Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.6
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6220 Reviews
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$30 and under
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French

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Pre/post Theatre
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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What 6220 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MW
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Absinthe is a San Francisco classic. We had a flawless meal -- very French, but modernized in the loveliest ways. Everything was perfect. It's a busy and vivacious place, there is noise, but we had no trouble hearing each other, speaking at normal volume. The service was impeccable -- attentive without being obsequious, smart and knowledgeable waitron, polite and friendly and professional. I can't say enough. What a lovely experience!

C
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were grateful for a quiet table and were very pleased with the service and meal.

2
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall3food2service4ambience2

Escargot over cooked with fennel, tasted terrible
Ordered lemon drop cocktails with a special request to make the drinks sweet. The drop no’s were very tart and the waitress brought liquid sugar instead of having the drinks remixed
The trout was overcooked and dry
The coq vin was chicken was dry
The desserts were sensational

HM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always wonderful

SV
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service2ambience3

the quality of the food has gone down in the last year. The appetizer portions were miniature, the burger bun was poor quality and cold. The fries are no longer what they used t o be. we went for the convenience, but there are too many other options in the neighborhood. We won't be back

VO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We went for lunch on a Saturday at 2:30 and it wasn't crowded at all. We had the caviar and a glass of champagne, the deviled eggs and cheese assortment. Our focus was to eat small plates and didn't order anything that was "cooked" so I can't speak to that.

LS
San Francisco
42 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience3

The food is predictably good and the service is quick to support all the patrons attending events. The menu is rather limited but everything I've tried has been excellent. Not an adventurous place but doesn't disappoint. It is a little noisy though so not a good spot for a quiet conversation.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Very noisy. Food took a long time. People at other table were complaining about how long it took to eat. Food tasted good and the vibe of the place was nice, but I expected better.

F
San Francisco
64 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dinner before the Opera - food was excellent as was service. Highly recommend the trout.

L
San Francisco
40 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent and tasty French bistro food---quiet enough at lunch for a real conversation to flourish---Elegant and professional service. I don't eat here often enough and it should be more prominent in my business lunch list.

AL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Nice food and snappy service. Not the cheapest but good quality and nice old school vibe

RW
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful Sunday brunch! Everything, from the table to the service and food was terrific. We had a really good time and will be back for brunch again! Thanks!

PP
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I was not a huge fan of the table that we were given. I made this reservation MONTHS ago but were given a small table by a door - so there was a lot of traffic going past us.

RC
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent dining experience. Excellent food, ambiance and service make this a special place before the opera or symphony. A great place for a date or special occasion.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

They were most helpful creating a meal for a most hard to please customer. And very patient!!!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and staff

JB
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The restaurant was fine. I probably wouldn’t go back. The food was very good. The service was fine. The ambiance was like a bar.

KM
New Orleans
37 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Absinthe was good, but there was nothing special about the meal. My potato encrusted salmon was creative, but bland in flavor and nothing to write home about. My girlfriend’s pasta dish was tasty but lacked luster. Not what one would expect from a popular San Francisco restaurant. Drinks were excellent and the service overall was spotty. Can’t say that I was really all that impressed with this restaurant as a place I would go out of my way to get back to.

f
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Have not been here in 3 years( world travels part 1 of 3?)!
Used to come here late night after SF JAZZ,
Always had 5 star experience!
This evening was kind of Luke warm- the Absinthe Burger failed to inspire! Yes- it’s made with shoulder”chuck” and brisket meat... failed to inspire also because it. Ones bare bones @ 20.00 so to add tomatoes and cheese is now a 24.00 burger( not an issue if it DELICIOUS....it was not delicious sadly....)
We also had French Onion soup- Superb, Shaved Brussel Sprout salad- Yummy but a bit over priced!!
Wait staff= Excellent!!
Busers = Excellent!!
Clientele... a bit oldish!!!
Probably not coming back... reason= Hayes Valley neighborhood has way more Exciting Restaurants nowadays!!!

RG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The ambiance and decor are perfectly matched to the delicious food. Friendly greeters and waitstaff enhanced the dining experience. We paid what we expected to pay for the evening.

