IL Bistro

4.3
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173 reviews
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£25 and under
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Steakhouse
Locally owned and locally loved, IL Bistro is the original bistro in the lanes.
A family run steakhouse brasserie that specialises in the best available British beef, prime cut meats and seafood dishes.

IL Bistro has worked with local food suppliers since 1976
and prides itself on being one of the longest serving independent restaurants in Brighton.

Set in a fisherman's cottage which dates back to the 18th century in the reign of George I the restaurant is situated in the heart of the lanes in Market street and is within walking distance from the beach, Churchill square, the Royal Pavilion and the Theatre Royal and is open for pre theatre dining, breakfast and lunches seven days a week.
What 173 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
London
80 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

what a lovely little restaurant in the Lanes - food was exceptional and the owner's welcome and service was excellent - will definitely go back when in Brighton

e
London
4 reviews
Dined on 1 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had another delicious meal at Il Bistro in Friday. Fantastic food in a lovely restaurant and a special mention has to go out to Joe as he is a great host. Thank you.

SO
1 review
Dined on 21 October 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and were disappointed. The price-£74 for 2 courses, a beer and a glass of wine we thought very expensive. The garlic bread was stale but the steak was good. The sea bass was also good, but paying extra for vegetables is not on. We live in London and expect better value for our money

HM
London
2 reviews
Dined on 5 October 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Very nice, but don't seem to understand how OpenTable works...

AB
1 review
Dined on 3 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

All I can say is fantastic highly recommended for any occasion
Loved it

FB
London
4 reviews
Dined on 2 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, great steak in a great little restaurant. Will definitely go here again next time I'm in Brighton.

PH
London
2 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great food and service. Unfortunately they had run out of Barolo.

S
Brighton
3 reviews
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

The food was nice, simple drinks request got mixed up and the starter wasn’t what we thought however overall food was nice

SL
Nottingham
3 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience1

The waitress was rude and when asked to make recommendations she was sarcastic and short tempered.

We did however make an order and the meat quality was very poor. More fat and cartilage rather than meat.

My partners meal was the same, not worth the money paid. I would not recommend this place.

The front of house manager was nice and polite but didn't solve problems just danced around them.

Y
London
1 review
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

very welcoming and relaxing vibe and food was amazing.

HH
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 30 August 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good meat/food. The price is not low because you have to order seperate things.

OT
London
5 reviews
Dined on 29 August 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We really enjoyed our meal here. The steaks were cooked well and the meal choices varied. Would definitely recommend.

ME
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on 26 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent locally sourced food in a warm rustic environment with friendly service. Recommended for steaks and seafood.

AS
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on 22 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An excellent restaurant with lovely food and very helpful staff. The atmosphere is excellent and it’s position in the lanes adds to this. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

s
1 review
Dined on 7 August 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience4

Service was very good and friendly. Sadly, the food was poor / average at best, and very overpriced. The food needs to be of a higher quality and better value.

s
London
1 review
Dined on 4 August 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

always have a enjoyable experience. Varied menu something for everyone. We will return

JB
Montreal
7 reviews
Dined on 24 July 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Very good food and excellent service. Were able to sit on small patio out front on beautiful warm evening. Service is attentive without being intrusive. Our meals were delicious. Would definitely go back if opportunity comes our way.

SH
London
1 review
Dined on 9 July 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Despite the good reviews we were disappointed. It took 3 tries to get a medium steak....?? Really? King prawns weren’t king and were rubbery and chewy...and drowned in butter/oil. (They were taken off the bill) Rolled spinach pancakes were drowned in bland cheese sauce tho the spinach was plentiful and fresh. My main of chicken salad was very average, fresh salad leaves and some quartered tomato chunks...not much care taken. The goats cheese on top was nice. Portions were generous. The sautéed potatoes were lovely. The Barolo wine was just drinkable but not a good year obviously so a large wasted expense.. The staff were v polite and friendly and apologetic about the steak fiasco. Don’t imagine I’d go out of my way to return there!

AB
London
5 reviews
Dined on 26 May 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Had booked IL Bistro because of recommendation so had high expectations. We had reserved a table for 9.00pm and we're sat in a small table in the corner next to the stairs, not the best start. Next we were informed that they had run out of 4 of the dishes available...including the fillet steak which we definitely wanted. For 9pm on a weekend this seems a bit crazy.

We order the seafood bisque which was just good and french onion soup which was average. For mains we had seafood rice was was huge and had a lot of seafood in it. This was good value for the price. We also had the chicken of the specials menu which was tasty but nothing unique

Service was great and very attentive, there was also a good wine list that was reasonably priced.

In conclusion we had a good night and some good value food. However with so many other options around I probably won't go back.

