These are archived reviews of Bistro 33 from 2007. For more recent comments, please visit the entry.

My first experience at Bistro was at poetry night, which was I won't mention that. My first DINING experience at Bistro was for my best friend's 21st, and it sucked. First of all, our waitress was really mean to us the entire night!! Every time we asked her for something (a bread bowl, a refill etc.), she would roll her eyes, leave, return later (at which point we would ask again) and finally go get what we requested. Also, she was pretty impatient with my friend (who wasn't experienced at ordering mixed drinks and who also has a slight learning disability which forces her to re-read things over and over again), which I thought was really insensitive and rather rude. I ordered the vegetarian lasagna, paid over $20 (I also ordered an iced tea) and left still hungry (we eventually got some fries and ice cream because we were all starving). You cannot beat the atmosphere at Bistro, it is second to none, but our experience with the wait staff left us extremely dissatisfied, and we all left hungry (never a good thing when going to a restaurant). I'll only go to Bistro again if I am not paying...but I would much rather go to symposium for the price...Aree rating: 6.5/10. —ArianeMetz

2007-01-11 13:12:13   I've worked in the food service industry for 10 years now. The food at bistro is exactly what its supposed to be, and I would say more often than not it is very very tasty. I can understand how people gripe about the service. For the most part it is not due to the servers themselves the ones that I know are good at what they do. the problem results from ergonomics of the place. Often when dining at converted buildings you will see a lag in expo times and general attention. The place wasn't designed to be restaurant. On the bright side the atmosphere is great and if you want a nice slow dinner so you can enjoy the company your with its a perfect place to eat. —JarrettNoble

2007-01-11 13:21:56   Whats scary about this place from an industry standpoint is the owners and some of the managers (which isn't their fault since they are representing the owners wishes.) If you like to go there don't ever work there cause if you quit or heaven forbid are fired you will be banned from ever entering the establishment again. I know of four people that aren't allowed in there anymore, and none of them were fired for any horrible reasons. A couple of them left due to school or other jobs. I have to say most of the complaints on this page are unwarranted and quite vindictive. Of course the replies by the staff don't help the situation either. But I think the staff is frustrated with the complaints about things that can't be changed and they also get blamed for stuff that isn't their fault. Overall the food is good, the bartenders are great and the servers are usually friendly —JarrettNoble

2007-01-14 01:39:37   I went there for lunch the other week, The food was alright. Being a cook myself I am pretty picky about what I eat. I wound up having a salmon sandwich, where i found the fish to be perfectly cooked—but the spread to be way too salty. Overall I would consider the meal to be decent, and our server at the bar was very friendly. However, the bottle of ketchup that the bartender had given us had been married too many times or something and it was totally bubbly and fermented. I guess I found that more amusing than anything, a nice resturaunt having spoiled heinz. I would probably eat here again (only at lunch though...dinner is too pricy) but I will be weary of the ketchup! haha. — JessicaElb

2007-02-17 11:51:40   While my experiences here haven't been stellar, they've at least been OK. This is one of the few decent places in town to get a decent (albeit pricey) lunch. It's not a place I'd go for dinner, though their outdoor dining is nice. Depending on who's serving you, the bar service can range from great to extraordinarily horrendous. I'd rather have it consistently mediocre; at least I'd know what to expect. Their food quality is high, but they always ALWAYS overcook the salmon when I order it. (True "Northwest" tradition calls for salmon to be semi-raw, a fact perhaps lost on the executive chef.) The main problem I see with the service is that the restaurant can't maintain a consistent staff. You can tell a well-run establishment by its ability to keep good workers. The best restaurants in town have the same familiar faces greeting you when you come in. At Bistro, there seems to be a fairly rapid revolving door of employees and management (I've been introduced to 4 General Managers since they opened last year). That doesn't really reflect well on ownership and suggests a poor or hostile work environment. —BriannaBetancourt

