Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.6
6078 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 6078 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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O
San Francisco
75 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
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.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
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.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
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.

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OT
New Orleans
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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NH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorite SF restaurants - scene to many memorable moments including a luncheon after getting married at City Hall. This most recent dinner was a pre-show date that was absolutely delicious and the drinks were excellent.

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SP
San Joaquin
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were welcomed by the friendly staff and treated well. We loved the cozy atmosphere. Service was attentive and even entertaining. We started with the recommended Cabernet that went well with the tasty Black Truffle Cavatelli for our vegetarian and the Coq au vin for our meat-atarian. Our food was brought out quickly so that we did not need to rush through the meal in order to make our later engagement, which we really appreciated. We would happily eat there again.

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S
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

I’ve had many great dishes here. The ham sandwich with the fried egg on top was not delicious.

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s
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Limited menu - old style food prep. Restaurant is dark and old worldly. Service tried harder than they actually delivered. I doubt I will return.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Wonderful staff and outstanding food paired with a great selection of wine.

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

My duck was amazing. My guests loved their meals too. Wine list was great as well.

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

Great service and food! Loved the atmosphere. I would definitely come again.

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R
San Francisco
52 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Caesar dressing in town and really enjoyed the grilled octopus.

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s
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food. Great service!!! Perfect location if you're for show

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D
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

Food delicious. Wait staff great we let them know our time frame (theatre) and they kept that in mind.
Only disappointment. We had to wait over ten minutes to be seated. Yet dining room “empty” hmmm

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J
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The right place at the right time.
Very relaxing late lunch after several days of traveling. Thank you

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D
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! Was recommended by a friend for the food and wine list. Hard to go wrong by dining here.

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S
Portland
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I had my table reserved and the time I walk in to restaurant they asked me to wait and I have to wait more than 25 minutes and nobody call me for table and I left the restraint without eating.

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F
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

The waiter forgot my order for corn soup. HIs mind was not on his job.
There is no focus. The burger was good however.

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BW
Las Vegas
23 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Intriguing combinations particularly the appetizers. Outstandingly smooth and efficient service.

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b
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Absinthe has become a reliable place for me to take friends and out of town visitors. The food is well prepared and enticingly presented. The ambience is somewhat bustling, but it is free of the intense, jostling scene of many other Hayes Valley joints, and thus a relaxing place to enjoy a meal.

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D
San Francisco
57 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A month ago, I had a wonderful dinner at Absinthe. So, good that I had to order it again. A few minor changes to the plate, but all in all it was the same fine quality and great dining experience.

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G
11 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

I would reccomend visiting for a drink and if you are not very hungry and don't mind paying $$$$ then a bite to eat. The drinks at the bar were great.

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CA
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Carlos was terrific and guided us to some wonderful choice...and we got to the Opera with plenty of time. I will go back even without the Opera

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ND
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely delicious! Probably the best chicken I've ever had in my entire life

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j
Cleveland
57 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Reminded me of one of our Favorites in Philadelphia - Parc. We were seated in a comfortable area toward the back of the restaurant. Service was a bit spotty however was an enjoyable evening. Both soups for the first course were outstanding. My French Onion was one of the 2 best I have had. I eat a lot of it. The Corn soup my wife chose was exploding with summer corn essence. Wow!
Our Beet salad that we shared was nothing but hit on all cylinders. For entrees my wife's Burger was excellent albeit the fries were a bit generic. My coq au Vin was good but the vegetables were quite undercooked. All in all an enjoyable evening at a solid restaurant.

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DO
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I've been going to Absinthe for many years and have always found the food and bar service to be outstanding.

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MF
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We have been coming to Absinthe since the early 2000s for the excellent food, great service, and solid bar. It is NEVER disappointing and ALWAYS a great experience. I don't know of any other restaurant that has maintained its standards so consistently high over such a long time.

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OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food. The staff was very attentive. Great place for a person dining solo. Creative distribution of tables so people are not right next to each other.

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G
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

Excellent service as always however the meal (brunch) was unfortunately mediocre. It was also really disappointing that there was no changing table in the bathroom or area I could change my baby :(

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F
San Francisco
96 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I come here after concert to get a bite and enjoy the atmosphere . The food is simple but well made and presented. The service is pleasant and efficient. I would just advise the bar that the competition is very inventive and is currently crafting marvelous drinks, so I wish you update your craft in order to join the leaders in the bar renewal time we are living in.

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PB
Adelaide / SA
9 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

A variable experience. The Sommelier was excellent but unfortunately that was the only professional we dealt with. We sat for 25 minutes with menus until i tracked down someone to take our drinks order. This became a theme. The food was very good. To round out the night there were three glasses of wine charged to us we didn't order.

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b
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mmm, the green salad with strawberry and candied pecans was so yummy. The duck was also tasty, served with layered potatoes and artichokes. With a Death and Taxes beer, it was a perfect meal. We finished with coffee and one scoop of passion mango sorbet, and walked to SFJazz with smiles on our faces.

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AS
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lived here for 7 years and just now got around to going to Absinthe even tho I pass it all the time! I’ve been missing out!
Every dish was delicious! Highly recommend for a fun dining experience. Cocktails are awesome too. Great for a date and friends dinner. Wait staff professional and quick and so was the kitchen ! We didn’t wait any time between courses- it was amazing. They’ve got it down in this restaurant. I love it and I will definitely be back.

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