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Bastille Cafe & Bar



Bastille Cafe and Bar (French)
BastilleSeattle.com
5307 Ballard Ave NW (map)
206-453-5014

KOMO News: “Galusha has created a menu that’s a virtual snapshot of Parisian cafe favorites.”

PatMyButter.com: “Impressively enough, all of the greens and herbs used in the restauant come from the 4,500 square food rooftop garden.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (108 votes, average: 3.29 out of 5)
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29 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Lazowska // Aug 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    We really like this place. Good food, good service, good vibes, reasonably priced.

  • 2 Mike // Aug 8, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Great bartenders, lively atmosphere, amazing decor, perfect drinks, crisp and tasty salads…now the “other”. I had the steak, my girlfriend had the Halibut. The proportions were perfect, but both the steak and halibut were bland. The halibut also had some type of oily film on it. Going to go back tonight, but for after dinner drinks only.

  • 3 elizabethjones // Aug 9, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I just ate at Bastille this evening and am disappointed. Wine pours were extremely small- smaller wine glass, not even half full. The “Beet Salad” was a very small, extremely oily arugula salad with half a beet cut into four pieces. The ham sandwich was good but about 5 bites of ham and cheese in a minature baguette. It's not a horrible place but portions are extremely small. It better be amazing food for the small portions at these prices and that is not the case here. Atmosphere is nice but they need to work on the portion sizes for the prices. They also need to turn down the AC. It was so cold it was actually uncomfortable.

  • 4 queenofballard // Aug 9, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Maybe they need more time to get their groove on, but the food and service were subpar when I was there. The french fries were NOT french at all, they were like Wendy's. The biggest disconnect, we sat at the bar because the restaurant was full. We picked out our menu items and were promptly told that we could only order from the bar menu at the bar. So unacceptable. If Matador can get you anthing at the bar, why can't Bastille? Some ridiculous policy they made up for no reason. It's no harder to serve at the bar. Get it together and I'll try one more time. It is a beautiful space that they put a lot of money into. Gainsbourg in Greenwood, now there's real french food at unbelievably reasonable prices.

  • 5 blite // Aug 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    We ate here two nights ago. The decor is lovely and the place is lively. Great atmosphere. We ordered one salad, one soup, one appetizer, one main course, one dessert & a bottle of wine. The salad, soup & main course were excellent. The octopus appetizer my husband thought was just OK. the desert, a pineapple upside down cake for $8 was dry and disappointing, we didn't want to finish it. The wine was lovely, but we ordered a bottle of house red & were billed $50 for a “house” wine, which seems about $20 too much for a house wine. Our total including tip was$147 for two people, which didn't seem like good value to us. We'll try again paying more attention to drink prices because some of the dishes were great, but for us to put this restaurant on our regular rotation, it has to feel like good value & our first visit didn't.

  • 6 suemezzo // Aug 9, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    We just had brunch. Wow! What a wonderful meal. And the service was great too. We will be going back often.

  • 7 e/c // Aug 10, 2009 at 3:48 am

    just ok…a few kinks to be worked out..staff was not as informed about the menu as we had hoped…we went for lunch and it was mostly breakfast…and we were hoping for a better selection…the out door dining is great, but our waitress was so high and mightly she could barely be bothered to notice that our drinks came way after our meal..and one at our table was left with no food and ours was growing cold, so we had to eat…his came late..portions were small, and not all that exciting, the much anticipated french friens wwere a huge disappointment..falafel was dry…and the duck confit was so tiny is was gone in two bites…you should never leave a resturant hungry! will try again in a few months…maybe

  • 8 shanedillon // Aug 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Very nice! I loved everything about this place.

  • 9 partlycloudy // Aug 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Did you sit at the bar in the back or the bar in the front? We went in there one night because the restaurant was packed and ended up sitting in the back room (Back Bar?) with the chandelier. I know they have a condensed menu back there which, from my minimal restaurant experience, am assuming they instated because of stress on the kitchen and table rotation. If anyone could get the full menu in the back, the tables wouldn't turn as quickly as a bar. Our experience at Bastille has been very pleasant. I'm addicted to the octopus dish and falafel. I think they are working out a few kinks but my husband and I have had terrific food and nice experience each time.

