Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF

4.5
5893 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 5893 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
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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D
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Baby’s first Coq au van! Outstanding.

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

Great food, drinks and experience!

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JP
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been going here for years and it provides consistent high quality service and delicious food.

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

My favorite place to have brunch before ballet, opera or concert. I usually bring new people to enjoy the wonderful food and ambiance.

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

Food was absolutely delicious, came out quickly, and ambiance was comfortable, classy, and romantic. This is an excellent spot if you're running on a schedule, perhaps to see a show. The waitress checked on us several times so we always had what we needed, but she never felt intrusive or interrupted conversation. The menu had yesterday's date printed on top and they seem to rotate items regularly. We had the crab scramble with a perfectly seasoned brioche, mushroom quiche that was exceptionally creamy, and brocilinni that was also perfect seasoned and delicious. I had their Brewed Awakening cocktail and loved it, if you're in the mood for a sweet treat. My only complaints are that the side salads had too much dressing for my tastes, and we wished they served complimentary bread at the start of the meal. Overall, I'd look forward to coming back.

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ER
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great from beginning to end. The Duck Liver Mousse was to die for. Coq Au Vin sauce was rich and delicious. Hard to find a bottle of wine in the two digit range but our server succeeded in finding a really good Pinot Noir. Our conversations with the server added to the fun of the evening.

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JM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

We had a horrible server - she was terrible & forgot things & charged us for stuff we never got!

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BW
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Shaved brussel sprout appetizer was not good. Very nice French onion soup and pretty good steak tartare--but all delivered to the table almost as if tossed onto it. A mistaken dessert order (had to be quick to get it taken back when delivered) and a few other misplays made the service almost unpleasant. Great ambiance for drinks at the bar, less so for dining.

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D
Miami
4 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Yet another incredible experience. The food, the ambiance, and service is always second to none. Thank You!

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t
San Francisco
57 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an excellent dinner before a performance. I had the bouillabaisse and the Brussels sprout salad and I would recommend them both. I do wish there were more wines on the list in the $100 range or below.

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

Absinthe is one of the most consistent restaurant I have ever frequented. The food is always terrific, the service always friendly and attentive, and the space is cozy. I had the special pasta, which on this night was vegetarian, with peas and a lovely cream sauce. My husband had the beef bourguignon and it delivered as well. Highly recommended!

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SS
San Francisco
92 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional modern food arising from the classics, created with delicious, innovative preparations and served in an elegant Belle Époque setting. One of the best and most beautiful restaurants in San Francisco. It is always a pleasure to be at Absinthe.

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C
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife had a hamburger. Hamburger in a high-end restaurant? Yes, and one of the best hamburgers she has ever eaten. Excellent beef, all of the trimmings perfect, many options.
I had a pasta with truffles and morels. Exquisite. The wine was a perfect pairing. Nice people around us. A couple at the next table brought two bottles of French champagne they had acquired in France. They drank from both and the staff tasted each bottle also. They shared with us, too. The 1985 Krug was outstanding and how nice to have complete strangers converse with you and share their wine. It was spectacular.
We love Absinthe as a dinner stop before the symphony. Only a two block walk.

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r
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Absinthe remains one our favorites. Here're a few things that could be improved.
1. coffee used to be very good but now is quite bad.
2. drinks are too expensive.
3. oso bucco should use lamb instead of pork

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D
Sacramento
17 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was excellent, service professional, a but noisy when it filled up.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

My waiter was nice but forgetful. When I got my bill I noticed that he had given me the ribeye rather than the filet which I had ordered. I didn’t dispute this but I’ll be more careful next time.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sooo good!!! Thank you!

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M
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very good service food and atmosphere

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f
San Francisco
41 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The decor and design was as still fresh The service was professional, friendly and attentive from the host to servers. The Bordeaux, Red and White Burgundy wines by the glass paired well with the food and were delicious on their own. We were very pleased with the freshness and depth of flavor in the Brussels sprouts with burrata. The pork osso boco and Coq au vin were spot on. What's not to like about this Hayes Valley French classic that's nearly 2 decades old?

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RC
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have enjoyed dining at Absinthe for many years, whether brunch, lunch or dinner, often before or after a civic center performance. The atmosphere, food and service are always wonderful.

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GL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

The service was stellar the first time we dined here, but not the second time, which was quite disappointing. But the food is still amazing!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great location and good atmosphere

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RD
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 5

I have been toAbsinthe several time. Each time ambiance is very nice. The patrons are relaxed and happy.All employees are courteous. The French Onion Soup is excellent, one of the best in San Francisco. Everything else is disappointing.
Would recommend it for ambiance and French Onion Soup.

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e
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always have good food prepared well, courteous service, and thoughtful people working each time.

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DR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, fun atmosphere. Absinthe is in a classic old building but it's fun and vibrant. Food was excellent, service top notch. We'll for sure be coming back.

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DR
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was excellent, the food and wine delicious

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AD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

We hated the first time we visited because of the service so we thought we would try it again.. TERRIBLE! The service was embarrassing. The first time we were spoken to was 23mins after sitting down and it was a guy offering us water. We received our food before our bottle of wine we ordered.

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JJ
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

My grandkids love this place. We go for lunch before the symphony or ballet.

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L
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

It’s okay. Not great. Tired decor, tired menu. Caesar salad wilted, too much anchovy. I would not recommend because its sooo expensive for what you get. A glass of seltzer $3.50, really!? Charging for refilling a coke, a very small coke to begin with, really!? No, would not recommend, will not return.

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JE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The duck confit ragout was amazing! Also the waiter was very cognizant of our show time which was great.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere; great service; great food; great experience

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OT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great ambience, terrific service, fabulous meal - we will be back

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NM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed an early dinner before the theater. Service was great and food was fresh and delicious. The cocktails were outstanding. I'd go back in a second.

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LB
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

I just didn't think the entrees and dessert was special/worth the price. Appetizers and salads were excellent.

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AG
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We lived our server! He was attentive, nice, fun and excellent service.

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NS
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Pre-Symphony - We were not rushed but still had plenty of time. Good service, delicious food...we were very pleased!

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C
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding French Onion Soup! This is a great place to dine before theater. The wait staff really paid attention to us and the food was delivered hot and oh so delicious.

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JM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The small dishes (onion soup, duck liver mousse) were impressive, yet my main dish (seafood stew, quite bland) disappointed me a little. Pretty good experience overall.

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o
San Francisco
163 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Whitney is the best server, Tia is the best bartender, Sylvia is an excellent hostess.
Great staff and unsurpassed food and ambiance.

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S
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We have enjoyed consistently great food here and wonderful service. We are usually here for dinner prior to the Symphony and our servers have always paced our meals so we are never rushed.

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