  • Brianna, I work at Bistro and I can confidently say that it is not a hostile or poor work environment, most of the people who work there love working there. Also, the four GM's (which is true, we have had four GM's) are due to the fact that we were a new restaurant. Our last GM was there for eight months, and our current GM is extremely experienced and VERY competent. I think Shannin will be there for quite some time and the restaurant has never run more smoothly. As for the "turnover" in staff, we've lost very few people in recent months, much of the staff is still part of the original staff, and our service "issues" are being worked out. Please, feel free to come in anytime, sit at a table, sit at the bar, have a drink, and a little bit of dinner and we'll do our best to take care of you. —RussellAnderson
  • I normally stick up for the food and staff of bistro cause I love you guys, but I call liar on Russell. I knew much of the original staff, and much of the current staff and their not the same people. Hiding the rate of staff turnover is not the same as addressing staff turnover. Plus citing being a new restaurant is not a good reason to explain burning through 4 Gm's. There are numerous VALID reasons why GM's leave. Plus bistro already had a business scheme in place with their other restaurants, so you weren't a new restaurant, just a new location. Departures of managers, gm's and chefs is a bad sign across the board (In the words of Jeff Speckles thats restaurant 101), you would have done better not addressing that at all. Propaganda is not the way to address the problems and concerns your customers have expressed on this site. Otherwise, I still think you guys get an unfair bad rap. Love the food and the drinks, and have always liked the service I have received. I'm sure there are perfectly logical reasons for most of the turnover, you just failed to use any of them —JarrettNoble
  • You can't have Dan as a manager and type that you don't work in a hostile environment with a straight face. The guy is a micro-manager from hell. He belongs in a boot camp, not in a restaurant. —JeffSpeckles
    • You also can't read all of the complaints on this page and disregard the need for a "micro-manager from hell" to address the service needs of the customers, rather than the warm-and-fuzzy feelings of the staff. It is a business, after all. —MollyEvans
  • Warm and fuzzy staff = Warm and fuzzy service. Restaurants 101. —JeffSpeckles

2007-01-26 22:37:40   From a food snobs perspective, I find a lot of these opinions rather fascinating. The number one concern I see on this page is poor customer service. If your service is lacking LET A MANAGER KNOW. The problem will never be corrected if the management is not told of it. Your millions and billions of dollars you claim you are spending on Bistro food ( —CmcIt

2007-02-22 21:03:58   I freaking love this place. Everytime I go here, I end up getting food or desert for free because inevitably the waitress or bartender messes things up SO badly, that I break out of my usual 'go with the flow shell' to complain. My favorite "Bistro messed my order up again story" happened when I was at dinner with my best friend. She ordered cobbler for desert, which was swept up in passing by the waitress , BEFORE my friend was done eating. I complained. The waitress apologized and said she'd bring my friend another cobbler.. on the house. The waitress showed up with a different desert (a creme brulee). We complained- how is a creme brulee a replacement cobbler? The waitress apologized, and said she'd bring us another desert .. a replacement cobbler... on the house. Deciding that tonight must not be the night that my friend was fated to eat cobbler, we passed and just asked for the bill. Turns out the waitress charged us FOR BOTH DESERTS (the original uneaten, stolen cobbler AND the 'on the house' desert that was a creme brulee, not a cobbler). I complained- on the house means that YOU pay, I explained. We got a new bill with our drinks taken off. An 'on the house' desert is not a drink, I explained. A million hours later, we received a bill for actual services rendered. The funny/sad thing is.. I keep going back.. and I have many more of these stories. How does this place stay in business with all the freaking food they must be given away. Oh yeah, and the bartenders cant make a moijito to save their souls...but thats another story. — AlisonRoberts

2007-02-28 14:54:44   I have only been here once, but i doubt i will be going back. To me the food has no real cohesive theme, and the atmosphere matches the comment of the food. It seems like the food is trying to be somewhat fancy but in a more hip sort of way. Overall this is no problem, i love this kind of food if it is done well. However, it clearly wasnt at my table. I ordered a vegetarian panini which was pretty decent but nothing to write home about. We also ordered the salmon Niscoise. This was perhaps one of the worst Niscoises i have ever had (its typically one of my favorite dishes). The Salmon was so fishy that i could bairly tell it was salmon if it were not for the pink color. The freshness of the fish was clearly questionable. Also the salad was served deconstructed. If you serve a deconstructed salad like this, the ingredients must be fresh and high quality, and this one was just bad. Id call it pretentious food gone array. —MattHh

