Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.5
5661 reviews
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$30 and under
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French
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is one of the longest-running and most convivial dining institutions in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. Located within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, the establishment features French and American-influenced brasserie fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Absinthe’s lively bar offers classic and creative cocktails and full menu dining.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French, Californian
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Hours of operation
Mon–Wed 11:30 am–11:00 pm
Thu–Sat 11:30 am–12:00 am
Brunch
Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm
Sunday Dinner
Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Weekend Dinner
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–12:00 am
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Phone number
(415) 551-1590
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Joel Ehrlich
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Catering
Please call for more details.
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Cross street
Gough
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Parking details
No valet. Street parking and nearby public lot located on Grove between Franklin & Gough.
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Special events & promotions
Absinthe Private Dining, directly adjacent to Absinthe Brasserie & Bar on Hayes near Gough, is designed to function as a completely private dining room with its own private entrance, coat closet, restroom and bar.

The menus at Absinthe Private Dining, created by executive chef Joel Ehrlich and executive pastry chef Michael Aguilar, offer classic and contemporary San Francisco brasserie fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The private dining menus reflect those in the main dining room at Absinthe, and change frequently, allowing variety and seasonal freshness.

Absinthe Private Dining is available for business meetings, wedding events,
cocktail receptions, birthdays, showers, wine dinners, pre- or post-performance dinners, and holiday parties.

For more information, please contact Kat Womer at 415-551-1453 or email kat@absinthegroup.com
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

Absinthe Private Dining reflects the romantic atmosphere of Absinthe’s main dining room, with whimsical hand-painted murals of the garden of Versailles designed by Willem Racké, plush upholstered furniture, a large century-old, richly framed, pre-1906 earthquake mirror from Blue Rock Inn.

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What 5661 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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HM
Sacramento
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

I have been here before and loved it. This time, I made a reservation and was given a rather small table, but it was very busy. The food, drinks, and atmosphere was wonderful. However, our waiter seemed much more interested in providing service to couples and families than waiting on two women. We waited over 30 minutes just to give our order and much longer to get our drinks and food (which came at the same time). My steak was delicious but was somewhat cold, indicating it had sat for awhile. Toward the end, the waiter tried to make amends by serving desert quickly and comping a 1/2 glass of wine. I will return but if given the same kind of service again, will find another restaurant.

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OT
San Francisco
67 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Always a fine experience, except that this time (Sunday, 11/11/18) our waiter was slow, minimally communicative about holdups, and inattentive. That's a first -- usually the service is outstanding.
The coq au vin, as always, superlative; the burger: the best in town!
Because of the slow service, we had no time for dessert and coffee before our concert.
Considering that we arrived, with reservation, at 5:30, and allowed 90 minutes before we had to leave, something was clearly the matter. Waiter said they were really busy. Wrong: we saw lots of empty tables, and no large parties.

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S
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Absinthe is always a great place to dine. Food is great and on this visit our waitperson was super about watching the time so we could get to the symphony on time.

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D
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It’s been a long time since we brunches at Absinthe, and it didn’t disappoint. Beautiful food, well trained staff, very consistent. My favorite restaurant in San Francisco.

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Y
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to Absinthe for dinner. Love the special for the night, which turned out to be the best risotto I’ve ever had. My server was helpful and kind.

I’d recommend Absinthe to anyone who wants consistently good food :)

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L
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I'm not really sure why this restaurant is still open. We asked if we could tweak an order...NO. We asked if we could have all berries instead of mixed fruit...NO. We asked if we could have a substitute for something we did not eat...NO. My "over easy" eggs came almost raw. My toast came cold. Coffee was bitter and luke warm. Will never be back.

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B
Denver
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

consistently wonderful. Great cocktails and superb food. Perfect post-concert venue

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j
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great dinner first time and it was a strong experience Osso Bucco was very well done thanks keep it up

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RJ
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Oysters were delicious, as was the Steak Tartare. Paired with aa cold Hendrick’s martini, served with style and a smile by Shannon.

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R
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Always a treat to eat at Absinthe. It's our favorite "go-to" place around the Civic Center. The food is reliable, inspired and excellent. Services will get you in and out in the time you need. The ambiance is busy but not overwhelming - everyone is having a good time. There is a lively bar crowd, but the restaurant is more calm.

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KS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We were seated in a cozy banquette on a Friday night before the Symphony performance we had tickets for. We enjoyed an unusual cocktail, appetizer and entree. All very good and the service was amazing. I'd recommend Absinthe to friends, especially for an enjoyable evening out or special occasion.

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HP
San Francisco
56 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Food choices and quality were excellent. Server was accommodating to our needs.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cool place!

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JL
London
12 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Had nice dinner before the SF Symphony. Server was very attentive and recognized that we had a tight schedule to have our meal then get to Davies Symphony Hall. Great halibut!

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GT
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 5

The food was underwhelming for the price, and the server was not very accommodating.

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MK
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant ! The food is fantastic !! I had the filet and my wife ordered their chicken dish. Everything was amazing.

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AM
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was absolutely stunning! I loved the venue and the food so much that I will absolutely make sure I go back to this restaurant every time I visit San Francisco! Literally the best meal I’ve ever had.

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TO
Orlando
13 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food and service, a bit crowded and warm but server very accommodating and food was awesome.

