398 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.777009 -122.422873
Neighborhoods: Central North, Hayes Valley
Lively on the bar side, dressy and relaxed on the dining room side, Absinthe deals out the best version of French classics you've had. And their cocktail list is NOT to be missed. My favorite is the 21 Hayes, named after a bus line that runs just outside.
I prefer the bistro like bar at Absinthe over the more formal dining room. It's cozy and casual. The cocktails and food are always stellar and the bartenders and waitstaff friendly and approachable.
Haven't gone back yet... – I had a sandwich here. It was by far the greasiest sandwich I have ever eaten. I liked it though, but felt really guilty eating it. I will try Absinthe again someday, maybe when I have to cure a hangover...
Great Place But Overpriced – 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.
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.
TRIPLE FRENCH MARTINI – Triple French Martini all day, there is something about apple flavors that drives me crazy, lol... anywho... its the best
I know this is supposed to be a review, but I wanted to ask reviewers what their favorite or best absinthe mixed cocktail they had?
Exceeded expectations – 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.
brunch brunch brunch!!! – 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.
Leaves a lot to be desired – 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!).
Fresh Seasonal Ingredients – 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.
Spare Some Change? – 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...).
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