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Party Size
For 2
Fri, 2/23
7:00 PM
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Booked 16 times today
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Le Central

1384 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Authentic
  • Business Meals
  • Good for a Date

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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Hours of operation
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

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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
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine


50% off all Bottles of Wine

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

Instantly increase your points with dining rewards

See availability for bonus point tables

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

What 1384 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4  based on recent ratings
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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OpenTable Diner 
4.0  Dined 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?

KingstonC (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined 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.

Kevin (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined 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.

OpenTable Diner (Houston)
5.0  Dined on February 15, 2018

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

OpenTable Diner (Indiana)
3.0  Dined 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.

vipJudd (Raleigh)
5.0  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!

vipcurious (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined 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!

OpenTable Diner (New York Area)
2.0  Dined on January 31, 2018

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

CS912 (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined 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.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  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.

vipGrendelrory (San Francisco)
3.0  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.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on January 25, 2018

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

Mila (San Francisco)
5.0  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.

Angelique (San Francisco)
5.0  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!

LouLou (Salt Lake City)
5.0  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.

vipNeunuebel (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on January 23, 2018

Average! It’s. Just an average restaurant.

vipAlicia (Los Angeles)
3.0  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.

Mekong655 (San Francisco)
4.0  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.

amp94596 (San Francisco)
4.0  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.

vipHeatherW (San Francisco)
5.0  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.

MominBPC (New York Area)
3.0  Dined on January 10, 2018

Food was delicious , but service was poor.

vipDesinguy (Hawaii)
3.0  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.

OpenTable Diner (Orlando)
5.0  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.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  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.

vipOpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on January 6, 2018

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

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  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.

hijoanne123 (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on January 5, 2018

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

Sophia (San Francisco)
5.0  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.

HugoArizona (San Francisco)
1.0  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

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  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.