2007-03-17   The food was great (frittata, berry griddle cakes), but the service downright terrible. My friend and I arrived at 9:40 a.m. on a Saturday, and the business never became what I would call busy while we were there. None of the outdoor tables were ready with settings, salt and pepper, syrup. Only by the time we left two hours later had the tables finally and gradually been set. Only moments after arriving, our waitress asked to take our food order. We were not ready, so we placed our drink order (one simple coffee) and asked for "a couple more minutes." It took her fifteen minutes to return for our food order and she didn't have coffee in hand. It took a very long time for the food to arrive, and we asked for the coffee again. Ten long minutes later, coffee arrived, but we had to ask for cream and sugar. Another ten minutes later, cream and sugar arrived. Only after the waitress had walked away, did we notice that none of the tables had spoons on them (a strange no-spoon policy?) so my friend stirred her coffee with her knife. We should have spoken to the manager, but did not. On the bright side, our bill did not charge us for the coffee—although I don't know if that was a kindness or yet another oversight —KatherineLauer

2007-01-14 19:24:44   This was my first time to bistro and I have to say I was quite satisfied. My friend and I went there around 1:30in the afternoon and we were seated immediately and the service was quick and efficient. We started out with the calamari with the two dipping sauces which was excellent. I ordered the special and my friend had a panni with an apple crisp and a salad. The portions are small for what you pay ,but the food is quite tasty . Desert by far was the best thing we had BISTRO TRIO to die for fantastic texture,amount of sweetness and a nice combination all around. I will be going back to bistro again soon. —ElizabethBarthel

I got a Shirley Temple with no ice and extra grenadine for $2.25. I left a 75 cent tip. —StevenDaubert

2007-03-03 14:00:40   I was last there a few times before and after New Years. The service has greatly improved since it first opened. I did get clearly ignored by the matre'd for over a minute while she was engrossed in a, seemingly personal, conversation. My server that night was very efficient, and a another day's server of a party of eight, Drew (I assume DrewKyler), was friendly and did a good job. The Wild Mushroom soup was really good and the Chop Chop Salad became a chore to eat after three bites. It was large and exactly as described, but it neither looked nor tasted like a cohesive enough dish to stand alone. The Panini are consistently good, and I especially like the Gorge, the Rainier, and the Puget sound— the former two are not that much pricier than the drek at Pita Pit, and are the best post-10PM snacks you can get downtown. The fruit cobbler is really good, especially ala mode. —CraigBrozinsky

2007-03-12 14:53:15   I only have been there once. Pretty decent food and good atmosphere. We also had a good waitress, very caring and nice. Overall, a wonderful experience. If you like the fish, maybe can try the salmon one (the meat is sweet and juicy). —CarlieYang

2007-03-18 21:35:14   Let's begin!! I just went here tonight for the first time. It's Sunday evening during finals week, so it wasn't at all crowded. Our waiter was nice. I got the $11 salmon salad and my boyfriend got the $12 salmon panini (yeah, we just like salmon a lot) and the flatbread appetizer. I was very pleased with my salad- so pretty and yummy. (My advice for potential salmon salad-eaters: the vinegar taste is quite strong so take advantage of the free bread.) Normally, just personal preference, I would not pay $11 for a salad this size (medium-ish.. and definitely filled me up) but today I came for the straight up yummies, and it was enough bang for my buck. My boyfriend's panini and fries were a sizeable portion (and he eats a lot) plus, according to him, the salmon was good. So would I come here often? No but I will be back when I have some more money or for a nice occassion when I don't want to drag myself out of town. —ThuHo

2007-03-19 17:00:25   My wife and I went for an anniversary dinner and were largely ignored. When we were finally served, the fare was very average, far too average for the price. I won't be back. Further, I encourage others not to dine there. —JamesJobe

2007-04-13 21:15:01   Everyone who disses the Beast please remember...we are still strong and not going anywhere. —RegisteredVoter

2007-04-14 10:56:10   I live in Woodland and my fiance and I dine at the Bistro at least once a month...The service is not always the best but that is pretty typical for a college town where your servers are mostly college students. We dine out at least 2 times a week and enjoy upscale establishments...(That's why we rarely dine in Woodland!!). Short of the somewhat expected server my 15-20 trips to the Bistro the food has ALWAYS been excellent. If you want to experience the same fare with EXCELLENT service try the Riverside Clubhouse off Broadway...same owners and the servers are more experienced. —rpatte

