About Le Central
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.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Hours of Operation:
MONDAY - SATURDAY
Lunch: 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Dinner: 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Bar: 11:30AM - 10:00 PM
Happy Hour (Bar only): 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Grant and Kearny
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Private Party Facilities:
We welcome you to our little bistro with a big heart. Dining alone, on a date, with visiting family, for a special occasion, or a familiar face, bienvenue chez nous. Gathering colleagues or close friends for a larger group event? We can do that, too. We can even provide a whole side of the restaurant for a more private dining experience. Let us know your needs and we will do what we can to accommodate them. We are here to take care of you.
Private Party Contact:
Melanie Tanphanich: (415) 391-2233
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Join us for Happy Mondays.... 50% off all wines by the bottle limit 2 per party Mondays from 5:30pm-10pm
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Le Central Ratings and Reviews
A great evening. We ordered 3 courses each for the two of us. No choices were the same. Everything was marvelous. A very pleasant and attentive waiter. We spend quite a bit of time dining out, and live in the Napa Valley. We are still talking about how wonderful dinner was and how we can't wait to go back again!
Tried Le Central for the first time because of the San Francisco Restaurant Week, I loved my experience and everything I ate that I went back after a few days for more. Feels authentically French, though I've only been to France once when I was much younger. Its a small place, and tables are fairly close to each other, but for the food and service you get, which with what I've tried so far is pretty stellar, I forget about the small tight spaces. I've tried the cassoulet and the steak frites which were both great. I asked for medium rare on the steak and that is what I received, a beautiful juicy rare steak! The cassoulet I've never tried before but I heard its their best seller, and it truly is a treat, very heavy cause of the white beans but so good, I was dreaming about it after. The chocolate mousse is divinely dark, just the way I like it. Try this place out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
We enjoyed the bargain glass ($5) of quite good French wine during happy hour, but come dinner, we were surprised to discover that something as venerable as French Onion soup was scorched! On a Saturday night, during Restaurant Week when they want to lure in new customers, the chef didn't even taste the soup to find he had burnt it?? We didn't send it back since we had a theatre curtain time looming, and we've dined there before & know they can do better, but this was shocking. Our two entrees were very good, as usual, but the desserts were blah: Chocolate mousse and lemon glace were both very bland. Maybe the kitchen just had an off-night, or else maybe this old San Francisco favorite needs to up its game.
A group of five friends celebrated a friend’s birthday. I was in charge of finding a place for it and the celebrant who is a foodie, a good gourmet cook and she teaches cooking privately wanted me to surprise her. She was pleasantly surprised how good the food was, from the appetizers, the salads, the main course and the dessert all met her approval and discriminating taste. The service was excellent, our waiter was very attentive.. All of our friends enjoyed the experience also and we plan to go back there very soon.
Food was delicious and service very prompt and friendly. Very good wine by the glass selection and waiter was knowledgeable about the wine list. For a place that could easily tend toward snobby or pretentious, it did not. Very comfortable for an out of town single diner. Menu is focused and crisp. Had a very nice meal and a very nice time.
I've been dining out at Le Central for decades, except for a lengthy lapse of a few years. Recently, we (and my family) went back and was surprised to discover their specialties (the excellent NY steak, Nicoise salad, cassoulet and escargots) are actually getting better! Because of those pleasant "discoveries" we kept coming back every month for three months now. Will continue re-visiting Le Central for their one-of-a-kind testy dishes. Paul, the owner (and occasional chef) and his servers are nice and attentive to guests.
Ate here with a 'real' French citizen. He was happy with the authentic menu and the demeanor of the waitstaff (a bit gruff, similar to France!)
food came out very quickly - excellent for time-constrained business lunches.
a bit noisy at lunchtime; we were in the middle of the restaurant. If you want quiet, opt for a corner table.
Wines were good, espresso was yummy, sadly did not order dessert.
interesting that it's on the border of Chinatown!
Merci for a great experience.
We were there for New Years’s eve dinner. Pre-fix dinner for $60! Can’t beat the price. Amazing food. Rack of lamb and cassoulet were incredible. Need to save room for dessert. Had the Meyer lemon soufflé and creme brûlée. Excellent service! Will definitely go back and recommend to friends.
We went to Le Central for New Year's Eve. Expecting to be waiting a long time we were pleasantly surprised to be served immediately by a lovely French waitress that gave the evening a very authentic French feel. We had cocktails and a bottle of wine that was excellent and very reasonably priced. They had a Prix Fixe menu for New Year's which I normally do't like but the price was VERY reasonable at $60 per person and the choices were great.
I had one of the best filets I have ever had, including comparison to a top steak house. It was served with green beans and whipped potatoes. My friends had a rack of lamb, it was great and a fish dish that was lovely. I had the beet/endive salad and was expecting meh, but WOW, it was delicious.
We finished with desserts that were great although the Lemon Souffle was outstanding with a cranberry compote.
Overall it was a great evening made perfect with charming service and great food at a very reasonable price.
For years I had heard good things about Le Central and so we decided to go there during a special trip to San Francisco. We were very disappointed. It is clear that the restaurant is resting on its reputation. The food was at best average and the service was ho hum. We won't make this mistake again.
I first came here in 1974, the year the restaurant opened and have been many times since. This was a return after a 20 year absence from the area. The food is just as good as ever. The service is attentive (our server was a delightful French woman--I hope she waits on you!). And the cassoulet hasn't changed (of course, they've now had 15,000+ days of cooking it to get it right!). The host recommended a wine that was a perfect accompaniment to the cassoulet, and it was available as a half bottle.
I will be back again and again.
holiday weekend in the city with my son and three grandsons- with reservations made, and a half full restaurant, my son was seated in the breezeway between the bar and restaurant area. Very slow service, even to the point of being inattentive/ignored by a server who was otherwise standing chatting with other staff . Food quality and price were fair, a cozy setting if seated properly. It just wasn't enjoyed because of the service and the table we were placed at. Ironically there was a very nice table by the window set up for five people that remained empty while we were there hmmm...
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