Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.6
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6297 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 6297 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
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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T
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The service is outstanding, and cocktails are very good. I tried the steak tartare and was delicious, one of the best I’ve had. I also ordered the grilled octopus with arrabiata sauce, but I was a little disappointed because it was chewy although the sauce was very good. For dessert I had the apple tatin, which was a great way to end this dinner.

PR
San Francisco
62 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great salads and crabcake!

JR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Everything is top notch here except for the pricing. $38 for 3 scallops is not reasonable.

OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

One of my favorite restaurants - but not that great this time. Messed up order and the burgers were dry and tasteless. The Caesar was wonderful though.

OT
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful late meal with my wife after the Harry Potter show.

BK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

It's difficult to write this but I might not recommend Absinthe to a friend. I have been there twice in the past year and here's my experience.

1.) Food - this is the problem I have with Absinthe. The food is good overall. Some of the items I've order are very good and some just good. On my last visit I would say the crab cake and steak tartare were very good. They had a good balance of flavors. For entrees my group ordered the filet, the french onion soup and the coq au vin were just ok/good. The filet I asked for medium rare and what seems to be the trend lately it came rare instead. The potatoes and the steak were not hot. The Coq au Vin was good but not great. It was small. Some of the vegetables like the potatoes were not cooked all the way through. The French Onion soup was also just ok. That was our least favorite. The bread beneath the cheese had almost dissolved as if it had sat for hours.

2.) Pricing. The pricing for these items are not in sync with the quality of the food. For example with small crab cake was $24. The steak tartar was $20. Both to me were overpriced for what you got especially for the 1 small crab cake which was only 3-5 bits.

An example of a nearby french restaurant with pricing that is in sync with the quality of the food is Monsieur Benjamin. The pricing there is close or cheaper but the value and quality of the food is a few rungs higher. Another restaurant is L'Ardoise which preforms better than Absinthe.

3.) The service both times was friendly and very good.

4.) While I personally think the 90s over the top dark supper club is out of style my friends really like it.

5.) The noise level is always low and that's a nice aspect of coming here.

Would I go back to Absinthe myself. Unfortunately not. In summary while the food is "good" its not worth the prices. You would be better off trying to get a reservation at Monsieur Benjamin.

SS
San Francisco
103 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Very Good Food served by a highly professional staff in one of the most beautiful venues in the City - it is always a pleasure to be at Absinthe -

AF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have been there many times and and have never been disappointed.

S
San Francisco
131 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Four ladies and a baby celebrating holidays belatedly had lunch at Absinthe

Portobello grilled cheese was a big hit

Iced tea as always good

Deft service and baby was good in high chair and laps

Check it out

DB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Service was a little slow but it was late, after attending a performance at SFJAZZ. Food was very good, especially the dessert.

CT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

There was a wonderful female bartender who took excellent care of us. She told us how she was going to construct each drink and they were delicious. She made our evening.

B
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Croque Monsieur--fabulous!! Everything was great. Nice table in the window. Plenty of room. Pleasant server. Excellent bloody mary.

FO
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall3food2service5ambience3

Food was just good. Ambiance, well to each their style. Waiter was so professional.

BA
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Shannon was our server and we had amazing service. I ordered the chef special which was duck and it was amazing! Fabulous service and great food

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food & ambiance in an adorable neighborhood close to theaters

F
San Francisco
66 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Never disappoints and portions are generous which is unusual in San Francisco restaurants! Definately recommend for lunch, dinner or brunch.

LH
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding French cuisine!

LJ
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our meal and the ambience were a perfect beginning to an evening at the symphony New Year gala. It had been a chilly day and we enjoyed our cocktails - Death in the Afternoon and a perfect Sazerac- followed by coq au vin and an excellent arugula salad at the waiter’s suggestion. Then a perfect tarte tarin and chocolate pot de crème. We had a leisurely meal in a very cozy setting. We’ll be back!

OT
San Francisco
106 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

While we have loved this place for many years, Monday was a disappointment. The food (scallops and octopus pasta) were OK, but there was a very little bit of octopus in the pasta and the scallops were drowned in sauce and decorated with a few peas. The tartar was excellent as usual.

We hope this was just an off night, not a trend.

P
Morelos
8 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excelente comida, servicio rápido y buena atención, la sopa de cebolla excelente y el plato de queso delicioso.

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MR
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We've been coming here occasionally for years. The décor has been updated and is quite attractive. Very good food and excellent service.

D
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience3

Food was good. Service was exceptionally bad. Not sure why the past two visits both fiord and service were great. Thus the visit on this trip to San Francisco. Corkage was very reasonable. However they have a fantastic wine list

KR
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience5

I had reservations for over 2 mons. Party of three and was offered one of 2 tables in the back of res. We were there at 5, more than enough available. Had to push for a better table. Being the first party there this was unacceptable 😕

A
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great spot for drinks after work, dinner after a show, or a good date night. You can't go wrong with cocktails here, or their food. I love the french onion soup, it's a whole meal in itself! And their mac n cheese is AMAZING. Definitely a great spot for all adult audiences.

PP
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Birthday
Food and drink from start to finish was perfect.
Rose bubbles, arugula salad, coq au vin and pot o creme with a glass of tawny port and finally coffee!!!!

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great? Raclette was outstanding

J
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attentive server, perfect food. Has not changed after so many years. Was so happy to see this!

R
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this classic spot, which feel quintessentially San Francisco. Highly recommend the oysters and Coq Au Vin.

OT
San Francisco
161 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It feels like Absinthe is just coasting along. It felt that way the last time I was in and I hoped it was an aberration. But I don't think so. The onion soup one of us had was very good -- like the old days. It was pretty much flat or downhill from there. It was a slow night and yet our drinks arrived after our appetizers. I got a near-perfect martini but one of the non-alcoholic "cocktails" was undrinkable, just as was a winter salad that sounded delightful but was way overdressed. Everything else was fair to middling -- just okay -- and that's sad. It used to be a destination restaurant. Not any more, especially with so many other better places in the neighborhood.

SF
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food, service and atmosphere was terrific and their ginger ice cream was out of this world! Well done

LF
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was great at Absinthe! We got a cup of French Onion soup that was to die for. The ceaser salad was so good and the portabella mushroom sandwich melted in your mouth. The egg on top did it justice! Great champagne to top it off. I will definitely be back!

JL
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have looked forward to visiting Absinthe for some times following a recommendation from a friend. The meal and service did not disappoint and I’ll be back.

N
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome place to hang out and also to celebrate special occasion.! We loved the food v much. It’s even great for vegetarians.! V definitely visit again .!

RM
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

It was pretty good. Only down side was after asking months in advance for a nice table for a special occasion, they provided a table right by the kitchen. Next time I guess we have to specify "not in the bar and not by the kitchen". Other than that it was pretty good.

FL
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience. Took my staff out for a thank you dinner and they enjoyed !

s
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Stellar experience here. The service was excellent and every dish from to to dessert was so well crafted and delicious. Neighborhood gem without a doubt.

r
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

The best part of the meal was the bus server. She was more attentive and responsive than the waitress. It was a horrible experience. I was so disappointed.

SG
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Everything was stellar, from the atmosphere , to the food, to the wait staff. Also, there is such a range of options, you can eat quite inexpensively, or you can splurge and feast. Highly recommend.

M
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Small menu done right. Dined in many SF eateries. This was quite exceptional. Normally we don’t care to dine out due to lack of kitchen experience among most staff but not here. Well done.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bone marrow was delicious!

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