4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

La Bonne Table open in Hillcrest

French bistro replaces Voyou, delivers disappointment and high prices

Duck breast
Duck breast
Place

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Hillcrest’s Voyou Wine Bar is no more. Following a quickie remodel, the restaurant has re-opened as La Bonne Table. Where Voyou aimed at a modern look, the new place looks to evince a kind of French country bistro effect, with darker cozier effects. Hardwood tables and chairs replace the white sofas, and candlelight replaces reflected sunlight. The place is still cute by any measure, but it’s perhaps more pleasant now, though somewhat less hip and whimsical.

Escargot

The charm ends there, however, as the menu delivers little more than overpriced mediocrity. The old Voyou’s menu of shareable plates was only average, but it was at least wine-friendly and credible. In recreating the restau as La Bonne Table with the intent of doing French bistro food, the mark has been missed entirely. Dishes that should be affordable and wholesome arrive at table with little to say for themselves.

A $25 dish of steak and fries, perhaps the most iconic of all bistro meals, comprises an inferior cut of steak and a heaping pile of poor-quality, pre-frozen fries. The promising “magret de canard,” roasted duck breast for $20, looks forlorn. Thin slices of duck fan across the plate, with an unassuming green peppercorn sauce spooned across the top. The single side dish, a potato gratiné that tastes strongly of nutmeg, is merely adequate. At no point does the dish meet its own asking price.

The escargots manage to taste of pond water, despite the profligate use of butter and chopped herbs. At $8, each of the six snails costs $1.25, and it’s not exaggerating to say that the money would be better spent on a Powerbar from a local 7-11.

Dinner for two, with a few drinks in the mix, easily stretches to $100-plus at La Bonne Table, and it’s simply not worth it. The journey to Au Revoir Bistro is less than five-hundred meters from La Bonne Table. Make it.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

A romantic deal makes Cesarina impossible to ignore

Handmade pasta dishes come alive, even packed into to-go containers
Next Article

Eddie Vedder streams a Bruce Springsteen cover

Sometimes Julie, Scott Mathiasen, Gabriel Sundy, Jefferson Jay, Eddie Vedder
Duck breast
Duck breast
Place

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Hillcrest’s Voyou Wine Bar is no more. Following a quickie remodel, the restaurant has re-opened as La Bonne Table. Where Voyou aimed at a modern look, the new place looks to evince a kind of French country bistro effect, with darker cozier effects. Hardwood tables and chairs replace the white sofas, and candlelight replaces reflected sunlight. The place is still cute by any measure, but it’s perhaps more pleasant now, though somewhat less hip and whimsical.

Escargot

The charm ends there, however, as the menu delivers little more than overpriced mediocrity. The old Voyou’s menu of shareable plates was only average, but it was at least wine-friendly and credible. In recreating the restau as La Bonne Table with the intent of doing French bistro food, the mark has been missed entirely. Dishes that should be affordable and wholesome arrive at table with little to say for themselves.

A $25 dish of steak and fries, perhaps the most iconic of all bistro meals, comprises an inferior cut of steak and a heaping pile of poor-quality, pre-frozen fries. The promising “magret de canard,” roasted duck breast for $20, looks forlorn. Thin slices of duck fan across the plate, with an unassuming green peppercorn sauce spooned across the top. The single side dish, a potato gratiné that tastes strongly of nutmeg, is merely adequate. At no point does the dish meet its own asking price.

The escargots manage to taste of pond water, despite the profligate use of butter and chopped herbs. At $8, each of the six snails costs $1.25, and it’s not exaggerating to say that the money would be better spent on a Powerbar from a local 7-11.

Dinner for two, with a few drinks in the mix, easily stretches to $100-plus at La Bonne Table, and it’s simply not worth it. The journey to Au Revoir Bistro is less than five-hundred meters from La Bonne Table. Make it.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Twelve Haiku by Andrew Hamlin

Next Article

Eddie Vedder streams a Bruce Springsteen cover

Sometimes Julie, Scott Mathiasen, Gabriel Sundy, Jefferson Jay, Eddie Vedder
Comments
8

I'd wonder if there is any connection between this operation and a Belgian/French restaurant that operated in a strip center in Encinitas just east of I-5 from the early 80's until about five years ago. It was called La Bonne Bouffe, and had some credible French cuisine at reasonable prices in a comfortable operation that never seemed pretentious. In fact from about 1983 until 2005, we would see the same waiter. He had an accent, but didn't lay it on thick, and was actually friendly. One of the dishes I recall was duck in green peppercorn sauce, quite spicy, but always good. They also had veal dishes and some seafood. I really miss the place. One time it was there; the next time I wanted to eat there it was gone without a trace! Oh, that spot in the strip center had been a Mexican eatery, and they never got around to removing the tiles--they were fine. Last time I went by there, it was back to selling tacos.

Is there more than coincidence that the name of this new spot is so similar?

March 21, 2014

Hmmm, I know nothing of La Bonne Bouffe...but I'll dig around a little bit with my North Co friends and see if anybody has a connection to the place. Long shot, but I'll give it a go.

March 23, 2014

Escargot is revolting enough, but "pond water" escargot makes it even worse. And the slices of duck are uninviting too. Gag me with a spoon!

March 23, 2014

The "lollipops" at Voyou were a better presentation of snails, for sure.

Food here just wasn't any good. Really a bummer because it could be.

March 23, 2014

La Bonne Table is the reincarnation of Voyou Wine Bar, with the same owner/chef, Renaud Tristan. La Bonne Bouffe was operated by Philippe Duhamel and Guy Maussang. Philippe now works as a server at Vincent's in Escondido.

March 24, 2014

There ya go....I knew the North County peeps would come through!

March 24, 2014

The atmosphere is charming indeed; I enjoyed Voyou's greater selection of drinks, but La Bonne Table's atmosphere hits a high note in recreating Parisian charm.

I also tasted the magret de canard and could not disagree more with the SDReader review on this.

Duck is one of the harder meats to get right, and La Bonne Table's interpretation is superlative.The meat was cooked to tenderness. The peppercorn sauce had just the right aroma to balance the duck flavor. Rather than being "unassuming" it is balanced. The photo in this article does no justice to the dish.

In many other restaurants, I tend to avoid duck meat, as it tends to be a tough, rubbery, cinnamon-infused over-spiced affair that affronts the palate. La Bonne Table is an oasis, as far as magret de canard is concerned.

We also had a generous portion of moules. The sauce was a delight. I will make sure to taste the escargot and steak next time.

Hopefully, this restaurant will stick around. I went to it expecting a charming atmosphere and fine food, and it delivered. If you go expecting typical bistro (aka cheap and fast) food, you may indeed be disappointed.

March 26, 2014

I also have a lot of love for Au Revoir. The daily wine deals are good and the lavender fries and mussels are one of my favorite versions of that dish. You don't feel upset when the bill arrives.

May 12, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close