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Le Central, San Francisco, CA
0

Le Central

4.6
4.6
1861 Reviews
$30 and under
French
Opened in 1974, Le Central has been serving traditional French cuisine for over four decades, boasting the honor of being San Francisco’s most historic French bistro. Conveniently located on the cusp of the bustling financial district and downtown Union Square, Le Central stands out in a rare one-story historic brick building, crowned by a vintage Tabac sign. Offering classic French faire such as Filet Mignon au Poivre, slow-cooked Cassoulet and Roast Chicken Pommes Frites, Le central’s cuisine is comforting yet sumptuous. The exposed brick walls, stained glass features, and imported brass bar invite you to retreat and unwind in its charming, brasserie atmosphere. Le Central is the downtown stop for locals and visitors looking for a classic meal, delicious glass of wine, and a taste of la belle vie.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Options

  • Order online

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    French

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch Daily 11:30 am–2:30 pm Dinner Mon, Tue, Thu–Sun 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (415) 391-2233

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Executive chef

    Johnny Tanphanich

  • Private party facilities

    We welcome you to our little bistro with a big heart. Dining alone, on a date, with family, a special occasion, bienvenue chez nous. Gathering for a larger group event? We can do that, too. We can even provide a whole side of the restaurant for a private dining experience. Let us know your needs and we will do what we can to accommodate them.

  • Private party contact

    Melanie Tanphanich: (415) 391-2233

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Union Square

  • Cross street

    Grant and Kearny

  • Parking details

    Sutter-Stockton Garage

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Vegan, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

What 1,861 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.6
4.6 based on recent ratings
  • 4.5Food
  • 4.6Service
  • 4.6Ambience
  • 4.2Value

NoiseModerate

Sort by

Filters

  1. m

    mapleleafmaven

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Love this place, great food, wine & service. Great location for walking or parking. The food is beautifully presented as well as being delicious.
  2. f

    foodie

    San Francisco

    40 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    40 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall4food4service4ambience5
    Reliable French bistro - all the traditional dishes on the menu. Service is a little brisk and the busboys very eager to clear up the table.
  3. P

    Pickyeater

    Central Coast

    55 reviews

    5.0

    55 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I haven't been to Le Central for years. Whereas I used to work a couple of blocks away and had an expense account and therefore was an infrequent diner, those years have now past and I am happily retired. However, when a friend suggested we meet there for lunch, it seemed more than appropriate to revisit. We were warmly welcomed. We were served excellent and tasty food. We were not rushed or encouraged to leave. It was just an overall pleasant experience. Now that I have reacquainted myself with the Le Central of my business career, I'll make it a point to drop in again in my retirement years.
  4. JB

    JeremyB

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We had a wonderful time at Le Central. The drinks were fabulous, food was delicious, and the ambiance felt like we were back in Paris. Loved it!
  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2023

    overall1food2service5ambience2
    The soupe à l ognon gratiné had no cheese when it came out and they didn’t even bother putting more on it … very disappointing
  6. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Great food at a good price. Excellent service.
  7. DM

    DrMuppy

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    2.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on January 13, 2023

    overall2food1service2ambience4
    The steak was horrible. very small and nearly 50% gristle. The fries were paltry and minimal. The service was adequate because we were the only couple therein. The reputation of this restaurant was reported to be good - but the food was not.
  8. L

    Lafitte

    San Francisco

    15 reviews

    4.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on January 12, 2023

    overall4food4service5ambience3
    Well established neighborhood gastropub. What they do, they do very well. Some classic dishes and some modern renditions. Manager was very accommodating as our table went from 5 to 7 people upon arrival and we were accommodated even on a crowded JPMORGAN conference week. Appetizers were very creative. Escargot perfectly prepared garlic butter and Pernod. Avocado crab tower nicely presented. Mushroom soup, just the right consistency. For mains, the beef borgione was just as Julia Child would serve, except I saw no mushrooms in my serving. Mussels in white wine were plump and tasty. Broiled branzino looked beautiful. And was good per my colleague. Dessert key lime tart and creame brûlée delicious. Service was punctual polite and gracious. Time between appetizers and mains was a bit long but again a full crowd all night. Recommended for local color and proximity to Union Square.
  9. C

