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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.

453 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
French

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

SUNDAY
Closed

Cross Street:
Grant and Kearny

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 391-2233

Website:
http://www.lecentralbistro.com/

Parking Details:
Sutter-Stockton Garage

Executive Chef:
Johnny Tanphanich

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

Additional:
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

Specials

50% off all Bottles of Wine
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Enjoy your meal with a delicious bottle of wine!

Terms and Conditions: Includes Tax, excludes service, limit 2 per party.

Valid For: 1 - 20 People

Starts: October 11, 2017

Ends: March 31, 2018

Availability: Mon 5:30PM-10:00PM

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Details
Tue - Sat 9:00PM - 9:45PM

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Le Central Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.2

service

4.4

ambience

4.3

value

4.0

Noise

Moderate

89% would recommend it to a friend

Authentic (30)
Good for a Date (26)
Business Meals (25)
See All
Neighborhood Gem (21)
Special Occasion (21)
Cozy (18)
Romantic (18)
Good for Anniversaries (17)
Great for Lunch (16)
Quiet Conversation (16)
Good for Birthdays (14)
Fit for Foodies (13)
Comfort Food (12)
Notable Wine List (12)
Pre/post Theatre (12)
Bar Seating (10)
Fun (10)
People Watching (8)
Handcrafted Cocktails (7)
Seasonal (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Good for Groups (6)
Healthy (6)
Casual (5)
Happy Hour (5)
Local Ingredients (4)
Great for Brunch (3)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Quick Bite (1)
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1381 reviews
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·Dined 3 days ago

I have been eating at Le Central for 40 plus years...It is an old, dependable and excellent restaurant .... Still a major watering hole for politicos, power brokers, etc., in the City...No pretense, unless you need it.

Tags: Authentic, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Bar Seating, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Indiana)·Dined 4 days ago

Waiter was quite nice. Not outstanding, but he did a good job. Food was ... alright. Not worth the money though. Waaay overpriced. The atmosphere was nice, so it’s fun for a night out, not for a special occasion.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience5
service4
value1

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on February 8, 2018

Birthday lunch- food was classic French and delicious and service- waiter was professional and experienced- recommend the Fois Gras and moules & pomme frites & classic French onion soup!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 4, 2018

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!

Tags: Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 1, 2018

Disappointed by the food. Signature onion soup was great. Everything else just a little bland, especially the cassoulet.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 31, 2018

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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 27, 2018

We went for SF restaurant week. Received very professional service - very attentive. Food was good & noise level was low enough to have conversation without raising our voice. We enjoyed meals and services.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 27, 2018

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.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 25, 2018

have enjoyed it for 30 years...or more ! best pomme frites in town

Tags: Casual, Fun, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 25, 2018

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.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 24, 2018

We loved the table you sat us at. The food was amazing. The service was great. We love coming here and knowing that our meal will be outstanding. Looking forward to next time!

Tags: Cozy, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Business Meals, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Salt Lake City)·Dined on January 23, 2018

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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 23, 2018

Average! It’s. Just an average restaurant.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on January 20, 2018

Not as good as we have normally experienced in the past. The food was less than average. Le Central is always a favorite because you can count on a good meal without a wait or reservation.
Tonight must have been an off night.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Groups
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food3
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

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.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 16, 2018

One of San Francisco's classic restaurants offering French bistro food. A little frayed around the edges but always enjoyable.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 11, 2018

One of my all time favorites. To me it is such a perfect blend of formality and familiarity combined with delicious food, great service and a cozy sophisticated interior. It is a timeless spot.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 10, 2018

Food was delicious , but service was poor.

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food4
ambience3
service1

vip
 (Hawaii)·Dined on January 10, 2018

The onion soup, roasted chicken and Russell sprouts all had absolutely no flavor. The chicken was bone dry and Brussels sprouts were beyond bland. I can’t imagine how onion soup could be flavorless but it was except for the melted cheese on top.

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food1
ambience4
service5
value2

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on January 10, 2018

We had a business lunch at a very busy time, but the service was very sharp, food came out quickly and was quite good. The place is fairly small so a little "tight", but worked great for us.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Cozy, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 8, 2018

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.

Tags: Late-night Find, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 6, 2018

Traditional French cuisine in a quit pleasant atmosphere. Always reliable and good value. Cocktails and wine very nice.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 5, 2018

I love this SF classic. Busy place lunchtime yet serene and romantic for dinner. Always excellent and particularly fine service this evening. Ces’t magnifique.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 5, 2018

Very french, great service, great food! Good place for a business lunch in San Francisco.

Tags: Romantic, Good for Groups, Pre/post Theatre, People Watching, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List, Comfort Food, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Great for Lunch, Business Meals, Authentic, Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

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.

Tags: Notable Wine List, People Watching, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

To expensive prices and not good food, I tryed many much better, i was in paris and disappointed that they said french food. Bad in everything

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

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.

Tags: Authentic, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Portland)·Dined on December 31, 2017

We have been going to Le Central since 1979. Always a must whenever we are in San Francisco. Cozy bistro seating, excellent food, solid selection of wine at a good value, and oh that cassoulet!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Romantic, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2017

Tired place. Tired food. Tired servers. Skip it.

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food2
ambience1
service2
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 27, 2017

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.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Just bad food. Not sure if French serve seabass with sticky rice, but that's what I got. Service was slow and inattentive. Second time dining here and worse experience than the first time. Not coming back.

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food1
ambience3
service2
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 23, 2017

Warm & intimate dining room evokes the spirit of a French bistro. The food was authentic and the service was reasonably efficient.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 23, 2017

We have eaten at Le Central many times and have not been disappointed. Low key, friendly, good food, not fancy but consistent.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, People Watching
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 20, 2017

my lunch partners enjoyed their meal. Mine was dry dry chicken, flavorless, tasteless. the lentil soup I had for staters was actually decent.
service was ok.. i seemed to be an afterthought for the waiter compared to the others at the table.
i won't go back.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value1

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 19, 2017

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.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Business Meals, Notable Wine List
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 16, 2017

Cute little place, but the food was average.

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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2017

From the very start when we were seated the staff were superb! Couldn’t ask for better service experience and the food was fabulous.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2017

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...

Tags: Seasonal
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food2
ambience3
service1
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2017

Solid traditional French fare. Entrees were well executed. However the apple crisp dessert was a disappointment. We could barely taste any apples. It was more of a bit of apple in a shortbread crust. It was quiet and not hurried so we would definitely go back.

Tags: Comfort Food, Good for a Date
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food3
ambience3
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 16, 2017

The lobster pot pie was spectacular. Better and more lobster than Michael Mina, which is saying a great deal!

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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

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