These are archived reviews of Bistro 33 from 2008. For more recent comments, please visit the entry.

2008-01-05 00:25:10   I love Bistro! My favorite place to take out of towners. TRY the burger and the sandwich with he au jus sauce. AMAZING!! —EG10

2008-01-05 21:09:00   The food is great - that's undeniable. I've had on and off experiences. Today was an off one. I arrived with a couple friends, and was seated promptly. However, we sat with three empty glasses at the table for about 15 or 20 minutes. Meanwhile, we poored over the menus and placed them at the edge of our table. We asked to order when the water pitcher came about, and we were told that our waiter would be on his way shortly. We waited another twenty minutes to order. Throughout the meal we were never sure who our waiter was since we had a different person bring our food, take our order, bring other food, bring our drinks, etc. No one checked on us after we got our food until after we had finished our plates and waited a good 15 minutes to ask for boxes, which came another 15 minutes later. Then we asked for the check, only to get up and have to ask the hostess. Then, not wanting to wait any further, we walked up to the register and had some waiter take care of us right there. I still like the place, despite the service.

Regardless, I think the fact that employees at Bistro 33 feel the need to defend their establishment is indicative of problems to begin with. If customers were satisfied, they wouldn't leave comments on here. If there's consistent staffing issues, then maybe they should have less tables available. Waiting at a table with empty glasses and cold leftovers is worse than waiting at the bar for a table. —AndrewBianchi

2008-01-09 03:22:30   The fire pit on the patio often draws me in as I pass by on my way home from work (weather permitting). I like to sit & enjoy a martini or a glass of wine to unwind. The guy who performs an acoustic set on Friday nights is pretty good. However, three times I have been unable to enjoy myself as the police were called to the restaurant. Once it was a fist fight, & another time there was a very intoxicated homeless man hanging around the patio entrance. The last time there was a drunk guy screaming obscenities at some poor man just standing across the fire pit from me who seemed confused as to why he was the target of the tirade. I will add that the manager was kind enough to put the homeless man's bicycle somewhere safe when the police drove off with him & left his bike in the middle of the sidewalk with all of his worldly possessions attached to it. I thought that was a pretty decent move on his part. Oh, and never order a mojito here. The worst mojito I've ever had. —AprilAries

2008-01-17 21:56:34   While Bistro 33 is expensive (especially because we're college kids and therefore broke, or on the brink) the food is not terribly bad. Just don't get the tuna sandwich. I made the mistake of ordering it because I love tuna, took a bite, and then another...and almost threw up. The smell did not help. Appetizer's good... —SimplyIncognito

2008-01-20 23:27:34   This place is ok, but nothing special in my opinion. —Dr.Lindsay

2008-01-29 12:02:45   I dont get it...... everytime i go to Bistro, whether there are 40 people or 4 people in the restaurant, i become strangely invisible as soon as i walk through the door. Are the bartenders totally oblivious to their patrons? we came in last week for happy hour and were anything BUT happy and had we not already been inebriated we would have left!!!! WE MISS CANTINA!!!!! —RayLo23

2008-01-29 12:07:08   I WANT CANTINA BACK!!!! —RayLo23

2008-01-30 13:26:07   Like others have stated, Bistro 33 is very hit or miss. I have been there probably 10 times in my life, and maybe 4 were truly ok experiences. Good service is often hard to come by. They overcharge for many menu items, especially when you consider the dish that actually arrives. After receiving the saddest bowl of chili I have ever seen for a ridiculous price, I have decided to stick to happy hour and desert at Bistro. I like the french fries with the Potion 33 at happy hour, or the creme brulet and a coffee for desert. —AmLin

