Absinthe opened two decades ago just a stone’s throw from San Francisco’s Civic Center and quickly set the tone for the increasingly wine-friendly Hayes Valley we know today. This is one of the few restaurants in town where the best time to pop by sans reservation is actually around 7pm due to the odd ebb and flow of individuals attending nearby performances in the evenings. My preference is to tuck into a small table in the bar area at any hour (they offer continuous service throughout the day for most of the week), where one may enjoy smaller portions of bistro classics with a special bottle off of the restaurant’s extensive wine list.
Absinthe Wine List
Anyone with a taste for Burgundy could get caught up in the new and old favorites coming out of the cellar at Absinthe — think Coche-Dury, Ente, Dauvissat, Comtes Lafon, Roulot, Rousseau. The Raveneau section alone takes up nearly two pages! An attentive, classically trained wine team at Absinthe are always ready with interesting suggestions if ever the robust list begins to feel overwhelming.
Corkage fee is $30 per bottle (limit is 2 bottles). Discount on corkage if you purchase the bottle from Arlequin Wine Merchant ($15).