Cafe Bernard

★★★★☆
  • 2100 N Halsted

    Chicago, IL 60614

    Map & Directions
  • 773-871-2100

About Cafe Bernard

Hours
Sat-Sun 9:30am-3pm, Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri 5pm-11pm

Food

Food
More choices in Chicago:
Resultset_next

Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House

1024 N Rush St Chicago, IL

Resultset_next

Le Lan Restaurant

749 N Clark St Chicago, IL

3.875 16
Hi! Sign in to let us know how Cafe Bernard was?
Write a Review
.

Bernard is the chef here and he is so nice! He always makes the best French food and it's always prepared well and tastes amazing!

5
★★★★★

Bernard is the chef here and he is so nice! He always makes the best French food and it's always prepared well and tastes amazing!

Was this review helpful to you?
Ratings_icons Ratings_icons

.

I had the distinctive pleasure of dining at your restaurant last Wednesday for a friend?s birthday. Although she has eaten at your restaurant for years, I had never been to Cafe Bernard before. The atmosphere was relaxing and the music was at a perfect volume. The waitress that served us was engaging and not intrusive. My partner ordered the filet and I had the red snapper. Both entrees were cooked to perfection and our desserts were the perfect ending to an amazing meal. We will be frequent patrons of this incredible restaurant.

2
★★★★★

I had the distinctive pleasure of dining at your restaurant last Wednesday for a friend?s birthday. Although she has eaten at your restaurant for years, I had never been to Cafe Bernard before. The atmosphere was relaxing and the music was at a perfect volume. The waitress that served us was engaging and not intrusive. My partner ordered the filet and I had the red snapper. Both entrees were cooked to perfection and our desserts were the perfect ending to an amazing meal. We will be frequent patrons of this incredible restaurant.

Pros: Knowledgable Staff, Excellent Food

Cons: Parking

.

If you expect Trotter or similar in the kitchen, fahgeddaboudit. If you like 60s rock and roll and black and white movies, yould like Cafe Bernard. Nothing pretentious. Service has always been efficient and friendly. The food well prepared, hearty and fairly priced; same with the wine list. It is truly a French cafe or bistro, not a one star Michelin restaurant. For example they serve cassoulet -- I would love to see that on the menu at Tru. Portions are usually large enough to share -- come hungry.

2
★★★★★

If you expect Trotter or similar in the kitchen, fahgeddaboudit. If you like 60s rock and roll and black and white movies, yould like Cafe Bernard. Nothing pretentious. Service has always been efficient and friendly. The food well prepared, hearty and fairly priced; same with the wine list. It is truly a French cafe or bistro, not a one star Michelin restaurant. For example they serve cassoulet -- I would love to see that on the menu at Tru. Portions are usually large enough to share -- come hungry.

.

We ate here on a Thursday night for my mom's birthday. The waitress was unaccomodating and borderline rude, which normally doesnt bother me too much if the food is good. But it was not.

The salmon was bland, cold and overcooked. The steak was tough and salty. The pomme frites soggy. If it was located in a rural town somewhere, it would be a good restaurant... but when you compare it to all of the other wonderful options in the area that are in that price range, its below average.

Dont bother.

1
★★☆☆☆

We ate here on a Thursday night for my mom's birthday. The waitress was unaccomodating and borderline rude, which normally doesnt bother me too much if the food is good. But it was not.

The salmon was bland, cold and overcooked. The steak was tough and salty. The pomme frites soggy. If it was located in a rural town somewhere, it would be a good restaurant... but when you compare it to all of the other wonderful options in the area that are in that price range, its below average.

Dont bother.

.

Came to celebrate my birthday with my siblings. We had a variety of dishes. Best were the hors d'oeuvres. Calamari was surprisingly fresh, grilled (don't like them fried) with a tasty vinaigrette sauce which complemented the bitterness of the grilled calamari well. Tried my brother's baked brie which was fairly good as well. That's what I will order next time. My sister ordered escargot which, again, were surprisingly fresh. Not too garlicky but the "croute" over the escargots was nothing to rave about.
Then the rest of the meal was more of a disappointment after such a good start. We had ordered a "canard a l'orange" - this came without orange, rather some sort of berry sauce accompanied by the driest piece of duck I've had in a long time. My brother had the filet mignon. Nothing extraordinary. It was cooked the way we usually like them, rare, but the legume accompaniment was plain boring.
As for my main dish, I ordered the Bouillabaisse. Well, aside from the freshness of the fish, it was missing important ingredients, like the potatoes and the tomatoes. What to say? Maybe I'm wrong about the recipe but I've had Bouillabaisse in Marseille before and this was not it.
Desserts: Some sort of cake that tasted like the berry sauce that came w/ my sister's duck. Bad!
My brother's creme brulee was actually good. I'm specific about the hardness of the crust and I felt it was hard enough. Best dessert out of the 3 was the white chocolate w/ fruit, except it didn't taste like chocolate but rather a sweet cream. Good nonetheless.
Friendly staff. We were seated promptly. Next time, I have to order the Cassoulet!
Extra credit for the black board and chalk in the men's bathroom. Fun!

