These are archived reviews of Bistro 33 from 2006. For more recent comments, please visit the entry.

2006-01-13 14:53:18   I think they have the best burger in town, but the rest of the food is hit and miss and the service is never what you could call good. The bar is surprisingly clueless: they serve Guinness in an iced glass and don't know that you're supposed to garnish a gin & tonic with a lime. —ToNils

2006-01-19 19:45:03   I was recently in Bistro33 Davis and I have to say that your manager Dave was awesome! He knows what he's doing and made our simple lunch a great experience. The food was not bad, so I'd say if we came back it would only be because of the service Dave showed us. He is an asset to the restaurant and would be to any restaurant! —TeriJones

2006-01-20 00:52:31   I was there tonight and I thought it was a nice experience. My only gripe was that the waitress was a bit slow. The first thing I noticed on the menu was how the prices seemed to form a gaussian around $9, which is a reasonable price for a dinner meal. I wonder what people would consider to be a good price for, say, a "Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup"? I'm guessing some people want fancy food on the same pricing scheme as a Wendy's dollar menu. To which, I say, "Okay, there's a Wendy's on W. Cowell St. See ya." —JesseSingh

2006-02-06 12:51:01   After reading all of the above, I had the opportunity to check this place out for myself. On a Saturday night, the wait time was about 40 minutes. We managed to get a spot at a bar table quickly and were able to order food from there. We ordered the fries appetizer, I had a steak sandwich, and my companions tried the meatloaf and the fettucini with seared prawns. The wait staff was friendly, as was our waiter. The appetizer arrived at the same time as our dinner, which was odd, and somewhat disappointing. But the fries were very good — they looked like in-and-out fries, but tasted much better. The ranch/blue cheese dip for them was particularily good. My steak sandwich was excellent, although it came with shoestring potatos that were so skinny it was like trying to eat a bunch of toothpicks. They were tasty, but it took way too much effort to gather all of them up in a manageable way. My companions said the meatloaf and fettucini were both excellent. Overall, dinner cost about $55 for the three of us (after tax/tip), and that's drinking mostly water. A tad on the pricy side for the size of the portions you get, but the food was very good. I would go back. —AlexPomeranz

Went here for Valentine's recently. Decor is comfortable and nice, and atomsphere is very chill. There are some big flat panel tvs near the bar for sports, but a quieter atmoshphere for couples and the like is available in the front courtyard and the rear of the restaurant. Service is good with little wait time for reservations (we were 10 minutes late for ours). We ordered the bleu cheese/vinegar/peach ketchup fries for appetizer, roasted salmon and mushroom ravioli for entree, and cheesecake for dessert. All of them tasted pretty good, although the portions were quite small for the price (except the cheesecake, which was probably enough for 3 people). Cost a total of 50 bucks. Good for any occasion, if you have the money to spare. —ArnoldLau

2006-02-06 16:19:45   I've been here several times and always liked it, but about 3 weeks ago we had a pretty crappy experience. Went there for some drinks and appetizers, everything was fine (though I do not recommend the black raspberry cooler, tasted horrible imo, but hey, it happens when you order randomly). But some server walking by dropped a cup, and the contents splashed over two of our party members. It wasn't much, but him and someone else scurried over with napkins, and kept saying "its not much" or "not too bad, sorry". It did take them a few minutes to wipe clean her jacket from the chair, and her back as well. Our friend next to her got splashed as well but he wasn't lucky enough to get a wipe down. I understand accidents happen, but I thought it was pretty lame they just tried to hide/clean it up asap with napkins and downplay it. I was hoping he'd comp us some drinks or an appetizer to make up for it. But I didn't want to make a big deal out of it and kill the group mood. —ES

2006-02-08 23:18:28   Happy Hour? How about Sour Hour? After debating the merits of every bar's Happy Hour, my friends and I decided to try Bistro's because it seemed like a fairly good deal for the environment. Needless to say, it was NOT Happy Hour although we got there circa 5:20PM and Wiki says that Bistro's Happy Hour ends at 6PM. The drinks were full priced and horrible. Three drinks were ordered: A Cran/Vodka, a Seabreeze and a Bloody Mary. The Cran/Vodka was watered down, the Seabreeze was made incorrectly and the Bloody Mary was HORRIBLE—too much celery flavor and pepper. The bartender was not at all friendly and didn't ask how the Bloody Mary should be made. Granted, I could have said a few modifications however I was curious to see what the "standard" BM would be at Bistro. Along with a celery stalk, I was given an olive and a wedge of lime. The lime was old and the skin was brown—ewww! Overall, presentation was too much. So much for Bistro! =( —KarlaFung How did they make the Seabreeze wrong, out of curiosity?

