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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFrench
Absinthe Brasserie and Bar reviews from OpenTable diners
398 reviews since May 1, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (208)neighborhood gem (191)vibrant bar scene (169)special occasion (162)romantic (127)notable wine list (106)great for brunch (86)great for lunch (80)hot spot (78)late-night find (47)good for groups (34)kid-friendly (16)great for outdoor dining (14)scenic view (7)Show More
  • Delicous brunch!
    NS3101VIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Started out with the cinnamon buns, and spent a while before choosing the open faced pork sandwich. Every bite was perfect! Can't wait to come back and try out the other brunch entrees!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food but overpriced
    luv2golfandeat
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Felt the food and wine list were very overpriced for what you got. Would recommend but only if someone likes a lot of noise and doesn't mind paying #15 for valet parking. I know this is San Francisco so I guess you have to pay $$$. Also was not happy with the first table they gave us, right next to the kitchen. They did move us but seemed unhappy that we requested another table even though the restaurant was not busy and lots of open tables.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice lunch location for an occasion
    SFstudent
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    I met a friend here for lunch after reading reviews online. Very cool atmosphere. I enjoyed the ice tea which came with refills without me asking-which I appreciated. I ordered a cup of french onion soup and a side salad and my friend ordered a different soup and a side sale. The server brought us both french onion soup forgetting that my friend ordered a different type of soup. Oh well, we both had french onion soup which paired nicely with a side salad. This is still more than I would normally spend on a lunch, but a neat atmosphere and other than the hiccup with the soup this is a fun place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • hostess was especially helpful...
    OpenTable Diner Since 1999VIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    the hostess was especially helpful in trying to find a table to our liking. the salmon entree was outstanding, served with salad. dining room was noisier than we like...
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • View from Florida
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    We had a lovely meal before a performance. The waitress was delightful, the food very good and the atmosphere memorable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • incredible appetizers
    winky
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    we always sit in the bar area bec it is so atmospheric and great for people watching -- cafe style round tables in corners so one has privacy as well as a good viewing spot -- the menu changes regularly this time we had the appetizers-- last time we had delicious duck -- great before or after the opera/symphony and it has valet service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious brunch!
    Patti
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Absinthe was a perfect choice for a brunch before the matinee of Motown, the Musical. The food was excellent; the service, outstanding; and the restaurant is a great local spot that obviously has a following! All in all, absolutely wonderfu!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful, As Always!
    janesingsVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I eat at Absinthe often, and it is always wonderful! The food is delicious and the service is great. The location is convenient for going to the Ballet, Symphony and SFJAZZ performances. I recommend it! janesings
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best
    oscarvu
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    It was a nice restaurant the angus and wagyu meat the best plate
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Talented chef
    FoodyoneVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The food here is truly a cut above, especially in Hayes Valley. The chef is very talented. While the menu is Classic French Bistro, it is done extremely well. Onion soup was excellent, and the shoulder cut bistro steak was perfectly prepared medium rare. The salad was fresh and delicious as was the petrale sole. Would like to see a larger selection of wines by the glass. Friendly capable service. Great atmosphere!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great service and very god food
    BellaVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Had an early reservation on way to Paul McCartney so we had time constraints...server timed all perfectly and gave us the best service we have had in a long time plus we got to Candelstick in time for the show. We will be back sooon without time constraints!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A more leisurely lunch than planned
    KemKem
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Food was good, wait staff pleasant. Seated promptly (with lunch reservation) but waited and waited for food to arrive once order taken. Wait staff apologized once but food still didn't arrive for over another 10-15 minutes...total wait time over 30 minutes once order placed for a hamburger (medium rare) and and chicken breast (special). Food was prepared well but took far too long to arrive. A complementary dish of sorbet topped off a birthday lunch out for a colleague. Nice touch but delays in food service made the meal less than expected.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently Yummy
    FoodieBear
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Absinthe consistently hits a home run, whether it's brunch or dinner, with terrific service. It's not cheap, but so worth the visit
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delicious!!
    Gail
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    The food and service were very good. We'll definitely return! Hamburger and French Onion Soup are a must have.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • disappointing meal
    KathrynVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Have had many very good meals here, however August brought disappointment! My swordfish was frozen and at $32 mediocre! The resident chef must have been on vacation.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • GREAT!!!
