About Bistro Two Eighteen

218 20th St. North
Birmingham, AL 35203
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Bienvenue! Bistro 218 combines the traditions of a French bistro with modern American cuisine. Located at 218 20th Street North, Birmingham native and professionally trained chef owner Tom Saab joins the revival of businesses in downtown Birmingham.

Bistro 218 features the elegant minimalist interior design of traditional of French bistros, while preserving the historical roots of the building, creating a comfortable, romantic atmosphere.

Bistro 218 brings French cuisine to every palette. Enjoy your bistro favorites-from quiche to duck confit! We strive to provide quality affordable food and impeccable service to all of our neighborhood friends. Come join us for a high quality dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere!

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
French, Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:


Lunch:

Tuesday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00pm


Dinner:

Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm


Closed Sundays & Mondays

Cross Street:
2nd Ave. N.

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(205) 983-7999

Website:
http://bistro218.com/

Parking Details:
Curbside Valet Parking Starting at 5pm

Executive Chef:
Tom Saab

Private Party Contact:
Tom Saab: 2059837999x

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Wheelchair Access, Wine

Bistro Two Eighteen Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.6

ambience

4.6

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Romantic
Alabama
Best Overall
Birmingham
Best Food
Birmingham
4 More
Best Ambiance
Birmingham
Fit for Foodies
Birmingham
Romantic
Birmingham
Special Occasion
Birmingham
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special occasion (49)
romantic (46)
fit for foodies (42)
See All
neighborhood gem (20)
notable wine list (15)
good for groups (10)
late-night find (6)
hot spot (4)
great for lunch (4)
great for brunch (4)
great for outdoor dining (2)
scenic view (1)
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Newest
168 reviews
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food5
ambience5
service5

A classic fine restaurant in downtown Bi ...

Dined a day ago

A classic fine restaurant in downtown Birmingham. It never disappoints. The staff works together like a well oiled machine to make the experience enjoyable, memorable and relaxing. Tonight was my fifth or sixth time this year to dine. Now it's my go to restaurant in the area. Everything on the menu we've tried has been delicious. Valet parking, a warm greeting, great drinks and menu, outstanding service and food combine for what I look for when I get to choose a restaurant.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great date night spot.

Dined 4 days ago

We had a great time and the food was outstanding. We will make Bistro 218 a regular.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

Best place in Birmingham Chef Saab is t ...

Dined on May 14, 2016

Best place in Birmingham Chef Saab is the BEST!

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great find for anniversary dinner!

Dined on May 8, 2016

Absolutely a wonderful experience from arrival to departure! My husband and I had made reservations for our anniversary dinner, and I can not tell you all just how pleased I am with the outcome. Upon arrival, we were 30 minutes early and expected to be guided to the bar while we waited which would have been completely understandable. Instead, we were escorted immediately to a table that was presented with a very cute "Happy Anniversary" card and offered two glasses of champagne on the house for celebrating. This was a fantastic personal touch that made us feel as though the Chef and his staff really wanted us to enjoy our special night. (And we most certainly did!) Our server for the evening was Grace, and I will highly suggest that anyone visiting the Bistro to ask for her services. She was absolutely fantastic throughout our meal. Our drinks were never empty, and she seemed to genuinely care whether or not we enjoyed our dishes. Attentive, but not overly so, which we appreciated. We dined in the upper level which gave us a nice view while we ate. And might I say, we both left with room for not another morsel. We began with the bone marrow and octopus. I highly, HIGHLY, recommend both though the octopus was the star! If it had been served as an entree, I would have ordered it hands down! (I had even contemplated ordering a second round after finishing our entrees!) For entrees we ordered the risotto and the rabbit. Both were fantastic! While my husband and I typically share plates so that we each get to try a good portion of a dish, I was less than enthused to share my rabbit. I wanted to hoard it all to myself! We finished our meal with the creme brûlée and fresh berry tart. Though they were both good, both my husband and I agree that the tart was the winner. Overall, we were completely impressed with Bistro 218, and we were certainly be back the next time we're in town! I can not wait to see what will be on the menu when we return.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

5 Star Restaurant in the B'ham Theatre District

Dined on May 7, 2016

This is our new favorite date night spot. The restaurant is small and has a very intimate feel. Service is excellent. Specialty cocktails and premium wine list. The grilled octopus and chorizo appetizer is amazing. The Octopus is very tender, and the chorizo is full of flavor. Nothing compares to this. The Duck Confit is fabulous. Tender slices of breast meat with a crispy skin confit leg. It melts in your mouth. The Rabbit was amazing, tender and succulent, full of flavor. Creme brûlée is perfect and the beignets taste like New Orleans. Love, Love, Love! This is an excellent diner spot before a show at the Alabama Theatre or The Lyric. It is small, so make a reservation in advance for busy nights.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Perfect!