—Well, I didn't taste it, but my friend who got it said that they mixed up the juice. Maybe he thought "Bay Breeze"? Either way, 3 people were quite unhappy with drinks that they usually get.

2006-03-05 08:14:32   Excellent service; my brother-in-law phone-ordered a gift certificate for us for Christmas. A staff member was concerned that the mail would be too slow, so he hand-delivered the gift certificate to our house. Staff members are always friendly and some have even remembered our previous orders. —JenThornton

2006-03-15 21:24:30   Pancetta prawns is the best. I liked the burger as well. The place looks really nice but the food isn't that great and is overpriced. For breakfast I reccomend the waffle or french toast byt not the crab omelette they barely give you any crab. Service is iffy they're good sometimes and bad sometimes. —JessicaFu

2006-03-25 08:45:41   Went there with my boyfriend on a rainy day and wasn't terribly impressed. Our waiter was attentive, but kind of odd in general. When telling us the soup of the day he started with "I know this isn't very exciting, but our soup of the day is....". I mean, c'mon, you just don't do that. Also, the table we had was kind of squeezed in the corner in a very odd shape. We kept accidentally kicking each other because of the narrowness. The portions were indeed small, but I'm okay with that as long as the food is quality. Honestly though, this food wasn't anything to write home about. I had the meatloaf, which was decent, and Luke had the steak sandwich, which he couldn't even eat. Our appetizers(chips and dip, toasted cheese ravioli) were pretty good. I liked the citrus flair in the salsa and guacomole. —JillWeinstein

2006-03-29 14:51:26   I've been there once. Some of the food portions are decent for the price charged, while other portions are too small (otherwise known as overpriced). That probably wouldn't have bothered us too much had we not noticed the 18% gratuity added for groups of six or more (surprise, surpirse, we had exactly six people). Also, our server was very eager to recommend some dinner (I forgot what it was) at least five times. She also seemed insistent on taking our plates the minute we seemed to have finished our food, even if we truely hadn't. Overall, I'd like to see the service be a little slower, a little friendlier to serve the interests of the customers — not those of the establishment. The food, however, was pretty good. I would go there again for sure, but not very frequently. —TusharRawat

2006-04-10 20:37:47   After seeing the bad reviews this place got, I was hesitent to try it, yet did end up going with many chaps from my dorm for a friend's birthday. The food was way to expensive, and even charged us 10$ for bringing out a prebought cake. Positively, the Shrimp Cigars were uber good - at least with the colored (plum?) sauce. If I go back, I'll probably order that again. The Salmon sandwich was way too small and poor tasting. At least it came with more mini french fries than I could eat. I'd go back if they make their prices more reasonable, probably. —JosephBleckman

2006-04-20 10:20:41   I've eaten at Bistro 33 numerous times and have experienced both extremely good, mediocre and irritating. The service seems to be better with smaller groups and more can go wrong with larger ones. The most enjoyable meal that I had there was when my husband and I ate there one evening. The service was excellent, we were seated after a comfortable waiting period, we weren't rushed and the food we ordered was very good. I experienced mediocre when I went there with a small group (8 people) from work at 5:30 pm. There really aren't tables that accomodate a larger group like that. I experienced irritating when I went there with my family for my father's birthday. Parts of the family were seated separately by mistake an we each waited an hour for each other to arrive. This happened even though we told the hostess that we were there for a party. As I think that the majority of the mistakes are made relative to the size of the group, perhaps restaurant management could assign someone to handle the groups —SharlaDaly

  • Did you call ahead and make reservations? —TusharRawat
    • Yes, for both of the the groups. No, for the dinner with just my husband. - SharlaDaly

2006-04-25 10:24:59   i haven't eaten here but I can attest that the Trivia Pub Quiz is really fun, as is the Quiz Mistress. —RohiniJasavala


