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Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

French Restaurant and Bar$$$$
Civic Center, San Francisco
244 Tips and reviews
  • cocktails
  • good for dates
  • French onion soup
  • pretzels
  • oysters
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  • Party Earth
    Party EarthJuly 11, 2012
    Arlequin Wine Merchant, just down the street at 384 Hayes Street, is owned by the same people behind Absinthe, making it easy to pick up a bottle of that fabulous wine you had at the restaurant. Read more
    Upvoted May 6
  • Ashok L.
    Ashok LalwaniMay 11, 2015
    Very lively and yet very cozy to go on special occasions. I have been here 2 times and both times for late night desserts. Delicious deserts and pair them with wine recommendations.
  • Eater
    EaterJuly 27, 2011
    Adam Keough has revived this bustling Hayes Valley fixture. Its lively, yet comforting brasserie scene remains, but now there’s an energized bar food program & the menu has new soul. [Eater 38 Member] Read more
  • Tasting Table
    Tasting TableSeptember 29, 2014
    Stop by Absinthe for a glass of organic bubbly or the namesake cocktail. Grab a sidewalk table and snack on Parmesan-garlic popcorn or spicy fried chickpeas. Read more
  • Becherovka Voyager
    Becherovka VoyagerSeptember 4, 2013
    If you are looking for a staff knowledgeable about herbal drinks like Becherovka, this is the place to be. Enjoy every last bite of even the simplest foods, with the perfect drink pairing every time.
  • Cody H.
    Cody HardFebruary 26, 2015
    Food was great, nice atmosphere, wait staff was incredibly helpful. Cocktails were a little sweet for me. Ordered pretzels and spaghetti, both were great. They also did a great job celebrating a bday!
  • Albert T.
    Albert TreatNovember 12, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    The baked Mac & Cheese is delicious - and entree sized! Also, try the 3 cheese trio of Humbolt Fog, Cloth Wrapped Cheddar, and the Pecora. Feeling Bond-ish? Their Vesper Martini is great!
  • Simon E.
    Simon EdwardsFebruary 3, 2016
    Friendly staff (call for table if Open Table doesn't have availability), good food (rock cod was tasty although lacked a little texture, octopus was second to none), and extensive wine list (~2,500)
  • Aisha
    AishaAugust 5, 2013
    Great place to go for lunch. Burgers are delicious - made to perfection. Entire staff is friendly - from hostess, servers, bus boys and everyone! They will make menu recommendations too!
  • Kristine D.
    Kristine DierApril 28, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Best French onion soup ever! Also if the drink you want is not on the menu, no problem. The bar tender will still make it for you.
  • Ashley M.
    Ashley MowreyJune 23, 2015
    Con: $11 for a fruit bowl that I could've made for $2? No. Pro, the breakfast potatoes were amazing. Painfully pleasant servers who appear to be begging you to set them free, & seniors everywhere.
  • Matthew C.
    Matthew ChungAugust 31, 2012
    Get the Spanish Coffee- its not on the menu and it's fun to watch them make it. Oh, and one of the bar tenders is allergic to the cinnamon in it so thank the poor dude.
  • Annie 🌺 J.
    Came here with a friend to get some dinner late in the evening after drinking for a bit. We're vegetarian and got the soup and pasta - both delicious!
  • Kelly .
    Kelly 🍰November 12, 2012
    Get there at 11 on weekends to beat the brunch crowds. Yummy French toast and huge portion. Skip the open face trout sandwich unless you love mayonnaise and eggs
  • Yev P.
    Yev PusinApril 21, 2015
    Amazing restaurant. Love the tartare appetizer. Menu changes often so recommendations are hard to make, all good!
  • Kendra S.
    Kendra StormJune 23, 2014
    The ceviche, pork belly, and mussels were delicious! Walking distance to the Opera House, and servers are conscious of show times to remind you to skedaddle!
  • Stephen B.
    Stephen BassmanFebruary 13, 2012
    Try the Soft garlic pretzels - Guy next to me at the bar: "If you want to drink the rest of that beer cheese sauce, I won't judge you."
  • Thomas W.
    Thomas WittApril 29, 2016
    Traditional, typical french-style bistrot-restaurant … food is good, but not awesome. They kind of rushed us through the menu.
  • Approach Guides
    Approach GuidesNovember 21, 2010
    2007 was an incredible vintage in the Southern Rhone. Try the Gigondas, Vacqueryras, or Telegramme (from Chateauneuf du Pape) off the half bottle list. These grenache-based blends will not disappoint!
