Bear Bites: Bistro Vida

2 mins read

Founded in 1998 by Ali El Safy, Bistro Vida is a fun, Parisian-style restaurant in the heart of Menlo Park. The restaurant also hosts a small farmers market every Wednesday outside of Walgreens and Starbucks. This market sells a plethora of goods ranging from freshly made crepes to locally sourced honey. 

El Safy sought to lighten up our downtown after Covid-19 and create a warm place to visit with friends and family. His main goal, since opening his business in 1998, is to make Menlo Park a vibrant place to visit. 

El Safy bought the store next to his restaurant to turn into Bar Loretta, an extension to Bistro Vida that he hopes will become a lively space. Outside of Walgreens, and adjacent to his outdoor seating, is where El Safy hosts the weekly farmer’s markets on Wednesday. On off days, many students from Hillview, Sacred Heart, St.Ramonds, and M-A enjoy their afternoons on the benches with friends.  

Although his menu might be on the pricier side than the usual bear bite, it is a great place to go for special occasions.

Gnocchi à la Parisienne ($23)

The first dish I tried, Gnocchi à la Parisienne, is my favorite thing on the menu. The gnocchi, an italian pasta made from potato, is served with cooked mushrooms, asparagus, peas, and toasted tomatoes. It is the perfect size dish with an interesting, yet delicious flavor of beurre noisette (peanut butter) and hazelnut butter. 

Gnocchi à la Parisienne
Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup ($13)

This was a special for today, but Bistro Vida regularly serves the Potato Leek Soup multiple times a week. This soup was one of my favorites due to its creamy consistency and its perfect size to share for an appetizer. It can even be a main meal since it is so filling and flavourful of spices. 

Chèvre Chaud Salad ($13)

This salad had the perfect ratio of dressing to lettuce, which many restaurants have not perfected. The balsamic vinegar dressing went beautifully with the mixed greens. It was topped with a crispy piece of fried goat cheese (Chevre Chaud) that went wonderfully with the greens and the orange bites. 

Chèvre Chaud Salad
Saumon Grille

Saumon Grille ($33)

The grilled salmon was cooked perfectly and had the best flavor. One might even add that it is the non-fishiest fish. With a side of grilled vegetables, this plate was one of the most filling options. 

Calamari Frits ($13)

Typically, restaurants serve calamari with an array of onion rings to mask the fact that there really are just 2-3 pieces of chewy calamari. However, Bistro Vida had one of the most tasteful calamari with no distractors. The garlic aioli sauce–mayonnaise with generous amounts of garlic–was so delicious that I even saved some to eat with the salmon. 

Calamari Frits
Bistro Vida ambience

Creme Brulee ($10)

This creme brulee consisted of a vanilla custard base with a thin, crunchy sugar crust. I love Creme Brulee, but the one from Bistro Vida is the best one I have ever had in my life. This dessert also pairs perfectly with a nice, rich cappuccino.

Nava is a junior at M-A. This is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write about world wide issues that affect the M-A family. In her free time, she like to read, play volleyball, debate, and play piano.

Latest from Bear Bites