I also have eaten at Bistro 33 and their sister restaurant 33rd St Bistro numerous times. While sometimes I have noticed a delay in food delivery, or water refills, I have always left satisfied and full. Every time anybody walks through those doors, they walk under a big sign that says "Bistro 33". What is a bistro, I ask myself, well according to Webster's dictionary, it is,"a small or unpretentious restaurant." Ok. They didn't get the small part down. For those of you non-UC types, unpretentious is,"free from ostentation, elegance, or affectation : MODEST ." Mmmmmm. Not fine dining. Maybe the owners should have NOT made it so appealing to look at, and dumbed down the menu to please the Davis crowd and give them what they expect. Or maybe the Davis crowd should resist from complaining, not wallow in arrogance and ignorance, and take the Bistro for what is is... A BISTRO! Not fine dining. It's in the name for Christ's sake! Where do you all go for fine dinning, France? I feel comfortable wearing flip-flops and a tube top sitting anywhere inside or out, and I don't get any snooty looks, except from the patrons. -MollyEvans

  • Cheers to that! — DrewKyler
  • That still doesn't explain/justify the bad customer service that Bistro 33 is providing. I'm pretty sure us Davis folks don't see the place as "fine dining." PattyLouieJunior

2006-04-30 13:39:02   The girl who seated us seemed like Bistro was the last place she wanted to be, and I saw why. The waitress asked my friend and I whether anyone had taken care of us and she did, but then a different waitress brought the food out to us. After she took our orders, she forgot to remove the menus. The same one spilled glasses of Bloody Mary's on the patrons behind us, and she went around asking who had ordered the vegetable frittata. A waiter placed s&p shakers on all the tables while we waited for our food (they should've been there when we sat down). The Northwest Scramble was tasty and very filling, but was not at all seasoned. I asked for some butter and the waitress who brought the food out (a blonde with a long ponytail) replied, "It's already on the bread." WOW. If I want more butter, gimme more butter, dammit! I wonder what she would've said if I'd asked for jam. My friend was impressed that they even had sourdough bread. The potatoes were very bland. At least our water glasses were topped off when they emptied, but if that goes to show how long we had to wait for the food. Considering how much we paid and that it's a "bistro", I would've expected much better service. Brunch would've been a total disaster if I didn't have good company. —JennaChan

2006-4-30   I went a few weeks ago with my mother who wanted to sample some Davis cuisine. It took quite a while to be seated but once in the seating area we were served very quickly. Unfortunatly the music was really loud, and the screens were playing sports which was pretty distracting. After mixing up our order with someone elses, we were finally served our meals. The food was great!! Which made up for the rest of the problems. However, the food was a little pricey for how much you got, and it took about 20 minutes for the waiter to get back to us with our check. (i think he took a break) I'd go there again, to see if maybe the service has improved, before writing off this restaurant. — SydneySwartz

2006-05-08 22:04:33 Wow, people are really passionate about this place! My friends and I have eaten here a couple of times. The food is fine (breakfast both times), but the service was extremely poor. Some waiters/waitresses were working very hard, but some were not, ours included (OK, to be fair she may have been working hard, but nowhere in sight). An hour after finishing our meal, someone (a hostess? I'm not sure) finally got our bill to us, then proceeded to stand over us while we figured out the bill. That was an hour with no coffee or water refills, our finished breakfast plates in front of us. Having a staff member stand over us, chomping her gum, was not a good way to end our meal. I really usually don't complain about this stuff, but a simple "sorry it took us so long" goes a long way! By the way, we all prefer the Riverside Clubhouse in Sacramento, which is owned by the same group - better food, better service. BethAnn

2006-05-12 17:46:22   No place is perfect, but this restaurant is as good as it gets in Davis, imho, the right blend of quality of food, ambiance, presentation, location, and price. I've gone there for dinner about a half-dozen times and each time I'm glad I chose that over some of the other choices in Davis. If I were to design a restaurant it would end up being just like this. The only thing I would change is some of the outside decor and furniture. —HughToppe