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p
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

This was a disaster dinner for the first-time at this restaurant for the two of us. We had scheduled it at 5:30pm to be able to attend the opera and arrived a bit early at 5:20. We told the waiter about the schedule and that we needed to be able to finish by 6:45. No problem, he said. The waiter took our order and one of us selected coq au vin. The dinners arrived after a reasonable amount of time, but instead of the coq au vin, we were served Osso Bucco. The waiter had disappeared and it took about 10 minutes to resolve the wrong dinner. The waiter said it should be just another 5 minutes and we would get the right meal. Unfortunately, it took almost 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I ate the other meal of potato-encrusted salmon. Finally, the coq au vin arrived at 6:15. We refused any dessert and asked for the bill. The waiter brought the bill and it charged us for BOTH the coq au vin and the Osso Bucco. We waited for him to return and after 10 minutes we got up and went to the maitre d' who rewrote the bill for only the two dinners and comped us the drinks. We were able to leave this restaurant at just about 6:45. What a terrible experience. We will not return despite the fact that the food was quite good!

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OT
San Francisco
58 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

The food is consistently good. The service is rough around the edges. It’s a decidedly unhip restaurant in a very hip neighborhood.

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I
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy Absinthe. The deacon is beautiful and the food excellent. Mac and cheese is excellent and the potato wrapped salmon delicious. Staff are always friendly and helpful.

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L
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Great bar, wonderful bartender, happing place. Food was good salmon done perfectly. Like casual ambience.

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G
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every dish was excellent as we're the absinthe cocktails. We will definitely be coming back to here.

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P
San Francisco
93 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service & food continues to be excellent.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Food wasn’t up to my expectations. Ordered a cocktail at the bar that was wonderful, and when I ordered the same cocktail from the waitress later on at dinner, it was sub par and I didn’t finish it

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SL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a treat for brunch before our annual Sunday afternoon Boogie Woogie festival, only a short walk away. The duck confit is my favorite. The service and ambiance are always A+.

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CC
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

I had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now just don't get to the City that often but I was in town over the weekend and made a Saturday night reservation for the 4 of us. We arrived slightly before our reservation and seated immediately. The waitress was prompt to bring us water as we viewed the cocktail menu. She came back just a few minutes later and took our drink orders. Everything was perfect here the food, the ambiance, the drinks, etc. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to come back and bring my husband next time I am in San Francisco.

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t
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were promptly seated in the dining room so it was quiet as the bar area can be noisy loud. We were disappointed not to see our favorite appetizer of mussels and clams. It is fabulous dish made with smoked pork and served with garlic toast. Would love to see it make a reappearance on menu. Our table ordered salmon nicoise, oso bucco, and steak. Every dish was exceptional. The Pinot Grigio was excellent. We’ve already book our reservation for return visit in December.

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s
San Diego
40 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

After 30 years patronizing Absinthe I was forced to eat in the bar not the dining room. Very noisy crowded. Bench like sitting on the floor

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B
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our dining experience was wonderful except for a very loud, screeching table of about 10 people who had
total disregard for other people in the restaurant. Our waitress was excellent.

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SS
San Francisco
86 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional modern food arising from the classics, created with delicious, innovative preparations and served in an elegant Belle Époque setting. One of the best and most beautiful restaurants in San Francisco. It is always a pleasure to be at Absinthe.

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o
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Good restaurant, very conveniently located to the symphony and opera. Food was very good, but a little overpriced for the quality, compared to other restaurants in the area. We were promptly seated, and the waitress made sure we got our orders in quickly to make sure we would not be rushed (we had reservations for more than 2 hours before start time, so I hadn't expected to be encouraged to get our orders in quite so quickly--in the process we were perhaps a little more rushed in ordering than we might have liked. The appetizers are scattered around the menu, and we had to look a bit for things to share. The warm pretzel bits with cheese were to die for. The seafood boullabaisse was good. The ossobucco was outstanding. The cheese plate for dessert was hit and miss but overall quite good. Sazeracs were outstanding, as one would expect in an absinthe bar. The bar seemed crowded and popular. All in all, good to try once, and I'd go there again if it is a place I can get a timely reservation at short notice, but I can't say that it is on my list of places I simply must go to again in the theater district.

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OT
Mississippi
4 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful seafood and drinks in a romantic atmosphere

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D
San Francisco
96 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

I always enjoy eating at the Absinthe before going to the symphony or opera. It used to be hard to get a reservation but now a table is usually available. The food is consistent; I usually get the osso buco and my mate usually gets the salmon. I think that's the problem for us. The menu never changes and that means that the kitchen is just "going through their paces." I don't seem to quibble with this at other restaurants. Would love to see some daily specials and some creativity. It's not cheap eating here, ether, so it will be a while before we return.

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SC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Our meals were excellent -- actually beyond outstanding -- and the service both friendly and professional. The only negative was the high noise level. But the restaurant does have acoustic tiles on the ceiling.

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OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

A delight as usual; a different menu from last time but excellent.

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e
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was quite good, ESPECIALLY the profiteroles.
My only criticism is that the menu is quite limited- few choices in all categories.

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RI
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was good; scramble bland; noisy round us; mixed salad better replaced with nice fresh mixed greens would have been better. Convenient to Davies which is why we chose restaurant. ? not their best day.

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f
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Excellent brunch. Fruit pancakes fresh and tasty and other brunch egg dishes are tasty and filling

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j
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was quite good. Interior decor does need some help. Getting a little dated and showing wear on red fabrics
.

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