Coq au Vin and the Porc Creme Fraiche with potato gratin was divine!

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4.0Dined on April 2, 2018

Enjoyed the meal

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