2008-02-15 15:21:53   After eyeballing Bistro33 since it took up residence, I recently made the plunge to penetrate its doors. My girlfriend and I went to Bistro33 for a quiet Sunday morning breakfast and were sorely disappointed. Despite a gorgeous, warm, sunny morning, when we requested seating outdoors the hostess gave us the slightest sneer of disgust and told us that it was not "convenient". For who? For YOU?? who are supposed to be serving us? Instead, we were escorted to an indoor booth. Immediately I ached for the relative serenity of the external world. Something that someone somewhere regards as "music" was blaring over the speakers, so loud that I could not hear my dining companion across the table. In counterpoint, televisions in seemingly every empty corner were assaulting the air with inane football chatter. Our solemn waiter seemed to be still recovering from his Saturday night binge; his enthusiasm and affability were abandoned somewhere between his apartment and the restaurant. The food was okay, but nothing special. I must complement the bus boy (what's the proper politically correct term these days?) who diligently kept our water glasses full. In short, our desire for a peaceful Sunday morning meal were squelched from the moment we entered the door. Our later exit through those same doors constituted our final passage. —Cassandrasdad

2008-02-15 17:43:42   I've been to Bistro at least a half a dozen times since I've been in Davis (9 months). I've never had a bad meal! The service is usually quite good, as is the food. I LOVE the shitake spring rolls, the vegetarian lasagna, and the penne with bolognese sauce! The prices are a bit high, but the food is great. We consider this a nice place in Davis to go. —jglovicz

2008-02-17 21:30:16   I recently went here for a nice dinner. It wasn't too bad, except the French Onion soup tasted a bit burnt to me. Overall, decent place. Highly recommend the Au Jus beef sandwhich thing I had. —CindyBanh

2008-02-25 15:52:27   My take: the food is pretty decent consistently. fair priced. Service- can be horrible. I waited for 25 min seated at a table with my water served but nobody could take my order. Slow sunday afternoon so it wasn't the general hustle and craziness. The wine list blows. Nothing that you would actually want to buy a bottle of. Atmosphere- I like that part a lot.... outside can be nice, inside is good, sitting at the bar is good place to watch the game. If customer service was stepped up this would be an awesome place to dine. —gearhoar

2008-03-04 10:11:12   I went there with a couple of friends for lunch on a Saturday. It was moderately busy but service was pretty slow. Food tasted good but it was nothing spectacular (I had a panini). —ulie

2008-03-27 21:26:44   I don't even understand why I go to Bistro. The food is bad (but the calamari and artichoke dip), the drinks are expensive and staff is rude. —stevie13

2008-04-02 15:39:03   NO NO and NO

This place is fancy and all but the food does not live up to expectation. I ordered the Lemon Chicken dish and it was undercooked and had been in the freezer for way too long. It had that nasty raw chicken taste to it. How they can get away with serving this is beyond me, let alone charge $17 for it! Extremely bland, no flavor, dried up, undercooked chicken. Come on Bistro, you guys must have some standards where it comes to the food you serve. —JoeBudden

2008-04-11 01:19:48   Bistro 33 would be a lovely place to bring a date if the service wasn't so horrible. i work at a restaurant myself, so i can relate with irate customers and all. HOWEVER, the service at bistro33 was absolutely horrible. i was seated by the hostess and told that my server would be right with me. 20 minutes later, my cup is still empty and i havent even met my server. the table next to us had a little girl who was shouting out "hello?! is there anybody here to help us?", to which i replied "i KNOW. i havent even gotten any water yet." the adults at that table chuckled. so, drink orders at 25 mins after arrival, food order at 40 mins after arrival, and i only saw my server once every 15 minutes. i know the man mightve been busy, but is it so hard to ask your tables if theyre okay once in a while? i hate bothering my servers when theyre trying to do their job. so they should do their job by making sure we're alright so we dont have to bother them. so come on bistro 33, your food is quite tastey. make it an experience to remember by hiring/training excellent servers to provide excellent service to patrons. —echelon

2008-04-12 15:14:15   This place is pretty good. Tuesday Comedy is cool —MD324

2008-05-06 18:14:56   The food was okay, but pretty overpriced for the portions. The outside atmosphere was really nice at night. —dds1372

2008-05-12 10:47:11   Great atmosphere, food is overpriced and OK at best. —ACA

2008-06-06 14:08:49   Ok, I've been here a couple times, and I guess my experiences were both REALLY typical of the place. First time, came with two friends to drink our lunch, we each ordered drinks off the menu, and were very pleased. Quiet, reasonable service, drinks weren't cheap but they were strong, works for me.