2007-04-21 12:49:28   On a Friday night around 7:20pm we arrived and asked for a table of ten. We were told we could be immediately seated on the patio, which was impressive. However, we were met with overpriced, mediocre food, which is not necessarily the help's problem, but we would definitely not be dining here again. In addition, we waited for twenty minutes after we finished our meal for our bill, after requesting it three times. We were told that there was one server for the entire patio, which consisted of a good 12 tables, but the fact that she had come in and out serving other people and ignoring our request was somewhat annoying, especially when it went on for twenty minutes. Overall, it was an entire forty minutes before we were able to leave. I will definitely not be dining there again. —KatherineFrank

2007-05-01 12:56:54   Bistro 33 has great potential. The patio is one of the most amazing in the area and is romantic and relaxing. My major issue with Bistro 33 is the service. If anyone from the restaurant reads this post PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE work on your service issues. The exception to this rule is the hostesses who are great. The waitstaff is hard to track down, don't pay attention to diners, are dismissive, and often overtaxed and rude. The food is mediocre to good on most days. We have been going to Bistro 33 for over a year and the service has detiorated over time. If that gets fixed this would be one of my favorite restaurants in the area. —HeatherParker

2007-05-02 12:40:43   This restaurant has a very nice outdoor and indoor seating area and friendly serive. Their food is rather good but pricey. if you're budget conscious, this might not be the place for you. —trambajuice

2007-05-06 20:42:36   My first time there on Saturday. I had to say: I'm HIGHLY disappointed. Meat was over-cooked and hard, waiter was no where to be found, spent 20 mins waiting for the check. Overall, not a joyful experience. I always heard that this place was great but turned out to be nothing but a fluke. Sorry, bad first experience and don't recommend coming back. —Kimmysolucious

2007-05-16 04:36:59   Okay... driving through downtown on a warm night this place looks heaven sent: totally romantic and ultra cute with the decorative lights and outdoor seating. BUT!!! Dont let that fool you!! Me and my fiance recently got sick from eating a greasy gas station sandwich they try and pass off for a panini. Its a shame too, they use to be quite good until they switched chefs (the waitress informed us). They need to bring the old chef back, or at least hire a new one! —christinegallo

2007-05-17 19:49:26   I've stumbled upon the happy hour, the calamari is something like $5.35, I've been known to nab one or two, and maybe a shirley temple —StevenDaubert

2007-05-30 18:29:46   Go to For Brooks and Kristen's take on Bistro 33 as well as two other restaurants —BrooksHayes

2007-06-14 19:09:32   I took my mom here, and we were disappointed. The service was extremely slow, although most the tables were empty. The waitress was very good about answering questions, I had no complaints about her style, just the speed. We ordered a salad which came in a long, slender dish...hardly any salad at all for the price. We also tried a spicy rib meat dish, which was just a pile of meat in sauce on a plate. In contrast to the salad, it was a generous serving, but after a few bites we didn't want any more of it. It was too intense to eat alone, and would be better paired with bread or rice. I may go back, but it won't be in my regular rotation by any means. —Linda

2007-07-18 14:35:43   As all places in Davis food is regular nothing special same cheap food that supplies everyone but you get to pay more, very small potions of food and very very slow service —dickjones

2007-07-28 20:02:30   The Bistro is hit or miss. Generally, I would say that the food is too expensive for the taste/quality, and they also have a shockingly bad wine list. Happy Hour, however, is a pretty good deal. People will flock here regardless of whether or not the reviews are poor, because there are very few cafes in Davis, and even fewer that have decent outdoor seating. **In June I was disgusted to see a waitress refilling the water pitchers in the lady's bathroom rather than in the kitchen. I don't care if the same water comes out of toilet pipes as kitchen pipes; diners don't need to drink tap water that is literally coming out of a tap where women wash fecal matter and god knows what else off their hands. NASTY!! Have some class, please, and a consideration for your customers' health . . . —GradStudent06

2007-08-01 14:00:02   I am happy with the bistro although not a place to go if you are in a hurry. There food is quite good ,but the portions are small depending on what you get. The calamari is excellent. My favorite item is the triple desert with creme brulee, choc mouse pudding and cheescake all served on a plate as a trio for around 8bucks, enough to share with 2 or three people, excellent desserts, entrees are tasty ,but overpriced I would reccommend this place to anyone who wants a nice night in davis with an extra sweet taste of fine dining(but will not make you go broke:)! a nice treat during finals —ElizabethBarthel

