453 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94108Neighborhood:
Downtown / Union Square
FrenchPrice: $30 and under
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.lecentralbistro.com/
- Phone: 4153912233
- Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: French
- Executive Chef: Johnny Tanphanich
- Dress Code: Smart Casual
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Private Party Facilities: Le Central is the perfect venue for special occasions and business gatherings. Housed in a beautiful brick building, our banquet seating, fresh flowers, and authentic brasserie décor offer a unique and comfortable experience for cocktail hours or formal dinners.
- Private Party Contact: Johnny Tanphanich 4153912233
A word from Le Central
Le Central is a neighborhood bistro located in San Francisco's bustling Financial District. A favorite of locals and visitors since it opened over three decades ago in 1974, Le Central's iconic red tabac sign has become a familiar fixture of Bush Street. Housed in a brick building, the restaurant's warm interior offers guests an authentic brasserie atmosphere. Handwritten chalk Plat du Jour menus, cozy booth seating and fresh flowers greet customers on every visit. Le Central serves traditional French cuisine such as Steak Frites, Onion Soup Gratinée, Rack of Lamb Persillé and our cassoulet which has been cooking for over 12,000 days. Le Central is owned by brothers Johnny and Paul Tanphanich who bring over four decades of French cooking to the restaurant.Continued
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Le Central reviews from OpenTable diners
99 reviews since May 22, 2014
- Ambiance4Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (42)fit for foodies (40)great for lunch (40)special occasion (33)romantic (31)notable wine list (16)good for groups (12)vibrant bar scene (11)hot spot (7)great for brunch (6)late-night find (6)kid-friendly (3)Show More
- winendineDined on 9/12/2014We have eaten here for over 20 years and Friday night was truly the first experience with sub-par food. The frisee salad was overpowered by the strong shallot dressing. The special Sea Bass entree was flavorless and overcooked as were the accompaniments. Dessert was just mediocre. As the restaurant was practically empty, the kitchen was certainly not deluged with orders. Wine by the glass options desperately need a revamp, as choices are slim and overpriced for the quality. Our server, however was excellent. She was attentive and very responsive to our requests. Hopefully this was just an off night, as I know Le Central is capable of much more.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- ClassicAdamVIPDined on 9/6/2014Classic restaurant in SF. Chose the restaurant for this occasion because my daughter has never been there, needed French cuisine in a familiar setting, and they had escargot on the menu. Overall did not disappoint!Special Features:
- Always FunLou2Dined on 9/6/2014Perfect French bistro, food always great, staff friendly, will return again.Special Features:
- SuperbBramanteDined on 9/5/2014Lovely food. Haricot vert salad excellent. Crab cake brilliant.Special Features:
- Perfect.Yum2YouDined on 8/26/2014Lunch at Le Central was a perfect way to return to San Francisco after being gone for a few years.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Food needs a little newjwscostaricasanfranciscoDined on 8/21/2014Getting a little old. Needs to look into an updated menu. Still good but not in touch any more. Presentations boring. Fun place to take tourists and hang out. Good cocktails and fun for a group. Just need more exciting food. Just check out the alleySpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Just like eating in ParisOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 8/19/2014We had a great dinner at Le Central. We tried the onion soup and the haricot vert salad for appetizers and the roast chicken and steak with grilled onions for entrees. Both the entrees came with a huge pile of delicious French fries. For dessert we tried the chocolate mousse and the raspberries with the freshest whipped cream I have ever tasted. The restaurant has a warm and cozy feel and we can't wait to return.Special Features:
- Pretty good food, OK serviceAngelaSDined on 8/12/2014The salmon was quite dry (overcooked perhaps...). My chicken, however, was very flavorful and moist. Seemed roasted properly. Well seasoned. The cheese plate is good, but...no crostinis? We used the table bread. The cheeses on their own were too strong flavored to eat standalone in my opinion. The house made chutney was delicious. The blueberry crumble was tasty, but otherwise something I could probably have made at home. Our server was somewhat inattentive and unfriendly. I still tipped him decently out of courtesy and the fact that he seemed to be running the whole floor (10-12 tables) on his own so he was likely flustered by the load. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Irishlord82VIPDined on 8/6/2014We had a very nice meal here. The steak tartar was terrific. The steak, halibut special and shrimp scampi were all very good. If you must go to San Francisco, and I would avoid it if at all possible, this is a very nice little restaurant near Union Square. Like all dining in San Francisco, it is way over priced and, for the three days four of us visited, none are worth the money.Special Features:
