Old standard is still great!
We were seated promptly in the back (away from the bar) where conversation was easy. The bartender was very savvy and made me a "French cocktail" with Couintreau, Pastis and Lillet and the Chopin martinis were 4-5 oz.! Pomme Frite accompanied the drinks. We next had some celery root salads, and excellent escargot (not too garlicky) and onion soup gratin. For entrees our guests had the cassoulet which had good flavor, but could have benefitted by some more broth. My wife had roast chicken with crispy skin and I had 4 roasted prawns with green pea risotto. Service was impeccable with water, bread refilled without asking and the ability to pace our meal. We were too full for dessert. Park at Stockton Garage for $3 weekends!
3/15/2013 5:00:00 PM
We live in the east bay and
We live in the east bay and were looking for place in near Chinatown to meet out-of-town visitors. Someone recommended Le Central and it exceeded all expectations in every way. The food was excellent, the service was great, and, at least when we were there, it was quiet in the way I remember restaurants used to be quiet. I was also pleased that, at least in the evening, the Sutter-Jackson garage was reasonable for parking (it was $4 for 2 to 2.5 hrs, I think), and it was only a half block away. Thus, it makes it easy for those, like us, coming from the East Bay. Because of the distance, for us, it would not be a usual destination, but it is perfect for special occasions.
3/18/2013 5:00:00 PM
Excellent beet salad and nicely
Excellent beet salad and nicely cooked half chicken with fries-delish!
3/19/2013 5:00:00 PM
Had to go back for seconds!
I had such a great experience on my first visit about a month ago, I seized the opportunity to return when organizing a friend's birthday dinner. YUM! Very friendly service and they let us linger much past finishing our dinner. Always nice not to feel rushed.
3/21/2013 5:00:00 PM
Perfect French brasserie in S.F.
Le Central is the perfect French brasserie in SF. And their food is unfailingly delicious & reliable. No one delivers a perfectly turned out cold poached salmon & an haricot verts salad like they do. Everything on the menu tastes authentic. Service is gracious as well. We love the place.
3/26/2013 5:00:00 PM
We have enjoyed Le Central
We have enjoyed Le Central many times and the food is always wonderful. Our only comment was our waiter was very impersonal and standoffish which in unusual for Le Central.
4/4/2013 4:00:00 PM
A San Francisco gem!
A true SF gem with classic bistro staples. Their cassoulet has been cooking since Day 1, their steaks (au poivre or the filet) have the charred yet tender quality that bistro steaks demand. Their appetizers are diverse and delicious as well. Service is always good, everyone is genuinely nice.
4/11/2013 4:00:00 PM
the food is always consistent.
the food is always consistent. They have the best steak tartare in the city.
4/16/2013 4:00:00 PM
It's always a great place
It's always a great place for lunch. I've only been there once for dinner, and that was good, too.
4/18/2013 4:00:00 PM
from Menlo Park
Hadn't been to Le Central in about 10 years. it was the same as we remembered, even better. The food is simple French Bistro food, but great! super onion soup and the cassoulet was outstanding. My wife had the herb crusted halibut, which she loved. the chocolate mousse was also delicious. we'll come back again, sooner. it's not Fleur de lys, but doesn't pretend to be. Oh, by the way, we sat next to a couple from France, speaking French. they were delightful and loved Le Central too, it was their second night back while visiting SF. pretty good endorsement!
4/19/2013 4:00:00 PM
I would come to Le Central
I would come to Le Central for any reason. However, recent visits have been for business dinners. The charm exuded by the staff and decor makes up for any of my deficits in that category. Personal favorites are the well executed classics: Boudin Noir, Cassoulet, and Steak Tartare. All these dishes are conveniently located in a box at the center of the menu.
4/21/2013 4:00:00 PM
good and consistent, steak
good and consistent, steak tough otherwise 54 star
4/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent food, service and
Excellent food, service and atmosphere. This is a great little neighborhood restaurant.
4/30/2013 4:00:00 PM
This is a SF classic serving solid French food. In a City filled with local sourced dishes and wood fired pizzas this is a refreshing change. Besides, I always see French visitors there. Legit. Friendly owners too.
5/17/2013 4:00:00 PM
My wife and I had dinner there prior to going to see a play. It was our first time there. The food, portions, and service were quite good. We thought it was a good value (including the wine list) for it's proximity to all that happens in the Union Square area.
6/13/2013 4:00:00 PM
A Touch of Paris in San Francisco
This small restaurant makes one feel as if you are in the midst of Paris - from the Parisian decor, to the small and intimate bar, to the very decidedly French menu. The butter lettuce salad with mustard vinegrette is straight out of a Paris bistro, and the Bouef Bourgignon melted in one's mouth. For over 30 years this staple of French dining has remained true to its roots.
6/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Le Central for lunch
good food, good service, good ambience, and a very low sound level that facilitates conversation.
7/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
We had a very nice birthday dinner at Le Central. We even got to sit in Herb Caen's table by the window. The French-themed food was excellent, and the waiter and staff were very attentive. We will be back!
7/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
As it should be in San Francisco
Chinatown's madding swirl of touristas passes by but doesn't seem to stop. Very good food, unhurried but attentive service, La Central is now our default choice of cant go wrong choices.
8/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
Always good food!
This place is such a staple in downtown! Some fo the staff and guests have been working or eating there for decades. I had a wonderful filet and the waiter was so nice. Enjoyed meeting Amber the bartender she was a great addition. I will be back!
8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
A classic French bistro. A
A classic French bistro. A classic San Francisco joint.