N
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Wonderful meal and they can keep you on time for a nearby show

M
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have only had lunch on the occasions we have eaten here, and it has always been good. We really need to have dinner here some time.

KM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I went to Absinthe for Sunday brunch. It's a lovely restaurant on Hayes Street. They had a new item on the menu called BLT Benedict. We both ordered it and it was so delicious and different than your normal Eggs Benedict. Instead of an english muffin it had an onion ring and an heirloom tomato topped with the poached egg and hollandaise sauce on a bed of arugula surrounded by bacon bits. Very creative and great presentation. The service was excellent!

E
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pre-Symphony dinner in our favorite place!

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AZ
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

We ate here with old friends and were tucked into the corner window table which felt super intimate so we could catch up, yet still see outside and enjoy people watching. The cocktails are innovative and delicious and we enjoyed some of the best salmon I have ever eaten. Highly recommend, but it is a bet spendy.

CG
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience5

Over priced food, quality is decent. Not many options for food. Disappointed with how many 5 star reviews it had.

DA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience5

I would recommend for ambience and maybe drinks, but food was mediocre

DN
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

They just never miss. Not cheap but worth every penny.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

The salmon and the trout were stupendous. Try some of the absinth-based cocktails, such as the death in the afternoon, it’s magnificent. Waiter service was scattered, could have used more check-ins throughout the meal. Overall, Absinthe keeps being one of the best classic restaurants in San Francisco.

MM
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

This was a perfect place before the theater and the food was perfect. The drinks I would recommend. Delicious. The wait staff was professional and accommodating for getting us to our show. Everything we ate was scrumptious.

KC
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

From drinks at the bar to dinner at the table. Seamless service.

c
Tahoe
4 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It was a little noisier than I was expecting, but everything was lovely and the service was fantastic. The Barre du chocolat is insanely good.

SG
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

I

I'd made OpenTable reservations and asked for a center booth, also mentioning that it was a birthday dinner.
Nobody knew any of these details accept that we had made a reservation for 7:00 PM.

t is a beautiful restaurant. Service was very, very good. However, the food needs some help, I think.

We had a market salad that consisted of big pieces of acorn squash, roasted, skin left on and cut up into too large chunks spread across a very large, long plate. While I know the skin is inedible, this large amount, in an otherwise nice salad, was a bit too much to really enjoy.

We asked for bread-- it was a whole grain type and was dry and chewy, served without olive oil or butter.

I ordered the potato encrusted salmon. It was delicious, but it was a very tiny piece counterbalanced with a huge pile of salad greens on the other end of the plate. Not very well thought out.

Our dessert, warm gingerbread with caramelized pumpkin was delicious-- but the odd ice cream or sorbet served ont eh side was watery and flavorless. Actually awful.

Our waitress was fantastic.

Until the food finds its center of gravity, it will be a while before we go back.

T
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

From the initial cocktails to the final desserts and everything in between: excellent presentation and flavors. We were trilled.

LB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved brunch at Absinthe! Very enjoyable all around. Perfect for my gift of brunch and an opera for my granddaughter's birthday. She loved it also. We'll be coming back.

SV
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absinthe is a favorite place of ours, and has been for years. It's consistently delicious with great wines, food and service is top notch.

j
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our second pre-SF Jazz dinner at Absinthe. We shared the shaved Brussels sprouts salad and a bottle of Beaujolais. I had the fungi pasta. Everything was excellent. A great location for pre-show fare.

OT
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Overall, I love this place! The waitress was attentive, energetic and seemed to love her job.

The food was classic French with some good variations, as well. All well done.

The drinks are fun and they had some options I hadn't had before. I always love some infused spirit based options.

The only draw back was how hot it was...

HF
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

The itself was OK but the portions were extremely small. The same was true for the glass of red wine that I ordered. Wine itself was OK but the "pour" was tiny. Disappointing.
The service was good. I would be reticent to recommend this place to a friend.

s
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a wonderful place to eat whether you are going to a performance or not. The service is efficient and delicious food comes out quickly! Love it!

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