Café Absinthe

Café Absinthe

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafe-absinthe.com/
  • Phone: 7732784488x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
    Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
    Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic, French
  • Executive Chef: Jose Garcia
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: We do large parties of up to 60 people. You may buy the entire cafe out for an event Sunday-Thursdays. Please enquire with James Romeo for details.
    773-278-4488
  • Private Party Facilities: Cafe Absinthe can accommodate parties up to 65.
  • Private Party Contact: James Romeo 7732784488x
  • Special Events: Cafe Absinthe is offering a Great Prefix 3 course dinner on Sundays and and Tuesdays for $35.00 a person. For starters (seared blackwing ostriche or crab cake) Soup du jour or Salad, Filet Mignon, Fish dujour or Risotto. Wednesday is 1/2 price on wine.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Damen
  • Public Transit: Damen stop - Blue Line



    North Ave Bus\Damen Bus



    Taxis Available
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet Parking is $11.00 for patrons. Pull car to the entrance located in alley just north of North Ave. There is also street parking available.
A word from Café Absinthe
Since its opening in 1994, Cafe Absinthe has garnered critical acclaim for it's innovative French/ American cuisine, use of the finest ingredients , attention to detail, an extensive wine list, and attentive and knowlegeble staff make Cafe Absinthe a Bucktown/ Wicker Park treasure.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Café Absinthe reviews from OpenTable diners
50 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (37)neighborhood gem (26)special occasion (21)fit for foodies (20)late-night find (9)notable wine list (6)good for groups (4)hot spot (4)vibrant bar scene (1)great for brunch (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • good dinner
    Food4jasVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    had an early dinner, post matinee theatre, so the place was very quiet. The lamb and heirloom tomato salad were excellent, others found the tenderloin just average. very nice setting.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Service and mood
    Yummy
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    It made we feel we went to Paris. The door of the restaurant is from alley.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice
    FoodlvrVIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We really enjoyed this place. Nice, romantic atmospher, very good food and very good service. Just a great place overall. Will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We will return.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I know its been there for years, but it was a great experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The food was excellent; the service first class - attentive and pleasant. It was rather noisy and quite dark ,and the tables were jammed up against each other. Parking could also be a problem, located as it is on a busy corner of two main streets.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious food, great service
    Foodie
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    This is our second visit and there will be many more even though we live in the north suburbs. Every course could not have been better. Our only negative was the volume of the music and general noise level which were too loud.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food & Great service
    Mark
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    They were out of a couple items on the menu and one of their wines as well, but they made up for it. They were very attentive to us and made our occasion very special. The waiter was very attentive and gave great recommendations.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great find
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Every bite was delicious!! Terrific setting. Great ambiance! Several review said difficult to find entrance not sure what they were talking about had no problem finding it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OK, not great
    Flaco05
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    This restaurant is an OK value but nothing to rave about. Service is fine, but, as pointed out by others, there is only one waiter covering the whole restaurant. Food is simple and ingredients are very good, but seasoning was lacking (guys, a bit of salt and pepper can go a long way...) Mojito tasted like juice, so stay away from it. Desserts were probably the brightest spot in the menu. This was a one off for us. Will not be visiting again or recommending to others.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A treat.
    DandJ
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    This is our treat go to place. The food is always wonderful and the service is top notch. We also like the fact that it is quiet enough to have conversations at a normal level, instead of having to shout. We will continue to go back for these reasons and to recomend Cafe Absinthe to our friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Groupon winner
    kainate
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We landed reservations at Cafe Absinthe on the expiration date of our Groupon, and in retrospect I'm happy we didn't miss out. The ambiance and food were very good. Service was modestly poky and a bit sweaty, but adequate in sum. Prices were very reasonable for the location and quality of the experience. Highlights of the meal were a Caprese-style tomato and mozzarella salad with outstanding dressing that contributed much more than the standard olive oil or balsamic topping. Peppercorn crusted filet was cooked perfectly as requested, medium rare, and my wife's scallops were delivered just right in that sweet spot between chewy and raw. An enjoyable night and we'll be back.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • colette
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    the restaurant is an unpretentious French restaurant with very good food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Valet Parking
    SteveT
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Although this has been one of our favorite restaurants ( we drive in from the far south suburbs) we will not be coming back. The service we received was wonderful. from the hostess, bartender and wait staff. However we waited 20 minutes for valet parking upon arrival and another 30 minutes to retrieve our car.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food! Food!
