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The Short Version: Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is a classy place to take a classy date. The restaurant features upscale American-influenced French dishes that pair nicely with a glass of wine or an absinthe cocktail. Many local couples celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions by reserving a table at this beloved fine dining establishment in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. During COVID-19, Absinthe has set up an outdoor dining area where it serves elegant lunches and dinners in a cozy atmosphere.
Since 1998, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar has dazzled and delighted foodies in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The fine dining restaurant features an impressive selection of absinthe cocktails and French brasserie fare, including steak frites and duck confit.
The charming ambiance is perfect for couples who want to treat themselves to a meal with white tablecloths and five-star service.
“The informal turn-of-the-century inspired decor of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar will transport couples to an evening in France, complete with a warm, convivial atmosphere for a night of romance,” promised Executive Chef Ryan Fowler.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar has brought a slice of Paris to the Bay Area, and it’s a popular destination for an intimate meal with loved ones or just a special someone. The restaurant’s close proximity to the theater district means it’s a great opening act for daters heading to the symphony, opera, or ballet. And it’s around the corner from City Hall, so it’s not unusual to have brides and grooms reserve the private dining room.
As of March 2021, Absinthe has reopened for outdoor dining and currently offers full-service lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Sunday. Absinthe seats walk-in customers, but, if possible, it’s a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time because the restaurant tends to fill up quickly.
The covered outdoor patio has heaters available, and every table is sectioned off to provide extra privacy and COVID protection.
“As always, the health and safety of our employees and guests are top priority,” the Absinthe team said. “We’re keeping a safe distance, masking up, and following all recommended safety and sanitization procedures.”
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is an ideal setting for a date night, celebratory occasion, or evening with friends and family. This culinary destination sees locals and out-of-town visitors alike, and it has become famous for its scrumptious, high-quality food as well as its fabulous drinks.
The beverage menu has something for everyone. Many patrons enjoy trying the bar’s unique craft cocktails, but they can also choose a favorite beer or wine. The waiters have an extensive knowledge of the wine list and can make pairing suggestions based on the diner’s tastes.
“A glass of wine or a specialty craft cocktail is a great way to start the evening,” Chef Ryan said.
Chef Ryan recommends couples order a selection of Kumamoto or Miyagi Oysters to start their dinner date on a savory note. Next, they can get a steaming bowl of Absinthe’s signature French Onion Soup, which is rich, cheesy, and hearty. For the main course, some people prefer classic French dishes such as the coq au vin, buckwheat crepes, or duck confit lyonnaise salad. Others crave more familiar American dishes such as steak frites or a hamburger.
One light yet indulgent option is the roasted chicken served with maitake, royal trumpet, asparagus, creamy Anson Mills polenta, sauce verte, and chicken jus.
Couples can get a full French dining experience by choosing the prix fixe menu, which includes an appetizer, main course, and optional pot de crème for dessert.
“A date night is not complete without dessert,” Chef Ryan said. “The pot de crème is a house favorite.”
Throughout the multicourse meal, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar pulls out all the stops to provide a taste of refinement and indulgence. It’s a wonderful place for daters to relax and have a quiet conversation away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco.
Absinthe has parklets under a pinstriped canopy for those who wish to dine outdoors, and its charming and romantic indoor space will reopen soon.
“Here at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, we’re also eager to continue offering French classic fare while incorporating new, innovative ways to approach each dish,” said Chef Ryan.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar has become a fixture in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors celebrating special occasions or looking for a delicious treat. After receiving over 10,000 customer reviews, the restaurant has earned 4.6 stars on OpenTable and 4 stars on Yelp.
“The service and ambience were definitely spot on,” said Paulina T. on Yelp. “This is a cute date night spot. I would give this place five stars just for the drinks & ambience!”
Another patron named Roopinder and his wife wrote that they visited Absinthe Brasserie & Bar on their 36th wedding anniversary and had nothing but good things to say about the service and the food. The couple sipped champagne and indulged in a dinner of classic French mussels and an American hamburger topped with eggs and bacon.
“The service was superb,” Roopinder wrote. “Great recommendations [and] positive affirmations of all our choices as if we had picked the right letters on ‘Wheel of Fortune.'”
Customers often say they were enamored by the French restaurant’s Parisian decor — and then they fell in love with the decadent soups, sauces, and desserts. Plus, the bar is famous for its house cocktails, many of which feature absinthe. The bar also has freshly squeezed lemonade and orange juice as non-alcoholic options.
Whether they’re grabbing a light brunch or sitting down for a multicourse dinner, couples can expect a memorable dining experience delivered with top-notch service.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar creates an elegant backdrop for a romantic date or a wedding celebration. A local bride named Monica reserved the restaurant’s private dining room to host her wedding reception after a civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, which is a three-minute drive away.
“All of our guests commented on how delicious the food was and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. The stone fruit salad and the pineapple upside down cake were the hits of the night,” Monica said in a five-star review. “Thank you for helping make our wedding day so memorable!”
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar can give couples everything they need to crank up the romance on their date or celebrate a special occasion in style. The French-inspired restaurant has spent decades perfecting its menu and elevating its decor to offer a memorable dining experience, even if you’re just dropping by for cocktails and dessert.
It’s worth taking a trip to the Hayes Valley neighborhood to enjoy high-quality food and drinks in this charming and intimate setting.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar had to change the way it handled lunch and dinner service, but the newly established outdoor seating area has proven to be a big hit. The restaurant has now reopened and frequently reaches full capacity as people emerge from lockdown with big appetites. Couples can make a reservation to minimize their wait time during peak lunch and dinner hours.
“Absinthe Brasserie & Bar provides a perfect romantic setting for any date night,” Chef Ryan said. “I strive to ensure that our patrons leave every meal satisfied, and I hope to continue to bring warm hospitality to each table through delicious and generous food and beverage offerings.”
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