2007-08-03 15:38:15   I have been to bistro 33 one time food tasted good but very very small portions and very slow service , But great atmosphere and seem to be doing well i will hold off on going to bistro 33 again but i love the way it looks great for downtown very nice! —Brians

2007-08-16 18:23:50   I dined at Bistro33 3 times despite hearing bad things (bad service and very expensive) about it from colleagues. The first time I went there was for the mother's day buffet brunch. The food was very good but the service was slow and terrible. All the server had to do was to bring us our drinks. Our coffee was never refilled. The second time was for lunch the panini was good but the service was slow again. The third time was for brunch, and it really took the server more than 20 minutes to come and ask me if I wanted anything to drink. The coffee was never refilled. They got my omelet wrong the first time and when they got my order right the second time the toast was very cold and hard and one of the pieces was bit into already. I'm assuming another customer returned his/her order, which had already took a bite out of the toast, and they switched our plates. needless to say. The experience was not good. I urge others not to dine there. —TT

2007-08-17 13:41:37   I went there last night and have NO IDEA why this place is so popular...yes, the outside seating is nice, as is the bar area, but the food sucks. I ordered a caesar salad with chicken and the chicken was tasteless and chewy - I swear it was boiled. Plus, I asked for it without cheese and with the dressing on the side...they first brought it out with dressing and then brought it out with the dressing on the side but with hard is it to get that order right? Plus, how hard is it to make good tasting chicken? I don't think I'll be going back...should have gone to Pluto's if I wanted a salad made to order. My bad. —AcMach

2007-08-26 15:29:08   The chocolate martinis are to die for. The bartenders are so nice, they always remember me and my family and the Hostesses and Waitstaff are super friendly. This is my favorite place to start or end an evening. Not a fan of the Calamari, tho, but the rest of the food is spectacular. —ElisaWeller

2007-10-12 00:08:16   This place is probably one of the best places to work in davisi have noticed, they have a great team working there and i dont know why alot of people are soo critical of slow service?? define slow?? 30 min!!! thats slow, a normal time for your food to come out is between 12 to 15 on a busy night, or a slow day because if it came out any faster you probably would be complaning about your food being too cold!!!!!! no one is perfictly happy when it comes to food in this world, food can either make people completly happy or completly unsatisfied! But please dont write a review if you have only been to the bistro 1 time and had 1 bad thing that didnt appeal to you, i would love to see how some people would be able to tolerate the way people at bistro get talked to when situations are out of there hands, be kind! —StuGotts

2007-10-22 00:45:14   I thought the food was pretty disgusting. My boyfriend and I went here for our 3 year anniversary and we were disappointed. It really ruined our night. The shrimp appetizer we got was the only good thing. I forgot what mine was called but my boyfriend got the meatloaf thing. He couldn't even finish half of it because it was nasty. —anastasia

2007-10-28 17:58:17   My husband and I eat here when the weather is nice because of the outside seating. The food is merely adequate and the service is horrific. We frequently have to wait from 10 to 20 minutes for service and then do without things like coffee or another drink simply because there's no sign of the server. This morning we went for breakfast, sat for 15 minutes, and finally just left. The waitress came out twice, checked on another table (only three were occupied), looked directly at us as we sat there with our water, and went back inside! The only good service we've received has been from the bartenders. —Mummers

2007-11-05 08:08:25   I only come here to use the bathroom —WillJobe

2007-11-14 22:51:48   I had a good experience bringing my company here for a large private party (before they started charging so much for such services!), but I must say, I haven't had very good service coming here as a regular, small party. I've sat at the bar to eat, and in booths, and it is painful how long it can take to get served. Bartenders are also very rude and act like it is inconvenient to serve you food, so be aware if you are planning to eat there. —katherine1234

2007-12-23 11:46:26   Totally enjoy bistro 33 having spent many years driving to Sacramento for the original. Find the Davis staff (minus the bartenders) to be a bit pretentious at times. There this morning, only customers with like 8 staff. Food was okay but the attention to detail was missing. Mentioned to the waitress that a hair was in the food and instead of offering replacement or apologizing we simply got an "oh" and she walked away. Then when the check came, she simply took my card without leaving the bill at all for us to check. If the staff was spent a bit more time attending to the customers rather than relaying their nights activities I would have been more pleased. —loneshark

2007-12-23 15:38:45   I can't understand all the complaints! I adore this place! I have never had a bad dish, everything here tastes AMAZING! —DavisResident23