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Le Central
Le Central

Le Central Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.lecentralbistro.com
  • Phone: (415) 391-2233
  • 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 (415) 391-2233

Getting there

  • Parking: Street Parking
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
Diner Reviews
  • "The bar is one of the best in the City. No surprises, just welcoming, and always professional. The martini's are served in a mini-flask (two full pours) set in a small ice bucket. Pours are generous. A number of small plates are available at the bar. Happy hour prices until six P.M for drinks and appetizers. As to dining (either in the bar or in a separate room), dishes are always good, never stellar, but never disappointing.The wine list offers enough variety to satisfy, and there are even some affordable bottles. House wines and wines by the glass are available. Service is good and professional. This is a comfortable place to spend an evening!"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "We very much enjoyed eating at the bar and the bartender was great! Highly recommend the experience."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "This was my 10th dinner here. It is a great place and I will be back again."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "Le Central is one of the last untouched old San Francisco haunts that has so much history to it. I love it for the nostalgia and the great typical French bistro cuisine. The food is consistently good with out all the fancy "creative" versions of food. I hope it keeps going many more years and doesn't wind up like Tosca's."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Seated a table of 10ppl for my birthday no problem. Meat dishes (i.e filet mignon and lamb) were pretty well made. seafood was okay. attentive servers present. Not bad for a monday night."
    Dined on 3/24/2014
  • "Food is totally decent. so if you are hungry, in area, try it. you will like it."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "My dining companion and I were both wondering why we hadn't been at Le Central in such a long time -- and that will be remedied. It's a great place for dinner before an event (which we were attending), and the menu fits with such a plan. We each had 2 appetizers. I had the celery root remoulade, which one rarely sees on menues, and the escargot. My friend had the onion soup (about which she raved) and butter lettuce salad. The restaurant appears to have a following of regular patrons, and an early meal is just the right time to go before it fills up. We will definitely be chosing Le Central again."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Enjoyable French bistro atmosphere. Limited menu but very good. Cassoulet was superb . Loved the classic way they served my well made Manhattan with a reserve vial on ice. Noise level was okay. Wait staff friendly and just attentive enough. Will return."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "We'd been here many times in the past, and it was OK restaurant. Last visit was not as satisfying as before. We did not feel welcomed, hardly had any attention from our server. It felt like if we did not order any alcohol , we were not very welcomed. Food was very average, especially pate which i could not spread on the toast, it was so hard and solid...We are not coming back - there are plenty of better French food places in SF and around."
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "This was the final night of Dine About Town 2014. To everyone's surprise (including the restaurant), it turned out to be a very quiet night. The bar was great! The staff and the drinks professional...just the way a bar ought to be. The bar offers a happy hour drink/food menu that is a steal! And even better, excellent quality. Dinner began with The French Onion Soup and was just okay. However, my entree, The Cassoulet was excellent. Their claim to fame for this dish is well deserved. For desert, Mousse au Chocolat, and here, the portion is large and I finished every bit of it. The wine list is good, and there are some fair prices. We had a good time and will be back."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "In all fairness , we arrived for an early dinner so there were only two other tables full and they were older couples. The decor is old but cute French and we sat by the window which was nice. The menu is traditional French and that is exactly what we wanted. The escargot, French onion soup , filet mignon were very good and the cassoulet was outstanding! The sixties music in the bar didn't really add the right ambience but was not overly loud. Staff were polite and efficient."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Le Central is an understated San Francisco treasure with the restrained elegance of times past. The staff are very attentive and anticipate the needs of their customers without being intrusive. The food was excellent. It was refreshing to dine in such a warm, inviting atmosphere."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Great good and reasonable prices. Best roast chicken around."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "My husband used to have his office right near Le Central and ate there often. We enjoyed meeting friends there. It is nice to see a restaurant survive fr 40 years. The food was good, not outstanding. We were seated at a table where we could hear. Our friends report their steak and blood sausage were very good. My husband ordered his favorite: cassoulet."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "My husband and I dined at Le Central while our daughter had a group of 7 in their second room for her 18th birthday party. We were pleased that Le Central could accommodate what we thought would be a group of 10 for her and be able to order off the menu (not a fixed priced pre- set menu as other restaurants require with a group of 10). We were all very happy with the food. We esp. like the grilled halibut special, the oysters, and liver pate. The tarte tatin was rich and good. The teens enjoyed their steaks, steak tartare, onion tarte. The service was attentive. The atmosphere from 6-7:30 on a Saturday was not a huge crowd so it was calm. I know from other times during the week at lunch is when the place is jumping."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Recommended by a friend, Le Central did not disappoint. I took my boss for a casual dinner, we ordered a light dinner of french onion soup and salads and were both quite happy with our choices."
    Dined on 2/24/2014
  • "We visit SF at least twice a year and usually put Le Central on our agenda. The staff always remembers us which is so nice! The atmosphere is lovely, a bit old worldly and quiet enough so that you can carry on a conversation. The food is always excellent. You cannot go wrong with Le Central."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "If you want to dine in a fine restaurant in SF with reasonable prices and outstanding food with a strong French flair, this is the place. The cassoulet is to die for and I had the best beet salad I have had in many years, although I would strongly recommend sharing it. By the way, the scallops melt in your mouth"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "It is so nice to see that Le Central hasn't changed after all these years. I first came to Le Central in the late 70's. The atmosphere of being in a French Bistro remains the same. The food was good. I enjoyed a starter of cold asparagus, perfectly cooked and served with a creamy dressing and chopped egg. My main course, Filet Mignon au Poivre was cooked to perfection and served with mashed potatoes and haricot verts. We ordered a side of Pommes Frites because they are so good. Dessert course: Le Central Souffle Glase served with fresh raspberries and blueberries had a nice lemon flavor and was refreshing after a heavy meal. Nice to see a nicely dressed clientele enjoying good food and lovely atmosphere."
