Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.6
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6168 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 6168 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
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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H
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 8 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always ... good food, good peeps and great ambiance

DJ
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An elegant menu in a welcoming setting, served by kind and capable staff. We felt very much at home chz Absinthe.

e
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Coq au vin was excellent

JT
San Francisco
58 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had a nice meal before a show at the Sydney Goldstein Theater. The service was fantastic. Our meals were tasty and well prepared. The pineapple upside down cake was an excellent dessert choice.

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

Excellent - from start to finish! Enjoyed the Absinthe Cocktails, winter salad, and burgers!

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

Delicous trout was the highlight although pineapple upside down cake was fun. The service was friendly yet correct. We have had some unpleasant experiences in San Francisco restaurants in the past few years which seem due to our being old. Absinthe is full of young people but we were nevertheless treated well.

d
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

While the dinner menu is limited, it is good that they occasionally change it.

s
Chicago
178 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This was a nice, very french-feeling cafe. We enjoyed a nice lunch that was exactly what one would expect from a French cafe. I'd go back. Next time I would try the Croque monsieur.

CH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Good experience.

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

lovely Parisienne atmosphere and super attentive staff plus excellent food!

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

Delicious food, friendly staff and fun decor, not to mention a great bar with a huge selection of lovely Gin options.

d
San Francisco
46 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I am never disappointed at Absinthe! The food is delicious and they have great cocktails. Service at Absinthe is always first-rate - professional, welcoming, friendly. We were in most recently for a pre-theater meal. I had a brussel sprouts salad with grilled chicken - sounds simple, but it was perfection! Their crowd-favorite coq au vin is worth the raves when you are looking for something more substantial. I have eaten at Absinthe at least a dozen times over the last decade and never had a bad meal or experience. They also have a great party space and did a fantastic job for a recent birthday party.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Wanted a 5:30 reservation but should have called in sooner. Arrived way ahead of our 7:15 reservation. Were able to be seated immediately. Great. But we were in the bar—crowded and noisy. Next time I’ll call farther ahead of time

o
San Francisco
176 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mark Manager, and Sylvia Server were the absolute best.

VF
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

The food was well overpriced and not up the high standards. They seem to be specialists in fries.

LT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone was very accommodating, and service went above and beyond. The food was excellent too -- it's so hard to find a simple but delicious French onion soup (because there's so much hipster food around these days), but Absinthe has it!

PH
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An excellent spot for pre-opera brunch on Sundays, with creative food, friendly waitstaff and decor reminiscent of Paris.

F
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Not as good as it used to be. Everything is a little tired and dated, food is very average. Wine prices are ridiculous.

CB
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another lovely lunch. Fantastic steak frites - highly recommend - and G&Ts. Our server, Sara, was also highly professional and quite fun! As much as I love Absinthe for cozy dinners, I love it even more on a sunny day in Hayes Valley! Thank you!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was really good. Everyone enjoyed what they got and cocktails were perfect! Will definitely come here again.

LD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I could have had everything on the menu. The trout was very fresh and flavorful. If you have never had absinthe I recommend you come here, they have several mixed drinks for you to try with it in it. A 5:30 PM reservation was perfect for the 8 PM symphony.

DB
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

One of my favorite SF restaurants, Absinthe never disappoints! From the crispy chickpeas to nibble with an artisan cocktail, to the selection of oysters, to seasonal soups and salads and imaginative mains, the food is delicious and the service is usually excellent. With a buzzy vibe and beautiful surroundings, Absinthe is great for a pre-show dinner or a special date night.

OT
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had the Wagu steak as our main and shared oysters and a salad. I love how they split a dish so graciously and well. Outstanding before concert meal. We sat in the side dining room and quiet but not t as fun as where we usually sit.

J
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service as usual. Plump, buttery oysters. Try the Pisco Power cocktail if you like something unique and dry.

w
San Francisco
159 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

This is usually one of our favorite Hayes Valley restaurants but missed the mark tonight. The great ambiance was there but our favorite romaine salad came out over salted. Before the last bite was eaten the next course was at the table and our plates were being removed. The meal was over in 35 minutes including cocktails. Certainly not a great date night since we hadn’t wanted a fast food meal

j
San Francisco
145 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Wonderful, As Always! I eat there often when going to musical performances in the SFJAZZ Center, Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, Herbst Theatre. The food is delicious, the service good and the ambiance nice.

j
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I"ve been coming to Absinthe for years and I still love it!

F
San Francisco
64 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Always a fun spot for lunch before the opera matinee!

E
Sacramento
80 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We love going to Absinthe after the opera, for dinner if early enough, or drinks and dessert. It has a great vibe, always busy/buzzy and friendly, helpful service - it's one of the closest to a French brasserie that we know of. The food is very good - salmon, steak and French fries, coq au vin - and really good bread; also nice desserts and a cheese plate option. My husband enjoys absinthe (the drink) and the extensive menu at Absinthe. People-watching is fun, a lot going on. We have a great time - it makes us feel young(er) to be there.

GJ
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Fun place to go after the opera. Great ambience, great service, delicious food. Serving dining room menu until 11pm!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great dinner to celebrate our anniversary. They gave us a complimentary glass of champagne.

RM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service!

L
New York Area
49 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Been going to absinthe for 20 years because I like the food atmosphere and location. The food and the service have had their ups and downs and right now it is as good or better than it’s been at any time in the past. Understand there’s a new chef who brought new energy and also has lighten the menu up a little bit with some very welcome vegetable base dishes.

SS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Very expensive for what it is. Food was mediocre. Oysters were the highlight. From there it went downhill. Bouillabaisse was way too spicy, the duck sausage had pieces of duck meet mixed in the garnish, so the whole dish felt like Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. The icing on the cake was the waiter not knowing what "espresso with lemon wedge" is. The wine was good, but overall the place is not worth $250 for dinner for two.

S
New England
32 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great service
Very convenient to all the surrounding entertainment
Too much salt in the otherwise very good food
Very noisy

LL
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great place to eat. Especially accommodating prior to SFS concerts.

SS
San Francisco
99 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional and creative food arising from the classics served in an elegant Belle Époque setting. One of the best and most beautiful restaurants in San Francisco. It is always a pleasure to be at Absinthe.

j
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The front desk would not seat us because we were too early. There were plenty of empty seats and they were not busy. We had to wait in the noisy bar area until we insisted to be seated.

FJ
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Recently Absinthe has changed.
We've been frequent diners for years, always pleased and looking forward to our next special evening at Absinthe.
Our favorite servers are gone, replaced by people just doing the job.
The busser attempted to remove our bread plates before the entrees were served! Bread and butter did remain so they would seem not to be thought appetizer plates.
Our server checked once after our entrees were placed by another, inquiring if we "had everything we needed".
Plates were presented and removed reaching across us.
The Cab Frank was not up to par...same price but not at all the same caliber wine.
The food was as always good...expensive...and served in a perfunctory manner.
Sadly, we won't return.
Speaking of our experience to others, we found they had already moved on!

OT
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had brunch at Absinthe. The selection of food was somewhat limited, but the food we had was excellent. There is an intimate feeling to the dining area and the service was terrific. I highly recommend
Absinthe.

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