by Dan Woog
The latest addition to Westport's dining scene comes with plenty of ready-made fans. Bistro du Soleil has opened on Riverside Avenue, across from Minute Men Cleaners -- between the Black Duck and the train station. Owner Maria Munoz del Castillo earned raves for Rincón Taqueria in Norwalk. She cut her teeth at an earlier Bistro du Soleil, also in Norwalk, owned by her parents, Soledad and Bernardo Munoz del Castillo.
That Soleil is now closed, but Bernardo's wizardry is strongly felt in Saugatuck. A craftsman as well as a restaurateur, he lovingly made every table -- including the outdoor seating -- as well as the handsome wooden bar. (He's also a playwright and poet.)
Soledad and Bernardo came to the U.S. from Chile in the 1980s. Trained as a French chef, she made a name for herself here. In addition to restaurants, Soledad had a catering business -- and was a favorite at the Westport Farmers' Market.
The new Soleil's menu is Mediterranean, with French flair. Dinners include salmon, seafood bouillabaisse, grilled rack of lamb, marinated grilled skirt steak, Muscovy duck breast -- and a parrillada with chorizos, skirt steak, pork chops, half chicken, tomato, onion, bell pepper BBQ and cilantro chimichurri that serves 3-4.
As politicians, consultants, bridge engineers and ordinary Westporters debate the future of Saugatuck, here's a suggestion: Do it over a meal at Bistro du Soleil.
by Ali G. (Yelp) 6/5/18
Amazing food, great location next to train station. Can't go wrong here. Service was prompt. Food is the reason to come here!
WELCOME TO WESTPORT,
MUÑOZ DEL CASTILLO FAMILY!
(Fairfield County Foodie 8/3/17)
"I love food-blogging! It exposes me to all things classic, modern and exciting in the culinary world. It compels me to get out of my comfort zone, to travel and to explore food and food-cultures- both local as well as around the world. It allows me to meet like-minded food-lovers. And, last but not the least, it allows me to get to know the genuinely talented, unmistakably passionate, hard-working people behind the food I eat…. the restauranteurs, the chefs, the servers, the creative mixologists, the food purveyors. How glorious! The Muñoz family is one example of folks who truly make my food-blogging experience, glorious!
With hints of mysterious spices, flawless textures, perfect balance of flavors and exciting ingredients (think frog legs) the Mediterranean style menu at new Bistro Du Soleil in Westport is a sure hit! This cozy little restaurant is the perfect spot to meet your family for dinner when you hop off the train after a long day at work… a sweet little date-night spot… the perfect place for a girls night out… you name it! It is perfect because, here you can count on warm welcome and unpretentious yet uncompromisingly delicious food!
Maria is the owner of this newest gem of Westport. For years, she has been working side-by-side with her parents Soledad and Bernardo at Rincon and their other culinary ventures. Chef Soledad is the force in the kitchen and her high standards reflect in each dish that arrives at the guest’s tables."
"Food was delicious."
" ... The food was delicious. We brought our own bottle of wine, and somehow it matched our meals brilliantly. Dana had the skirt steak and I had the filet mignon with foie gras. We shared escargot for an appetizer after the highly original vichysoisse. Dana had the poached pear for dessert, and that is the chef's specialty since his teenage years. I had cappuccino, and it needed no sweetener, although the crystalline sugar was superb."
DLM (Trip Advisor) 7/6/17
Outstanding food from a unique menu in a warm, welcoming atmosphere with art from local artists and soothing music that makes you feel you are part of the Munoz family in the hub of the Saugatuck area of delightful shops and restaurants. A very special place where each meal is beautifully created and prepared, and each detail is hand-crafted by Bernardo Munoz!
Reviewed by Alex N.
(Trip Advisor) 7/1/17
"We had dinner here last night for the first time and we were delighted with everything, including the BYOB policy. I had the salmon with black rice, my wife had the duck and our daughter had two appetizers, escargot and the mushroom Napoleon. Each dish was excellent. The service is welcoming, efficient and friendly. We will return next week."
"Will come back soon."
Darcy S. (Yelp) 7/13/17
Not enough BYO places around . This is a winner. Chef brought wonderful treats to try. Salad was light and delicious and the salmon was generous in size and perfectly prepared. Will come back soon
"Garnering rave reviews."
Something's Cooking at Klaff's (8/17)
French trained Chef Soledad has kept the focus on French-inspired Mediterranean cuisine with farmer’s market fresh ingredients. Bernardo’s artistry as a woodworker is evident in the bar, tables and chairs that he lovingly crafted by hand.