    Cydeck

    San Francisco

    49 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    49 reviews

    Dined on January 11, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Typical brasserie/bistro-style restaurant with French comfort food that hits the spot on every level. We all wanted to try everything on the menu! The roasted chicken was amazing: a simple dish so easy to miss. It was perfect. The service is excellent as well all with the Parisian brasserie atmosphere in the background. I know I will definitely come back again!
  10. l

    luv2eatndrink

    San Francisco

    41 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    41 reviews

    Dined on January 10, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A very nice classic French Bistro. Had the Mussels, Fish - fillet of sole - very tasty and Chicken - tender and well prepared and a bottle of Loire Valley Cab Franc. delicious
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2023

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    The cassoulet is excellent!! A little expensive overall but nice spot for lunch or dinner, to great location.
  12. SF

    StanfordFan

    London

    194 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    194 reviews

    Dined on January 6, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We thoroughly enjoyed the escargot, Mary's chicken and petrale sole. The buche de Noel was a delicious finish to our meal. The wait staff was very attentive and helpful. It was a wonderful meal.
  13. RC

    RebeccaC

    London

    21 reviews

    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on January 2, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The perfect go-to for lunch for any occasion. So glad this neighborhood gem is there.
  14. G

    George

    San Francisco

    13 reviews

    3.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2022

    overall3food3service4ambience3
    The onion soup was a bread and broth concoction. However, the cassoulet was very good as was the sole. The restaurant was half capacity and we were seated in the rear next to the door to the restrooms. There was little French ambiance.
  15. BL

    BettyL

    Las Vegas

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on December 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always the best. My go to restaurant for decades!
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 30, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Great meal and excellent service - we had a theatre reservation & the server made sure that everything was delivered fast & we could comfortably make the show! Would go there again!
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Went for lunch! Was craving French onion soup and ordered a ton of other options. Great spot for cozy warm and delicious French food. Super happy about the overall experience and will DEFINITELY be coming back and recommending to all friends visiting SF !
  18. i

    iced

    San Francisco

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on December 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Perfect cozy European flavor to all they do. Gorgeous brick walls and decorated for the season. Potato and Leek soup was fantastic. And the Branzino cook was amazing. Highly recommend for the ambience.
  19. H

    Harkersgirl123

    San Francisco

    34 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    34 reviews

    Dined on December 26, 2022

    overall2food2service3ambience3
    WE HAVE BEEN COMING TO LE CENTRAL FOR YEARS . IT WAS SO SAD TO SEE THE LOSS OF EFFORT THAT HAS AlLWAYS BEEN SUCH A WONDERFUL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE . THE FOOD IS NOT THE SAME , QUALITY, & OUR MISSING LITTLE SPECIAL BOARDS .. YOU CAN BRING BACK THAT SPECIAL UNIQUENESS IF YOU TRY & I FOR ONE HOPE YOU DO SO . MY APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE .
  20. ES

    ErikaS

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on December 26, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    Great spot off Union Square (not on). One block from the entrance to the Chinatown gates. I’m an SF native, when I say it’s good, it’s good. It’s almost 50 years old!
  21. C

    Christine

    San Francisco

    61 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    61 reviews

    Dined on December 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fantastic menu and service! Will return soon. Highly recommend.
  22. MS

    MarthaSF

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Lovely classic San Francisco restaurant . 5 of us had an early dinner after the Diego Rivera show at the MOMA last week . Good food, well prepared with a welcome lack of pretentiousness . Charming wait staff too.
  23. B

    Boel

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    3.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on December 23, 2022

    overall3food3service3ambience5
    Escargots superb. Oysters were frozen, and had not quite thawed! Maybe customers do not eat oysters ofteh? One hour wait for first course...the oysters were thawing. The restaurant is basically WONDERFUL but was understaffed 12.23
  24. SV

    SilviaV

    San Francisco

    13 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on December 21, 2022

    overall3food2service4ambience4
    I told my son that we will go to one of my classic favorite restaurants before holiday shopping. I’v visited Le Central since the 1990’s. The service was great upon arrival. Loved the wines. The pâté was good. Now for our main dishes: beef bourguignon and the cassoulet…the beef was fantastic and the sausage, duck yummy. But both lacked any taste. We tried salt and even hot sauce (desolé!). To no avail. My son had his beef b go back and it came back salty. He ate it but svp! I wanted this to be special for him. We were both apologizing to the waiter. We often eat French food and are not picky eaters. For a 200 dollar lunch, I am so disappointed! Plus, there were little flies circling us. Not so lovely. Any feedback from the owners on why the food, albeit looking lovely, was tasteless? I am not wanting to post this, but I also feel like this was not worth 200 for lunch! Thank you!
  25. NB

