Le Central

4.5
1599 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.

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

What 1599 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
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Very disappointed in the menu & portion size, in comparison to the high price of all the food choices. Dined here for lunch , several years ago, & it was fine. Not worth going to again!!!

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GM
Portland
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Nice place if don't need trendy. Recommend filet and salmon. Reasonably priced food wine, attentive service. Good for conversation.

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OT
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing!!! Hidden gem that we stumbled upon. So good!

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DB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The Brussel sprouts, salmon were amazing. Central has a filet mignon which replaces a typical brasserie steak-frites.. that was sensational. Pate was so-so.. miss true cornichons. Good values on wine list. Service was attentive and lovely.

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C
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

customer since 1974, always outstanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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CL
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delightful as always!
Excellent in every way.
Will return.

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J
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

Love this place - even with the noise you can talk and enjoy your meal. We’ve eaten here 6-7 times and this time we felt the cassoulet was really salty. It’s a delicious dish but it doesn’t need the salt. New chef?
Great service and ambiance.

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JB
Dallas
9 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was good but not great, especially for a $80 per guest dinner with 1/2 wine glass avg.

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MB
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The ambiance was very nice and the food was beautifully prepared and served. Our waiter was very attentive. We were delighted when Chef Steven came out to ask how everything was and personally served us his award-winning saffron crème brulée. A wonderful evening!

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DW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Situated in San Francisco as one of the oldest French bistros, it still offers some food which are worth for a shot. Bone marrow and the cassoulet look plain and basic, but they can definitely satisfy your palate😋😋😋 Here seems to be a great place for a casual celebration. Even it has been here for (I guess) forty years, and not many people are going here nowadays (compared to decades ago), I would still recommend it as a good restaurant with warm service.

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S
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Overall we loved the restaurant. The food was excellent and the waiter was very friendly. I would recommend it for a friend. I didn't care too much for the bartender (don't make fun of people who order non-alcoholic drinks) My only suggestion would be was that they were not very busy and the food took a long time to come out. We had a 8:00 show and almost missed curtain time.

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FP
Central Coast
43 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Le Central is our go to place when we visit San Francisco. We are always welcomed. Scott is our choice of waiters.

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OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Good food, very nice service & ambiance.
Almost empty on a Monday night.

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JK
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have always loved this restaurant. but their new chef has REALLY taken things up a notch ... a LOT of notches!!

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m
Sacramento
23 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The chicken and porkchop were both overcooked. The service was attentive and friendly. The food took too long to arrive at our table.

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t
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lunch at Le Central is always delightful. The food is consistent and service is very good. The ambience make you feel like you are in a nice Bistro in Paris.

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P
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

New chef. Food was tasteless. First time in 25 years that I had a bad meal. In fact three bad meals

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RF
London
3 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Real representation of a small European restaurant. Loved it.

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KB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Food took an hour for a party of 2

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R
Denver
17 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food! Friendly, helpful staff. Staff recommended excellent choices. I loved every delicious bite. I will be back even though I live in another state!

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C
Atlanta
5 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We had a large group and they had everything ready when we got there. The waitress was efficient but not overly friendly. Drink and dinner orders were taken and I was surprised that the waitress would not allow us to order apps first and then dinner. Most of the people with me had the onion soup and said it was very good. I had the escargot and thought the same. Most had steak for dinner and all reported that it was over seasoned. I had the cassoulet and the duck was prepared perfectly but I thought the ragout was too salty.

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DS
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Wonderfully prepared traditional French dishes. L’Escargot, Boeuf Bourguignon, Bone-In Berkshire Pork Chop, were all extremely good. The service was friendly and very welcoming. The restaurant space is cozy and great for conversation. The high quality food with a relaxed, almost neighborhood feel made it a very pleasant experience. We will definitely return!

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OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Disappointing. Expected the French food to be more authentic and better prepared.

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KM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

The food is outstanding and worth the visit. The atmosphere is noisy and no privacy is available. Tables are very close together and feels cramped. The food is worth it. Go early to have a bit of eating space.

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C
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love the classic restaurants that have survived the “see and be seen” new and different flash in the pans. Mature well seasoned wait staff, great cocktails, pleasant surroundings that feel its age!

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R
San Francisco
75 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

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OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Superlative

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RW
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Our waiter was very knowledgeable. The only drawback was that there was a table of a right near us and they were very noisy. We would come again though.

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H
San Francisco
72 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Birthday dinner

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b
San Francisco
83 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Le Central has a new chef. Food is different. Onion soup has good flavor. Poached salmon was prepared differently. As was the celey root salad. Cassoulet was quite nice. Next table had fried chicken that looked good enough to give it a try another time.

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a
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Quality of food was excellent. 1/2 price off wine on Monday's.

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PB
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A very special treat. I don't eat out much, but had a real reason to celebrate. All excellent, the food, the ambience, the service. And yet for how upscale this was for me, it was actually quite affordable.

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TM
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food with a new menu. Always
A San Francisco classic

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CM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a beautiful small french bistro like you might find on the left bank of Paris. The dishes are all classic french bistro faire and oh so delicious. It is a lovely place for date night, start with a glass of french white wine, have some delicious French onion soup and then move to a classic French entre. I was there recently and ran into Willie Brown who was enjoying lunch at this lovely spot.

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JO
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

LE CENTRAL ACCEPTED OUR REQUEST FOR 19 PEOPLE. WE REALLY ENJOYED OUR MEAL, OUR SERVICE AND I WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO THIS RESTAURANT. THANKS EVERYONE.

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L
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had lunch here while visiting San Francisco. Service was wonderful and the food amazing. French onion soup and bib lettuce salad were a great start - but, sharing our entree of cassoulet was the best part. More than enough for two - one of the best we have ever had. Would definitely go back again - perhaps for dinner.

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HP
San Francisco
59 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The new shrimp fritters on the menu were out of this world. The classic butter lettuce salad and roast chicken were wonderful as always. The Brussels sprouts were a,omg the best I have had. Service was great- they make you feel special and at home. Will return soon.

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JS
Chicago
42 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Nice neighborhood bistro with great wait staff, good/not great food, fun cocktails and traditional cozy ambiance. Don't come for outstanding food. Come for the total experience. Food is good, don't great me wrong. Just not memorable.

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MH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The energy has changed, along with the men

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F
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fabulous as usual!

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