Dietary polyphenols present in a broad range of plant foods have been related to beneficial health effects. This review aims to update the current information about the modulation of the gut microbiota by dietary phenolic compounds, from a perspective based on the experimental approaches used. After referring to general aspects of gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols, studies related to this topic are presented according to their experimental design: batch culture fermentations, gastrointestinal simulators, animal model studies, and human intervention studies. In general, studies evidence that dietary polyphenols may contribute to the maintenance of intestinal health by preserving the gut microbial balance through the stimulation of the growth of beneficial bacteria (i.e., lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) and the inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, exerting prebiotic-like effects. Combination of in vitro and in vivo models could help to understand the underlying mechanisms in the polyphenols-microbiota-host triangle and elucidate the implications of polyphenols on human health. From a technological point of view, supplementation with rich-polyphenolic stuffs (phenolic extracts, phenolic-enriched fractions, etc.) could be an effective option to improve health benefits of functional foods such as the case of dairy fermented foods.