Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.6
6108 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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What 6108 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
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great cocktails and bistro french cuisine!

o
San Francisco
174 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exciting new menu items from Chef Ryan Fowler - lunch - brunch - dinner.

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

A 20.00 burger turned into 30.00 by adding tomato and cheese, no bun, and a side salad instead of fries

CR
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server was utterly delightful. LOVED the french onion soup and fresh roasted peppers. The burrata, heirloom and peach salad was excellent. Delightful pre-theatre dining experience!

NM
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great ambiance, staff, and service. Typically we prefer the vibe of restaurant bars, it were much happier being seated in the dining room

A
New England
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I was looking for a decent meal in a decent environment and not too loud (which is rare in SF) and I was happy with the place. Food is tasty with decent portion. However, this place is definitely on the pricey side. I wouldn’t come back for food but might come back if I wanted to bring guests for non-queue, decent restaurant.

AA
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Waiter Inflexible In adding a piece of grilled Salmon to a salad , really???
Very limited menu.
Nice experience in the past however will not be returning.
Bums rush.

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food. Classic vibes. Perfect cocktails. Needs a little more polish and some new takes on the menu.

AB
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was fabulous, service was really good...but he seemed less enthusiastic to serve us after we chose not to order alcohol (even though we got cappucinos, appetizers and entrees).

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The bartender and server were very accommodating and friendly. It’s always an amazing experience to dine at Absinthe. The food was top notch, and the menu selection is outstanding. The only exception was the hostess- she couldn’t seem to bother. I would have appreciated someone with a more welcoming attitude.

RA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent food. Waiter could have been a little quicker with service but overall he was very good. Would have no hesitation to go back.

n
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious meal and fantastic service at Absinthe. This restaurant is an SF classic that never goes out of style.

p
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Nice lunch with my wife while on a lazy day visit to the City. We sat at the cafe tables on the sidewalk and thoroughly enjoyed our mean and the experience.

SN
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal and service. We had such a great time in a very cool space. Will be going back!

SC
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The one pound rib eye special, dry hung for 30 days, was the best rib eye I ever tasted! And I’ve been dining in the city for almost 40 years, so this means a lot! I would request that dish to be on your regular menu. I’ve been to Absynthe a few times over the years, but I thought this was the best out of them all.

CS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absinthe is my go-to when out of town friends visit. Was there no long ago with a young actress friend who was in town from Chicago. Yesterday I was catching up on old times with a singer friend who'd not been here since 1989. She'd suggested Hayes St. Bar and Grill . I have nothing against Hayes St. Bar and Grill but turned the get-together to my "home court" advantage. Thanks as always.

JK
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

I’ve always loved Absinthe and think it’s just an upbeat place to celebrate or dine out with friends.
The brunch we had yesterday was fairly mediocre and, as such, somewhat of a disappointment. Nothing terrible, but a lot a not great things that contributed to this assessment: kind of unfriendly server, very average food (except for the yummy burger) noisy, and the most intense smell of furniture polish (?) when we walked in. I know you have to clean but right before the restaurant is about to open? It’s unappetizing.
Hope these comments help. As I said, I love Absinthe and will continue to visit. Maybe you were just having a not so great day. It happens.

m
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Nice place, been here several times in the past.

This time however the food was not up to standard, where the steak tartare was far away from what a steak tartare should be. A shame.

Good service, friendly

B
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and stellar service

P
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 4

EXPENSIVE. Would someone please change the $$ to $$$ on the OT listing? Everyone who has been there knows it's expensive. But the $$ is very misleading for anyone who has not been. $20 for a smallish hamburger and fries plus $2 each if you want a slice of tomato or cheese. Cooked a nice medium-rare, as ordered, but lacking in flavor. It didn't help that the brioche bun tasted like day-old. The least expensive (by far) wine on the huge wine list was $45 Vodka martinis (just vodka, straight up) were $14. A very nice Romaine salad was $15. Total bill (minus tip) was $146.84! Service was professional and efficient. Cool, hip, slightly upscale ambiance.

FD
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good restaurant I highly recommend . The vine menu is just amazing

k
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Front of the house wasn’t friendly or attentive whatsoever.

JC
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent first time experience. Wait staff so helpful and friendly. Table and food was perfect!