Dined on April 26, 2016

This is our favorite spot in Birmingham to eat for a wonderful, quiet, and romantic meal. They are consistent with quality food preparation and service every time we've dined there. If you haven't checked out this spot yet, you're missing something.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service4

The food was very good. We are from the ...

vip
Dined on April 15, 2016

The food was very good. We are from the pre-show menu and really enjoyed our salad, gumbo, shrimp, and duck dishes. The dessert was very good too.

food5
ambience4
service4

Loved the snapper and fettuccine. Some o ...

vip
Dined on April 8, 2016

Loved the snapper and fettuccine. Some of the best I've eaten in a long time. Chopped salad was great too.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great dining!

Dined on April 7, 2016

We had a wonderful dinner. I was impressed that they had Spanish octopus , delicious. Don't see that in Montgomery ever. We'll be back.👍😀

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Fine

Dined on April 2, 2016

This is our third trip and found the restaurant as good as ever. We like the different items on the menu and the extensive but not overly expensive wine list. We all ordered different appetizers and entrees and the waiter was great about splitting for everyone. Overall very pleasant experience.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

One Of The Best

Dined on March 26, 2016

This was my fifth time to dine at Bistro 218. Every single experience has been delightful. The food and service is among the best in Birmingham.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food3
ambience4
service4
value1

Went for a Birthday celebration

Dined on March 25, 2016

First time at Bistro 218 and our party of four and two other diners were the only ones there. We dine out frequently but I must say we was disappointed in our experience here. Too expensive for the quality of food. Don't imagine we'll be back for I can pay $28-$32 for an entree at other places and KNOW it will be memorable. But not here. Half that price, I might be back. Maybe should try lunch?

food5
ambience5
service5

The special "treat" for the evening were ...

Dined on March 18, 2016

The special "treat" for the evening were the hand-foraged Morel mushrooms, which are found in the Warrior river basin. I did not have them but my wife did and said that they were fantastic!

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Well cared for

Dined on March 16, 2016

My wife and I enjoyed this last date night at 218. Everyone there was attentive, and genuinely cared for our experience. I was expecting good food; it was terrific! Some interesting spins on traditional dishes, and good recommendations from the server. Closed early, but we were there mid week.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Bistro 218 -- a hidden gem

vip
Dined on March 12, 2016

We've been to Bistro 218 a few times in the past, always having an excellent experience. We returned with friends recently and had a great time. Courteous valet parking is certainly appreciated at night downtown, and ambiance of the restaurant is both historic and cool. Service was friendly, informed, and helpful. A pre-dinner cocktail was both interesting and well-prepared. The wine menu, while not extensive, is well-done and eclectic. All of our food was excellent, with the pork osso buco particularly flavorful and fork tender. Desserts were nicely done, too. We plan to add this under-the-radar spot to our regular rotation of top-notch Birmingham restaurants.

Tags: fit for foodies, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Had a lovely experience here. My partner ...

Dined on March 9, 2016

Had a lovely experience here. My partner and I were celebrating our two year anniversary, and our waitress was a pleasure to be served by. I had asked while making the reservation a while back if we could have a table in a corner, and of course that was done. We were there on a Wednesday, so it was not crowded at all which was nice. The food was delicious. We had the chicken and the duck, and melted after each bite. Would highly recommend people to go here for a special occasion. It's worth every penny; from the food and drinks, to the service and ambiance. Thank you for a lovely evening!

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Pre Show Dining at Bistro 218

Dined on March 5, 2016

My group of four's dining experience at Bistro 218 was absolutely wonderful. Looking forward to going back very soon. The greeting was warm and welcoming. Our waiter was excellent in his attention to our needs and the recommendations he offered. The wine and cocktails were very nice. The food was EXCELLENT. I believe the West Indies Salad may be the best I have ever eaten anywhere.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Complimentary valet and amazing service ...