- Great eveningFoxyDined on 8/1/2014The wine was very good for starters and the dinner we had was delicious-we had the Day-Boat Scallops and the couple next to us raved about their lamb as well. We also had the Herb crusted goat cheese salad and for dessert which were both excellent I have eaten at LeCentral several times, usually a special occassion and I have always enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the service has alwys been great and you do not feel rushed.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 8/1/2014Le Central never disappoints. While the menu is small, this is probably one of the reasons for the food's quality. My dining companion had crab cakes and a salad, and I had the claims Bordelaise in a savoury broth with Celery Remoulade. Both of us thought the food was delicious. The portions were just right as we were going on to an event downtown. We will definitely come back when we attend another event.Special Features:
- LovelyTaraLVIPDined on 7/29/2014Le Central is always a must when we are in the city! I dream about the cassoulet!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Forget the cassoulet.Luv2dineDined on 7/29/2014We regrettably obliged the many reviewers on the cassoulet. It was dried out from over cooking. This sparse on meat crock was $25 and mostly beans. We should have returned it. Desert was better. The creme brûlée was not the best yet good. The tiramisu was the freshest and best I had in a long time. The cream was light and airy, the rum present and the lady fingers pronounced, all meaning that it was made fresh and not mass produced and left to compress as so many tiramisu are these days. Other reviewers seem to not understand the decor. It is not "outdated". Nor does it need a renovation. It is old world which has a warm and welcoming feeling. We would return with the understanding that we ask the server for the best prepared dishes.Special Features:
- Reliable and consistent qualitytibtodineVIPDined on 7/25/2014Service is attentive and polite. Fish was excellent. Pate quite nice. Asparagus perfect. What can I say ?Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- gem near the SquareDeliaVIPDined on 7/22/2014Love this place near Union Square, have been going for many years!! DeliaSpecial Features:
- Willie's PlacePhillyPhilDined on 7/19/2014Service was excellent. Plenty of time to visit. Great scallops. Drinks well madeSpecial Features:
- Great French BistroOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 7/18/2014Eating at Le Central is like eating in Paris. The restaurant is charming and cozy and the food is very good. We tried the crab cake and the mozzarella and tomato salad for appetizers and the steak with pomme frites, roast chicken and the special lamb shank for entrees. We enjoyed them all, especially the steak with perfectly sautéed onions. For dessert do not miss the fresh berries with real whipped cream. It is fabulous.Special Features:
- Great FindanniebVIPDined on 7/17/2014Loved this restaurant! We were looking for a quiet place with great food and great service and that is exactly what we found here. The steak au poivre was excellent! Will certainly go back the next time I am in San Francisco!Special Features:
- HowardDined on 7/15/2014One of my favorite San Francisco restaurants. I always enjoy taking guest there.Special Features:
- Great place, great foodhpc77Dined on 7/5/2014It was very convenient, right around the corner from our hotel, near Chinatown. We decided kind of last minute, and luckily we didn't have trouble finding a table (it was a Saturday night). The food was great, and so was the service. The total cost was a bit more than I am used to (living in a smaller city), but I already knew SF was going to be more expensive, and the quality of the food was definitively worth it, so no complaints there.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 6/28/2014We've been going there for almost 40 years and never get tired of it. Food is great and it reminds us of left bank restaurants in Paris.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not the best French restaurantOpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 6/28/2014We have been making the tour of french restaurants in SF. This one left a bit to be desired. Everything was good, but nothing exceeded good. This was probably my least favorite French place in town.
