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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked 1000-Point Tables
Le Central reviews from OpenTable diners
75 reviews since July 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.1
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (34)great for lunch (29)fit for foodies (25)romantic (22)special occasion (21)good for groups (11)notable wine list (8)vibrant bar scene (6)hot spot (6)great for brunch (5)late-night find (5)kid-friendly (3)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Food was very disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    I 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Esquiste !!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Le 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:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Team Dinner
    Chitown
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Our 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:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sure fire French
    sonomasailorVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    We've been coming here for years whenever we want good French bistro fare. We've never been disappointed.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Zman
    Zman
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    My 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...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • French gem
    Foodfan1
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Wonderful old SFO hangout. If you like Cassoulet, they serve the best.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Second Visit Was Just as Wonderful!
    Zaphelps
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 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 2007VIP
    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
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 48 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 2, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 858 reviews are from the Le Central reviews archive.
  • 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
  • AylaVIP
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    It was okay. The bread was on the cold side but was only okay. The place was not memorable to me and the flavour of the dessert was too sweet. I'm not sure I would come back again.
    • 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