  • Brian N.
    Brian NguyenAugust 30, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    Lamb chop for dinner is better than their stack. But the coq au vin is the best anywhere.
  • Kim F.
    Kim FujiwaraFebruary 16, 2013
    Try the Dungeness Crab Omelette - Fresh crab meat and spinach tucked within a light, fluffy omelette with green onions and chiles ... Must try!
  • Jade J.
    Jade JenningsSeptember 9, 2015
    The food and drinks here are amazing and the bartenders are really nice too get the pomegranate martini!! The Nevada was pretty good too
  • Siv
    SivMay 29, 2011
    A perfect spot to have a cozy birthday dinner. The service, food, and ambiance was super warm and friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed the birthday mango ice-cream. :)
  • Djem Y.
    Djem YoudjelOctober 23, 2010
    If you are looking to get a light meal, try marinated mixed olives, hudson valley camembert domestic cheese and beef tartare... And as for dessert, gaufrette with pistachio mousse and pistachios...
  • Asha S.
    Asha ServiaNovember 18, 2010
    Great ambiance, filled with chatter but dimly lit. The hot dog's the 7x7 list of things to try but I just found out from the server but they have a new chef and no longer have it on the menu.
  • Kyle M.
    Kyle MinorMarch 29, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Pickled is a monthly pop-up bar on the last Monday of the month (excepting December). Artisan, culinary cocktails, select wines, beers, and small plates served in the Absinthe private dining room. Awe
  • Samantha B.
    Great cocktails! Go for a Manhattan and accompany it with garlic pretzel bites
  • Alice L.
    Alice LouieSeptember 18, 2013
    The soft garlic pretzels is very tasty and the dipping sauce is delicious. Hamburger is cooked perfectly and Croque Monsieur is great!
  • AskMen
    AskMenDecember 9, 2010
    This upscale French bistro serves plenty of absinthe if you want to get your inner Van Gogh going. Think wild mushroom pot pie, rabbit stew & other hearty mains. Read more
  • Phil T.
    Phil TorontoMay 31, 2015
    The Steak Tartare is very solid. Don't second guess yourself.
    Upvoted 3 weeks ago
  • Joerg R.
    Joerg RingsOctober 21, 2012
    Don't eat here, the cocktails are amazing but the guy we got at the bar was a a burger and cocktails at a table? The waiter was fantastic!
  • Inman News
    Inman NewsMarch 6, 2012
    Their deconstructed German chocolate cake is amazing! It consists of milk chocolate mousse, pressed coconut and candied pecans. Delicious!
  • Jose
    JoseApril 18, 2012
    Specialties: Any cocktail; French onion soup; coq au vin; hamburger; oysters; Tcho chocolate pot de creme; German chocolate cake.
  • The Culinary Institute of America
    With a menu that lives up to its reputation, Chef Adam Keough has a lot to be proud of - and so do we! We’re so proud of everything our alumni accomplish.
  • SF Weekly
    SF WeeklyMay 24, 2011
    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 Winner – Editorial Pick – BEST POP-UP BAR NIGHTEssentially a pop-up bar w/in a bar, a set menu features seasonal cocktails & bites that aren't typically available elsewhere. Read more
  • Areej A.
    Areej AshourAugust 13, 2015
    The burgers.. Amazing! and the coconut-corn soup is so creamy and delicious.
  • Daddy said I'm special
    Great selection of drinks. Oysters are a must! Grilled cheese with mushrooms is good but way to big
  • SF Weekly
    SF WeeklyMay 24, 2011
    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 Winner – Editorial Pick – BEST POP-UP BAR NIGHTEssentially a pop-up bar w/in a bar, a menu features seasonal cocktails & bites that aren't typically available elsewhere... Read more
  • Rebecca G.
    Rebecca GobersteinMarch 19, 2012
    Okay, so if you're fine to shell out $15 for a cocktail, then do it, cause they make them right here. The food is unbelievable, but for the price, it better be. One of the pricier go-to's in SF.
  • Frank K.
    Frank KimNovember 11, 2014
    Their ceviche dish is pretty flavorful and spicy, the French onion soup and buttersquash soup were excellent.
  • Rose A.
    Rose AlvarezJanuary 21, 2012
    The Soft Garlic Pretzels are a great way to start a meal. The pot de creme is the perfect way to end it.