    George
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The food was good and the service was great. Will go back again!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cafe Absinthe
    Cdroza
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    The steak was extremely tender. The chef was willing to adjust ingredients to meet our specific tastes.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Consistent preparation&execution.
    BB25VIP
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    The menu options are limited, but everything is executed very we. The tattered paper menus are off putting. Maybe they should use an old fashioned chalkboard or something of that nature. Friendly and timely service.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • firsttimer
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    Varied wine list. Great "French" feel. Great entrance & light fixtures.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not so great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    As some other reviewers have mentioned there is usually only one waiter working the whole house, which results in some very slow service if the restaurant is even slightly busy. The ambience was unimpressive, right next to a noisy bar and the odd table arrangement did not lend itself to the romantic atmosphere that I was expecting. I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded, but I couldn't bring myself to finish my order of lamb. It was covered in a sauce that was suspiciously reminiscent of A1, served with over-salted spinach and very cheesy potatoes. Not the sophisticated cuisine I'd been hoping for. Also, I would note that the menu is completely different than the one advertised online, and not nearly as "classically" French.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • jackie
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    Great food and great service. Good for romantic dinner or girls night out.. Go see Chris the waiter. He's the best! t
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not the same place I remember
    fellowdiner
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    Used to love dining at cafe absinthe but this recent visit was disappointing. They advertise valet parking online but we found out that is only on weekends so we were late for our reservation while finding street parking in busy Bucktown. They could only take us at 7pm and not our preferred 7:30 so we were nervous about arriving late. This wasn't a problem because it was empty so I wondered why the time wasn't available (2 weeks out). One bartender/hostess and one waiter both of whom were friendly. The food was great but the entree took unusually long to arrive, even though there were barely any other customers. I wonder if they had to go out and buy ingredients? I wouldn't return as I think this restaurant is past its prime.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 30 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 396 reviews are from the Café Absinthe reviews archive.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013VIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    We enjoyed our dinner very much.It's a bit out of the way for us but we would consider returning
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Could use an additional good waiter
    AnneVIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Our waiter was very good, worked efficiently and quickly. However, it appeared he was covering all of the tables and, therefore, did not have much time to allot to each table. Additional wait staff would benefit Cafe Absinthe greatly.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect Evening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Low Key Lighting, Nice room, great food and wonderful service...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Showing it's age - good & bad
    FoodieKitVIP
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    1st time here. The food was very good & decent-sized portions w/surprisingly good prices compared to other places of similar caliber we've been to. The drinks were just OK, not my favorite part of the meal. They were very busy that night & several staff members made a point of apologizing, even buying us a round of drinks. The tables are right on top of each other - understandable for the limited amount of space - not a big deal for us, but others might not like it. The decor is whimsical & attractive, however, the unisex bathroom was a bit messy, including a dirty toilet seat. Little details are the things that show a restaurant's age (20 yrs), some for good (food quality/portions) & some for bad (attention to cleanliness).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • outdated but nice
    Wendel
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    We haven't been to this restaurant for about 10 + years. The location was nice and the food was good but everything seemed like it hadn't changed since last time we were there. Food and Cocktails sytle seemed old to us - we wished that they had updated to keep with current trends.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Service was terrible. We ordered a cheese plate, delivered by the bus boy and no one even told us what was what on the plate. We saw our waiter when we ordered and when our main dish came- that was it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • SOOO- Lovely
    LOVEFOODVIP
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    We met freinds for dinner, enjoyed the beautiful presentations of food, so much to eat and drink. Acute young couple s were siiting at the table next to us. He puleds out a engagement saphire/ diamond ring, gets on his knee Camera phones going off- clapping the whole restaurant congratulated the happy couple! This is not the first time wonderful events occurred here.Food and service are wonderful in itself. The prices are great. Try it for yourself! i love the spinach salad( big enough to share_ feresh warm breads and the beef tenderloin and apple tart.my hisband loves trhe king size generous portions of scallops alls ered with sdes at no extra cost. the interior deco is so sothing , yet fits in the neighbrohood,
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AGAIN!