1
★★★☆☆

Came to celebrate my birthday with my siblings. We had a variety of dishes. Best were the hors d'oeuvres. Calamari was surprisingly fresh, grilled (don't like them fried) with a tasty vinaigrette sauce which complemented the bitterness of the grilled calamari well. Tried my brother's baked brie which was fairly good as well. That's what I will order next time. My sister ordered escargot which, again, were surprisingly fresh. Not too garlicky but the "croute" over the escargots was nothing to rave about.
Then the rest of the meal was more of a disappointment after such a good start. We had ordered a "canard a l'orange" - this came without orange, rather some sort of berry sauce accompanied by the driest piece of duck I've had in a long time. My brother had the filet mignon. Nothing extraordinary. It was cooked the way we usually like them, rare, but the legume accompaniment was plain boring.
As for my main dish, I ordered the Bouillabaisse. Well, aside from the freshness of the fish, it was missing important ingredients, like the potatoes and the tomatoes. What to say? Maybe I'm wrong about the recipe but I've had Bouillabaisse in Marseille before and this was not it.
Desserts: Some sort of cake that tasted like the berry sauce that came w/ my sister's duck. Bad!
My brother's creme brulee was actually good. I'm specific about the hardness of the crust and I felt it was hard enough. Best dessert out of the 3 was the white chocolate w/ fruit, except it didn't taste like chocolate but rather a sweet cream. Good nonetheless.
Friendly staff. We were seated promptly. Next time, I have to order the Cassoulet!
Extra credit for the black board and chalk in the men's bathroom. Fun!

Pros: Great atmosphere. Fairly authentic menu. Parking not bad. Great appetizers. 2 good desserts

Cons: Authentic menu but not always authentic taste.

.

One of the things that makes me sad about Chicago is that it is rare to be able to go to a restaurant that isn't a chain, or managed by one of two or three formulaic organizations who bestow their chow shops with some kind of truly dopey name. And or which folds two years after opening, once you've fallen in love with it.(Though this happens everywhere unfortunately.)

Exception, Cafe Bernard, which I have been going to since 1972, evolving my then-novice tastes through a ten year stint doing food PR and recipe development, decades of restaurant dining in my years living in New York ,Boston and Toronto, (among numerous other cities in my travels) and upon returning to Chicago, also returning to Bernard. Throughout those 35 years, it has been consistent, charming and a magnet like True North when I want reliable French food and an unprepossessing environment, joyfully bereft of 20- and 30-somethings, self -important cell phones and look-at-me behavior. Bernard is what a bistro is: a neighborhood home away from home. Expect nothing more: no bling, no hype. The real deal. A place to sit back and talk to friends over a memorable meal.

My favorite selection is the cassoulet, which is every bit as good as Julia's recipe, but you save three days' prep; the escargot are extraordinary if quite decadent, come covered with a buttery crust, and yes, the bread is very good by Chicago restaurant standards, especially to dip into the generous, garlicky escargot butter. I also recall a fine osso bucco that appears from time to time. I have never been disappointed; quite the opposite: every meal reminds me to return.

No need to worry about parking if you aren't walking there; they have valet service which is worth every penny in that neighborhood.

As for the detractors who wrote reviews here, I've got to wonder, really. But then, self selection can be a wonderful thing.

2
★★★★☆

One of the things that makes me sad about Chicago is that it is rare to be able to go to a restaurant that isn't a chain, or managed by one of two or three formulaic organizations who bestow their chow shops with some kind of truly dopey name. And or which folds two years after opening, once you've fallen in love with it.(Though this happens everywhere unfortunately.)