  • Bravo
    BravoNovember 11, 2010
    Open late, Pre and Post theatre. Great food. Busy NY feel. Extensive cocktail list. -Tim Nugent, Top Chef Just Desserts
    SF BRAVO! CLUBAugust 25, 2011
    Walking distance to the opera house- great place for a sit down meal or a glass or wine before or after the show!
  • laurie b.
    laurie brescollMay 2, 2012
    Devoured the RANCH LAMB SUGO: papardelle pasta, pancetta,peas & favas, mint, crumbled-herb croutons, fruity olive oil.
  • Food & Wine
    Food & WineApril 20, 2011
    Francophiles crowd the copper-topped tables at this San Francisco institution. The draw: stellar cocktails and brasserie-style dishes from Top Chef Season 5 contestant Jamie Lauren.
  • Tasting Table
    Tasting TableSeptember 9, 2014
    Grab a sidewalk table and snack on Parmesan-garlic popcorn ($4) or spicy fried chickpeas ($4). Read more
  • Nick B.
    Nick BaumNovember 9, 2012
    Rather than ordering from the extensive cocktail menu, tell the bartender what you mood you're in and let them choose.
  • Anjelika P.
    Anjelika ParanjpeAugust 24, 2011
    On one of those rare warm summer nights, put your name down 45 min before you want to eat and get a cocktail or two out front. So lovely.
  • Rachel R.
    Pop into the bar for a cocktail and the pretzel bites with hot cheese!
  • Pawel P.
    Pawel PietrykaJanuary 29, 2015
    Nice French style food. Good atmosphere. Coq au vin and oysters were really good.
  • Katie C.
    Katie CongletonOctober 17, 2015
    Oysters, pretzels, French onion soup, the burger - we had it all and everything was delicious!
  • Brad T.
    Brad TSeptember 21, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Brunch menu changes often but if you come across the duck confit ragout: don't hesitate.
  • Monty H.
    Monty HamiltonMarch 19, 2014
    OK... If you're lucky enough to spot the Apple Pie Panna Cotta... Just say YES! Right up there with the best...
  • SFGate
    SFGateApril 26, 2011
    You can't dine here without trying one of the bar's incredible cocktails. Hungry? Order the French onion soup. Read more
  • Sean S.
    Sean SheppardAugust 11, 2012
    Try the Corn Soup W Roasted Poblano Peppers - Made me long for the cream corn of old #comfortfood
  • Mario S.
    Mario SundarSeptember 28, 2013
    Try the Spanish coffee. Rumor has it, they make some of the best cocktails here.
  • The Feast
    The FeastJune 13, 2011
    The cocktails here are expertly mixed and stand up against classic brasserie items like French onion soup and duck confit. Read more
  • Irene M.
    Irene MApril 30, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Delightful, comfortable, mature brasserie. Perfect for after theater. Great cocktails.
  • Muggins
    MugginsApril 23, 2011
    One of the best burgers I've ever had, and great fries too. Excellent steak tartare. Great place, great ambience.
  • Violet B.
    Violet BlueAugust 21, 2012
    Been here 10+ times
    Visit Triple Ought for urban tactical gear, then come here to sip an exquisite cocktail.
  • Jessie M.
    Jessie MaiJanuary 19, 2014
    The duck breast is out of this world - so succulent and flavorful!
  • Gustavo P.
    Gustavo PerezApril 21, 2013
    Coq au vin is amazing. Make sure you ask for extra bread!
  • Nahid A.
    Nahid AshriAugust 13, 2015
    The best burger even ... you must also try the coconut corn soup
  • Jean-Pierre P.
    Jean-Pierre PommetDecember 31, 2015
    Desserts and digestive drinks are excellent! I highly recommend this place
  • Brian
    BrianJanuary 24, 2012
    7x7's Big Eat 2012 says the soft garlic pretzels are delicious. Yum!
  • Teresa
    TeresaNovember 29, 2014
    Romantic for dates. Cocktails. Great food.
  • Edmund B.
    Edmund BoeyDecember 17, 2016
    If you're not white, or someone in your party is not white, you'll have to put up with terrible service...but apart from racism everything is great!
  • Tinne
    TinneFebruary 22, 2014
    Friendly staff and amazing food. Recommend the crab and gnocchi.
  • Amy C.