A MUST visit in Westport
I visited with a table of six, everyone ordered something different, and we all walked out more than pleased. Du Soleil just recently opened and when you walk in you'll see a simple but nice decor. But the presentation does not come close to foreshadowing the legit and high-quality meal you are about to have. Truly, you'll be sitting down to one of the best meals in Westport. Price point in mid-high but the dishes and serving quantity will make you make walk out saying it was a deal - oh, and its BYOB, just to add to the deal. In short, this is one of the best kitchens in all of Fairfield and Westchester counties.
Karin S. (Trip Adivisor) 8/13
Amazing flavors, beautiful presentation, and lovely service! 5 Bubbles all the way...this is my Westport favorite! BYO ... Many thanks !
by Kerry O. (Trip Advisor) 7/9/17
"This small but charming bistro is wonderful. It's pretty new in town but the owners have had several different restaurants over the years, each better than the last. The food is just delicious. We had tasty soup, followed by steak, perfectly cooked. Service is excellent - polite yet unobtrusive. It's located in the old post office near the train station. The location is nothing to write home about but you will be pleasantly surprised by how good the food is. Plus you can BYOB which, despite a corkage fee, still offers great value for those who enjoy wine with dinner and want to bring their own bottles."
We can't stay away!
Diane P. (Yelp) 8/10/17
"The food here is delicious. The people could not be nicer and it is quiet enough to have a conversation. Just don't forget to BYOB. It's a fantastic addition to the Westport fine dining scene."
"It is divine!"
Amada L. (FaceBook) 8/30/17
If you are in Connecticut and are looking for a place to eat in the Westport area, please give Bistro du Soleil a try. I've been eating this family's food for over 30 years and it is divine!
Sandy R. (Trip Advisor) 9/9/6/17
"We enjoyed our evening at this lovely small quiet restaurant in Westport. The food was delicious, appetizers of Mussels, Scallop Salad, dinner lamb chops, boulaibase & salmon. Portions were large and well prepared."
"Delicious, as well as beautifully presented"
Babette D. (Yelp) 11/26/2017
My husband and I had dinner at Bistro du Soleil last evening and were absolutely overwhelmed! Everything we ordered was delicious, as well as beautifully presented. I had the foie gras appetizer, while my entree was the Muscovy Duck Breast. Both were cooked to perfection. Duck is my favorite dish and this was one of the best I've ever had! My husband had the trout special. He said it was the "second best" he ever had -- the best was in Provence. Service was excellent. The owner came over to chat for a while, which demonstrates the attention that is paid to each diner. He said that the chef, his wife, studied at Cordon Bleu in Paris. You can't do better than that! We will definitely be back!
by Marcia E. (Trip Advisor) 12/5/17
Bistro Du Soleil is a new restaurant, but the family doing the cooking is well known and loved already in this part of CT. The food is creative and reflects the French. Latin and Mediterranean influences of the chef. While the food is high end “foodie heaven,” Bistro du Soleil is never stuffy or formal. The background jazz, featured art and soft colors are conducive to a relaxed and enjoyable experience.
Excellent food! Great place to have dinner with friends. One of Westport's hidden treasures!!
Eric Ostbye (Google Review)
One block away from train station.
Execellent food and service.
BYOW at no extra cost
Alberto Hamonet Google Review
So good! The people are wonderful. The food amazing! Go!
Mike Burns (Google Review) Dec. 2018
Fantastic! Best meal I've had in Westport in many years.
John Solder (Google Review)
Bistro Du Soleil Opens in Westport:
A French Mediterranean Gem
"It's all about attention to detail."
CT Bites • 9/24/17
The Muñoz del Castillo family has done it again and opened a winner in Westport, Bistro Du Soleil. You may recognize the name from their Norwalk location (which sadly closed), their prior catering business, as well as one of our favorite Mexican spots, Rincon in Norwalk. This same family has opened a tiny gem by the Saugatuck train station, serving Mediterranean cuisine with strong classic French undertones. From the escargot and Gambas Al Ajlllo to the Magret Duck Breast and gorgeous Beef Bourgignon, this BYOB venue is not to be missed. Bistro Du Soleil and the Muñoz family truly understand the art of both hospitality and simply delicious food.