Exception, Cafe Bernard, which I have been going to since 1972, evolving my then-novice tastes through a ten year stint doing food PR and recipe development, decades of restaurant dining in my years living in New York ,Boston and Toronto, (among numerous other cities in my travels) and upon returning to Chicago, also returning to Bernard. Throughout those 35 years, it has been consistent, charming and a magnet like True North when I want reliable French food and an unprepossessing environment, joyfully bereft of 20- and 30-somethings, self -important cell phones and look-at-me behavior. Bernard is what a bistro is: a neighborhood home away from home. Expect nothing more: no bling, no hype. The real deal. A place to sit back and talk to friends over a memorable meal.

My favorite selection is the cassoulet, which is every bit as good as Julia's recipe, but you save three days' prep; the escargot are extraordinary if quite decadent, come covered with a buttery crust, and yes, the bread is very good by Chicago restaurant standards, especially to dip into the generous, garlicky escargot butter. I also recall a fine osso bucco that appears from time to time. I have never been disappointed; quite the opposite: every meal reminds me to return.

No need to worry about parking if you aren't walking there; they have valet service which is worth every penny in that neighborhood.

As for the detractors who wrote reviews here, I've got to wonder, really. But then, self selection can be a wonderful thing.

.

I have loved this restaurant for 25 years. The food is generally excellant, but yes there can be a disappointment now and then. But given the value, I have no complaints. The wine really is one of their strong points. They are able to find French wines that few others carry and they serve them by the glass at reasonable prices.

2
★★★★☆

I have loved this restaurant for 25 years. The food is generally excellant, but yes there can be a disappointment now and then. But given the value, I have no complaints. The wine really is one of their strong points. They are able to find French wines that few others carry and they serve them by the glass at reasonable prices.

.

Excellent. Enticing menu which doesn't disappoint. Signature grilled salmon was superb. My dining partners ordered veal and pork dishes. They were equally impressed with their choices. Creme broulet was the perfect way to end a delicious dining experience. Excellent service by all - very helpful server guided us through choices. Quietly chic and charming. Subtle background music added romance to a wonderful evening. Go early and enjoy

2
★★★★★

Excellent. Enticing menu which doesn't disappoint. Signature grilled salmon was superb. My dining partners ordered veal and pork dishes. They were equally impressed with their choices. Creme broulet was the perfect way to end a delicious dining experience. Excellent service by all - very helpful server guided us through choices. Quietly chic and charming. Subtle background music added romance to a wonderful evening. Go early and enjoy

Pros: The food!

Cons: There isn't a Cafe Bernard in the suburbs!

.

Read all the great reviews on Cafe Bernard so we were excited to try it. Sunday pm- only 3 small tables being served. Fish and steak were completely overdone. Duck was tough- poor quality with very little meat (thank goodness for the heap of mashed potatoes). One at our table had the lamb, which was good. Staff was friendly and helpful with the nice selection of French wine. Overall, we (including my French mother) were very underimpressed. I agree with the previous review- Bernard does not hold a candle to Le Bouchon or Cafe Matou for French Bistro in Chicago.

1
★★☆☆☆

Read all the great reviews on Cafe Bernard so we were excited to try it. Sunday pm- only 3 small tables being served. Fish and steak were completely overdone. Duck was tough- poor quality with very little meat (thank goodness for the heap of mashed potatoes). One at our table had the lamb, which was good. Staff was friendly and helpful with the nice selection of French wine. Overall, we (including my French mother) were very underimpressed. I agree with the previous review- Bernard does not hold a candle to Le Bouchon or Cafe Matou for French Bistro in Chicago.

Pros: friendly staff, wine list

Cons: overcooked meat

.

want french food that is actually tasty in chicago 'hoods - go to matou or bouchon. bernard has good wine. but the steak was overcooked. bread was decent. overall: average & NOT worth the hype or price of the meal. next door red rooster is cheaper & has the same food.

1
★★☆☆☆

want french food that is actually tasty in chicago 'hoods - go to matou or bouchon. bernard has good wine. but the steak was overcooked. bread was decent. overall: average & NOT worth the hype or price of the meal. next door red rooster is cheaper & has the same food.

Pros: red rooster is cheaper

Cons: parking, food

.

My husband and I have been regulars at Cafe Bernard going on twenty years now. Bernard has had remarkable and well-deserved success, considering most restaurants do not survive their first year. Our favorites include his cassoulet, salmon with Cabernet sauce and the pate. How refreshing, too, to get away from the Lettuce Entertain You formula type of dining. The rustic cozy dining room and authentic menu and wine list were all created by Bernard, not by some "committee." I'll never forget a friend of mine whose French mother remarked that Cafe Bernard was the only restaurant she had been to with true French food, the food she grew up with. What more can I say!