    Dined on 5/24/2013
  • "We had Valentine's Day dinner at Le Central and it was absolutely perfect. The menu included many of Le Central's standards, like escargot and scallops provencale, but also some special appetizers and entrees. like shrimp bercy (in white wine and herbs on toast points) and steak Oscar (with Dungeness crab and asparagus). For dessert, nothing beats the chocolate mousse. We can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Good food and service - we were satisfied with our Valentines dinner."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Our dinner seemed jumbled. We were sat right away and were served bread with no bread plates. When I asked for some I was brought one and my fiancée was left without one; very unobservant server assistant. Our Server seemed to be frazzled but nice. She seemed flustered. As this was a huge diner holiday we chalked it up to fatigue as it was the end of the night. Overall it was fine. But just fine. The lighting is pretty bad. White light in a French Bistro? Really? It felt like part Walgreens part bistro. But the food was good. Crab cake was really tasty, I didn't care for the the lemon soufflé. Our steak came out rare but they happily whisked it away to be further cooked. Kind of an amateur performance for the "oldest French bistro in SF.""
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Food - poor Wine list - poor Service - poor. /On one of my visits service was very minimalistic; on my next visit i felt unwelcome (the waiter came to our table only when we called him./ Prices do not justify poor quality of the food and service. Tried twice for lunch, will not go back again. IMHO, Le Central needs improvements on all levels."
    Dined on 1/28/2014
  • "It's the oldest French bistro in SF and we had to try it and will go back again. They got my husband's order wrong, but they gave him an extra glass of wine on the house to make up for it. Very friendly staff. The escargot were wonderful. Portions were just right."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "We've gone here for Saturday lunch a few times and had a wonderful meal each time. Last Saturday we had the leek vinagrette, celery root remoulade, smoked salmon and the crab cake beurre blanc. All were delicious - especially the leeks and celery root!! The crumb cake was a little dry, but we've had the chocolate mousse and it is fantastique! Great service and ambiance."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Le Central ~ Is the best Brasseri in San Francisco If your a Steak Tartar fan you will swear your in France the moment of your first bite. It is my favorite tartar on the planet. Every dish on the menu is exceptional. The scene is very entertaining the service could not be better. Enjoy"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "I was underwhelmed. Food was OK and extremely pricey. Considering they are competing with Cafe de la Presse next door, perhaps the menu needs to be revamped (seems it's the same from 1984) and prices should be looked at. It wasn't bad, just not memorable."
    Dined on 1/28/2014
  • "Very average French food. Not a value using the Dine About Town menu."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "Incredible service, outdone by the food. 5 stars every time French bistro"
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "A must for people who want to join San Francisco noteworthies for lunch--get a table by the bar, rather than the alternative room."
    Dined on 11/11/2013
  • "Wonderful restaurant, well located between Union Square and the Financial District - with an unfussy comfortable ambiance. Efficient wait staff. Food was fabulous and arrived quickly from the kitchen. We went early when it was a bit quieter, but even when it filled up, it wasn't too noisy. The tables are very close together, but we didn't find it to have much of an impact. We had a lovely experience here."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "We hadn't been in the area for years but used to dine here often. It was perfect! Great food, great connection with a great waiter. We ares happy it remains so natural, real, comfortable and tasty. I am so tired of the pretentious attitude of so many hot spots. Nice to get a great meal in a great place."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "We've eaten here before and food was great. (Service and ambiance always is). This time food was bland, but well presented. I think dine about town crowd took its toll. We'll be back at a quieter time."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "I have been coming here for many years . I went with friends 2 nights ago. The food is as good as ever. I had the pate -great. We also had the casoulet and it was delicious! My friend had the steak tatar and green beans. Food was as good. as usual and the service, great. Still one of my favorite restaurants in SF."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "Everything about this place says welcome to the French 80s. Pink neon sign, the decor, bright lights on a saturday night. If thats what your looking for then you'll be fine. Unfortunately i was on a date and isnt wasnt romantic at all. The food was boring and the escargot was burnt. I wouldnt come back. Start with looking at the dishes and modernizing them, and turn the lights down a little to add to the mood."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "We have been going to Le Central for 39 years and it has been a consistent winner. The food is consistently good and service is attentive. The size of the room is terrific--lively but not overwhelming. Look forward to our next visit."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Such a great spot....but we were THE ONLY people in the whole restaurant...arrived at 6:30 to avoid noise, but didn't have to worry as no else ever arrived! I hope it was just a fluke...we have just rediscovered it and hate to have it close for dinner!"
    Dined on 1/6/2014
  • "Le Central is a great French bistro. It has all the classics -- escargot, onion soup, roasted chicken and steak with pomme frites. We tried the onion tart and the asparagus vinaigrette for appetizers and the roast chicken and steak for entrees. All were excellent. For dessert, don't miss the chocolate mousse or the berries with fresh cream."
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "This was our firest visit to Le Central. The French inspired food was very good. The service was attentive without being intrusive. Our needs were met very well by the staff."
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "Le Central not only serves exceptional food, beautifully plated, but the ambiance is fresh while staying true to the "old time San Francisco" feel. All of our food was supurb. The escargot & pate were delicious. The roasted beet salad is a beet-lovers dream! A meal in itself. I requested "rare" grilled salmon & this is the first restaurant that prepared my salmon exactly to my taste. The rack of lamb, rare. was very tender & the sauce a perfect compliment. The filet mignon was prepared as requested, as rare as possible. Perfection! For dessert we had the apple tart, creme caramel & tiramisu, a perfect ending. Portions were very generous and we all left feeling extremely satisfied and vowing to return again & again. A true gem!"
    Dined on 1/2/2014