Dined on March 2, 2016

Complimentary valet and amazing service! The food was amazing-- we had the escargot, pork Duroc and the duck, I highly recommend all 3. The meats fell off the bone and were full of flavor. Absolutely no complaints, enjoyed every bite! We will definitely be back, may be a new fave date spot!

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

the best restaurant in Birmngham

Dined on February 28, 2016

3rd time I've been there. Justin the host is amazing and when I walked in he treated me like I owned the place. Best food and best presentation in Birmingham

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Delicious, as always!

Dined on February 27, 2016

Great spot for a quiet dinner. The Fritto Misto is so light and fresh! Service is very attentive. If you have the chance try the grilled octopus! Mmmmmmmmm. We are regulars and never regret it.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food4
ambience4
service1
value2

Good food, indifferent and slow service

Dined on February 26, 2016

We came to this place for the first time prior to a concert. We have a full two hours and were in no rush. The service was spotty, slow and indifferent. After our initial introduction and drink order, it took a very long time for her to return for our order. This pattern continued throughout the evening, up till the point that we received our main dishes 15 minutes before the concert was to begin a block away. We crammed down our food and literally had to run down the waiter to pay our tab as we ran out the door. There was nothing as much as an apology - almost like this is just the way they do things there. The food was really excellent, but the experience was not. After reading a number of other reviews with similar sentiments, I can only conclude that this is a leadership issue at this restaurant. Well, we tried it and will move on.

food5
ambience5
service5

Great atmosphere and food for birthday d ...

Dined on February 25, 2016

Great atmosphere and food for birthday dinner for the wife. Our regular special occasion place.

food5
ambience4
service2
value4

Mimi & JJ

vip
Dined on February 19, 2016

Food was EXCELLENT(apps, gumbo,entree, dessert were all superb) -Wait staff friendly but not polished at all - - extremely slow! We fine dine about 3 times per week and do not require much attention, but staff needs to be better aware of their surroundings; would hate to see restaurant fail due to lack of service because this lil place is a gem!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service5

Always very, very good. The chargrilled ...

Dined on February 19, 2016

Always very, very good. The chargrilled Spanish octopus is amazing, a must get!

food2
ambience4
service2
value1

Valentine's Day Dinner (Prix fixe)

vip
Dined on February 15, 2016

We had Valentine's Day Dinner at Bistro 218 this evening. The restaurant is a nice location in a nicely renovated old downtown building with exposed brick walls. It's not too loud. This is complimentary valet parking. The menu tonight was Prix Fixe, $75pp. We started with the crab cake which were quite good, with plenty of lump crab meat plated on beurre blanc sauce. Next came (for me) a gumbo that was light on rice and very flavorful, not too spicy, quite good. There was far more andouille in the gumbo than crawfish or shrimp, though. My wife had a chopped salad that she liked very much. For entrees we had the NY Strip steaks. Half of my steak was inedible gristle. What remained was tasty, though, and cooked as requested. My wife's was a better cut and she enjoyed it very much. For dessert we had the molten lava cake which came out cool (not warm) in the center and was a little disappointing. Service was mixed. Our waitress was also staffing the upper tier upstairs and was less attentive than we'd have hoped, though very friendly/pleasant, as were all of the staff. We had to ask for our car to be brought up by the valet...something that I think should have been anticipated after we had been given the check. We had a nice bottle of Jordan Cabernet with the meal that was served a little cool, but a good bottle and priced reasonably (for a restaurant) at around $100. Overall, the experience was good, but not as good as our previous meal here. With all of the competition in town, we won't be in a hurry to return. Still, worth a shot if you haven't tried this spot yet. We really liked our last visit, and tonight was hopefully not a sign of a slide in the quality here...

Tags: romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Valentine Dinner

vip
Dined on February 14, 2016

First time to dine here, will be back. Very friendly service. Extremely comfortable feel, like an old world bistro. Had the crab cakes, gumbo and snapper, all were excellent. The gumbo was especially good, some of the best I'be had. Will be back to try some of the other dishes.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Enjoyed the food, service, scenery and A ...

Dined on February 13, 2016

Enjoyed the food, service, scenery and Atmosphere.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Intimate, Romantic

Dined on February 13, 2016

Great venue, awesome food, attentive service. Had a great Valentine's Day dinner here. We'll be back.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Bistro 218 Birmingham

Dined on January 29, 2016

Outstanding as always! Great personal service from the staff. Food is consistently delicious, appealing to the eye as well as the palette. A welcoming atmosphere.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food3
ambience3
service5
value2

just ok

Dined on January 24, 2016

Bistro 218 is nothing to write home about - just OK food. Our waiter was fantastic.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wonderful Place

Dined on January 23, 2016

This is a wonderful venue for most any event. I am always pleased to come to this establishment.

