Durham >Food & Dining > Alivias Durham Bistro
900 West Main Street, Durham, NC | Directions 2770136.000288 -78.909227
Neighborhoods: Brightleaf, Downtown
Terrible service, decent food – We went in with a group of 12 on Saturday night, and were the only table. I never received a refill on water, another never received her drink order. The 20% mandatory gratuity for a large party seemed to ensure a complete lack of service. The waitress did not split the check and asked US to write down on the back of the check how much to put on our card. Including gratuity. Then split the check anyway, coming back repeatedly to check who ordered what. Very unprofessional for the price we were expected to pay for dinner. The menu was limited and expensive for the service we received. $40 for a meal for two is not in the one $ category!
We did receive our order accurately and in a timely manner.
Suitable for late night drinking, but that's all. Avoid it for dinner.
Highly underrated – I have been going to Alivia's for a long time, and it is true that the place has seen some ups and downs... but what new place doesn't?! Recently, I can honestly say that Alivia's feels like it has figured out what it's trying to be. Lunch is fun and relaxed - counter service makes it much less stuffy than other local sit-down lunch spots. Great for a sandwich and beer on the patio (personal favorite is the roast beef). And dinner has improved SO much in the last month or so. Servers are friendly and seem to be enjoying themselves at their work. The young management is enthusiastic and new 'themed nights' like Martini night (awesome live jazz!) and 1/2 price wine night have brought in a really fun crowd.
And all i can say about the brunch they do on the weekend is three words... Stuffed French Toast.
Best outdoor seating – My boyfriend took me to Alivia?s for brunch on my birthday; I have to say that it was the best start to a day. We were able to sit out in the open patio area and watch the people walking past (maybe I?m strange but I like people watching). I ordered an omelet, which if I may say was soooo good (I dream of that omelet from time to time). Since my first experience there I have been back several times, I enjoy a cappuccino on the patio and read a book. Sundays not good for book reading but If you like live music someone is always playing/singing there. Good Times!!
Improved by 300 % – I've been to Alivia's before and thought the place was so cool with some of the worst people working there...Lately went for brunch on a Sunday and immediately noticed the service took a huge turnaround...After sitting there with our dog and a gentleman giving our dog water, we find out he's the new manager...We start telling him that we love the place and concept but hate the service so we had not been there in a while...He goes on to agree and say yes, that's why I'm here...The server was very friendly, omelets were great, and the manager, I think his name was John, was very cool...Looks like Alivia's is taking shape as the best place to hang out in Durham and hopefully for good cause the place has so much potential!
getting better – The only reason I'm not giving Alivia's 5 stars is because of negative experiences in the past. I went last night with some friends for dinner (they wanted to go, I had sworn the place off). In the past the service had been less than lack luster, but tonight every thing was right on point. They also increased the dinner options to include sandwiches and burgers on top of there regular dinner menu. I had the Alivias burger and it was on of the best in town. The overall experince was very positive. After dinner when went down the street for drinks, on the way back we stopped back at Alivia's for the live music which was really good, the best I'ver heard in a bar setting in Durham, and on top of the music the place was pack with people just hanging out having a good time.
Best French Toast I've had since moving from up North several years ago. Burger's aren't bad either! – Alivia's has a good feel when you walk in. The staff is friendly and helpful. You can enjoy seating inside at a booth or relax outside and enjoy the weather. I have been there several times and each time has been a mouth watering experience.
New Management = New Beginning!! – I must say the new management has created a whole new atmosphere for Alivia's. New wait staff, great food, and most importantly a place you will want to revisit!
My husband and I went for dinner the other night and we were very impressed with the turn around at Alivia's. We have been there once before and were not so in favor of the restaurant. After hearing about the new mangement and the revamping of the place we def, wanted to give it another shot and I am so glad we did. For all of you that read the negative reviews please know these were comments from the past. Dining here again will absolutely be a decision you will not regret! The new management for Alivia's has really helped create a new beginning!
I highly recommend this restaurant to all!!
Great coffee, bistro ambience, outdoor seating, no smoking – I'm shocked to discover the negative reviews of Alivia's. My husband and I live a few blocks away, and walk there in the mornings and evenings at least 4 times per week. During the day, Alivia's has EXCELLENT breakfast, great coffee, and big mahogany booths with electrical outlets for my laptop, and free wireless internet. In the evenings, the big glass doors open and the space turns into a dining/bistro restaurant. We love the pork loin and the steak; the sides are awesome too. We've had only courteous service from very professional wait staff. Seriously, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND the negative ratings. I guess folks only write on boards like this if they have a bad experience. I'm breaking the trend and writing because I love the place so much.
Not as bad as some reviewers have found, but not as good as it should be for the price. – Nice atmosphere--has European-style open windows that open out to a large patio on the corner of Main and Gregson. We ate on the patio. Food was ok--has potential but not worth $75 a couple. Calamari appetizer was very good -- right amount of crunchiness & texture, nice marinara dipping sauce & fresh salsa, nice presentation. Split large spinach salad with my husband; kitchen prepared two small ones for us, which was nice of them. The spinach, raspberry viniagrette, & bleu cheese crumbles were tasty, but the "candied walnuts" looked like they were rolled around in sugar. They also needed a little spicy kick to go with the sweet. Hubby ordered risotto with shrimp for main entree. The shrimp were good, but the risotto wasn't creamy like risotto is supposed to be, and it was underflavored. I ordered the tuna special -- grilled tuna to order on a bed of greens. Tuna was cooked perfectly, but there was no flavor to any of it. I would have been happy with just some soy sauce or balsamic viniagrette. The greens were very nice, but again, not very flavorful. There was some kind of dressing (mustard? flavor not strong enough to tell), which helped the greens. Deserts & decaf coffee were good -- chocolate bundt & key lime, with nice presentation. Our waiter was better than described in other reviews, but you could tell he was inexperienced--he said things that betrayed a lack of loyalty to the restaurant and he seemed anxious and insecure (trying too hard). At the time, I hadn't read the reviews, so I was left thinking that the restaurant was new & management was still working out the kinks. However, now knowing it's been around over a year, it worries me that they still don't have a great menu or great service to go with the high prices.
TERRIBLE customer service – My husband and I like to try new places, so we thought we would give Alivia's a try for breakfast......what a mistake. The guy working behind the bar, taking orders, was so rude!!!! He acted like we had just ruined his day by walking into the restaurant. He was so rude that we turned around and left. We walked over to Parker and Otis where we were greeted with a smile, were served an amazing breakfast, and even thanked for our business, go figure! To the manager at Alivia's---you really need to get rid of that guy who was working on Saturday morning--he is the last person you want in the front.
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