  • 10 ExiledBrit // Aug 12, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Noisy, and the decor looks a bit rushed (paint slapped on, tiles wonky), but the food was good: Endive salad cold'n'crisp, french onion soup thick and velvety with lots of cheese, pork belly done perfectly.

    Staff are nice (and as the place is always packed it must be hard to keep smiling)

    Will go there again…

  • 11 ExiledBrit // Aug 12, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Whoops, had the Salad Nicoise (fresh tuna, crisp haricot – delish!) – endive was from a past life :-)

  • 12 KellieM // Aug 17, 2009 at 1:28 am

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I have never rated a restaurant on MyBallard, but my husband and I went to Bastille for our anniversary last night and it was so delicious that I had to leave a comment. We arrived around 9:30pm on a Sat night and they were packed. We ended up sitting on the patio which was fine since it is heated.
    We ordered the mussels, the steak frites, and the artisan pasta. They were out of mussels so we went for the pork belly. The pork belly was very flavorful and moist. The steak with bernaise was to die for, way better than the bernaise I make at home. Lastly the pasta was lovely, with wild mushrooms and truffle oil. After three plates and two cocktails our bill was only $67! I could not recommend this place enough.
    My one and only issue is that the service was so-so. With time I think the waitresses will get a hang of it, and it was extremely busy.

  • 13 facebook-596360979 // Aug 17, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Ditto some of the other comments below. The food was 'OK', not superb, not 'damn good'. The portion are getting smaller each time I visit: the fries are fewer, the mussels are fewer. I also noted they have essentially '86'ed' the happy hour food specials. For example, used to be lamb burger with frite was half price, $6. Now, the burger is $6, the fries are $4 (and fewer of them), for $10, only $2 off the full price. Similar sitch with the other HH items, and most of the HH items have been taken off the HH menu entirely.
    Can't comment on the dinners: I have been turned away 4 times for dinner and once for brunch because they are apparently reservations only, and don't take singles. I was told I could eat in the bar, but only from the limited bar menu.
    At this rate, I honestly can't see them making it until Christmas. These are serious problems, and the place is going in the wrong direction.

  • 14 facebook-596360979 // Aug 17, 2009 at 5:09 am

    About this table rotation thing: that is American thing at chain restaurants. The owners of Bastille, by all interviews in the press, want to recreate a Parisian experience. In Europe, there are no table rotations You come to a restaurant with a reservation, you have that table until the place closes, if you wish. That is true all over Europe. So if Bastille wants to honor its purported service concept, then table rotation is out.
    There are so many things wrong with Bastille right now it would take a full page to list them. I just hope they realize that Ballard WANTS them to succeed, but they need to make big changes like, now.

  • 15 Lexicon Girl // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    My boyfriend and I got a chance to try Bastille the other night and we were pretty impressed with the food. The sweetbreads were great, but I agree with the comments below about the fries: Wendy's fries. I'm dissapointed that they missed such an obvious item. It's definitely a nouvelle cuisine kind of place with expensive decor, tiny portions and extravagant prices.

    The place is clearly packed all the time, and regardless of whether the service is bad or the portions are small, let's face it: the place will be a smash hit if only for the location and the ambience. What motiviation would they have to change if business is gangbusters as it is?

    All in all, we'll be back but I'd still love to see them do the tiny shoestring frites that you get in Europe, in generous portions. They're not exactly expensive to make. Maybe if they served more fries we wouldn't notice the tiny entrees or mediocre service…? A good frite goes a long way!!

  • 16 NoraBell // Aug 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Finally got there early enough for a seat at the bar (front bar)! Split the olive & almond plate with the mother and had a couple of drinks. Nice! Well decorated place, and the drinks were excellent. I left wanting to come back. Maybe test out the back bar next time.

  • 17 gclouie // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:59 am

    In a two or three star French restaurant, yes, you own the table for the duration of the evening. Most of the patrons don't even show up until 7 or 8. Bastille isn't trying to be this type of restaurant; they're aiming at somewhere between the brasserie and bistro type of establishment.