Tags: great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

jrs

Dined on January 17, 2016

Excellent chef. Always try the gumbo, West Indies salad, BLT salad, duck confit and or rabbit two ways when on the menu. Go there once and the next time they will remember you and what you like. Well trained staff and an excellent bartender. Enjoy it. The food appreciators in Birmingham are.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service4

We have talked about eating at Bistro 21 ...

Dined on January 15, 2016

We have talked about eating at Bistro 218 for months and finally stopped by for an early dinner after work. It is a very open space with exposed brick, but somehow still not very noisy. The service was attentive but not overbearing. We were very adventuresome and went with the octopus with chorizo and romesco. The presentation bordered on rude, the taste was high on adventure but not great. However the entrees more than made up for it. We had lamb chop and osso bucco both were exceptional with complex well balanced flavors. We ended with profeteroles that were light and the perfect ending. We will definitely go again.

food4
ambience4
service4
value3

One of our "grown up date night" standbys

vip
Dined on January 10, 2016

A relatively small menu but anchored with a good selection of appetizers, fresh and interesting salads and well-prepared entrees. Great atmosphere. Romantic couples ask for the "catbird's seat." Our last evening there, we opted for the crab cake appetizers (two cakes). We found them proportioned, crispy and tender. We skipped the salads, although the BLT is a favorite, and went straight to the entrees. Double cut Duroc pork chop - grilled and cooked properly (not too done) - served with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus, topped with sweet relish. My dates ordered the shrimp. A sometimes picky eater, she absolutely cleaned the plate. Only criticism: the cost of the good whiskey straight up is a bit high for the area. Minor complaint. At least they have the good stuff!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Tom Saabs' Bistro 218

Dined on December 23, 2015

From the moment we arrived we felt the difference. Justin, the host greeted us in a very friendly yet professional manner. The ambience was perfect for our occasion( celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary) A cordial visit from and conversation with the owner/ Chef Tom Saab was a highlight. The wait staff was very professional, industrious, attentive and friendly ( obviously adhering to the benchmark set by Tom. The food was beautifully structured, presented, and unusually delicious. We have and will continue to recommend Bistro 218 to our friends and look forward to our next visit. My hat is off to Chef Tom Saab for designing and leading such a great team. Tim Scarbrough

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Another great restaurant

Dined on December 19, 2015

Birmingham is home to many very good restaurants and Bistro 218 is a nice additions that long list.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food3
ambience3
service5
value2

Nice atmostphere, food mediocre

Dined on December 17, 2015

We got to the restaurant early at 5pm so there were not very many dining at that hour. So it was relatively quiet. The atmosphere was nice, not too dark. We sat near the door, but were warm enough. We were taken back when we looked at the menu. We had hoped for tapas-like appetizers that we could share as we were in a small hurry to get to the theater. So I ordered the risotto and shrimp entree and my husband had the crab cakes and gumbo. Even though the shrimp were large and fresh, the risotto, while tasty, was rather pasty. While the crab cakes were seasoned nicely and very crusty, they were very small. The gumbo was probably the most tasteless of all the dishes.

food5
ambience5
service5

Went to celebrate my wife's graduation

Dined on December 12, 2015

We went there to celebrate my wife's graduation from graduate school. Valet parking was convenient. Service was great (Elizabeth had great wit and was very knowledgeable) and the food was excellent. Especially liked the crab cakes. Would go there again!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

Under the radar

Dined on December 12, 2015

When you mention the most popular restaurants in Birmingham, Bistro 218 may not be at the top of the list. But, it should be right there with the best of the best. We have always had wonderful food and service when we have been there. Order the pommes frittes if you are hungry, order the West Indies Salad if you love crab, order any entree and you will be fine. They also have nice wine list with reasonable prices. Another benefit, if you are going to anything at the Alabama Theater, make reservations at Bistro 218 before the show, let the valet park your car, walk to the show and when you come out, your car will be right there.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Bistro 218

Dined on December 9, 2015

This restaurant lives up to its name of a French Bistro. Food and service are always excellent. Staff makes a point of being friendly and make sure all requests are met. Chef is always so gracious when he comes to greet guests.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list

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