K
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fun date night before a show

c
Sacramento
5 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went craving their grilled octopus, but it was off theme...instead a 'summer bouilliabase' with cod, lobster, octopus...delicious. Also tried the 'green salad' which had very sweet strawberries and sugared nuts - doubled as a dessert. Excellent(!!!!) martini, too. The staff here are all attentive, extremely hard working, and personable. Nothing here to dislike - all great.

D
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was my wife’s birthday & we were given an excellent table w/ a great view. Our server David was excellent. We were greeted by the hostess with a smile & courtedy.
The food was fabulous beginning w/ corn soup & heirloom tomato & melon salad. I had a burger & my wife the steak!
Her champagne was superb as was my Bloody Mary.
We cannot wait to return whenever we frequent SF Jazz🎼

DL
Sacramento
13 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed our meals and can truly say we will be back and share the good experience with our friends!

KF
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

The food and beverages were overpriced.

s
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Yes but food has gone downhill. Duck over cooked, salmon...meh. Seemed like barely alcoholic cocktails at the San Fran going price of $13. Love this place. Took a reunion from out of town there. Disappointed.

O
San Francisco
76 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

This is, I hope, constructive criticism. The service remains good, especially at lunch. The ambiance is pleasant. However, unlike many of its competitors, Absinthe has not adapted its menu to be more inclusive, particularly for vegetarians and those with celiac disease [gluten-free]. My companions were satisfied enough with their fish and hamburgers, but others in our party were left picking from a very abbreviated list of "accommodating" offerings. This may be a sign the Absinthe is sufficiently successful with its strong hold on pre-Symphony/Opera/Ballet dining that it has become complacent. Truly, a few minor adjustments in the menu would give it a much more expansive reach. That might even cause a bit of rethinking on the overall menu, which may be due in any event.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

Requested a booth in the main dining room when we made the reservation and instead were seated in the mezzanine. This is a terrible place that he seated. It’s cramped and exposed to the overcrowded bar. The table of four next to us was so loud that we almost got up and left.
The food was less than mediocre. Our server was lovely but couldn’t do anything about the noise or lack of comfort. We won’t go back.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Started with Spicy fried chickpeas, yummy!Followed by SWEET YELLOW CORN SOUP, so fresh! Then the MARY’S CHICKEN BREAST mascarpone polenta, grilled broccoli de cicco, lemon-herb gremolata, onion jus... fabulous! Make a reservation and go! Service was stellar, very attentive.

OT
New Orleans
8 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was divine, wonderful cocktails and delicious food. Our server, Robert, was excellent.

s
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love absinthe . Waiter and bus person were friendly. Food good!great atmosphere...

l
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Absinthe is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. I especially love their wine list (93 pages long), friendly and unpretentious servers and sommelier, great food, and lively atmosphere.

d
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice seasonal menu. My friends tried the duck for 2 & loved it. I had the asparagus & melon salad for the 1st time & it was lovely. Sad this restaurant no longer participates in the "100 pt Open Table dining points". Wish they had an actual happy hour because let's face it, they're not losing any money.

P
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Arrived early for reservation after a show but it wasn’t a problem. We got a great corner booth seat for two. The servers were at tentative and friendly. We shared corn soup and the pretzel bites as an app - both were flavorful and a good starter. Then we split a pasta dish and the grilled octopus entree. They split the pasta for us without being asked which was nice. Both dishes were delicious - the pasta cooked especially well.

All in all - this was a great “date night” restaurant. I’d go back for a special occasion.

EE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love this restaurant. On the most recent visit, my friend had the potato-encrusted salmon and I had the rigatoni. Both meals tasty. My friend savored a glass of syrah and I enjoyed the rum-based cocktail - very refreshing. After dinner we had Absinthe's fabulous bowls of latte. Terrific way to finish a meal. Sit in the back dining room if it's open. It's quiet, tables aren't on top of each other, and the decor is lovely. Friendly service - though must admit, have had friendlier service on previous occasions. Hopefully, a one-off.

AB
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very professional from the time of checking in the servers all over excellent

OT
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Brunette ponytail waiter was rude and curt. He also accidentally spit in my wine but I didn’t want to embarrass him. He was rushed and rude, and my date who paid was really unimpressed.

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