453 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94108Neighborhood:
Downtown / Union Square
FrenchPrice: $30 and under
- 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 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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked 1000-Point Tables
Le Central - Best Restaurants in Downtown / Union Square ›
Le Central reviews from OpenTable diners
86 reviews since July 30, 2014
- Ambiance3.9Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (42)fit for foodies (35)great for lunch (25)special occasion (22)romantic (20)good for groups (14)notable wine list (10)hot spot (7)vibrant bar scene (7)late-night find (3)great for brunch (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
- FOR FUN AND GOOD FOODXDude66Dined on 11/22/2014THIS IS A RELIABLE SPOT FOR CONSISTENTLY GOOD FOOD AND THE BARTENDERS ARE FUN AND EXCELLENT MIXOLOGISTS. OVERALL A LITTLE EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT YOU GET. THE CASSOULET IS SOMEWHAT BLAND AND OVERRATED.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A neighborhood gem!OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/22/2014This is a great place to meet friends or it may just be for you and your significant other. The tables are set close together, but this just adds to the cosy atmosphere. The wait staff are pleasant and courteous and know the meal well for recommendations. There is a busy atmosphere, probably created somewhat by the closeness of the table settings. This just adds to the character of the place. The lamb shank was standout, though everything we tried over our 3 visits to this place whilst we were in San Fran was subperb. Desserts also spot on. We went for mains and desserts instead of having an appetizer, though the ones we saw going out to other tables looks very inviting. We would recommend booking earlier in the day to secure a table. This place fills up fast due to the quality of its food at reasonable prices. If you are in San Francisco, this is one place to come to. It's als the oldest french bistro in San Fran, adding to its charm.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Tired but still a ClassicBond099Dined on 11/19/2014We had a good time. The food was good, solid, tasty, but not excellent. The server recommended a bottle of exquisite wine that went really well with what we ate. The smoked salmon was fresh and tasty. Would I recommend the place? Absolutely! However, this is a town of foodies and Le Central is an old proven recipe. Nothing daring or new.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lady Somerset Reports:LadySomersetVIPDined on 11/18/2014An old favourite which has got better. 2 of the 3 of us chose from the 40-year anniversary fixed price special. They both chose: butter lettuce salad, beouf Bourguignon and pudding. Everything was very fresh, the dressing on the salad delicious, the Bourguignon cooked perfectly the French way, and it came with a glass of wine. A great deal. My petrale special was fresh, perfectly seasoned and cooked. Louis, our waiter recommended an excellent bottle of French wine. We loved everything and will go back soon.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great French BistroHeyman76VIPDined on 11/15/2014While the atmosphere was not exactly 5 star (especially the tables by the kitchen), the food more than made up for it. We had a party of five and while everyone ordered something different, we all agreed that our starters and mains were 5 star quality. Highlighting the list was the herb crusted halibut and my cassoulet which was frankly better than any cassoulet I've had in my three visits to Paris. We also found the prices to be very reasonable. Two nice bottles of cabernet sauvignon, a couple of cocktails, 5 starters and 5 mains for $400. We will definitely come back on our next visit to San Francisco.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 11/15/2014Lovely restaurant. We were delayed and had theater tickets. They served us quickly an efficiently. Will come back for a more relaxed meal.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lunch at Mid-afternoontddinerVIPDined on 11/14/2014Our party of 8 arrived an hour early for our 3:30 reservation. No matter; the staff was very gracious and managed to work around to seat us. The front window was occupied by SF royalty, as usual. Our server and the kitchen were happy to split many orders so that we could all taste some of the appetizers. The food was excellent, seafood especially scrumptious. I noticed a pile of bare lambchop bones left on one plate--the rest of the plates were licked clean by meal's end. Lovely afternoon at Le Central.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 11/8/2014I have had dinner at Le Centrale twice in the lat two weeks. I love the decor, neighborhood simple and French. The house Provencal rose is cold and refreshing and, in a limited wine menu, a Gigondas was excellent. I had cassoulet the first time, served a little too cool and without enough sausage to match the lamb and, the next time, I had the filet which was tender, cooked to a true medium rare as I had ordered it and was very good. The desserts were very good; I had the lemon souffle both times and loved it. There is a very pleasant and enlivening atmosphere at Le Centrale that informs and infuses the dining experience there.Special Features:
- Le Central RestaurantAubergeDined on 11/8/2014Le Central is a San Francisco classic. I have eaten there several times and always enjoythe food and the ambiance. This last time was no exception. Food is French, not too French-American, and reasonably priced for what you get. Recommended.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FIFiVIPDined on 11/7/2014The chicken was excellent! Had a very nice bottle of chardonnay. Our waiter could have been a little more involved...Special Features:
- SF Classic That Holds UpRdtheWrldTrvlerVIPDined on 11/1/2014Made a last minute decision to dine at Le Central before a theatre engagement. No regrets. We had a delicious meal, friendly service in a room with nice ambiance and quiet enough to hear our conversation. Very tasty!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Crab CakesSquidDined on 10/29/2014Great Crab cakes, even out of season. The shrimp was under cooked and cold, waiter wanted to take it back but we had a show to go to. We will go back, Flavors were wonderful!
- Food was very disappointingFM7366VIPDined on 10/25/2014I have eaten here several times and the food was great, service always good. This time both of our dishes lacked flavor. My prawns were over cooked. Very disappointed with the meal. I will not eat here again.
- Esquiste !!!Thebestofsf1Dined on 10/24/2014Le Central~ Is simply the Best of the Best !!! I love the steak tart~tar it is the best on the planet ! Trust me evry thing on the menue is all Devine yum yum !!!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Team DinnerChitownDined on 10/15/2014Our team was in from out of town for a conference. The restaurant was a great fit for us. They had ample room. Tables are spaced wide enough that we could talk and not disturb other patrons. Would definitely return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sure fire FrenchsonomasailorVIPDined on 10/7/2014We've been coming here for years whenever we want good French bistro fare. We've never been disappointed.Special Features:
- ZmanZmanDined on 10/3/2014My wife and I went to this restaurant on the recommendation of an acquaintance of ours. We were not impressed, in fact we would most likely try to change the mind of anyone that was thinking of having dinner at this restaurant. When eating at a French restaurant, you go in knowing that you're going to deal with some type of attitude. But having a waiter that was looking to flip a table at a restaurant that was nearly empty on a Friday night borders on ridiculous! But, then you realize why the restaurant is nearly empty on a Friday night. The service was over bearing. Again, you felt rushed and the food was pedestrian to say the least. We should have left before we committed, c'est la vie...
- French gemFoodfan1Dined on 9/25/2014Wonderful old SFO hangout. If you like Cassoulet, they serve the best.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Second Visit Was Just as Wonderful!ZaphelpsDined on 9/23/2014We ate at Le Central a few years ago and fondly remembered the cassoulet. Well, it was just as scrumptious as the first time! We began with a wonderful goat cheese and leek tart with frisé that has the lightest, flakiest pastry crust. Then I had the aforementioned Cassoulet and My husband has the flatiron steak. The steak was perfectly cooked and as tasty as can be. The Cassoulet was full of duck confit, Toulouse sausage and lamb with tender white beans and JUST the right amount of garlic. for dessert we had berries and cream and Tart Tatin. A couple of lovely glasses of Cotes du Rhone each went well with it all. Scott was our waiter and was attentive and friendly but not obtrusive. Such a lovely restaurant!Special Features:
- 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 2007VIPDined 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.
- The following 866 reviews are from the Le Central reviews archive.
- 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.