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For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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Booked 13 times today
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Le Central

4.4
1404 reviews
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$30 and under
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French
Top Tags:
  • Authentic
  • Cozy
  • Neighborhood Gem


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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French
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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
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Phone number
(415) 391-2233
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Johnny Tanphanich
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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.
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Private party contact
Melanie Tanphanich: (415) 391-2233
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Cross street
Grant and Kearny
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Parking details
Sutter-Stockton Garage
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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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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

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

What 1404 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on April 13, 2018

We had never been. Found under Favorites on Open Table. Did not know it was a Willie Brown hangout. And we enjoyed a siting! As for the food: Salad Nicoise(sp), mussels, rose - excellent. Our server was also lovely. She recommended the Rose and it was very nice.

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2.0Dined on April 8, 2018

The service was inexcusably bad. When we arrived there were very few diners present. So there should have been no problem getting food. Took over 30 minutes to get the escargot, which were good. Then took an additional 30 minutes or more to get the cassoulet. Cassoulet is cooked in advance so not sure why it took so very long.

Cassoulet was ok but not wonderful. The beans were overcooked into what was almost a paste. I know this is slow cooked but all you do is add the beans later so they do not dissolve.

Waiter just disappeared. Took a long time to get a check.

Other diners who came in after we did have their dinner 20 minutes or more before we received ours.

Nice decor and simple (in a good way) ambiance. Good music at a reasonable level so you can conduct a conversation.

Won't go back because service was bad and food was only ok.

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5.0Dined on April 8, 2018

The food was excellent. The French Onion soup was the best I have ever had. Was not over salted like most places and not too sweet. Lots of cheese. So delicious. Great salads and the chocolate moose desert was amazing! The escargot incredible.

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4.0Dined on April 7, 2018

The restaurant needs an upgrade, renovation

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

We had not been in awhile and it was as good as always. Server very knowledgeable about the wines. Had the special. Salmon with cucumbers plus pate and escargot.

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5.0Dined on March 25, 2018

Lovely. Great food, great atmosphere. Old school French cuisine that really hit the mark.

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1.0Dined on March 23, 2018

I got extremely ill and was almost hospitalized due to their food.

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3.0Dined on March 15, 2018

great salmon, a more generous serving of vegetables would have been nice.

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4.0Dined on March 14, 2018

One of the Oldest restaurants in the city and the food is consistently good.

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4.0Dined on March 14, 2018

The menu is limited to typical bistro fare, but the tenderloin, short rib, and burger we ordered were all excellent. More of a comfort food spot, with a quaint and cozy atmosphere. Excellent waiter.

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5.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Four of us, each had a different entree. Each one was cooked to perfection. We tried three different desserts. All of them were delicious. Our waiter was friendly and helpful with suggestions. We had a memorable dinner.

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5.0Dined on March 10, 2018

We had a group of nine and all enjoyed our meals. Celery root remoulade was great. The filet mignon and cassoulet were the stand out favorites for entrees. Will be back on my next trip to SF.

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5.0Dined on March 7, 2018

We have been coming here for 36 years and it never has a bad day. This lunch was great and at 1:00p.m. not busy at all, which made for a quite lunch with great service.

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5.0Dined on March 6, 2018

half price on bottles of wine? that was the winner.

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5.0Dined on March 3, 2018

We love Le Central. Great food and fun ambiance. Great drinks and wonderful menu!

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5.0Dined on March 3, 2018

Absolutely wonderful food!! Service was excellent.

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3.0Dined on March 1, 2018

Overall I would recommend Le Central. The food and service were great. We sat in the restaurant side of the establishment. It didn't have as much of an authentic French Bistro feel as the bar side seemed to. I would recommend sitting on the bar side.

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5.0Dined on February 24, 2018

I had the scallops and they were AMAZING. My husband got the chicken, which he liked, and I tasted his brussels sprouts. Smoked! Really, really good. Great service, too. Loved it!!

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4.0Dined on February 23, 2018

Le Central is an institution. It offers classic French brasserie food. Easy vibe. No rush. Conveniently located near Union Square and the Sutter/Stockton garage. I am a regular.

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5.0Dined on February 21, 2018

Le Central is a SF institution for a reason! The ambience can't be beat and the food and service are exceptional. We loved their famous cassoulet and the Caesar salad was perfect.

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4.0Dined on February 17, 2018

5%SFMC charge?
On top of the nowhere comes 5% charge...I gave 20% tips round up to $230 as grand total why charge me $238?

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4.0Dined on February 15, 2018

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.

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

We generally have Valentines here - Special to us. Food was very good and the Pre Fix is a nice way to have a complete meal. We will be back next year.

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

The waiter Tommy was very good. He made us feel special and welcome.

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3.0Dined on February 14, 2018

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.

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5.0Dined 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!

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5.0Dined on February 3, 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!

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2.0Dined on January 31, 2018

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

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5.0Dined on January 30, 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.

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4.0Dined 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.

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3.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined on January 25, 2018

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

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5.0Dined 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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5.0Dined 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!

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5.0Dined 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.

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3.0Dined on January 23, 2018

Average! It’s. Just an average restaurant.

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3.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined on January 16, 2018

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

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5.0Dined 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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