2006-05-13 23:48:21   This place sucks. Yes, I know they have a nice place. It looks hip and all. However, the serice sucks. I went here and ordered a glass of Merlot. I had to wait 5 minutes because they ran out of wine glasses. I waited patiently. Finally, I got my glass of wine. I swirled it and noticed that there was lipstick mark on the glass (totally clean is this place???). I told the bar tender that my glass is dirty. What did he do? He pours my wine in a new glass. I thought that was rude and showed lack of training and hygiene. I asked him that he should really pour me a new wine from the bottle. He smirks and then pours me half a glass of wine. Folks, this place looks nice but it's tacky and dirty. If you decide to go to this place, be mindful of how clean your food and drinks are. A friendly warning. —JerDiaz

Obviously you will always have the high maintenance types that find something wrong with their dining experience no matter what, but in all honesty, my first and last experience at this place was pretty bad. Here's my list: 1. Long wait, but understandable considering the "popularity" 2. Tiniest table I have ever sat at, nearly rubbing elbows with the couple seated next to us. 3. Sat with our menus down (I thought this was the international "we're ready to order" signal) for an unusually long time waiting to have our orders taken. 4. Worse mojito I have ever had. 5. Gave us two tiny pieces of bread and never even offered to give us more. When we asked, we were given a "look" and given one more tiny piece. 6. Even longer wait for food, arrived luke warm. Would have asked for the food to be warmed up, but after being treated so poorly by the server, didn't see the need. 7. Ridiculously small portions for the price. If it's supposed to be all cute and quaint like a bistro, offer some goddamned prices to match! 8. Even after all this, I still ordered a dessert which was okay, but in no way "made up" for the main course. 9. All in all we ordered over $60 of food and drink between the two of us and were still treated horribly the whole time. I even gave the 15% tip because I'm not an asshole like the server was to us. With that one condescending, evil look and the rest of the experience, I decided just to never come back and to tell as many people as possible about how aweful it was. If you love poor service and ridiculous price/portion ratio, you'll love Bistro 33. Sorry management, these were my honest experiences. TylerFelix

2006-06-13 14:11:00   My boyfriend and I ate here a few months ago. We ended up ordering three entrees (including one labeled as "large"), and we were still super hungry afterwards. The portions are small. The food itself isn't bad, nothing to write home about, but not terrible. For the portion size, I felt it was expensive. The atmosphere is nice, service was good, and we'll probably try it again, just not when we're so hungry. —AndreaStewart


"2006-08-15" Sure, the service is slow. But that's only because there is so much demand—that place is packed every night. If you don't like the atmosphere, don't come! Hang out at the domes or go cow-tipping or whatever it is you do! And furthermore, if you don't like the atmosphere, stay clear of any west-coast city with a population larger than 50,000! What we really need is two more Bistro-like places. That way there will be a greater server-to-customer ratio, the wait won't be so long, and each group (greeks, young trendies, and old yuppies) can each have their own place to hang out. —BernieRose

2006-09-03 14:54:30  All you really need to know about this place it that they charge an extra $1.00 when you order your martini "up" (like it's supposed to be) This is an OUTRAGIOUS rip-off! On top of that, the waiter didn't know what gin the bar offered. I asked for Junipero. He came back saying that they had something called (mis-pronouncing Junipero) and brought me a Tanqueray Ten. for this kind of service I paid an extra $1.00? Plus the wrong kind of gin? I urge everyone to boycott any restaurant/bar that stoops to this type of rip-off. It's the only way they'll stop. —Jim

2006-09-15 11:30:50   With all of this complaining about the Bistro, why do people go back more than once? Did you think it would get better the next week?—JustinColdiron

2006-09-15 23:37:58   I stopped going after I stopped talking to my friend who works there. I actually enjoyed their comedy night the one time I went; I'd go back for that but all my other friends hate it. —SS

2006-10-02 09:52:58   Mixed... My wife and I brought her Aunt and Uncle here for dinner last night, in an attempt to show them something Californian. The service, as some people have mentioned, was less then stellar. The waiter took our drink order, dropped half of them off, and then disappeared for a good 10 minutes. Drinks arrived, and he took our order. After a bit of a wait, three of the four items arrived. He said that the last piece would be out in just a minute, but then it was another 5 or 6 minutes before it arrived. My wife's food was getting cool as was our guests, but they wanted to wait until we all had our food. This was their choice, but a decision that they should not have to make. Our uncle also waited awhile for his second beer, and it turns out it was sitting at the bar waiting for the server to pick it up. Overall, the food was good, but the service was lackluster, to be honest. PS, Alvin, I asked for you, but you had been cut for the evening :( —JoeMinewiser