2
★★★★★

My husband and I have been regulars at Cafe Bernard going on twenty years now. Bernard has had remarkable and well-deserved success, considering most restaurants do not survive their first year. Our favorites include his cassoulet, salmon with Cabernet sauce and the pate. How refreshing, too, to get away from the Lettuce Entertain You formula type of dining. The rustic cozy dining room and authentic menu and wine list were all created by Bernard, not by some "committee." I'll never forget a friend of mine whose French mother remarked that Cafe Bernard was the only restaurant she had been to with true French food, the food she grew up with. What more can I say!

Pros: Authentic French Cooking

Cons: None

.

This is a great little place- delicious and hearty dishes, awesome pate, and a very reasonable wine list. The owner Bernard is friendly and the wait staff attentive. The desserts are especially tasty (white chocolate mousse with berries rocks) and the atmosphere very much like a little french bistro- not pretentious at all. I highly recommend it.

2
★★★★★

This is a great little place- delicious and hearty dishes, awesome pate, and a very reasonable wine list. The owner Bernard is friendly and the wait staff attentive. The desserts are especially tasty (white chocolate mousse with berries rocks) and the atmosphere very much like a little french bistro- not pretentious at all. I highly recommend it.

.

This is as close to Paris as you can find in Chicago. Bernard is the chef, and he knows exactly how to prepare food in the traditional French manner. Check out the chalkboard for daily specials, and be prepared to be led astray by friendly waitstaff: They know what they are talking about when it comes to great food choices here.

PROS: real French food, simple and delicious
CONS: make reservations or go very early

5
★★★★★

This is as close to Paris as you can find in Chicago. Bernard is the chef, and he knows exactly how to prepare food in the traditional French manner. Check out the chalkboard for daily specials, and be prepared to be led astray by friendly waitstaff: They know what they are talking about when it comes to great food choices here.

PROS: real French food, simple and delicious
CONS: make reservations or go very early

Was this review helpful to you?
Ratings_icons Ratings_icons

.

In a town with much choice for French bistro food, there is nothing to be recommended about this restaurant. The service is always extremely slow and sloppy, the food at best is average and expensive. Try Bistro 110 or Cafe Bernard.

0
★☆☆☆☆

In a town with much choice for French bistro food, there is nothing to be recommended about this restaurant. The service is always extremely slow and sloppy, the food at best is average and expensive. Try Bistro 110 or Cafe Bernard.

Pros: OK ambience

Cons: Slow service, Inconsistent quality, Expensive

.

My husband and I have been coming here for years and have always loved the food and enjoyed trying out unique wines. The specials are innovative and change daily. There are classics like cassoulet as well as fresh fish dishes daily. The atmosphere is not too loud, great for romance and conversing. I always leave with enough food left over for another meal. Bernard, the owner, is low-key but makes it a point to visit with us and make sure everything is great, which it always is. Go there for dinner, you will be amazed at the quality and low price.

2
★★★★★

My husband and I have been coming here for years and have always loved the food and enjoyed trying out unique wines. The specials are innovative and change daily. There are classics like cassoulet as well as fresh fish dishes daily. The atmosphere is not too loud, great for romance and conversing. I always leave with enough food left over for another meal. Bernard, the owner, is low-key but makes it a point to visit with us and make sure everything is great, which it always is. Go there for dinner, you will be amazed at the quality and low price.

Pros: large portions, best bread in Chicago, low prices

.

We have dined at Red Rooster and Cafe Bernard and love both of them. Cafe Bernard is a cozy, romantic place, and the food is delicious: fall off the bone lamb, plump scallops, silky foie gras. The portions are quite large (very un-French) but the flavors are spot on.

2
★★★★☆

We have dined at Red Rooster and Cafe Bernard and love both of them. Cafe Bernard is a cozy, romantic place, and the food is delicious: fall off the bone lamb, plump scallops, silky foie gras. The portions are quite large (very un-French) but the flavors are spot on.

Pros: Romantic, Delicious food

Editorial from

With over three decades under its belt, this is one of the longest running---and most popular---French bistros in Chicago. It's affordable, pleasant, Left-Bank casual---and a bit rustic. The food runs the usual bistro route; mussels…

 

Wait, you're the expert.

If you've been to or used Cafe Bernard, leave a review.

It's easy, only takes a couple of minutes and you'll help thousands make an informed decision.



Write a Review