Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
  • Address:
    398 Hayes Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Neighborhood:
    Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness
  • Cuisine:
    French
    Price: $30 and under

Absinthe Brasserie and Bar

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.absinthe.com/
  • Phone: 4155511590x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday to Wednesday: 11:30 am to midnight

    Thursday & Friday: 11:30 am to midnight (bar open til 2 am)

    Saturday: Brunch, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; 3:00 pm to midnight (bar open til 2 am)

    Sunday: Brunch, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm
    Closed Monday
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, French
  • Executive Chef: Adam Keough
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Full Bar, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Please call for more details.
  • Special Events: Absinthe Private Dining, directly adjacent to Absinthe Brasserie & Bar on Hayes near Gough, is designed to function as a completely private dining room with its own private entrance, coat closet, restroom and bar.

    The menus at Absinthe Private Dining, created by executive chef Adam Keough and executive pastry chef Bill Corbett, offer classic and contemporary San Francisco brasserie fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The private dining menus reflect those in the main dining room at Absinthe, and change frequently, allowing variety and seasonal freshness.

    Absinthe Private Dining is available for business meetings, wedding events,
    cocktail receptions, birthdays, showers, wine dinners, pre- or post-performance dinners, and holiday parties.

    For more information, please contact Vanessa Harris at 415-551-1453 or email vharris@absinthegroup.com