PP
London
1 review
Dined on 26 May 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience5

Other than the slightly odd bread basket with prepackaged butter and enormous slabs of bread, the food was delicious. We had amazing steaks here and excellent wine. Pudding was also very good, although I was left disappointed that the restaurant completely ignored my request to put a candle in it, as it was my boyfriend’s 30th birthday. A little acknowledgment would have been nice, as most other good restaurants listen to birthday requests, especially big ones. I had asked prior to our meal as well. Food and ambience were very good but wish I’d taken him somewhere else for the special occasion.

SO
London
1 review
Dined on 1 May 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great service and food and wine! Would return for sure.

GM
London
1 review
Dined on 13 April 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience4

My wife could NOT chew the Lamb

OT
London
5 reviews
Dined on 2 April 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I host a dining group called Brighton Dining with Friends and I was conducting a recce to see if Il Bistro was good enough to introduce to my members. The best way to describe the restaurant is good but not very good or great or excellent.

The staff were very nice and the ambience was good. The price was all right for what we had. I gather that it is a family-run restaurant. However, the food was average. My friend and I tried butterflied sardines to start. They weren't bad but lacked the gutsy flavour that sardines usually have. This may because they were frozen. They had been sourced in Scotland so it is likely that they were stored for a while and frozen.

As a main course I chose a seafood stew. Again, it was edible but didn't excite my palate. The tomato base tasted a bit like a tinned tomato soup. My friend had Riso seafood and felt the same about it. In fact, he thought that the sauce tasted remarkably like the soup base of my dish. We had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc which was all right.

In short, and whilst it wasn't bad, it isn't up to the standard that our members expect and we won't be putting this restaurant on the list in this year. This is disappointing. I generally review restaurants and will try it again next year to see if it has improved.

S
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 31 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Went to IL Bistro for a early evening meal for mothers day. The whole family enjoyed the meal. A relatively simple menu, with every thing very tasty and cooked very well. The servers were friendly and helpful. A enjoyable experience.

JD
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 30 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely little restaurant, excellent food at a reasonable price and very good service, would definitely recommended but make sure you book in advance, will 100% use this little gem again.

H
Hertfordshire
8 reviews
Dined on 23 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Staff amazing and accommodating
Food lovely
4 years on a row

EB
Kent
3 reviews
Dined on 16 March 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Really good food at a reasonable price and very good service. Staff attentive and efficient whilst being friendly and welcoming.

SH
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on 27 February 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service and welcoming atmosphere. Food excellent

MW
Hampshire
1 review
Dined on 16 February 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A cracking restaraunt that I could sit in for ages Staff are extremly friendly and professional Food is amazing will be going back

KS
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 16 February 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely food at reasonable price. Great service in a nice venue.

LH
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food and outstanding service. Highly recommend!

KD
Brighton
4 reviews
Dined on 2 February 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Good food and service - bustling popular place

KH
Gloucestershire
2 reviews
Dined on 2 February 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food and friendly service. This was a one-off visit for us as we were visiting Brighton, but we would definitely consider Il Bistro again if we were back in Brighton.

LF
Hertfordshire
96 reviews
Dined on 28 January 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good find for a pre theatre meal. I chose the set menu which was really good food and value for money. Large portions for tomato and mozzarella salad and lasagne. Very friendly staff and good atmosphere.

AB
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 26 January 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Wonderful food, atmosphere and excellent management.

OT
Brighton
1 review
Dined on 14 January 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic night with friends. Service was friendly and attentive. Food was nice and came quickly. We will be returning.

WH
London
6 reviews
Dined on 27 December 2018
Overall3food5service2ambience2

Met a friend here for lunch. The food was good and menu was ambitious. I had pâté for first course, fish cakes for second course and skipped dessert or cheese. I can recommend both options, although I felt the fish cakes served with sweet chilli dipping sauce was simplistic and would have been better with a more interesting purée. However I felt that the dining experience let down this restaurant. The interior was drab and the chairs were worn. There was no ambience and the experience felt akin to a harvester or chain pub. I did not feel this befitting of the quality of food served which was very good to outstanding, if perhaps lacking some creativity. I would definitely visit again but only if the interior is refreshed and experience improved.

SW
Hampshire
2 reviews
Dined on 7 December 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food excellent service caring and excellent . A comfortable experience

TJ
1 review
Dined on 2 November 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

very good service. good food if you order steak order one doness level up from what you would normally would be my recoomendation.

PC
1 review
Dined on 1 November 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were in Brighton for a couple of days to celebrate my wife's birthday, while walking through the lanes we spotted the bill board outside following our visit to the pavilion. We liked the fixed meal option but then checked out further menu options on line. We booked for the evening and were very happy with all aspects of the restaurant. Will definately recommend to others, and visit again on future visits to Brighton