Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.5
5766 reviews
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$30 and under
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French
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is one of the longest-running and most convivial dining institutions in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. Located within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, the establishment features French and American-influenced brasserie fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Absinthe’s lively bar offers classic and creative cocktails and full menu dining.
What 5766 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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GS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I found Absinthe online, and was delighted that it was within walking distance to an event at SFJazz. The ambiance was perfect -- warm and colorful. The menu was also very good in terms of a variety of selections. I had a green salad that was absolutely delicious, and the mac 'n cheese -- also delicious! Wine, coffee ... everything was perfect. The staff people were attentive, even though I was alone and the restaurant was quite busy. They didn't forget about me. The only caution is to allow plenty of time to find parking on the street.

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HN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful brunch menu with many varied options. The Ricotta stuffed French toast is unforgettable!
I love the non-alcoholic drink selections, especially the "Absinthe " lemonade. We'll be back soon.

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SC
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Superb, as usual. There were three of us for lunch on a Sunday before the symphony. My duck confit was delicious and well presented. Our friend's crab scramble looked scrumptious and he was quite satisfied with it. My husband preferred a breakfast morning bun (better than Semifreddy's) and a plate of fresh fruit, emphasis on the fresh. We were well and prompty seated and served, and attended to throughout the meal. Noise level was excellent for us to conduct and intelligent and pleasant conversation.

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SL
San Francisco
102 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Brunch on Sunday is always good. Consistent!

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BZ
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

I haven't had such bad service in a restaurant in a very long time. We sat down, then the table next to us were seated. The server took their order first, then told us he would be right back. Well, about 30 minutes later we had to ask a bus-person to take our order. We had only been served water up until that point. Luckily the food at Absinthe is quite delicious. But honestly, it was the first time in my life I wanted to tip $1.

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S
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Been here several times, the bar tender accommodated a request for a special drink. The Wine list is extensive & diverse. There is always a standard good wine for the buck in the general Menu. The Foie Gras, however kept playing hide & seek ! One time its there a few weeks later its not, taking one star off because of that.

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TM
London
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really enjoyed our meal there! When we walked in the restaurant it was very crowded. We had a 9:30 reservation and was seated within 10 minutes of that. I ordered a cocktail with absinthe in it and didn’t like it so the server brought me a different drink, it was good. We ordered the Coq au Vin, it was really good! Served in an iron skillet, nice and hot.
I’d definitely go back and I’d recommend it to friends.

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TP
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent place with amazing service and very tasty oysters, burgers, salmon, wine, and gin cocktails. It is pricey though.

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C
New England
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite restaurants is SF...and great if you are going to the Jazz Center, Symphony.

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LS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The waitress we had was wonderful. She offered superior service, remembered our names and questions we asked. She was great!

Food: sandwiches did not have a lot of meat or cheese inside - they had a lot less food inside - more bread. That's not great. I wouldn't order them again.

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S
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absinthe is always our go to restaurant pre show at the Jazz center. Staff is always great at getting us out on time ! Food is always wonderful ; we always get a great meal

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J
San Francisco
108 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Too much crash bang boom from the kitchen. It turned a dining experience into a diner experience.
Otherwise, of course, Absinthe is always good.

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S
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! I had the best vichyssoise at this restaurant and friend enjoyed oysters and shaved Brussels sprout salad. Nice ambiance and we had a knowledgeable server. Cozy fun dinner before going to SF Jazz event.

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C
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went there pre theatre. We told our server and she got us out in a timely manner without feeling rushed. We had the steak tartare as our appetizer and we both had the chicken pot pie. The service was terrific, food was very good, will definitely return.

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OT
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, great drinks, great snacks. Love this spot. They get it all right.

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DV
Central Coast
14 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had tickets for SF Jazz Center and made reservations for Absinthe. It was perfect. The Austrian wine, Chardonnay, and Cab Franc were superb as was the salmon and hamburger dishes. It has been some years since our last visit but we will return shortly. Thank you for the wonderful service and overall experience.