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Gough
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking available 5:00pm-Close Tuesday-Saturday. Street parking is also available. Public lots located on the corner of Hayes & Franklin and on Grove between Franklin & Gough.
A word from Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is one of the longest-running and most convivial dining institutions in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. Located within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, the establishment features French and Northern Italian-influenced brasserie fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Absinthe’s lively bar offers classic and creative cocktails and late-night dining.
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Absinthe Brasserie and Bar reviews from OpenTable diners
385 reviews since June 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (213)neighborhood gem (203)special occasion (156)vibrant bar scene (152)romantic (118)notable wine list (105)great for brunch (91)hot spot (84)great for lunch (81)late-night find (57)good for groups (48)great for outdoor dining (17)kid-friendly (14)scenic view (4)Show More
  • Absinthe addict
    GrossFamily
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    I recently moved her from Washington, D.C. which is a great restaurant city. This is the 4th place I've eaten out at and it is my favorite. We had brunch (group of 4 hungry people)on Sunday 10/19 . The menu looked as if the options were few but what they did offer was spectacular. In the middle of eating we noticed a rich, sweet, woody, fragrance in the air. when we asked about it the server told us it was the Spanish Coffee. Well, how could we not order it after smelling that aroma. It is a warm dessert type coffee (with liquor). The ricotta stuffed toast, the breakfast sandwich, thoing back when my family comes in Decembere seafood ceviche, and my cocktail (Death in the Afternoon) were all soooooo good. G
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not exactly as I expected
    bonvivant
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    I had been dying to try this restaurant for a couple of years. It has a good reputation and looks so romantic and authentic. It was very good as far as atmosphere and food were concerned. But the service was very slow and lackluster. we were at a terrible table with a cold draft and kind of forgotten in the corner. Not sure I will return.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food and ambiance
    Jae1
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This was my first time to eat at Absinthe and the food didn't disappoint; such a great selection! The service was a bit slow, but it just looked like they were understaffed for the night. Drinks and cocktails were also amazing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Consistent quality
    Foodie
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We like the traditional bistro/brasserie offerings which make us feel like we are dining in Paris. Absinthe stands the test of time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    chris
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Wonderful evening. EXCELLENT food, great service. Very noisy inside!!!!!! Hard to talk to each other.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Disappointed
    RiverQVIP
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    I was disappointed with the food. The fries tasted like frozen cardboard and the menu choices are very limited. The burger was good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • nice evening ~
    Diner44
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    We really enjoyed our entrees (octopus & coq au vin) and appetizer (ceviche) We asked for more bread (twice) but it never came. We had a second glass of wine but she forgot to bring it so we had to snag another waiter. The panna cotta was on the too sweet side - true Italian panna cotta is more subtle. Overall, a great food experience and excellent location.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just ok
    EstherVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I was expected much more, the food was simply OK good service. The place so so. Tables very small, price very expensive for what we got
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always fine dining, slight issue
    stonybroke
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Absinthe always has seasonal and delicious menu items -- tho choices may be a tad limited, there're always enough options to satisfy. On our 20th (+/-] visit, the soup was Michelin ***, just amazing flavors, magnificently balanced -- maybe the best soup I'll ever have! Salads are always quite nice, entrees always fresh, tasty, served at the appropriate temperature. I love beef tartare and Absinthe's is imaginative but slightly over-flavored. Desserts nicely-sized, also imaginative. Unfortunately, one server we occasionally get is nice but VERY slow to deliver and slow to attend. She is the exception -- Absinthe service is normally attentive and fast enough. Special kudos to the table bussers, they are outstanding!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful, As Always
    janesingsVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    I eat at Absinthe very often, and it is always wonderful! The Food is delicious, the ambience nice and the service good. Jane C.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • MarilynVIP
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    We enjoyed our meal very much. But, we were seated directly next to a large group of business professionals having dinner. It was notably louder each bottle of wine they consumed. Perhaps, you could seat large groups in the bar area instead of the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent brunch
    MarinGeorge
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    The food was great. The corn and chick pea appetizers were excellent "nibbles" and all the main courses were perfect for brunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Come for the food
    ADinerVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Love the food. Service is casual and really friendly. Always a busy and good vibe.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful, As Always!
    janesingsVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    I eat there often, and it is always wonderful! The food is delicious and the service is attentive. The location is convenient for the Ballet, Symphony & SFJAZZ performances.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A go to restaurant for us
    kieran1
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    whenever we go to the opera or symphony or just want to enjoy good food and excellent service. Always a lot of good energy at Absinthe which we enjoy. The dining room is a little quieter but wherever you dine it's a delight. It is consistently excellent and has been so for years. Our favorite!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Too many wines
    Time2EatVIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    The good news is that Absinthe has many wines on their list. The bad news is that they can not find them. We ordered a bottle of wine. It did not come. So we did not have a drink before our food came. Our first course came. Still no wine. We waited to eat. Then we were informed that they could not find the bottle. We waited. Then they informed us that the wine had been found but it needed to be cooled. We waited to eat. There is no excuse for that.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • lovely lunch
    MaatkareVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    I had the Alsatian tart with a salad that included salmon. Both were very good, but this onion tart was not as superb as another tart that I'd had there recently. We sat in an adorable curved seat that was good for getting to know someone. Our server was caring and attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A memorable gift!
    Sebdanca
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We probably would not have found Absinthe on our own, but came as a result of a gift certificate. The place was packed for our 7:00 p.m. reservation, but as we have found at other times, our OpenTable reservation got us seated right away with the best table in the house. (Kudos to OpenTable!) The service was outstanding from beginning to end and we never felt rushed or waiting for anything. We had the spiced chickpea appetizer, the Spanish octopus (outstanding!) and petrale sole - all creatively presented and delicious. The wine list was small with carefully selected great wines. The german chocolate cake dessert w/coconut-lime sorbet was not what your grandma made, but was outstanding as well. We will be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just as good after the show
    Cgorham
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We arrived after a seeing a mid-afternoon show and had a super supper. Our cocktails were impeccably made. The first sip told us that it was made by a true mixologist using top ingredients. We dined on appetizers and light fare and enjoyed everything from the smoky tomato soup to the heirloom tomato and melon salad. Gretchen came out to help us choose half bottles and directed us to a winery that proved her knowledge of wines. Absinthe has a great ambiance - we've been here for Sunday brunch before - and we'l be back again for sure.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing drinks and food