The matriarch of the family, Soledad, is the driving force in the kitchen where her high standards are reflected in each dish that arrives at the guest’s table. With hints of mysterious spices, flawless textures, a perfect balance of flavors and exciting ingredients, (think frog legs), the Mediterranean style menu at Bistro Du Soleil in Westport offers an old-fashioned take on clean and simple Mediterranean cooking. For full Review:
RH Aldrich (Yelp) 7/9/19
We have been there several times and food and service has always been superb. Good appetizer selection (I like the pate) and main courses are varied and good. The bouillabaisse is special- and the short ribs were perfect. I think we have tried most everything on the menu and have never been disappointed. Bringing our own wine is fun and also a money-saver. Somewhat hard to find this restaurant but, believe me it is definitely worth it !!!
Bistro Du Soleil is a gem!!!!
Spike 1 (Yelp) 3/20/19
The food is absolutely wonderful, the atmosphere is lovely, and the service is impeccable. I've been there twice and everyone in my party was absolutely awed. For appetizers, we loved the frogs legs (better than we've had anywhere), escargot, and garlic shrimp ... along with the fresh hot bread - yum! For entrees, the bouillabaisse was devine with loads of perfectly cooked seafood, the rack of lamb was delicious, the short ribs special with saffron risotto was amazing. The chef even customized an entree for one of us who had a food allergy and the dish was fantastic. Portions are generous - so be ready for leftovers. It's BYOB. Wonderful for a special dinner, romantic dinner, friends nite out, family treat. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!
This place is just amazing ...
Awesome food, wonderful people...the taste, mastery and craft put into the presentation is phenomenal ... worth every penny.
A beautiful little place ...
Nice and calming decor.
Ulla A. (Yelp) 3/8/19
We ate there last night.It is a beautiful little place...nice and calming decor.The food was amazing.I had the Paella which was loaded with an abundance of seafood.Itwas very tasty and a generous portion.
The staff could not have been nicer...super attentive and friendly.We will definitely will go back
Very cozy and warm ...
Barry W. (Yelp) 3/8/19
It's Very cozy and warm, and we had great food from appetizers through dessert. It's a bring your own and is not expensive by my standards. Actually I think it's a good value for great service, atmosphere and food. The owners and staff are very accommodating and will go out of their way to make sure you are happy.
JC (Google) 2/26/19
Food was delicious, full of textures,
fragrances and flavors.
The location is quiet, cozy and with an artsy ambiance. Not an inexpensive place, but I can assure you it is worth the price. The attention was excellent and experienced at a personal level.Tip: Bring your own wine! No alcohol is served yet. A good Malbec would go with anything in the menu.
Everyone is right ...
The food was amazing!
Mich S. (Yelp) 2/23/19
Everyone is right in the review, this restaurant is a gem! I love the coziness and the environment, it's traditional which I like. I don't like those hipster likes places. The restaurant cares about quality, not quantity. The food was amazing! We shared a foie gras, it was really yum!!! I had the scallop salad, the scallops were cooked just right! My husband had the tuna tartare and he said it was yum too. I went in wanting to try the duck breast but the special took my attention haha...both my husband and I ordered the special, he had the New York steak but we think that's okay, I had the sea bass and that was amazing! Fresh and cooked just right. I love the squash and my hubby loves the asparagus haha! We didn't have dessert though.
The restaurant is BYOW and no corkage fee! And we love the service there, the owner is super nice and so down to earth! We definitely would come back! I still want to try the duck breast!
Never disappoints. Always full of surprises.
John S. (Yelp) 2/20/19
My local favorite. Never disappoints. Service always great. Dishes and menu thoughtfully created and always full of surprises. Small cozy space with good acoustics, you can actually have a conversion! BYO is a nice way to save a few bucks (for now). Highly recommend!
A warm and friendly family restaurant
in a cozy, comfortable space.
David M. (Yelp) 1/5/19
I eat at Bistro Du Soleil with my wife frequently because the food is outstanding and prepared fresh every day, literarily from market or farm to table. There's also another reason: my wife loves cooking and when she asked about the ingredients, Chef Soledad came out from the kitchen when she had time to discuss the preparation (but not reveal the recipes that she created). This is a warm and friendly family restaurant where you can dine with easy conversation to soft jazz and enjoy the art of local artists displayed on the walls. This is a cozy, comfortable space hand crafted by Bernardo, the patriarch of the family, from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, tables, chairs, amazing concrete wet bar and long, reclaimed wooden counter. Like the food, the restaurant is a work of art. The menu is memorably delicious and you may bring your own bottle of wine without a corking fee. Many people have become friends at Bistro Du Soleil because we see each other often. Come join us!