Second time was with a large group, on a Saturday night, and it basically sucked. Service was insanely, awfully slow, and our waitress was this highschool girl who just didn't know how to handle drunk people or anything about drinks. So we experienced that awful, hellish experience when you're trying to get drunk but your service is so slow it makes it impossible. In hindsight, I wonder what a place is doing when they let a party of 8 people who all want $10 cocktails brought to em as fast as they can drink em sit there. Being smart, I only had an appetizer, but those who ordered food were set back about $20-30 on top of drinks. The worst part was, when it came time to pay, the waitress had me (being drunk) do all the math to divide up the check, disappeared for 30 minutes then when she came back OVERCHARGED US by 3 bucks - and with a snide expression offered to re-ring it. The worst part was, I knew she'd added a fat little tip on top of the 18% they always add. I was ready to kill someone, but settled for bitching her out and leaving. If I ever go back there and get service like that again, I'm going to demand they take the 18% off the bill and let us leave the tip in cash — urge you to do the same.

My General rule of thumb on tipping(applies to the bistro too): Tip the waiter 20%, subtract 2% for each incidence of bad service and 5% for everything he spills on you. I'd say most waiters I have get 16-18%. To get an idea of what 20% of the bill is, double it and divide by 10 (shift the decimal).

I'm going there again one last time, which will decide how I feel about the place. I agree that the bartenders are generally incompetent, the waiters have blamed them both times I've been there for being slow (even on a wednesday at lunch). —davisGeek

2008-06-13 12:48:15   Maybe if you want to get drunk in public you could do it at the actual bar section inside rather than expecting a server with 5 other tables to get you shitty fast. Or bring cash so they don't have to spend ten minutes ringing out separate tickets. Or slam some Thunderbird in your car before going to the RESTAURANT section to get drunk RATHER THAN THE BAR. —JJNasca

2008-06-22 00:19:12   Notably poor service. The place was not busy for lunch, and we sat at our table for 45 minutes before a server showed up to take drink orders. Then when the food came, one of the dishes didn't get made and came about 20 minutes after everyone else had received their food. The hostess was very nice, the food was average yet was quite expensive. The up-side is that they have a very nice patio to sit on, so if you have to wait 45 minutes to be helped, at least you have a nice setting while you're sitting there being ignored. —T.R.

2008-06-22 09:21:23   "I'm going there again one last time..." Is that a threat, or a promise? —DonShor

2008-06-24 01:26:02   I really liked the $12 mojoito pitchers I had last thrusday. I think it is a pretty good deal for a lively place on a Thrusday night. Then again perhaps it is lively because of the pitchers. Either way they are a good deal. I enjoyed mine. I suggest you do the same. Not to mention the hostess isn't too hard on the eyes. —johnharth

2008-07-05 14:49:04   went there 3 times, 1 with friends, 2 for a banquet, and 3 for a friend's bday and hated it all three times. It's overpriced, the food is horrible, so is the service, and there is just way too much hype about this place. If you know what good food is, this is not the place for you. The raviolo dish I had was roughly 20 dollars and had about 4 pieces on the plate and was horrible. Better to just make it at home. —islandboy12

2008-07-06 03:18:41   Ravioli* If you can make it at home why do you eat out and why don't you have your won restaurant —JJNasca

2008-07-20 01:11:42   It's quite a upscale place, but the atmosphere is friendly. I enjoyed the food, but it was pricey. I would recommend it as a date place. The service is excellent. My boyfriend had a runny nose and the waitress brought us a whole box of tissues. —cnk.midori

2008-07-21 03:28:50   Ordered the Oregon Blue cheeses salad...Terrible...More low grade blue cheese dressing (it may have been a bit "ripe") than lettuce and the "buffalo chicken" had the right taste, but the texture was like eating re-hydrated beef jerky covered in melted orange Crayola crayons. The server was nice for the most part (an older woman), but seemed to get really offended when I politely reminded her that the diet coke I had ordered 10 minutes earlier had not yet arrived. Secondly when she came back to ask us if we wanted refill on our "cokes" and we said "yes..Diet cokes though" she once again seemed to get kinda pissed. In general though, I feel the food is okay and the service is adequate. I use bistro for large events that I plan for work and they seem to do a great job. But every now and then I get kind of smacked in the face with bad food and lack luster service. —dan.mayers

