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  • Café Absinthe

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Café Absinthe

Café Absinthe Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafe-absinthe.com/
  • Phone: (773) 278-4488
  • 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: French, Fusion / Eclectic
  • 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 (773) 278-4488
  • Special Events & Promotions: 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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Varied wine list. Great "French" feel. Great entrance & light fixtures."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "Great food and great service. Good for romantic dinner or girls night out.. Go see Chris the waiter. He's the best! t"
    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."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "We enjoyed our dinner very much.It's a bit out of the way for us but we would consider returning"
    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. "
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "Low Key Lighting, Nice room, great food and wonderful service..."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "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). "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "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. "
    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. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "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, "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "This was my second time here. Love Cafe Absinthe!! So tasty and classy."
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "Great food and recommendations. Servers were friendly and as helpful as they could be."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "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. "
    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!"
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Very nice ambiance, a little on the expensive side, beef tenderloin cooked very nicely but I wasn't a fan of the sauce.b"
    Dined on 4/24/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 4/23/2014
  • "We enjoyed the food very much. For a Saturday night at 9PM, the restaurant was rather empty!"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "Nice place, good food, fast service. Recommended ! "
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "Wonderful food and service, moderate prices. Friendly staff, nice French atmosphere."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Upon walking in, we were greeted with a warm candlelit ambiance and friendly staff. We were promptly seated and brought water, bread and butter. (The bread with the sunflower seeds on it was delicious)! Our server, Chris, was really helpful, didn't cringe when we mentioned we had a Groupon and gave superb service. The duck wasn't as flavorful as I was hoping but it was good all the same. My boyfriend had the salmon and he loved it. Overall my experience at Cafe Absinthe was great and I would certainly come back again."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Café Absinthe in Wicker Park opened in the mid-90s, and is a piece of modern Chicago history. The country paté was very rich and the beet salad was generous: lots of beets and enough to split, although perhaps predictable in terms of the flavors. The sea scallops with mashed potatoes stood out as the best entrée; the duck--again a generous portion--was overcooked. The dessert menu was a throwaway (too bad). The wine list, however, was refined and affordable. While the ambience here is cozy and romantic, it was very dated (sponge painting and shabby chic). If Absinthe wants to keep up with the trends they started 20 years ago, they need to refresh their menu for a contemporary palate and consider a few updates to their amazing space."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Food and ambiance is great. Service was poor (aside from the busboy and bartender, which was outstanding!) Wine selection was limited and grossly overpriced. Would think twice about going again for the price"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Food was carefully crafted and fantastic. Service was attentive and warm, but not overbearing. Prices were less than I have paid before for equal or lesser quality elsewhere. Great atmosphere, Will absolutely be back."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "We can no longer watch Absinthes decline. Mussels were tiny and shells empty. Duck was overcooked. Drinks were missing. We left as soon as we could, as did other tables when drinks were never received. Servers were frazzled though trying. Bartender couldn't care less and served bar seated customers only. She was also training the hostess who was absent most of the time. Once we looked up and saw NO employees. Absinthe needs more staff, management and chefs who can do more than just cooking motions. Sad, but I don't want to come back to this again."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "It still has the cool alley entrance, but the food isn't quite as good as it once was"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "very impressive. great food, great atmosphere. will definitely be back. best cheese plate in the city, outstanding risotto. great drinks. what else is there?"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "THE TWO APPS. WE HAD WERE VERY GOOD (MUSSELS AND FOIE GRAS). MY ENTREE OF LAMB WAS VERY GOOD ALSO. WE WILL RETURN. THE NOISE LEVEL WAS PERFECT. WE WERE ABLE TO ACTUALLY HEAR EACH OTHER W/O TALKING LOUD. THAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME. IF IT WAS LOUD AND NOISEY, I WOULD NEVER RETURN NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE FOOD WAS."
    Dined on 3/6/2014
  • "Cafe Absinthe is a long-time favorite restaurant. Never had anything here I didn't like. The wine list is adequate an affordable. Food is exceptional. Healthy portion sizes. And not overpriced. On a recent visit with a groupon, our service did not change from its usual. From the hostess, to bartender, to server and busters... Always great service, a friendly smile and the highest quality. I always have a great time and a great meal."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "nice small portions so I didn't feel stuffed when I left and it didn't seem unhealthy. great change of pace for bucktown"
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "A wonderful place to have a nice dinner with my date. I loved the scallops and the wine selection was fun to read through. I enjoyed a nice glass from Bordeaux. The dinner was not rushed."
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "This is a neighborhood place with excellent service. The food was delicious as was the wine (if the choices seem limited by the glass, it did not matter because they were delectable)... Service was far beyond expectations: very warm, friendly, and accommodating... and the music choices topped it off. Had a great experience."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "If you want a wonderfully delicious dining experience where the staff and ambiance will not disappoint for a nice romantic outing, then look no further… Cafe Absinthe offers everything you could want in a nice romantic setting. Sunday nights are great as the parking in the area is free that day. Do yourself and your significant other a favor and book a reservation! Just make sure you don't sit to close to the kitchen if you're looking to maintain the romantic ambiance as the kitchen lighting will destroy any aspect of the otherwise cozy romantic experience."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "Great food and atmosphere. Kitchen definitely knows what its doing. Room is energetic and tables close - like in larger European cities. Very fun, just be ready to meet your table neighbors! Wines are limited but select-able."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Excellent ambience but food was average at best. Foie Gras was disappointing, caesar salad was solid and I had crab stuffed shrimp for an entree which was simply average."
    Dined on 2/15/2014