The food was beyond excellent.
Janet N. (Yelp) 1/4/19
We were there for New Year's Eve and it was outstanding. The food was beyond excellent. The restaurant itself was decorated in a very festive manner and the service was wonderful. We had a seven course meal (small portions so that we could eat it all and we did!) with two choices for each course. We have been there often and love it, but this was the best yet. I think that it's the best restaurant in Westport!
Find Out First Hand!
Peter N. (Yelp) 1/1/19
An outstanding restaurant. Possibly the best in Westport. Food and service could not be improved on. Family owned and operated. Don't miss the opportunity to find it out first-hand.
by SWB3 (Trip Advisor) 11/7/18
One of the very best meals I have had in Fairfield County. The presentation is fabulous (flowers on plates), the table bread was very good. Bringing your own wine actually saves a lot of money - so an inconvenience we don't mind at all.
501FredK (Trip Advisor) 11/3/18
One of the best restaurants around. Every dish had exceptional flavors. The chef has a way with herbs and spices that is extraordinary.
Wow what a pleasant surprise!
Tricia R. (Yelp) 11/1/18
This quaint restaurant was so convenient, right at the train station and the owners are wonderful.
Best asparagus soup I've ever had! We also had the rack of lamb and skirt steak - both cooked perfectly and the presentation is beautiful. Highly recommend.
What an amazing experience!
Ellen B. (Yelp) 10/4/18
What an amazing experience! We had a party with 21 guests and everything was perfect. The food was some of the best cuisine in Fairfield County and the atmosphere was lovely. All of the guests raved about how each dish was better than the last. The owner, Solidad, worked with us to make sure our event was a big success and it was! We can't wait to go back. Highly recommend this restaurant.
Awesome Meal at Bistro du Soleil
Sherrill W. (Yelp) 8/2/18
Just had an awesome meal at Bistro du Soleil. Dinner with three friends and everything we ordered was superb. Service was friendly and helpful, food was a big step up in comparison to other area restaurants and price point was reasonable. Hope others will try out this restaurant and keep this restaurant place going strong. We actual like the BYOB -- save money on drinks!!
Conn.G (Trip Advisor) 7/5/18
What a special place--outstanding food, reasonably quiet ambiance, serious cooking at its best. Everything that our table had was outstanding, from the appetizers to the desserts--and don't miss the desserts! Wonderful, careful service, pleasant staff, and a sweet visit from the chef because we were among the last to finish. It's worth the trip from almost anywhere. Loved it!
Adam (Trip Advisor) 7/1/18
Everything perfectly prepared to order. A hidden gem in Westport, we're already looking forward to our next visit. Made all the better with BYOB with no corkage fee.
Bob C. (Trip Advisor) 6/29/18
Shockingly good. Tough location so it doesn't get nearly the traffic it deserves, but if you are looking for terrific food and "a scene" is of little consequence, then this is the spot. BYO wine.
Come patronize this excellent local gem!
Leah C. (Yelp) 6/20/18
Food was excellent. Light and flavorful and beautifully presented. Service was attentive and friendly without being invasive. Come and patronize this excellent local gem. You will not be sorry.
WE ARE DEFINITELY RETURNING!
by Joe N. (Yelp) 4/8/18
I don't give many 5 star reviews but the Bistro deserves it. Bistro has only been around for about 8 months and if they continue at this quality level, they should be around for a long time.
This is a small space - maybe 30 chairs total. However, the food is exceptional and the ambiance terrific - you can carry on a conversation speaking normally.
We started with mussels for a table of 4 - it comes in a small dutch oven and it was wonderful - we asked for more bread to soak up the delicious broth. Next time we may ask for straws as well - don't waste a drop!
We then had Bouillabaisse, Rack of Lamb and Salmon. Each was done perfectly - I had the Bouillabaisse with clams, mussels, good size shrimp, and salmon in a lovely broth. My wife loved the salmon with "black rice" which I thought was Riso Nero but it is a rice variety that is black - very good! The lamb was also done perfectly.
We finished with creme brulee, also done perfectly.
Right now Bistro is BYOB until they get their liquor license and reservations are a must - we were there on a Saturday night and it was full when we came in (except for our table) and full when we left. Service was great. Right now they are not open for lunch but that should change in a month or two - can't wait! We are definitely returning!