2008-07-24 21:17:18   Bistro 33 is a welcome addition to Davis; their eclectic menu is a great way to show off Northwest Coastal cuisine and they have a fairly decent spread of vegetarian options. They offer innovation of several classics such as peach-ketchup, sweet potato fries and a veggie burger with green goddess dressing. The portions to price ratio is fair for California. The ambiance is very nice- plenty of patio seating, a neat fire pit and a well spaced inside seating with great local art on the wall. A great feature of Bistro is the open mic night for poets, they tend to be packed which is great. I've never had a problem with the service here. I have one small critique- I recently ordered Bistro 33's spin on mac and cheese which was described as corkscrew pasta with a creamy white cheddar sauce with pancetta. I asked to hold the pancetta which they couldn't because it was pre-made (not a big deal) but what emerged was fairly repulsive: noodles floating in grease with dried out shredded Parmesan. It was very reminiscent of reheated leftover Alfredo sauce where the oil separates. There was nothing creamy about the sauce and it was fairly bland as well as greasy, and certainly not worth the 13 dollar price tag. I think this is a great menu item and mac and cheese CAN be an adult food and a wonderful and sophisticated addition to any menu, I think this recipe needs some tweaking. Bella Bru in Natomas used to have a dish similar to what Bistro described theirs as but it was actually creamy instead of greasy. —dandysgirl

2008-07-31 23:17:15   Again, crap food served by crap servers. Nasty macadamia nut chicken tenders had zero flavor. Tasted like plain chicken strips breaded with white bread and nothing else, no salt, no pepper, or any other seasoning. This craptastic excuse for a restaurant is not worth anybody's time or money. —stevie13

2008-08-17 15:36:49   We finally returned to Bistro 33 for breakfast this morning, and, again found the food at par and service below par. We arrived around 9am, and the place was dead. Upon wandering inside, the bartender asked "inside or outside." We said "outside," and he said "sit anywhere." Going outside, we took a table in the sun, which happened to be a four-top. A few minutes later, a server came up and said "we're going to move you to another table," and took us to a two-top, in the shade. There were plenty of four-tops, but we wouldn't have minded, had he asked whether we'd mind moving.

Anyway, from then on, the service was quite slow, with the highlight being the ability to read most of the Sunday New York Times before the food arrived. Damn, Bistro 33, I love your location and really wish your food "wow'ed" us and that your service at least made us feel welcome. —ScottLay

2008-08-24 22:07:13   We should have read your comments before heading over to Bistro. We're new to town and this will be our first and last time to Bistro 33. The wait service was bad or might I say non-existent. We ordered the Crispy Calamari and the Oregon Blue Cheese salad. We waited a long time for our food only to have the waiter tell us that some how our food order had gotten "blown away in the wind". I've waited tables before and could have definitely come up with a better excuse than that! When the food finally came and my partner was sorely disappointed and starving after ingesting about handful of chopped up romaine lettuce of their so called "Oregon Blue Cheese salad". This came with some kind of chicken that was described to be "Buffalo chicken", but to be honest they should call it chicken jerky. It was so dry, I am amazed how you can even fry it to that extent. This salad will cost you $12 - so think twice. The calamari was decent, but I had to share it with my partner otherwise he'd passed out from hunger. It took forever to get our bill and we finally left and went to another restaurant for more food. The only positive that evening was the nice outdoor seating. —ched

2008-09-15 08:22:23   I have to say, since I left my more negative comment a few months back, my last 2 experiences at Bistro 33 have been pretty darn good. I always get the fries (orginal, not sweet potato) with the yummy dipping sauces. I do love the (what I am assuming to be) garlic mayo. I usually get the small chop chop salad as well. Both have been tasty, and lately service has been suprisingly good! By supringly good, I mean someone waits on us promptly, we get water and bread, food is out quick, and the order is correct. My husband and I do usually come in very early, like in the 5 o'clock hour, becuase we know how busy it can get. I am hoping this trend will continue! —AmLin

