Le Central

4.5
1468 reviews
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$30 and under
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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.
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
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 1468 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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BS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

This is an old San Francisco stand by. Excellent French inspired menu offering great salads, fine onion soup (not salty but with lots of gooey melted cheese), and wonderful desserts. Try the crab cakes or mussels mariniere or Nicoise salad to start. The beef bourguignon and scallops provençale are favorites. But their signature dish is the cassoulet - a slow cooked flavorful stew with veggies, beans, lamb and pork.
Beautiful setting in an old building decorated like a French bistro cafe with comfortable seating in the bar area or the dining room. Superb wine list and a full service bar. You can get light meals served at the bar too. Parking at the Sutter-Stockton garage only a block away. Service is professional but can be a bit hard pressed when the restaurant is busy. Only three blocks from Union Square and the Market Street shopping district. Accessible by public transit.

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

Celebrating an 87th birthday with family and friends - required a quiet table and patient service. We had a perfect location and the most wonderful server, Anastasia! The food was delicious, the ambiance rustically elegant, and the service was spot on. We couldn't have asked for a more ideal evening for my husband's mom. Thank you!

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U
Los Angeles
272 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The scallops and the beef Borgen young were delicious. Very enjoyable French food.

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PP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the most wonderful table and waiter. I had forgotten how great this lovely spot is. We won’t wait so long next time.

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B
Philadelphia
18 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Since Le Petit Auberge closed in NYC, I have not been to such a pleasant, authentic Bistro in the US. This place is a GEM! Went for lunch - and then back for dinner two days later.

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B
Philadelphia
19 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sweet little neighborhood bistro. Judging by the accommodation of my request, and the roast chicken (and you can always judge the quality of a restaurant by its roast chicken) 5-Stars all the way!

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TS
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We were a little underwhelmed. The menu held more promise than our dishes actually provided.

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MR
Hawaii
10 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, and a very cozy location. We will be back!

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EA
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Le Central is the real deal. In fact, it's the location of some of San Francisco's most illustrious deal making business and political heavy weights. It's sophisticated and low key at the same time. LOVE this San Francisco institution for keeping it authentic French bistro dining.

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Z
Palm Springs
44 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food was tasty, but not very hot. Cassulet on the dry side.

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GL
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Didn't disappoint.
Great place to take visitors from out of town.
Attentive, not intrusive, service.

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m
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a delightful and delicious lunch with my daughter after her final wedding dress fitting. A lunch to remember always. It was lovely and Tom our waiter was perfect. I look forward to the next time I have the opportunity to visit Le Central.

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i
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great menu and excellent service. Authentic French cuisine.

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EE
Dallas
6 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Old world charm. Excellent food: we had the cassoulet, the au poive and the escargot. All amazingly delicious with great old world ambiance and service!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely overall ambience, service, authentic bistro cuisine.

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F
London
25 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Classic French Food in an old school, wonderful San Francisco restaurant.

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R
San Francisco
72 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorites! Fine French food. Old San Francisco. Quiet. Lots of regulars

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t
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Muscles and lemon soufflé were amazing!

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OT
Atlanta
40 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and great food

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

They forgot to put in part of our order, but accepted my request for another glass of wine. Food was great, service was just slow. Hardly anyone there, as we went in on the late side.

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CG
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food and service. I ordered a salad and unfortunaly it eas fridge cold!

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very helpful and attentive service. Delicious food.

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LE
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We were in SF vacationing and Le Central came up in the Yelp search for area restaurants. Most of the reviews were good and some less flattering but you have to take Yelp reviews with caution. We used OT for a reservation & that went well. Our waiter was initially ok but as he got less busy, he was more attentive and less stern. My family of four enjoyed everything we ordered down to the french bread. Their cassoulet was amazing stew of & lived up to its fanfare. The french onion soup was not too salty, the broth was made from real stock & beautifully done onions. The special salmon salad was prepared well and the salmon not overcooked. My son had the special steak and had a rich sauce that the picky kid enjoyed. The appetizer of tomato & mozzarella was tasty. The hamburger was generously sized and beautifully done and the pomme frites were perfectly seasoned & cooked crisp with a creamy interior. The french bread was good but I expected it to be warmed up - regardless the kids ate it all up. My daughter opted for the special lemon souffle over the creme brulee on recommendation from the waiter and he was so right -- perfect balance of lemon tart & sweet, very light and the fresh berries a perfect companion. My son had the chocolate something (I forget) and it was good quality chocolate.

The restaurant was pleasantly busy with just a few empty tables. The entrees took longer than expected since the appetizers and salads came out timely. We were in no hurry so that was ok but felt others got their entrees faster -- don't think it was the type of entrees we ordered but maybe the kitchen got confused. It was a leisurely French dinner and an enjoyable evening.

Bottomline: Yes we were recommend and come back the next time we are in SF.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 5

Need to get rid of all of the insects/fruit flies!

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H
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants since the day it opened. Always good food.

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J
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Well, I guess excellence is not to be assumed. This time it was bad service and not fully heated potatoes with the Beef. First time I have been disappointed...but, alas, I am not going back next week. Too bad.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food. Excellent service. Local history. Great place for a celebration. Parking is impossible! Go straight up the hill and park in the Stockton garage!

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C
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food and service was very good, wine list was moderately priced a great time and excellent place

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JA
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A favorite spot for lunch. Great wine, authentic French food in the heart of San Francisco.

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BG
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Food was mediocre and service was unimpressive. How can you not have mussels on the menu in a French Brasserie?

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EM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 3ambience 2

Overpriced and ordinary. Loud. The entree's on the website were not available.

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p
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Since we've been going to Le Central for about 20 years, it's pretty obvious that we think highly of it. Pleasant, unpretentious ambiance, good for lunch and dinner too, and very good food. A word about that food: the menu is relatively small, quite simple, & hardly ever varies, although seasonal fruit & vegetables are always offered. But the fact that Le Central so consistently good (and people keep coming back) suggests that the owners must know what the French know: serve a few things, but make sure that they are beautifully prepared and of the best quality. We love restaurants & have tried quite a few. That Le Central has remained for so long on the short list of places we go to for our own pleasure and for the pleasure of our visitors, testifies to the sincerity of our comments.

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SG
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

There is nowhere else in San Francisco I’d rather spend Bastille Day!!

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OT
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very tasty french comfort food with amazing cocktails and even better service! We really enjoyed every bit of our meal!

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JA
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I have been going to Le Central for 18 years.... I love the food and the service!

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LK
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Not at the addr listed. Google says closed since 2015.

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OT
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great as always!

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R
San Francisco
72 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

This is where locals return again and again for excellent service, French food and the ability to hear each other!

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s
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

my scallops were not evenly cooked but they were flavorful, the mashed potatoes were bland. creme brulee tasted just like a big fluffy egg but my date liked his burger.

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SG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

Chicken dish was bland.
Crab special was not described by waittress very well and we would not have chosen it had it been.

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