Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.5
5608 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 5608 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
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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k
San Diego
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

I had a very nice time at absinthe. The food is still very good for how long the restaurant has been around which is always amazing. I would say the service is so so, having to ask for water constantly and then not anticipating certain needs (ie wanting to order another drink, etc) they also charged .50 cents for a little ramekin of fresh horseradish which I thought was a little ridiculous because I work in the service industry myself. Why not charge for ketchup then. The thing that got me the most though was they forgot to do something for my boyfriends birthday which is why we went there for the first time. I know they do something because 1.) they are definitely a special occasion restaurant and 2.) I saw another table get a candle for a birthday. I mentioned it to the host and she was very apologetic and friendly, did offer me a gift card which was nice. Overall it was nice and iwouldreturn

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M
San Francisco
59 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The main attraction of this place is the location,( for pre symphony dining, the bar, and the ambience if It is your thing,
Our server was excellent
I have always found the food to be passable
Not exceptional. The octopus/sausage main
Was mediocre.
They do have however an excellent Fr Onion
Soup and a very good burger.
Will go again at some point pre symphony

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A
San Francisco
48 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another wonderful dinner at this classy restaurant. We both had the beef tartare and loved it.

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

My bill had a $50 overcharge. The server’s response that these things happen. The food was much better in the past. i still like the. Location and the ambience but it has slipped.

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OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, the food was excellent. I'll zero in on the French onion soup this time. Classic. If it's something you like, add a cup. Osso Bucco and Rigatoni also fine.

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S
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

I've always loved Absinthe over the past years. However, it was disappointing for the 4 of us dining before
a Symphony. The menu is very limited and hasn't changed - we also felt the quality of the food was not up
to par as in the past. Noise level was high - I may be looking at other nearby restaurants. Not a great value.
Service that night was not great either. Maybe they should rethink their menu options.

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FM
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Servings are very small and there are not too many options on their brunch menu. Food is fine but nothing outstanding.

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SA
San Francisco
75 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Absinthe. It's always our number 1 pick when in Hayes Valley. We have never left disappointed. Wonderful, cozy restaurant with great food and excellent ambiance.

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DL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Absinthe needs to change it up. The menu hardly ever changes, and the food has become boring and mediocre. Our service the other night was really bad. Even our simple cocktails came out wrong and had to be sent back. There are many better restaurants to try at this expensive price point. We’ve been coming here pre and post symphony or opera because it’s so close to those. I feel similarly about Jardinere. Time to branch out!

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L
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very friendly and considerate service. Nice menu.

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RD
San Francisco
46 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Our first time at this restaurant was for lunch and we were very pleased with all aspects. We were promptly seated at a comfortable and quiet corner booth. The ambience was quite nice with sunny, open spaces with French and SF decor. The music was traditional and hearable without impinging on conversation. The waiter was polite and attentive throughout the meal. Both the gem lettuce salad and French onion soup were delicious as starters, as were the beef brisket “French dip” and the Absinthe hamburger with fries for entrees. We finished the meal with delicious cups of coffee. We shall return!

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FM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Always a good meal here but nothing blew me away

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 3

Slow service
Not attentive

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L
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the chili Bloody Mary. Ricotta French toast was decadently delicious.

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m
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Excellent service. We had a great table right by the window. Very nice morel mushroom pasta!

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JG
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Dinner at Absinthe is always an enjoyable experience. The menu has enough variety that there's something for everyone. The food is fresh, well presented, and creative. The Tomato Bisque and the French Onion soup are both excellent. If you like salmon you can't go wrong with their Potato Crusted Salmon.

Great dessert options. We tried the coffee ice cream and it was possibly the best we've had. The wine list is so extensive you could probably spend an entire meal perusing it.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Food sucked.

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JP
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

the waiter was quite a neophyte. didn't asks if cocktails were up or on the rocks. couldn't figure out the intermittent draft which was quite distracting.

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SK
Los Angeles
17 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 4

This is one of my favorite restaurants. Usually the food is perfect. This time I had to send my burger back twice because it was raw. They took it off my bill. Best French 75s ever!