    travelgurl
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I've been coming here every time I visit the city for at least the past 7 years. The alcoholic drinks are always spectacular, the espresso drinks are the best I've had in the city, and the atmosphere is lively but elegant. The meals are great as well, although the list is pretty short so make sure you check the with picky/restricted eaters first. I've had almost all the deserts, and. You really can't go wrong. Great place for a date night or if you want to show a visitor an awesome time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • once again
    thankskdVIP
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    we find absinthe no different from its usually outstanding self; we had a delightful time at any gastronomical level!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lowered the bar
    Cucumber
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    I judge a restaurant which has a French heritage by its French food. The coq au vin was not coq au vin. The chef cooks the "coq" in this dish separately from the vegetables served with it, which were shockingly crisp, even slightly uncooked. The under cooked root vegetables did not work as a savory accompaniment. That said, my husband said that his salmon was perfectly cooked and the fried chickpeas as an snack were a refreshing new experience. The Loire Valley Sancerre by the glass was quite fine. So if you don't hold the expectation of this being a French restaurant, and order something other than the coq au vin, you will likely have quite a nice dining experience. Service was great too.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always excellent
    RBC1VIP
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    The restaurant really knows how to treat their patrons. When we go to the Opera the staff excels at pacing our dinner so it enjoyable and not rushed. The food is always consistently well executed and wonderful fresh ingredients. Such a pleasure to dine here . As we're dining I find myself thinking about the next time we can dine here and what we'll eat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • good food - distracted server
    Maui2visit
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    The food is good though rich - depends on your taste. I felt a little "weighed down" all afternoon! Our server was a lovely woman but seemed very distracted. We had to wait to ask for things just a little too long, and the bill with credit card was not picked up off the table for ages. I typically have better service here and will definitely come back.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food as good as the drinks!
    Christina
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Absinthe is known for its top notch cocktails, but the people in the kitchen are no slouches! I had a duck confit concoction that was outstanding and the house made fennel sausage is to-die for! It has a nice touch of heat on the finish that makes you want more. The bloody mary is predictably outstanding and the servers were very accommodating to our one year old guest. Very, very pleased with the experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful, As Always!
    janesingsVIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    The food is delicious, the ambience is lively and the service is good. I eat there often, and it is always wonderful! Jane C.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Duck onn Thursday
    Ducksoup
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    A favorite place for Symphony going if one picks the Thursday matinee. Food is good and designed for quick but Thursday's special is the duck. Not to be missed. Work up similar specials for the rest of the week and you will have a week of winners.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    frannyz
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    I've had several really positive moments at Absinthe over the years (its a special treat spot for me) but last night the food was NOT good and I felt bad that I had taken my very special guest there for dinner. What upset me the MOST about my dinner last night was the ingredients: the watermelon in the salad was not tasty, nor crisp. The honeydew not yet ripe. The cheese and the tomato tasteless. I make a killer version at home, very careful to be sure all the ingredients are good, as it is a simple dish. Our main courses - fish - were both dull. Is Absinthe resting on their Laurels? I used to feel like I could always count on Absinthe; I no longer do. I wonder if anybody in the kitchen - and who? - really cares about excellence?
    Special Features:
    hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lovely but pricey
    MovieNights
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    It was too pricey for the food/drink we had... Although lovely, really lovely!!!, I think it was overpriced.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Gem
    JTEater
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    The brunch menu at Absinthe was a surprise for me. I thought the dishes would be staid French fare. Instead they offered a cool selection of breakfast items such as stuffed French toast, polenta with soft boiled egg and veggies. It was all delicious. I want to go back soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic time
    AJBeats
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    We loved the cocktails and the absinthe. The food was amazing and the service very attentive. Our table was a bit small and the resteraunt a bit crowded but I thought that made it lively. Valet parking was a plus. We'll be back again for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday dinner
    OutAboutTown
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Nice festive bar with interesting cocktail choices! Dining room area enough room so that you are not crowded against the dining neighbors, not too loud to enjoy the conversation at the table. Tasty appetitizers and entrees
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Menu needs tweeting
    4JiM
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Food well prepared but lacks imagination. Wine list good. Service good. We have eaten there before. I am not sure we will go back. It has settled into a routine. And decibel level is very high. Notably, the dining room was not full during prime hour on Friday night. But still awfully noisy. Kitchen needs a shake up.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Desserts need work
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    WE have been eating here for years. It is very good before or after theatre dining. HOWEVER, they need a new pastry chef or the chef needs to get more enthusiastic and change the dessert menu creatively more often. It used to be creative and interesting, for example, a rhubarb float.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • No compromises
    Marina
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    Absynthe has been one of my favorite restaurants for years now. They seem to be able to refresh themselves and stay at the same consistent high quality/superb service throughout the years. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    My friend and I had a delicious after theater dinner. The ceviche was amazing as were the main courses. What a treat. I would definitely return, hopefully soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect End to a Lovely Day
    EC2travelers
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    When I write to the restaurant asking for a quiet table, I didn't expect the best table in the restaurant, but that's what we enjoyed. And we arrived with a plethora of dietary restrictions--no problem, the waiter had a list of every ingredient used to create the delicious items on the menu. Add to that local, sustainable and fresh ingredients with a lovely presentation on the plate. From the mac and cheese to the swordfish (thank you Monterey Bay Aquarium for taking it off the restricted list), all four of us enjoyed fabulous meals.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Brunch
    Nittler
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Age range from 11 to 58 - lots of great options for us all - loved the Duck Ragout and deserts were to die for - chocolate pot was the best
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Too noisy and poor food selection
    SomaVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This was our 2nd time to this restaurant. Our first visit was on a Sunday for lunch. The menu was very good and the ambiance was good. This time the menu was very disappointing and the restaurant (noise, confusion etc...) was insane. You could not even hear the person from directly across the table. We informed the hostess that we could not stay in this environment even if we could find something decent to order. Unlikely we will return even for lunch. There are many other great dining options in SF...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Absinthe is always great
    Fogpirate
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The service, food, cocktails are all top notch....it's the kind of place that doesn't feel fancy but delivers the fine dining experience. The Spanish Coffee is the most dramatic and delicious after dinner drink you will ever order.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.