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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
  • "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 It is not "outdated".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."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "Service is attentive and polite. Fish was excellent. Pate quite nice. Asparagus perfect. What can I say ?"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Love this place near Union Square, have been going for many years!! Delia"
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "Service was excellent. Plenty of time to visit. Great scallops. Drinks well made"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "One of my favorite San Francisco restaurants. I always enjoy taking guest there."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "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..."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "We really liked this restaurant. the food was very good as was the service."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The evening was perfection on all accounts...thank you Le Central and staff"
    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"
    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-"
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The food was excellent. The specials were very interesting. The white burgundy was excellent and served as a perfect foil for the softshell crabs."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "The menu is timeless and the ambience sends you right to Paris."
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "Wife and I have been customers over 30 years, consistenly great service, consistently food to die for and you never leave hungry"
    Dined on 5/19/2014
  • "Food was really high quality for the price; many of the flavors reminded us of being in France at a little bistro--flavors that even though we often French oriented places, we had not tasted these kind of classic flavors in a long time (and really enjoyed them both for the memories and also just for the delightful taste)."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "They're in season, and on the menu at Le Central -- one jump ahead of my favorite fish market (Cook's, in Palo Alto), who haven't gotten their first shipment yet. "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "This was my second trip to la Central and this experience was better ham he first. He waiter was fantastic, the food suburb. I will be back and will continue to return. "
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "Took my sons to lunch and we all enjoyed different salads and wonderful main dishes. Everything was good.......always a good pick for lunch or dinner."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Love coming to lunch at Le Central...great daily specials. Always a place to see the local notables. You can carry on a conversation. Attentive and efficient service. A favorite."
    Dined on 5/8/2014
  • "I dined in September and May. The experiences couldn't have been more different. In September both food and service were great. The last evening we experienced a surly, rushed waiter, poorly prepared food and warm red wine (I couldn't believe it but the wine actually cooled in the glass - ruined a good bottle). I was embarrassed and apologetic to the guests I had taken with me. "
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "We had a perfect experience dining early. The cassolet is as good as ever--wonderful. Great experience. My son loved the fillet steak with peppercorn sauce."
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "Relaxed atmosphere, good food, waitstaff attentive but not obsequious. Sat in the Herb-Willie-Wilkes corner."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Le Central is an excellent choice if you want great food, a cozy ambiance that is not to loud. They have a wonderful selection of wines, great service and it's a good place to enjoy French cuisine."
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "My husband and I dined at Le Central for our first time this trip. It is located just 2 blocks from our hotel. Somehow we have missed this gem of a dining spot for years. This was the most wonderful dining experience we have had in SF in the past 20 years. The food was amazing and the presentation was spectacular. The kitchen staff worked so well together and the chef's creations were unique. ALL of the servers were friendly and very attentive. I have never seen such a great team effort in a restaurant. Our server, Leyla, was the best we have ever experienced. Thank you Le Central for a great evening of very fine dining."
    Dined on 4/24/2014