- French brasserie with great serviceElMagnificoDined on 6/27/2014While we were on a time schedule because of a show, we never felt under pressure as our waiter masterfully understood our needs and made this wonderful dinner possible in record time. While parking is always an issue in downtown San Francisco, it is easy to jump into a cab and appreciate the neighborhood gem.Special Features:
- Another nice dinner...repeatdiners2Dined on 6/27/2014I love to come here every time we stay in SF. It's a perfect combination of formal (traditional food, white table cloths) and casual (posters on the wall; they didn't kick my husband out when he wore jeans and a polo shirt). Great staff, food and atmosphere, with a bar side and a restaurant side. Yummy cosmos, too! Walkable from BART and Union Square, for those who enjoy a before- and after-dinner stroll.Special Features:
- glad to be backthankskdVIPDined on 6/27/2014what a delightful dinner where we years ago had spent many wonderful evenings and lunches! yesterday's early evening was perfect for a pre-opera dinner before patricia racette's fabulous repeat of her triumphful "madame butterfly" at the san Francisco opera house. the food: my salmon flaked pleasantly upon its excellently prepared bed of spinach. service was superior, just as we had expected. Le Central remains one of my ten favorite restaurants in any state or continent i've visited.Special Features:
- Stellar!JunebugzgirlVIPDined on 6/20/2014Unpretentious french bistro experience that retains a ton of old world charm. The staff is attentive, but not hovering. The food is glorious. Perfectly prepared and seasoned. AND do not miss dessert! The cold lemon souffle is like a sweet cloud. The chocolate mousse add years to your life...Special Features:
- DRY OLD CHICKENOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 6/16/2014Wow that was a bad chicken. I ate two bites. Fries were okay. Chicken was clearly cooked in advance and reheated. The spinach was nasty too. I've been here 10-20 times over the last 20 years, probably won't go back.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/14/2014We really liked this restaurant. the food was very good as was the service.Special Features:
- Paris in tne CityFoodieFamilyDined on 6/12/2014Excellent French food in the French quarter right in the heart of the bustling area of SF & always a warm experience reminding us of Paris. The rack of lamb was to die for--6 double rib of lamb + veggies.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- not up to expectationsmcvrDined on 6/11/2014Chose to try Le Central since overall the OpenTable reviews were quite good, but it did not impress. One major problem - inside it smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, which was unpleasant and difficult to ignore. Not comfortable. Service was perfectly fine, but the food quality varied - the pate and the crabcake appetizers were very tasty, the beef was pretty good but on the fatty side, and the roast chicken was definitely not worth ordering. Mousse was very good. Overall, won't be back, since the inconsistent quality and the smell is just not worth it.
- disappointedjleeDined on 6/11/2014Really wanted to like the food here since the staff was so friendly. Crab cake came in a sea of sauce which, despite the lovely design drawn on it, was not very good. Crab cake itself did not taste very fresh and was drowning in butter. Onion soup was ok - my bf disliked the cheese. Steak tasted strange but the vegetables it were delicious. My cassoulet was a bit disappointing and frankly kind of gross. The boast of number of days the cassoulet had been cooking - I begin to wonder if it was not a metaphor for how many days they'd been serving it. It really looked like stew that had been cooking several days running. I was hoping for redemption in the dessert, but creme brulé did not set and was too liquid. The mousse was ok.
- Disappointing foodAlleycatDined on 6/5/2014All in all a disappointment.. Dine around town menu sounded great but Food very average. Service exceptionally bad. I will not be back. Best item was the frites - which were great followed by the mousse- but that's not enough to keep me coming back.... Salmon & beef stew bland & tasteless.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 6/4/2014Le Central does not disappoint. Periodically I need my French "fix" and I get some if it at Le Central for the escargot and boudin noir. My dining companions hold to the more American selections - and no one has been disappointed thus far. It is so conveniently located that one can easily catch a performance on Geary.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Le Central-OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 6/4/2014this place is amazing! it's on the pricy side, but they know how to cook their meats well! they have wonderful service. Very attentive staff, who are all knowledgeable and friendly.Special Features:
- A bit of ParisTrumpetGuyVIPDined on 5/29/2014Other reviews were on the mark: this place is a solid, venerable, unpretentious place with a true Parisian ambiance one finds in local neighborhood spots in Paris. Short ribs were as tender as possible, ample portion. Filet mignon in classic brandy pepper sauce melted in the mouth. Onion tart could've been a meal in itself. Respectable wine list with many good French selections - our St. Estephe Bordeaux was great compliment to the meal. We'll return!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A classic, always lovelyNew2LivermoreDined on 5/24/2014Le Centrale may not be the most exciting restaurant in the city, but it is a classic, with a delicious menu (I had the cassoulet and it was indeed very special). Usually the waitstaff is most attentive and makes us feel special but on this occasion it was merely "very nice" (which is, of course, perfectly acceptable). There was almost no one in the restaurant which was at first odd but then we liked it; very romantic (due to the holiday weekend I'm sure). A great special occasion restaurant, classic menu and service, and always perfectly lovely.Special Features:
- pattyDined on 5/24/2014The evening was perfection on all accounts...thank you Le Central and staffSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Nothing good to recommendPaFoodieDined on 5/24/2014We read all of the reviews, and had high hopes but we were disappointed. The service was uninspired. The food was bland and served warm (not hot), and the wine list was poor. The red wine was served at room temperature. Waste of time and money
- Always a pleasureGoodFoodHoundDined on 5/24/2014It's always a pleasure to enjoy a nice lunch at this iconic SF restaurant. Our service was friendly and professional. The maître d made a special effort for my daughters wedding dress shopping luncheon. The food was very good. Overa a fun and relaxing lunch. Thank you-Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Typical French BistroAngelaVIPDined on 5/23/2014The food was excellent. The specials were very interesting. The white burgundy was excellent and served as a perfect foil for the softshell crabs.Special Features:
- The following 836 reviews are from the Le Central reviews archive.