2006-10-09 16:07:23   The atmosphere was sort romantic. The waitresses and workers seem clumsy. Service is slow. And the food was just okay. You really wanna pay like $7-10 for a sandwich or salad? It's not worth the price. I suggest going to Pluto's instead. —KiwiSelina

2006-10-29 13:08:40   Talk about a polarized crowd. This group either loves Bistro 33 or hates it. I generally try to give a business the benefit of doubt. Consequently, I patronize a business three to four times before making a serious decision about providing a negative reponse. Since I have been to Bistro_33 at least that many times, here we go...

To begin with, the service at Bistro 33 is not the best. It seems that the waiters are either "wet-behind-the-ears" or snobs. In the four or five times I have been there over the past year, service is below average. I have has wait staff that are pushy and those that are passive. This provides a variety of dining experiences. I can say that I have never had a mix-up with my orders which is a positive. The right food comes out of the kitchen and it was on time. The inexperience surfaces when the plates are set on the table. The right dish rarely lands in front of the right person. I have always had to play musical dinners.

Many of the bartenders think that their stuff does not smell. You can see it in their behavior and how they speak to you. When I sit down at the bar, I like to be acknowledged within the first minute. If it is busy, I do not mind waiting. I know that I was not the first person to order a drink and that there may be quite a few people ahead of me. However, it is really important that I know that the bartender is aware of my existence. If I am ingnored for five minutes, I really start feeling insecure. Now I also need to mention that not all of the bartenders exhibit this negative behavior. I have noticed some of the bartenders have excellent skills. They generally are working on the other side of the bar. Perhaps it is me...

The food at Bistro 33 is good. An eclectic menu at a relatively reasonable price. I like many of the things that they offer. Their sandwiches are quite good and their pizzas tasty. From their descriptions, I would eat any of their salads. I have had the ceasar and it passes muster. I have yet to try their "Large Plates" Nothing there really sounds good to me. On thing that they should improve is their appetizer menu. With as much bar space that they have, it would be nicer if there was a greater selection of items. Maybe three to four additional items to balance the selection.

For those of you that complain about the price just for complaining about the price, perhaps another restaurant would be a better choice. For the budget concious diner, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box are right around the corner. Grab a couple of tacos, hit the 7-eleven for a six pack of Keystone Light and head home. The way I judge my restaurant experience is through value. If the cost outweighs the quality/experience of my dinner, I don't enjoy my dinning experience. If I get excellent service, good food, and have a fun time and pay a fair price, I have received an appropriate amount of value for my expense.

Bistro 33 offers a reasonable product and a reasonable price. If they could improve the service, it would certainly do wonders to their image. —GruntledMonkey

2006-10-29 20:16:44   I went today and was very, very disappointed. The service was terrible (our waiter didn't bring the Iced Tea until 10 minutes into the meal, and failed to refill waters until the food was brought, forgot our salad before our food and didn't really even apologize, and then when we asked for the check and to box things up (he also did the same before getting us the ceasar salad) he ran around and took more orders, helped his other tables, and wasn't very nice... I don't think he gave me and my boyfriend much priority or care because we were students, but I tip fair and high— but this guy didn't deserve any extra tipping.) The food was alright. —ChristyMarsden

"2006-11-15 10:28" You're very right in saying that he may have had more tables than usual, but he didn't treat my party very fairly in comparison with the other tables he had. IE, he would service them ASAP while we would wait... if creating a priority list, we were last. I am extremely considerate of busy nights and busy waiters, so I would not have voiced my opinion had your situation been the case. It so happened this meal that several other waitresses and waiters had little difficulty servicing those around me much more often than our waiter. And it was a Sunday brunch, not Saturday night meal. So, we ate around 1. —ChristyMarsden

2006-12-28 23:51:32   On the day I went, the wood oven made the upper area all smokey. Oterwise, teh food was good and decently priced. Service was slow. —JohnWong