Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
398 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Primary Phone: (415) 525-4698
Phone: (415) 525-4698
Fax: (415) 255-2385
The Absinthe Group Inc
Parking: Garage, Street, Valet
Bike Parking: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Cuisines: American, French, European, Continental
Alcohol: Cocktails, Full Bar
Takes Reservations: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pets Allowed: No
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06/24/2010Provided by Citysearch -
When I go out to eat, I expect to pay a lot for my meal. I also expect to get a lot of food for that money. I'm a bit of a foodie and only want the best. Well, Absinthe did deliver a great meal that I really enjoyed, only the portion was so small that I left feeling hungry still. The price wasn't worth the meal. However, the ambiance is very nice.
02/24/2009Provided by Citysearch -
I enjoy their food here. I don't know if it's also the same chef cooking as the one in Top Chef this season, but at least I like the super fast way they get the food out to you, without feeling hurried. More accurately, I think I should say that the food comes out in successions, at the perfect timing.
01/24/2009Provided by Citysearch -
We went for the Spanish coffee !! But all three courses were great - good fresh tasty food and wine. The waiter selected a very nice red for our mains since we know nothing about US wines (Aussies). The Buttermilk Panna Cotta was scrumptious. Both restaurant and bar were humming (and obviously ideal for theatre-goers). The flamed Spanish coffee was the highlight - excellent. Special memories of San Francisco thanks to Absinthe.
11/21/2008Provided by Citysearch -
Excellent for brunch, dinner menu is a bit pricey. Try the soufle pancakes as well as most of the egg based dishes, they are very tasty. The croque monsieur is mediocre compared to Foreign Cinema's. Make reservations because you will be waiting awhile without them! Good breakfast drinks! Parking is a drag tho, give yourself 20 min and don't park west towards the projects (2 blocks away) unless you want your car broken into.
03/01/2008Provided by Citysearch -
Absinthe leaves a lot to be desired. For the money, I had to deduct one star, otherwise it may have been a three star restaurant.
First, the location is great. For Opera or Symphony, you could not have a better location. Make a reservation, as this is a very popular spot. Also, the staff is great, pleasant, and knowledgable. However, if not for the location and staff, the food would not drive me back here.
The menu is odd. Some small plates don't seen to go together. There were very few protein/meat based small plates. The duck was good, and the caramelized onions were infused with lavender which made them delicious. However, for the most part the other dishes were odd and mismatched. For example, one of the small plates was roasted chick pea. Tasted good, but hard to eat (they roll off of a fork, so hands are necessary, which is OK if they were better). Pommes frites, just OK - not worth the calories. I liked the hamachi, my friends thought it was very very mediocre. Lots of carbs and fat, very little of anything else.
The wine list is schizophrenic. One or two $30 bottles. A few $3,600 bottles. A few more $120 bottles. Not a good range in between.
However, the dessert is to die for. The apple et eppoise tarte is beyond compare.
All in all, a relatively expensive dinner (in relation to the quality received), and the menu was odd enough and food spotty enough not to go back anytime soon - unless you go just for dessert, in which case I'd give it the highest rating (however, bring your own wine!).
09/24/2007Provided by Citysearch -
WE LOVE the selection of fresh ingredients on their seasonal menu. This year we had a perfectly picked Heirloom Tomato salad with a very tasty Balsamic Syrup that we have been duplicating for our family dinners ever since our visit. My husband had a beautiful Half Dungeness Crab w/ a White Truffle Garlic Butter. It was so tasty that he wanted to order another one! I had a NY Steak that was sooo tender and buttery it seemed to melt in my mouth. The side of Asparagus was very fresh and the chef let that freshness speak for itself by not killing it with a heavy sauce. When we ordered dessert, we were treated to a lovely ""Happy Anniversary"" chocolate sauce script on our plates. This year we had such a wonderful dinner that we returned for lunch the next day. The Cornbeef Hash was the best my husband has ever tasted and my BLT was anything but ordinary. It had those fresh Heirloom Tomatoes and Smoke-cured Bacon w/ a homemade Aioli sauce. My husband and I have been coming to Absinthe every year on our anniversary for about 4 years now. The service has changed with every visit. Sometimes the servers are over attentive and sometimes they are no where to be found, but for the most part the service is acceptable. I chalk this up to the ever changing servers that it depends on each individual personality. Overall we absolutely enjoy this restaurant and will continue to recommend it to anyone and everyone.
09/12/2007Provided by Citysearch -
The bar its fun, the drinks are good, the food is good and the service is ok. The problem with Absinthe is the plentiful homeless that hang out in front of the door. They are agressive, obnoxious and not the greeting you want when you are out for dinner. It seems that Absinthe allows these people to congregate by the front door and around the outdoor tables. I brought the problem to the attention of the restaurant host who, for the most part, dismissed the issue and waved Hi to to bum!
Its become a hassle to eat at Absinthe. There are a bunch of restaurants in the immediate area that don't have this problem (Paul K, Sauce, Hayes Grill, Breezy's, the Kebob place, etc...).
03/29/2007Provided by Citysearch -
This is the first and only restaurant in SF where I wasn't asked if I had a reservation when there were clearly a lot of tables open. The hostess was so welcoming and the waitress was really wonderful. The food was absolutely wonderful. The prices match the quality of the food. We had such a wonderful experience, and my boyfriend raved that it was his new favorite restaurant in the city (and we eat out A LOT). The decor is warm and inviting. I really enjoyed my experience here and will be going back very soon.
01/15/2007Provided by Citysearch -
I have to agree with most of the reviews on here. The food is mediocre. The oysters I had were very fresh, and very good, but the rest of the food was anything but spectacular, compared with many other of san francisco's restaurant offerings. (Try the Hayes Street Grill down the street) And the service was terrible. Maybe I want too much, but our waiter was hardly attentive, forgot to serve a dish and got a bit flustered (and didn't apologize) when we pointed it out.
I will go back to the bar. The long, dimly lit brassy bar with more choices of scotch, bourbon, vodka and traditional cocktails was phenomenal. And you have to love bartenders who are taking shots of bourbon behind the bar. Fantastic. Excellent service!
12/20/2006Provided by Citysearch -
I went to Absinthe last night for a work dinner and had the worst service. The waitress didn't approach our table until 30 minutes after we sat down. She never explained the menu and took forever to bring us each entree. She never filled up our water glasses or offered to bring more drinks. The food is great, but the service made for a terrible dinner.
10/27/2006Provided by Citysearch -
Everyone seems to be raving about Absinthe and I think it's one of those places that people like to be ""cool"" so they say they like it. Not that the place is bad. Food is average, leaning more toward the good side. I ordered the halibut with clams - it was tasty but a bit too soupy. The soup base was green too which is a bit odd. Too green if you ask me - good thing it was dark! LOL Overall, the service was good, food was decent.
09/19/2006Provided by Citysearch -
Absinthe is such a classy restaurant, the ambiance is true to Parisian taste and culture.
The service was prompt and polite, not overly friendly, just right! We had the most delicious oyster shooters, the sauce was perfect and the oysters so fresh! I am not a french fry fanatic, but this restaurant has the PERFECT pommes frites, authentically wrapped in paper, and acompanied by the most increadible ketsup, aioli, dijon and vinegar dipping sauces! THE FRIES ARE A MUST! We also had a superb arrugula salad, and a rib eye steak with the most delicious sacue. The flavour combinations were perfectly balanced, the portions were PERFECT.
THE RISOTTO AUX CHANTERELLES IS OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! the best I have ever had!
The chocolate creme dessert is another dish that really was superb.
It is not very often that one goes to a restaurant and EVERYTHING that you order is cooked to such perfection! BEAUTIFUL DINNER, BEAUTIFUL PLACE!
07/20/2006Provided by Citysearch -
This is a nice place, but any place that still only has a grilled portobello sandwich as their sole veggie option is kind of lame. Too many places to try in Hayes - I'm unlikely to go back since there wasn't anything particularly compelling. Service was average, prices are above.
06/23/2006Provided by Citysearch -
We'd heard it was fabulous, and my boyfriend and I just moved to this neighborhood, so we decided to try out a local haunt. We waited for at least 8 minutes before someone walked up to the table -I should mention... It wasn't busy at all.
We had to order water, and got olives for appetizer, they were ok, but no bread do dip in the extra oil?! He got the Tuna and I got the Sole. The tuna was good grade, cooked rare, sliced for you (because the piece is so small they're ashamed to serve it whole?) mixed with veggies, ---so you have a hard time finding the tuna. The sole was pan fried, boring. I really could have made a better meal at home. The coctails were good, the wine suggested by the waiter was ok. The desserts --ramekins of cremes (brulee, chocolate, caramel)-- terrible, like churned heavy creme until it was almost butter. The sorbet was good. Really, really, not worth your time or money! Walk down the street to something better!
02/18/2006Provided by Citysearch -
Terrific for romantic dinners, first dates, or small groups who enjoy sampling different appetizers - the oysters and cheeses are outstanding. I made reservations for 8 for my husband's birthday, and the staff were very accommodating, allowing us to linger in the bar area enjoying wine & cheese for 30 minutes beyond our dinner reservation, before we finally moved to our table. The service was friendly & flexible. They also brought my husband a beautiful birthday dessert. Some of the food was outstanding (oysters, cheese, desserts, and fish) and some good but not great (the pork & lamb). The Coq au Vin is a savory, hearty dish for a winter evening, ample enough to share if you want to save room for dessert. Great wine selection including dessert wines & sherrys. oh, and yummy cocktails too!
02/16/2006Provided by Citysearch -
So Absinthe gets my vote for having an all around excellent menu. Cheeses are great and excellent wine selection. The main entree selections are somewhat limited and I wish there was more choices. They got some really great drinks on their menu as well. I recommend trying the Brazil 66, its like a Mojito.