    MovieFan
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    The service and the food are excellent!! The food is very fresh and at the height of it's season. The flavors blend to make wonderful dishes. The waiters attend to your every need and request. HIGHLY recommend!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fab food paired with fab service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    The Service: We celebrated a City Hall/Civil Service with a meal from this fabulous establishment and Amy, our server, and Trevor, our host couldn't have been more kind and thoughtful in making it extra special. Their genuine care in service showed that they probably paid attention to detail for all their customers not just for special occasions. We brought our own cake and Trevor even offered the Bride & Groom a special cutting set to commemorate the wedding so we could take pictures. The Food: Everything we had was fabulous. Garlic Pretzels (I could've had two orders of this!), meatballs, pasta special of fettucini with duck!Drinks were excellent with a wide array with Absinthe. Just as Amy and she'll point you in the right direction!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food, service mis-match
    BradleyVVIP
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    I have been here two times - and probably would go back again because the food and the drinks are fantastic. With that said, both times I have gone there, the first drinks come out relatively quickly but then we ordered a second round of drinks with dinner and we were more than half way through our meals before the second round of drinks arrived. It seems like the bar is either really slow or there is some break down in the service that makes it take forever to get drinks. If it was one time, I would think fluke - but this happened both times I've been there. The food is great, the ambiance is great - I would give it 5 stars if the bar service was a little better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Most welcoming staff, great food.
    BonneFourchette
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Dinner in a trendy spot can be a hit or miss. I am happy to report that we really enjoyed our late dinner at Absinthe. Despite the bustle around us, we were perfectly happy with our table, food and service. From the host to the bus person, everyone was friendly and efficient. The cocktails are inventive and the food, most of it solid brasserie offerings (coq au vin, steak frites, etc.), is tasty. We started with the Osetra caviar with blinis. The garnishes were fresh and the blinis warm, as they should be. Our server brought more blinis as soon as she noticed we were running low. Steak and salmon for the mains (both delicious) and three cheeses to round up the meal. A nice Pinot Noir, reasonably priced, completed our very satisfying meal.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Disappointed!
    Thankyouandenjoy
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    We haven't been to Absinthe in many years and we always looked forward to going back. The decor is still very attractive and the food was really good. HOWEVER it was ear-shatteringly loud and we had horrible, inattentive, indifferent service from both the waiter and the assistant (bus boy?). In addition, we watched as wine was being served with amazing inconsistency. Our waiter served the wine at our table so perhaps if the bartender had poured it, there would have been a difference. My splash of wine was measly and when I pointed it out to the waiter, he emptied the 1/4" dregs into my glass from the bottle and said "there!". Definitely not the service one expects when dropping over $120!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • jamieVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The coconut-corn soup was a delicate puree; very pleasant. The sole was tender and tasty. Their cerviche varies in presentation; always good to the last drop.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Noteworthy Service and Dining
    live2eat
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Generally the service is great and the food is just Ok, or vice versa. Absinthe gets just the right mix of great service and fine dining. The fish was succulent and well paired with sides and the rib eye was perfectly cooked. For starters don't overlook the fries, the smoked ketchup is divine. My only nit is that the variety of selections from the menu is pretty short, and there are no specials - everything is printed. Other than that we really enjoyed it.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hayes Valley Highlight
    hungrychickVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Seeking a restaurant close to Davies Symphony Hall in SF, we picked Absinthe, a high energy, pulsating bistro and bar with imaginative food and a diverse wine list. To counteract the persistent fog we ordered a creamy, luscious coconut-corn soup with lemongrass and basil cream. From then on, I opted for a do-it-myself tasting menu: Strawberry-rhubarb chutney added kick to a chunky chicken liver mousse. Impeccably fresh, sweet, tender Pei Mussels & Manila Clams basked in a delightful broth that avoided the typical pitfalls of grit and too much salt. Heirloom tomato & melon salad was a wonderful, refreshing contrast. My husband had grilled Black Angus shoulder bistro filet, flavorful but chewy. Carrot cake and chocolate lava finale.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner before the symphony
    DeAnna
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    I took a friend out for a nice evening in San Francisco. Absinthe is in a great location for both neighborhood traffic and opera/orchestra/ballet venues in the area. It was crowded and noisy but not overpoweringly so for a small restaurant. The joy was in the food and service. Both of our meals were prepared and cooked to perfection and I can't think a single way that our service could have been better. It didn't matter which of the many staff we stopped, all were immediately available to take care of our needs, not telling us they'd get our server for us as some restaurants do. The only poor grade was the dessert list. I definitely would have expected something fresh baked with local summer fare but it wasn't there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very nice
    LRMB5
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Wonderful atmosphere on happening Hayes street. Croque monsieur was great. Friends had duck confit and said it was very tasty.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great night
    Nora
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    I've read about this place for a few years. And have always been interested in going. I was very happy to see, when I placed a search for restaurants near the symphony house, Absinthe was listed. What a great discovery. I haven't had a pork chop in 10+ years, because it's difficult to cook one tender and juicy. Their's was heavenly. Both juicy and tender and very flavorful. The puréed yams were just too good. My only complaint is there definitely was not enough of the yam. Service was wonderful and the ambience was perfect
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Never disappoints!