2008-10-13 19:39:57   After going to this restaurant about five times (I love the veggie burger, it's the only reason I've go back as many times as I have) I am sad to say I will never go back. Bistro 33 has without a doubt THE WORST SERVICE I have ever experienced. On one occasion, my husand and I sat at the bar once for 20 minutes before any of the bartenders even bothered to make eye contact or ask us what we wanted, and then when we ordered THEY FORGOT TO BRING US OUR DRINKS. On another occasion, our waitress went get our check, forgot about us (not for the first time that evening) and WENT HOME. Another time, we were seated in the back and no one came to our table for over 15 minutes. When we flagged someone down to ask who our server was, they didn't know and said they would ask. We waited another fifteen minutes before anyone else came to our table. He took our drink order but then it took another fifteen minutes before we got our drinks. 45 minutes and we hadn't even ordered our food! Geez! —EGrace

2008-10-15 11:13:33   Nice atmosphere - espeically siting outside during the super warm summer nights!

Rainier panini and the pizza w/ goats cheese are the best :) —StephZhu

2008-10-28 15:42:35   I ordered the spinach salad and was violently ill for about 48 hours. Now I just avoid ordering that salad. Other than that I enjoy the atmosphere but do think the prices are rather pricey for rather average-quality, nothing-special food. —snoddy

2008-11-07 20:39:51   My husband and I went to Bistro 33 for dinner last night. This was our second time going to this restaurant after a disappointing experience 2.5 years ago. When we ordered our food, my husband asked if they served complementary bread because we noticed none of the tables had complementary bread. The waiter said "Yes, we serve them after you place your order". The items are quite pricy so one would think the restuarant should serve complemenatary bread. We waited for about 20 minutes before another waiter served us our appetizer. Our bread had not been served, so my husband asked the waiter if they served complementary bread. He said yes and that he'll let our waiter know. He later returned with a small piece of bread about the size of a tennis ball, hard and dry, with some butter on a brown piece of paper. We laughed and thought "if the restuarant did not serve complementary bread, they shouldn't not have said they served it." The waiter would not have brought us the bread had we not inquired twice. My husband swears he would never go back to the restuarant. I feel the same! The service was poor compared to the great service we get from other expensive restuarants and even non-expensive restuarants. Food was decent, but a steak meal costs around $32. At Buckhorn, we can eat a great steak meal for less and get awesome service every time we go there. The restuarant was also very noisy. —CF

2008-11-13 13:13:59   I have eaten here five times between February and October 2008, always on the patio: lunch with a friend, breakfast with my husband, and three dinners with various family members. I'm apparently a slow learner because each time I've come away disappointed. The general impression they give is one of "we have a fantastic venue, so suck it up and deal with the substandard service and food". As other posters have noted, service is extremely slow and haphazard. I'm not sure how management is able to consistently train waitstaff to be inept and completely oblivious to customers. There is a serious lack of attention to detail, particularly when it comes to perennially dirty water and wine glasses (clearly stained with leftover lipstick, etc - yuck) and cutlery (bits of dried food stuck on them). It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to realize they need to make sure the glasses and cutlery are clean before they are set out on the tables. Food can be acceptable (in general the paninis and pastas) or very disappointing (the salads and "italian flatbreads") but it is priced high for what you get. I have never bothered to order a more expensive dish (upwards of $25) because I don't have faith that the meal will be of the quality to justify the price. One important consideration: some of the food, such as the paninis, are assembled well before they are served... therefore don't be shocked by soggy bread or a "no" response when you request a particular topping (i.e. cheese) to be left off. Then again, if it's all ready beforehand, I don't understand why a meal of paninis for six people were brought out over the course of ten minutes, instead of all at once. I could understand this if we were talking about dishes that had variable cooking time, but not what amounted to pre-made sandwiches! So - despite the good patio atmosphere, I have sworn off this restaurant because I always leave grumpy, poorer than I should be, and feeling like I've been taken advantage of. —AG

2008-11-20 10:57:25   Went for dinner on a Wednesday night with the old man, he wanted to eat somewhere nice. We had a very good experience with the food and service. Every dish we ordered was very good, and well presented. The pork chop was amazing as was the goat cheese appetizer. Music was a bit loud down in the bar area, but we were seated in the rear section, which was a lot nicer. I would definitely go back here for a nice dinner. —Joeprunc