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JS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been here a number of times and love it. Had our wedding here in their Private Dining Area and return for our anniversary. Excellent service, nice atmosphere, amazing food. Overall exceptional experience. Have recommended to a number of friends who all agree it's a great place.

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k
San Francisco
43 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

First time eating dinner for about a year food was fair romaine salad had no taste main dish was good service was fair. coffee was cold we paid corkage for our wine was not opened properly. it was so noisy we could not carry on a conversation . will not be back Kb JD

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LL
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Have eaten here many times. Quality and service are always excellent. The table we had (a reservation) was wedged between two other tables which was a little uncomfortable, but I did not take away a star. Highly recommended. Everything I have tried on the menu is excellent. Great for Sunday brunch before a performance. Book early as it is very popular.

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JS
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good food, menu changing with the seasons, innovative choices and reliable stand bys.

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s
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

Food was great. Ambience is more romantic than casual.

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W
San Francisco
54 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently excellent food and vibrant atmosphere

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RC
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a rough start to our trip to SF but as soon as we arrived at the restaurant things got better. Everyone was professional and courteous and the food was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! We ill definitely be going back!

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SF
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I love this restaurant. My husband and I have been here three times—always good. Our waiter was superb and the food was perfect! I love the banquets and beautiful murals.

The only other comment has to do with all restaurants anymore and that is this: people show up in baggy shorts, t-shirts and beat up sneakers! However, many patrons were dressed in business attire or business casual when we were there last Tues (9/25/18). I really wish lovely places such as Absinthe required a dress code. I don't care if you are a tourist, don't come to a nice place dressed as though you were in an In and Out burger. Surely you brought with you a pair of slacks and a decent shirt. Thank you!

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A
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great time and great food. Our server was very patient and knowledgable, thoughtful wine recommendation. All around fabulous time :)

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FE
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Limited menu. Especially good spot for wine and cheese. Excellent service.

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o
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

If you're vegetarian, your only choice is pasta. But if you like pasta, you won't be disappointed.

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b
San Francisco
62 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great oysters and wonderful service from our waiter Robert
Perfect for before the opera on a lively Saturday night.
Only negative is that the banquette seat needs to be re-upholstered. It has lost its "stuffing"

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j
San Francisco
210 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service and food are excellent. Grilled octopus perfection in presentation and taste. Small menu, each an excellent choice.

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DW
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love Absinthe for everyday and specialty dining.

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o
San Francisco
152 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent restaurant - food and atmosphere. Whitney is a wonderful server who made the experience that much more enjoyable.

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CS
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had a surpringly delightful meal at this classic bistro style restaurant. The steak tartare was delicious and the salmon prepared perfectly. Don't skip on the chocolate pot de creme! Service was excellent in a great environment.

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s
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

wish it wasn't so noisy...because the food, service and ambience are great.

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o
San Francisco
152 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food from Joel and service from Martine. Wonderful food from Joel and service from Martine.

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t
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Better than ever! One of our favorites. The pork osso bucco was amazing.

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RC
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had already experienced the great cocktails available at the bar, but this was our first time dining in. The food (and the service) did not disappoint. For appetizer, we got the pretzels and cheese (which was basically a poor-man's escargot because of the butter sauce they're drenched in). And for the main course, my girlfriend ate the salmon with a thin (and delicious) potato crust, while I had the octopus and sausage entree. The portions were well sized and well priced (for a date night dinner). Service was great as mentioned at the beginning and they were very conscious of our show time later that night. Definitely recommend this restaurant!

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AM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My brother and I usually meet at Absinthe for lunch..he loves the restaurant. I recently went with my sister, visiting from out of town and my son. I only remember 1 other time I ate here for dinner. I remembered having a lovely muscles dish but it wasn't on the menu. My son had the Osso Bucco, my sister had the rigatoni and I have the grilled octopus dish.
My son loved his, so did my sister but I found my octopus to be under seasoned, not grilled long enough so that it was too tender, and basically the sauce was really bland. I ate most of it anyway but even had my son taste it and he thought the same thing.
I've had grilled octopus at other restaurants and it was much better. Maybe chef should rethink the execution of the octopus and the sauce.
Otherwise, iconic location, great service, we were there for about an hour and a half to talk and our waiter was very patient.

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