    My take? It's loud, fun, has a good-looking crowd, and more hits than misses in the food department. Crispy pork belly was awesome, salads just OK, halibut very good, and roast chicken tasty but somewhat plain-looking on the plate. Chocolate pate lacked imagination; I was expecting alternating layers of light and dark chocolate with varying textures, it was a solid mass of dark chocolate matter with candied hazelnuts and cashews on the side.

    We went midweek, as weekends are still too much to deal with, and were seated in ten minutes at prime dinner hour . . .

  • 18 michael Weisman // Sep 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    confirmed with the bartender that they are phasing out the food specials for happy hour. Prices have gone up for the much of the bar food even at regular prices. On my last visit, Friday night Sept 4, I had no problem getting a drink because the place was nearly empty. Very little food being served at the bar, and what was served was being shared.

  • 19 Ballard Dave // Sep 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    We've eaten here twice since it opened, and each time, it was OK, but not great. We've tried the steak frites, moules frites, roasted chicken and the salads. I agree with the others that the fries were not what I remember from Paris. The Leary Traveler does far better moules frites.

    We sat on the patio the first time, which was nice, and inside the second, which was not so nice. The indoor seating area is so loud (even at 8pm) that we had a hard time talking to one another. The service was better the first time–they seemed short-staffed the second time we went.

    In general the focus seems to be too much on the “cocktail crowd.” There is a large room in the back that I didn't realize was there until I went to the restroom, and from the looks of it, the room is dedicated to those who want to drink and socialize more than eat. I suppose these kinds of customers generate far more profit, so I don't expect this to change until the median age of diners in Ballard begins to rise!

    If you're young and want a good place to drink, eat small plates, and be loud, this is the place for you. If you're older and want a neighborhood bistro you can rely upon, I don't think this will end up being that.

  • 20 hopskipandajump // Oct 9, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Went here for the second time in early October. Love this place. I visited southern France this past summer, and it definitely reminded me of some of the cafes I ate at there. Waitstaff was friendly, food was great, and they were even accommodating to my kids. Welcome addition to Ballard.

  • 21 FitzGrub // Oct 30, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Lamb Burger. Delicious
    Fries. Almost perfect.
    Duck Confit. Over the top, but good when that's what you want.
    Loud and fun, but not as romantic as you might hope.
    Looking forward to returning many more nights.

  • 22 ballardks // Feb 20, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Apps, Dinner, Wine, Dessert, Service – ALL AWESOME!! One of my favorite dining experiences in Ballard!!

  • 23 countess11 // Feb 26, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I would like this place more if it was less noisy!

  • 24 Hotel paris la defense // Jan 4, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Bastille Cafe and Bar is very nice and cosy place. It’s meals are not the best you can taste in Paris but I think it’s the right pace to go with close people. Their website is pretty good by the way.

  • 25 Hotel paris la defense // Jan 4, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Bastille Cafe and Bar is very nice and cosy place. It’s meals are not the best you can taste in Paris but I think it’s the right pace to go with close people. Their website is pretty good by the way.

  • 26 Kasb // Jan 27, 2011 at 6:17 am

    I’ve been to Paris a few times and dining in this restaurant makes me feel like I am there. Love the French music in the background. The lamb burger was delicious, along with the fries. It was large enough to share.

  • 27 Cwagy89 // Mar 31, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Oh Bastille. I so want to love you but why do you suck??? (Well at least at the bar.) I went tonight. It started nicely but after waiting for 30 minutes with a dry glass we had to ask the bartender who was doing nothing but drying glasses if we could order another drink. She never asked if our dessert was ok or if we needed anything beyond our first drink. This is the 2nd time I’ve been to Bastille (at the bar section, both upstairs and down) and am amazed that anyone would go back with service so bad. Come on, even in Paris the service isn’t this bad. They at least want to make money in Paris and will ask you if you want more booze. I so want to love this restaurant but am having a hard time doing so. One more chance Bastille…brunch here we come.

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