    Amy CaoFebruary 4, 2012
    Try the Deviled Eggs With Salmon And Caviar - Sometimes we work on Saturday.
  • Roshan V.
    Roshan VyasJune 2, 2014
    Been here 25+ times
    Really great burger. Get it with cheddar and bacon.
  • Robert Jan d.
    Robert Jan de VriesApril 27, 2013
    They have an impressive Scotch selection, worth stopping by if you're a fan.
  • Will
    WillFebruary 28, 2014
    Get the duck and the pretzels. You will not be disappointed.
  • Miguel G.
    Miguel GouveiaJune 16, 2016
    The salmon with salad and the French onion soup are superb
  • ivy♥
    ivy♥January 23, 2011
    Oyster shooter! Nuff said! Their caviar is super good too :) But your wallet won't like you much :p
  • Maribel L.
    Maribel LopezAugust 14, 2011
    Sunday brunch duck confit on potato pancake. Daily roast was awesome as well!
  • Jake B.
    Jake BoxerAugust 2, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    the coq au vin is one of my favorite dishes anywhere
  • Burt H.
    Burt HermanJuly 24, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Get the halibut for dinner, leave room for dessert -- try the beet cake!
  • Team S.
    Team SlobbrAugust 26, 2015
    dog-friendly, dog friendly area for you and your pup!
  • Blair H.
    The cocktails are stellar, and not as eye-poppingly expensive as the rest of the menu, either.
  • Jean-Michel H.
    Jean-Michel HoffmanAugust 20, 2014
    The cocktails are great, especially the ones with chartreuse and rye.
  • Tanner C.
    Tanner ChristensenAugust 30, 2015
    Amazing weekend brunch, mimosas, burger, or duck!
  • Angelica
    AngelicaJune 16, 2010
    The most amazing French onion soup and the bacon is ... Best bacon I've ever had. Good list of house cocktails
  • Stacey L.
    Stacey LamirandMarch 16, 2012
    Grilled onions on the burger could be omitted. Vinegar used changes the burgers flavor.
  • Jacob G.
    Jacob GyllenstiernaOctober 23, 2013
    Been here 5+ times
    Spicy fried chickpeas - best bar snack ever!
  • Robert G.
    Robert GreenFebruary 17, 2013
    Try the Dungeness Crab Omelette - Simply amazing!
  • Dustin B.
    Dustin BlakeJanuary 18, 2010
    The housemade chicken liver pâté is a perfect complement to a martini at the bar. They double fry their fries in peanut oil—damn tasty!
  • Kim F.
    Kim FujiwaraFebruary 16, 2013
    Try the Soft Boiled Egg - Creamy yolk on a perfectly toasted bread stick with bites of salt. Yummy!
  • Robert G.
    Robert GreenFebruary 16, 2013
    Try the Manhattan - Perfectly made cocktail!
  • Dom
    DomNovember 2, 2014
    Good night late night eats. The Mac and cheese is satisfying after a hard evening of drinking.
  • Cat R.
    Cat ReynoldsDecember 31, 2012
    The crab filled omelette is something super special. ❤.
  • Jonathan R.
    Jonathan RobinsonDecember 30, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    The Logic is a terrific gin cocktail. Give it a try...
  • Alisa S.
    Alisa SharpApril 20, 2013
    Pretzel was yummy, great cocktail options
  • Seph M.
    Seph M.February 20, 2015
    Excellent cocktails. Try the Ginger Rogers.
  • Megan S.
    Megan SailorsAugust 16, 2010
    Get the Goat Cheese Pierogies for dinner. They come with the best mushrooms in truffle butter!
  • Karen H.
    Karen HammondOctober 22, 2013
    Simply the best cocktails ever - and I've drunk quite a few ;-)
  • Matt B.
    Matt BiddulphDecember 17, 2012
    The braised American Wagyu beef is fantastic.
  • Brigitta K.
    Brigitta KopAugust 22, 2013
    The French 75 cocktail is really nice for a hot day !
  • Sandra S.
    Sandra SzilasiSeptember 27, 2014
    Excellent cocktails & yummy food too!
  • Ali U.
    Ali Uro-May5 days ago
    The burrata and stone fruit salad was delicious.
  • Lauren
    LaurenNovember 11, 2013
    Creative absinthe drinks, but I had really terrible service. It took about two hours for dinner - we ordered two appetizers, one drink each, and an entree each. They forgot an app & still charged us
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