8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
We love this place. This is our favorite French restaurant.
Their Paella is the best!
8/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Had a great business dinner
Needed a place for an important business dinner. Needed good, but unobtrusive service, reliable food, good wine list and quiet place to chat. Le Central did well on all counts.
8/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Authentic French Bistro
Classic menu, but with some extra , appropriate, updates without sacrificing the traditional dishes. Lovely attitude among staff we will go again for sure.
8/25/2013 5:00:00 PM
A perfect bistro in San Francisco
Le Central is San Francisco's go-to for those in need of a bistro fix. The menu and its quality are consistently excellent.
The cassoulet for which the bistro is renowned has been cooking continuously for more than 38 years. Sausage, duck, white beans marry in a garlicky stew that is the equal of the best cassoulet I've eaten in France. Get a table by the window, order the steak frites, and you can imagine being in Paris or Toulouse. The Butter Lettuce Salad, with a creamy mustard vinaigrette, is exactly the Salad Verte you are served in bistros all over France. The Celery Root Remoulade is a wonder.
You never know who you might meet at Le Central. I've seen Willie Brown, Sharon Stone, and other notables from politics, sports, tech.
8/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
Good food as usual
Service is good for lunch, but I found the restaurant is not full even during prime lunch hours. Perhaps it is on the pricey side for tourists who do not know about the history of this restaurant!
9/9/2013 5:00:00 PM
3hrs in SanFran, where do I go?
I do go for the Cassoulet but it is everything else that completes the experience for me. I went a little earlier than usual and got to see the place fill up, locals and visitors alike. I do not recall going to the city and not eating here.
9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great experience! Great food!
We had planned to end our day of city shopping with 5:00 drinks and dinner at Le Central. Around 2:30, having had no lunch yet, we stopped by to see if we could eat NOW rather than later. They happily sat us for a late lunch in the bar area - at the table next to Willie Brown and party! What fun! The place was hopping. The food was as exquisite as always. This place will stay on my 'nite-out' list, but now I am adding it to my 'great for a great lunch' list as well.
9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Le Central is undeerstandibly
Le Central is undeerstandibly a San Francisco institution, a place serving good French food at reasonable prices. Our waiter was charming and very knowledgeable about the wine, not at all snooty when we chose the least expensive Chardonnay. The lemon souffle with berries dessert was the highlight. The halibut special was generous and very fresh and tasty.
9/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Food and Great Ambience
This is a very place. This was our first time but it will not be our last. We had great service and the place was busy but not noisy. The Food was wonderful. My wife had Halibut and I had the Rack of Lamb. I would recommend either. This is a great find.
9/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
First time at Le Central
I requested a quiet table because my colleagues and I were celebrating a retirement, and was very impressed with the table they'd reserved for the occasion. The food was divine; the dayboat scallops melt in your mouth! The menu has traditional French with an American flair. I would strongly recommend for an elegant lunch.
10/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
Fresh pea soup different and
Fresh pea soup different and delicious. Service very good
10/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
A very nice experience
I have been wanting to go to Le Central for many years---and my wife's birthday was the perfect occasion for a special lunch.
Wonderful service , wine and cuisine. We were even asked if the high energy muzak that was playing was a problem for us so early( it was), and it was turned off.
The only disappointment was that there was no acknowledgement of my wife's birthday although I mentioned it in the Open Table reservations. I think there was a place for "special requests". Not sure if this was a failing of Open Table or Le Central. She did not miss it, but I did. Thee are the things that customers remember when choosing from 100's of possible places to put out $100.
10/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Imaginative bistro find
Seated immediately (with our booking); daily specials (loved the squash curry soup!); buzzing but still able to carry on a table conversation; recommended!
10/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
Old San Francisco Restaurant
While the food was adequate but far from extraordinary, it was quiet enough to carry on a conversation with a group of friends that all of us could hear.
10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Affordable French cuisine
Always amazing food. This is a very affordable restaurant with very tasty dishes. The cassoulet is a gem!
Don't be intimidated by the look of the place. This a historical restaurant with high standard
10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Delicious but small portions
We ordered both appetizers and main dishes; we were surprised when the mains came that they were no more substantial than our small appetizers! My tall husband left hungry. However, the lovely French cuisine was delicious, and the restaurant is charming with its old brick walls. Enjoy the food, but you'll need a snack when you get home!
10/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
An excellent downtown lunch
An excellent downtown lunch place. highly recommend it's signature dish - the Cassoulet.
10/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
A Revival of Style with Good Vibes
One can always count on having a good meal in a civilized environment where those having dinner can also have a conversation. We enjoy going there because we know what to expect and are never disappointed. The service is attentive but not invasive.
The restaurant is one of our standards when getting together with friends we like.
11/25/2013 4:00:00 PM
Love Le Central
We have been coming here for years and we are never disappointed. A great French bistro near Chinatown. Staff, ambience, food and wine are always great. Love coming here for lunch with friends. If you like cafes and bistros in France...you will like Le Central.
11/28/2013 4:00:00 PM
An Old Treasure
Le Central has been in the financial district for a long time, but is amazingly consistent in its excellence. The food is wonderful French bistrot fare, and we always enjoy it.
Their cassoulet is marvelous, just right for this time of year.
12/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
Why it wasn't a five
Overall, La Central was fine. We'd go back. That said, seating was "cozy." You'll have opportunities to chat with nearby patrons if it's busy. Sometimes that's nice; other times, maybe not so. And we thought they could have been a bit more generous with bread and butter.
12/6/2013 4:00:00 PM