    NancyB

    San Francisco

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on December 20, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Classically prepared in French style. My salmon and lentils were cooked perfectly. Great wine by the glass list and service is top notch.
  26. P

    Peter

    San Francisco

    6 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on December 20, 2022

    overall2food1service4ambience4
    Nice atmosphere, but food was not that good and VERY over priced!!!
  27. JD

    JDKEZ

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 20, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I'm so happy the my favorite downtown restaurants has reopened after COVID lockdown. Highly recommended
  28. T

    Trulli

    San Francisco

    16 reviews

    4.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on December 19, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    Old school in the best way. Excellent seafood and lovely atmosphere.
  29. DC

    DavidC

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 19, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    The service was very good as was the food. Location nice also
  30. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on December 18, 2022

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    Lovely evening with daughter and family.
  31. LZ

    LuisZ

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Can always count on it for an enjoyable experience
  32. CK

    CarrieK

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Festive and delicious
  33. IW

    IrisW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    First time at this restaurant and I was very pleased. Food was great, our server was patient and tolerant of us even though we added extra guests. I would highly recommend.
  34. PG

    PamelaG

    Las Vegas

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Lovely setting that feels like being in France… and that your French is so fluent you can understand and speak perfectly to everyone. Delicious salmon classic onion soup, though very hot, so don’t burn your tongue.
  35. K

    Kirsten

    Washington DC

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 13, 2022

    overall1food2service2ambience2
    The service was inattentive and the food was very disappointing, especially for the price point. Portions were scarce and very underwhelming.
  36. BZ

    BillyZ

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Annual SF Christmas lunch
  37. DV

    DrVincent

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on December 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    A very very solid bistro experience. Mussels, onion soup, filet mignon all done very well. Server was friendly and efficient. We were there on a slow rainy Sunday night so can not talk to the noise level when the place is hopping.
  38. ES

    ESmith

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 11, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Excellent experience overall! Food was superb and reasonably priced for this level, fair corkage fee, and lovely ambiance (intimate but sufficient space, even with two young kids). Beef bourguignon and salmon were standouts for sure. Filet also excellent. Service was a bit slower than perfect but it was a busy Saturday night so understandable. Would definitely recommend and plan to visit again soon!
  39. RB

    RobertB

    Portland

    22 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on December 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great French restaurant with good ambiance and wonderful food. Very close to Union Square - recently remodeled. A delightful meal - we will return!
  40. PF

    PeddersFamilia

    San Francisco

    10 reviews

    4.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on December 9, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience5
    First, my guest was greeted and then told that I didn't have a reservation. I had a reservation and a confirmation. Then another person was very apologetic and said we could be seated, although the kitchen was closing shortly. No where did it mention that the restaurant was closing at 2:30, which happen to be my reservation time. I have frequented this restaurant for dinner on several Occasions and I have never been disappointed in any way. The food, ambiance and wait staff have been wonderful. And those were the much the same this time. However, my guests and I did feel quite rushed. We were told after receiving our cocktail that the kitchen was closing soon. Twice. I feel that because they accepted my reservation for this time we should have been given the same relaxed dining experience as previously. Or, they should have made clear any restrictions time wise. I will definitely come back, but I was disappointed as this was a birthday gift for two of our friends.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
    • Staff is vaccinated

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Le Central using the Order Online button.

Le Central is rated 4.6 stars by 1861 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Options

  • Order online
Google Map for Le Central

453 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Grant and Kearny

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Union Square

  • Hours of operation

    Lunch Daily 11:30 am–2:30 pm Dinner Mon, Tue, Thu–Sun 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    French

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Parking details

    Sutter-Stockton Garage

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Johnny Tanphanich

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Vegan, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (415) 391-2233

  • Private party facilities

    We welcome you to our little bistro with a big heart. Dining alone, on a date, with family, a special occasion, bienvenue chez nous. Gathering for a larger group event? We can do that, too. We can even provide a whole side of the restaurant for a private dining experience. Let us know your needs and we will do what we can to accommodate them.

  • Private party contact

    Melanie Tanphanich: (415) 391-2233

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