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ES
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The food was good the service was not , unfortunately in both time that I was there I’ve been served by the same rode waitress.

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OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Overall decent experience, nothing particularly special about the food, did not leave memorable impression nor very authentic french cusine; however cusotmer service was nice.

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VM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food here, and the service is good too.

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MS
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I love this place but it is looking a little worn. Won’t stop me from going there but I thought I should mention it.

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GC
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service but very noisy with people shouting and talking very loudly!!!

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P
San Francisco
62 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Emma was our server and she was wonderful! The food came out hot. Good wine list.

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PS
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was wonderfully attentive and not intrusive. Very tasty and well prepared food.

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

Nice French brasserie style food , great atmosphere perfect for a date

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

I really liked the food and the atmosphere in this restaurant. The service was so so since I felt like the waitress was not as friendly and welcoming. However, I still recommend everyone to come here once at least.

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HS
San Francisco
55 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The pasta, salads & hamburger dishes were excellent. Great service. Love the ambiance.

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OT
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing, if you want French food and great service this is the place to go.

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Z
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The service at Absinthe is always good, but this time the wait person was both friendly and good humored. She recommended a wine that was both delicious and reasonably priced. I really liked the Osso Bucco, and my dinner companion relished the Boulibasse.

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FM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

Very nice speak-easy ambience. Quiet and cozy. Bar is welcoming with good energy. The service and food are acceptable, but not their greatest assets. Come here for the nice comfortable scene, but don't anticipate much excitement from the food

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ET
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Welcome to the New Year, group of friends.

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R
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and cocktails are top-notch! The potato encrusted salmon and salad combo was perfection!

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m
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

This was New Year’s Eve so really hard to judge everything. But the whole menu was open, which was cool for New Year’s, the food was good but nothing great, food came out relatively fast, also a plus for New Year’s, but otherwise service only okay.
This is essentially a good neighborhood restaurant in Hayes Valley, nothing more. Great if you live nearby, but otherwise nothing special and not worth the trip.

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KM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a great time and wonderful meal on New Year's Eve.
My only reason for not giving 5 stars for ambiance was the noise level and crowd in the bar. I wasn't expecting to have bar patrons standing so close to our our table that I was unable to get out of my chair.

Our waiter was exceptional.

Otherwise, it was great.

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W
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our early New Years Eve dinner. Spicy fried chickpeas are a great snack with cocktails. Soft garlic pretzels and chef's choice of oysters on the half shell were delicious. For our main course we ordered coq au vin and grilled steak frites which were perfectly executed. The food is reminiscent of the terrific bistros in Paris. We enjoyed every bite. Service was friendly and superb.

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o
San Francisco
159 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food from Joel and service from Galen, Amanda and Tia is exceptional every time.

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PL
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a wonderful experience!

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F
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Waitress was in a rush and unfriendly
Hostess seated us in a poor area despite many open tables in the main dining room which they said had been reserved

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e
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absinthe is the quintessential restaurant. It has a bar room and separate dining room. The dining area is quiet and the ambiance is incredible. We happen to be visiting for dinner before a jazz concert. Upon coming to our table, the waiter asked if we had a concert or theater we were attending after dinner in order to ensure our meal was expedited. No one has ever asked that of us when we attended previous restaurants. Our waiter was very pleasant, attentive, caring and provided great recommendations throughout our dinner experience. The food was amazing! My wife had pasta, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I had Osso Bucco, which fell off the bone and the accompanying sauce was heavenly. Makes you want to sop up the remaining sauce with bread. We have visited Absinthe once before for dinner and it seems each time, our experiences eclipsed the previous one. Great Job Ansinthe!

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MP
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent table service! I tried a vegetarian portobello sandwich that was grilled to perfection, garnished with chips. Profiteroles, and a delicious espresso. All was great!

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The beef brisket with French dip was fantastic. I highly recommend it.

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