    GSFO
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    We were there on a Monday, it was energetic, great vibe, good ambiance. The service was good and food was excellent. We ordered the pork belly to start, melt in your mouth delicious. For entrees we had the swordfish with corn puree and leg of lamb with polenta - both had very distinct flavors and both were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome dinner
    supruVIP
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    We were visiting San Fran and a friend recommended Absinthe. We loved the whole experience. The food, the service (Erin our server was terrific and even brought dessert out with a candle for my boyfriend as I had casually mentioned it was his birthday). We ordered only snacks and apps and had plenty of food. Every course was phenomenal from the olives, meatballs, ceviche, oysters, beef tartare, clams and mussels to our coconut lime sorbet (best sorbet I've ever tasted). Being a foodie from Philly, I would highly recommend this place if you are visiting SF.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The Mac's
    TheMacs
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Had dinner res at 6:15 to make the Nourse at 7:30. We were seated earlier in a very comfy booth for 2. Enjoyed fabulous chickpeas, Beemster cheese plate and heart of romaine before dinner. Coq au vin was amazing as was my filet. Did not feel rushed, but rather welcomed to enjoy our meal. Did not have time to have desert and made the show with 5 min to spare...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing experience
    happydiner
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    The food was just average but for the price it was not comparable to other similar priced restaurants in the area. After giving the waitress our credit card she returns with someone else`s bill which was more than double our charge. After later giving us the correct bill she said the wrong charge was torn up and did not go through. However, that charge was put through and appeared on our credit card. After reaching the manager he assured it would be corrected. I hope so!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Superb!
    kris
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Even though we were a few minutes late for our 6:00 reservation (we called to let them know), our table was waiting in the busy restaurant and we were quickly seated. Love that they have a seasonal menu - no specials - which was fine. We ordered the Coq au Vin, pork chop, swordfish, and steak - my friend requested it "black and blue" and said they nailed it! Starters were french fries (great fries and dipping sauces) and chicken liver mousse (yum!) Everything was fantastic. My husband said the Coq may be the best he's had - served in a crock the way I think it should be served - seemed to have been cooking for days. Sommelier was friendly and helpful. Server Caitlin was awesome! Loved our first visit - will come again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • LovetolunchVIP
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    We had a light lunch of corn coconut soup and Mac and cheese. Delicious!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect for brunch
    madeinargentina
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    The brunch menu has something for everyone and the service is super friendly. I would go back any time.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Star is falling
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    I was very disappointed with our experience at Absinthe on Saturday night. The bartenders were very rude and condescending when we asked questions about specific drinks. Our server was incredibly disengaged and there were long lapses of her not checking in. The sommelier was also very slow to bring our wine to the table. In fact, we were finished with our appetizers before our first bottle even arrived. Not impressed, wouldn't recommend it to friends and won't come back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delightful!
    2Ps1Pod
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    From the lovely fresh oysters through the wonderful deconstructed german chocolate cake, the evening was one delight after another!! Attentive, teamwork service ensured no plate or spoon sat on the table when not indicated. Wine list to die for! Was a very special birthday dinner splurge!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • exceeded expectations
    pastaloverVIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    we were seated in room far away from bar area. tables were spaced comfortably apart. staff was efficient and friendly. food was delicious. relaxed pace but still made it easily to our performance event. looking forward to many return visits.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Possibly the best bacon in San Fran
    airmilesguyVIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Had Brunch at Absinthe with my wife and kids on a Saturday morning. The place was busy but not full. The service and food were both excellent. The maple infused bacon was some of the best I have ever had and the bowl of coffee was Parisian in its size. Overall a place I would go back o every time in San Fran.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A+
    JimP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Nice, easy access to the Hayes Valley night scene, prompt service, great food, a bit noisy so I would not recommend it as a first date. Enjoy
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A hint of paris in hayes valley
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Wonderful ambiance and cocktails. Food was really good, however, some of the dishes, particularly the pork were a bit too rich, even by French standards. Service was relatively attentive although it wouldn't have hurt to show a smile once in a while :)
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Innconsistent this evening
    Phil
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    We've been here before prior to symphony. This evening it seemed like they just did not have it together. The potato crusted salmon was under cooked and still raw in the middle, and the service was slow and not attentive. The waiter asked if I would like a second glass of wine, I said yes and then it was never delivered. The salmon was brought back cooked more and was good at that point, but in general we found prices high for such small portions. From a value perspective Absinthe did not deliver.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic