Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.5
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6367 Reviews
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$30 and under
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French

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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 6367 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
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RH
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I enjoyed a wonderful business luncheon with my two coworkers. We sat next to the window and had a great view of the neighborhood scene. Our server was really great and friendly. Our food choices were all excellent. Salmon, tartare, croque monsieur, french onion soup and caesar salad along with a bottle of Champagne. Ambiance was very relaxing. I will definitely go back again soon. I wish we stopped at the bar for our final drink.

R
San Francisco
75 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The fish en papillote was superb, every bite of it as was the pasta.

TL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have been dining at Absinthe for over 25 years. Today I joined friends for brunch. I had the Mushroom Omelette which I rank as the best omelette I have had in my life. That even includes dining in Paris.

Some of my favorites are the French Onion Soup as well as the Croque Monsieur. I also enjoy their half cracked Dungeness crab along with a Cesar salad.

FE
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Ordered their Absinthe burger cooked MEDIUM. Waiter confirmed. When I received it, it was RARE with bright red interior. Took 15 minutes to flag someone since they are understaffed. Waitress asked if I want it cooked more or want a new burger. I told her new burger cooked medium. The waiter who took my order delivered it 15 minutes later without an apology. Any time this has happened at previous restaurants they offer free dessert or don’t change. I got the full bill with no apology.

S
San Joaquin
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Can I give a 6th star for service? They were attentive without being intrusive.

SS
San Francisco
104 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

one of the most beautiful and comfortable dinning rooms in the City - the bar is fun and vibrant -the new chef has made some great menu changes and the food is excellent - it is always such a pleasure to be at Absinthe

E
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent portobello grilled cheese sandwich. The cocktails were delicious.

w
San Francisco
165 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Their always stellar onion soup did not disappoint. A shout out for the the delicious, crisp and interesting market salad with citrus notes. Service was excellent

M
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Our dinner was absolutely delicious. However, we were seated at a table that was smashed so close to other tables that I felt like we were sitting on our neighbor's laps. I understand the need to fit as many people as possible BUT a little more room would be good.

E
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Good place but we had one glass of wine and one entree each and the bill was $130 before tip. Seems more expensive than it used to be for good but not great food. It is convenient for the ballet and concerts so we keep going pre-performance for the location.

SJ
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience3

Always have a good meal here. This time, service was a little slow. Soup was cold and the onion soup was too salty. Main courses were good.

d
Chicago
173 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Glad I made reservations in advance, Absinthe was crowded on a Monday night. The best coq au vin I've had in ages and one of their house specialties. Another house specialty was the french onion soup. Very rich broth and delicious to the last spoonful (get a cup not a bowl if eating an entree). Mac and cheese was out of this world (noodles were not the spotlight and were not al dente). Belgian mussels were small but tasty. Cocktails with absinthe were plentiful and tasty. Good wine selection. Excellent wait staff.

OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love love this French Bistro. Have been going for many years and it never disappoints. The potato encrusted salmon was killer.

c
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We started with cocktails and a delicious garlic pretzel.
I had mussels and others had the pork cheeks with pasta.
For dessert we had what Carlos called a “deconstructed snickers bar.”
By the way Carlos was charming and fabulous.

D
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience3

I guess I might still suggest Absinthe to a friend, because the ambiance and service is and was very nice.
The food has always been great except this time my hamburger was not cooked like I requested and the french fries were not good.
It was much louder than I recall to have a conversation.

JM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Thought the Caesar salad was average and the onion soup was bad.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

There was a table in the corner with some very loud (very drunk) patrons which I realize the restaurant cannot fully control but zero attempts were made to address (even to ask them to keep it down a bit)...we were not the only couple affected and the group was served at least 2 more rounds of drinks well after it was obvious some in the group were past their limit. This wasn’t just loud talking but shouting and slamming on the table, so it kind of ruined our night unfortunately.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I went there to celebrate our anniversary. It was a very nice old school dinner. Love the vibe - very classic :)

M
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience4

We always have brunch there, which has always been a pleasant dining experience. We decided to have dinner there, thinking it would be our usual wonderful service. When we initially asked for an olive appetizer, our server, Marcus said he needed our entire order first, but he would do it. When another server brought our food, she mistakenly set a side order at the wrong place, not a big deal. When we asked her about the order of the three burgers, she said she was putting them down the way the server put in the order! She got it wrong and my husband had taken a big bite out of a very pink hamburger (he ordered it well done). The food was good, but they didn't get it that night about giving excellence service, so we will not be having dinner there again!

OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server was professional, excellent, and had exceptional al balance between being attentive but not intrusive.
Seats were - luckily - at the window, facing the street and so were both cozy but not cramped feeling.
Colors of the restaurant were pleasantly warm (the ceiling of the restaurant could use the same tin-like charm of the bar section though).
Food was fresh and tasty.
Overall, we had an excellent experience for our family outing.

F
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

I have always felt Absinthe was consistent for food, value, and service. My meal on Sunday was good but not as good as I remember past meals. Still, I would go to Absinthe again.

HK
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

I had a delicious late dinner here after a symphony concert. The service was excellent and included knowledgeable advice from the waiter while I was choosing what to order. I highly recommend the charred octopus!

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience4

Has gone downhill over the years. Cesar overdressed; rack of lamb tasteless.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Valentines Day

JK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Fantastic Coq Au Vin, wonderful Steak Tartare. Perfect Valentines day dinner!

ML
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall3food1service2ambience3

Decoration is nice. Food and service are average. If you are looking for a french one, pass your way.It is definitely not a french restaurant and we tried 2 supposedly french dishes which were really disappointing.

R
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience5

First time back here in a while. The food is still very good, although the menu doesn't seem to have been updated a lot in recent years. The service was OK, but not as good as last time. But it's nice to see this restaurant is still busy and buzzing with people out, and some of them celebrating special occasions.

s
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

It was awesome r to get together for dinner before ballet performance. We had a party of 11 and all dishes came out promptly except for the first two orders which somehow got lost.

Overall is good!

R
San Francisco
74 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

I had their delicious French Onion Soup and their Quiche Lorraine. The soup was just what I wanted, nice and cheesy and onion-y, but it was the Quiche that stole the show. It is more like an egg custard with chunks of bacon in a very thin crust. The custard was light, luscious, tasty and probably the best Quiche I've ever had - frankly so many others are thick and chewy, but this was amazing!

FL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Super in every way. I can’t wait to return!

GD
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I consider myself a bit of a foodie, and, having been raised in a longtime Italian fishing family, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to seafood. The octopus I had was absolutely phenomenal, one of the best preparations I've ever experienced--fresh, flavorful and tender. The service was also superb, on all fronts, especially our primary waiter David. Salad and fresh oysters were also top-notch, the latter among the best I've ever tasted. Truly. I cannot recommend Absinthe more highly.

d
Sacramento
6 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Service in general was excellent. Everything was brought to the table just as it was supposed to be; for instance, two wines by the glass with the main courses (see the following, yes I meant to use the plural) arrived within seconds of the food, for instance. One thing was a bit odd; not bad service, as such. I had an excellent Cesar salad before my two bowls of soup (potato leak and french onion). I asked for some croutons to put in the soups since there had been some on the salad. (I didn't expect them to have soda crackers at a fine restaurant). The waiter made an excuse for why he couldn't do that which made no sense. Pretty dumb to put a slight damper on an otherwise flawless dining experience due to such a minor thing.

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent in every way. I will be back.

AB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food3service5ambience4

Enjoyed everything, but the chef loves more salt than I do.Still a place I would return to.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Food was too salty which to me is notable because friends and family i cook for tell me i’m usually heavy on the salt. Salted butter that came with the bread was fine i liked the flakes of salt in the butter, no issues there. But my companion’s pasta was over the top salty as was the potato encrusted salmon. Service issues however here: waiter took my cocktail away before finished. Not the server or the table clearing guy, the waiter. Was a delicious aperitif and a big no-no taking it away while there was still another couple of sips there. Also don’t ask us three times if we want dessert. Those are things as a service professional myself that set me off.

SS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I had the salmon. It was delicious. It was fresh and had a layer of potato on it. An interesting touch. The service was spot on. He was attentive without being overbearing. He asked if we were going to a show in order to know how much time we needed. He could hurry our order if we had a time constraint.

S
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

The Coq Au Vin was the best I've had! The arugula salad was big and very flavorful. The chocolate pot de creme was creamy and dreamy! However, the salmon was a disappointment. Small, overcooked (even though they said it would be medium rare) and tasteless :( The accompanied salad with the salmon was also over dressed and tasteless. If you go, just don't order the salmon, and the food will be Fantastic!!

C
Sacramento
37 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The salad special, onion soup, fish dishes, and cocktails were spectacular. The melted cheese appetizer was just okay. The coq au vin was very good but I felt the the wine and bacon was a bit pronounced and took over the dish. The dessert was very nice. Wait staff was great and the restaurant was very clean. We were seated right away and stayed for nearly two hours but never felt rushed by the waitstaff.

KB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service. Prompt, friendly, knowledgeable, not rushed. Delicious food! Cozy and comfortable.

E
Central Coast
12 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely place. Great food and service. Loved it

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