Le Central
Le Central

Le Central

  • 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

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.
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Le Central reviews from OpenTable diners
99 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (44)great for lunch (41)fit for foodies (40)special occasion (33)romantic (32)notable wine list (16)good for groups (12)vibrant bar scene (11)great for brunch (7)hot spot (7)late-night find (6)kid-friendly (3)Show More
  • winendine
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We 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:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Classic
    AdamVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Classic 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:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always Fun
    Lou2
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Perfect French bistro, food always great, staff friendly, will return again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Superb
    Bramante
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Lovely food. Haricot vert salad excellent. Crab cake brilliant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect.
    Yum2You
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Lunch at Le Central was a perfect way to return to San Francisco after being gone for a few years.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food needs a little new
    jwscostaricasanfrancisco
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Getting 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 alley
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just like eating in Paris
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We 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:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pretty good food, OK service
    AngelaS
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Irishlord82VIP
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    We 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:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great evening
    Foxy
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The 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:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Le 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:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lovely
    TaraLVIP
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    Le Central is always a must when we are in the city! I dream about the cassoulet!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Forget the cassoulet.
    Luv2dine
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We 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:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Reliable and consistent quality
    tibtodineVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Service is attentive and polite. Fish was excellent. Pate quite nice. Asparagus perfect. What can I say ?
    Special Features:
    romantic, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • gem near the Square
    DeliaVIP
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Love this place near Union Square, have been going for many years!! Delia
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Willie's Place
    PhillyPhil
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Service was excellent. Plenty of time to visit. Great scallops. Drinks well made
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great French Bistro
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Eating 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:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Find
    anniebVIP
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Loved 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:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Howard
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    One of my favorite San Francisco restaurants. I always enjoy taking guest there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great place, great food
    hpc77
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    It 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:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We'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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not the best French restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • French brasserie with great service
    ElMagnifico
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    While 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Another nice dinner...
    repeatdiners2
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • glad to be back
    thankskdVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    what 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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Stellar!
    JunebugzgirlVIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Unpretentious 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:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • DRY OLD CHICKEN
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    Wow 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    We really liked this restaurant. the food was very good as was the service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Paris in tne City
    FoodieFamily
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    Excellent 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • not up to expectations
    mcvr
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    Chose 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • disappointed
    jlee
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    Really 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing food
    Alleycat
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    All 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    Le 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:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Le Central-
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    this 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A bit of Paris
    TrumpetGuyVIP
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    Other 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:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A classic, always lovely
    New2Livermore
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    Le 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:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • patty
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    The evening was perfection on all accounts...thank you Le Central and staff
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, 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.
  • Nothing good to recommend
    PaFoodie
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    We 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
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always a pleasure
    GoodFoodHound
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    It'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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Typical French Bistro
    AngelaVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet