Brunch, lunch, dinner in SF: Absinthe does all three quite well

Few restaurants are reliable enough that you can say you’d eat there for brunch, lunch and dinner. Absinthe is one of those few. What do I love about the place? The interior: French brasserie, warm, stylish, cozy and best of all, the tables are not so packed together that you can hear your neighbors whispering dirty secrets. The sound level is low enough that you can actually carry on a conversation without screaming.

But it’s the food that really shines. Here are my favorites:

– brunch: ricotta stuffed French toast or the banana-blueberry souffle pancakes

– lunch: grilled marinated vegetables with goat cheese

– 5pm drinks: the cheese plate is divine and they have an excellent wine list

I have been eating at Absinthe for several years now and it’s still one of my favorites. And because it’s a favorite of so many others, try to reserve a table in advance.

  • Vibe: one of the few places in SF that truly feels like a French brasserie; stylish and modern, yet still cozy; civilized; the crowd is a mix of theater goers (if you show up before 8pm) and Hayes Valley trendy types
  • Pros: very good food, reliable; excellent cheeses; my favorite place for brunch in SF.
  • Cons: street parking is a challenge but there are a number of parking lots nearby.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reviewed it for its drinks and bar food menu.

398 Hayes Street (at Gough)
San Francisco, CA 94102
+1 415 551 1590

Reserve now via Open Table

Absinthe on Urbanspoon

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.