    SpikelawVIP
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    I was just at CA the week before so my review is probably still standing......ditto! Feels like one of those creaky old french bistros that you would find down a side street in Paris. The menu is not large, but what they do, they do very well. Unless you want pasta, there is something on this menu that you will love. Mussels, cheese plate, and crab cakes are all superb, with the salads and soups being what I believe they do the very best.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Beautiful ambience
    LKetVIP
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    This was my second time here. Love Cafe Absinthe!! So tasty and classy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Mostly happy
    foodnservicebrat
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    Great food and recommendations. Servers were friendly and as helpful as they could be.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • CA
    SpikelawVIP
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Cafe Absinthe feels like an old French restaurant in Paris with French inspired dishes and great service from a very casual and unpretentious staff. The salad and soups are fantastic. The entrees are limited, but very solid. They make their own bread and desserts.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nicely Noir
    Rockermami
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Great 1920's flare, with a very modern price tag. Gourmet presentation, which means very small portions - not the place to go with a big appetite.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pricey...but worth it!!
    luvgreatfood
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    We recently dined at Cafe Absinthe (first time for me), 2nd time for my 2 guests. We found the overall quality of the food, presentation and service to be among the best we have ever experienced. Of all of the dishes, the Caesar salad arrived without enough dressing. Additional dressing was supplied quickly. Wonderful crostini accompanied the salad as well as white anchovies. Do not miss the asparagus and mushroom risotto!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • JennB
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    Very nice ambiance, a little on the expensive side, beef tenderloin cooked very nicely but I wasn't a fan of the sauce.b
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday Dinner
    Alieats
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    We used a Groupon to eat here and were very impressed. The entrance is not on North Ave but rather in an alley off of Damen. It took a few trips around the block to find a Pay to Park spot. The restaurant was partially filled on a Wednesday night at 7:30 pm. Our waiter was very enthusiastic about everything on the menu and we didn't feel very confident in his answers to our questions. We each got the French onion soup and it had a very good taste with lots of melted cheese. My friend had the lamb shank and I had the scallops. Both were delicious and larger than normal portions for a French restaurant. The wine list was very reasonably priced with a good selection. They gave us a free dessert for our birthdays. I definitely recommend it!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 2650Saga
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    We enjoyed the food very much. For a Saturday night at 9PM, the restaurant was rather empty!
    Special Features:
    Romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Food, Great Service
    Luvin5VIP
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    We had a wonderful meal at Cafe Absinthe. We remember eating here over 10 years ago, it was a pleasure to go back and find it still such a great place. Our server was excellent--offered a taste of two wines before we selected our glass (always appreciate it when a server offers that!), and paid careful attention to us because we told him we were heading to the theatre. Lamb, salmon were excellent. Delicious beet salad--one of the best I've had. We will be back and it won't take us another 10 years!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Late-Night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • thumbs up
    moodyfoody
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    Nice place, good food, fast service. Recommended !
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Looking
    BJLEE
    Dined on 4/13/2014
    The restaurant is nicely set up with tables spaced to allow conversation without being squeezed together with other tables. However the lighting is a bit too low (high ceilings and small candles). Service is friendly and attentive, but hampered by the wait time from the kitchen. We had fish and lamb, each slightly overcooked. If not perfect, it was OK. The entrance is a bit difficult to locate because it is not actually on North Ave. We will try this restaurant again perhaps on a different day or time.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful food and service,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    Wonderful food and service, moderate prices. Friendly staff, nice French atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.