HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Looking for a French Brasserie in SF

dcbean Oct 12, 2009 10:30 PM

I recently moved to SF and have yet to find a loud, crazy, and vibrant brasserie. I'm looking for something like Bistrot du Coin (http://www.bistrotducoin.com/), in case any of you have been to DC. I know their food wasn't amazing, but it was solidly good and very authentic.

Are their any brasseries like this? I've been to Gamine, but it's quite small, and the menu isn't necessarily traditional. Absinthe was great, but too elegant for what I'm looking for.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. v
    vulber RE: dcbean Oct 12, 2009 10:37 PM

    I'm a bit confused as to what the difference between a brasserie and a bistro is.

    If you're looking for a good bistro, I would recommend L'Ardoise for casual/non-elegant, Chapeau! is slightly more expensive (and better)

    1 Reply
    1. re: vulber
      Melanie Wong RE: vulber Oct 13, 2009 12:27 AM

      Some definitions that still apply even if the specific recs are old.

    2. Mari RE: dcbean Oct 13, 2009 08:49 AM

      I love Bistro du Coin and try to visit every time I'm DC. I haven't found anything like it SF partly because the menu is huge (spaetzle, tartines, mussels, etc). Perhaps you can check out Le Charme in SOMA. The atmosphere is somewhat similar, the food is solid but they don't have spaetzle on their menu. They also have an affordable prix fixe at around $30.


      1. Paul H RE: dcbean Oct 13, 2009 08:55 AM

        The closest thing to a French Brasserie in the Bay Area is Bouchon in Yountville.

        1. Robert Lauriston RE: dcbean Oct 13, 2009 09:01 AM

          Grand Cafe aspires to be a brasserie and gets at least some of the elements right: it's big, so is the menu, they're open from breakfast until late night, and they have a selection of draft beer.

          Grand Cafe
          501 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94109

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Joan Kureczka RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 17, 2009 12:25 PM

            They changed chefs relatively recently, and while we've not eaten in the main restaurant, the food in the Petite Cafe was better than it's been in years. A pissaladiere one time was spot-on perfect, and last visit I loved the fried artichokes with saffron bread sauce.

            1. re: Joan Kureczka
              Robert Lauriston RE: Joan Kureczka Nov 17, 2009 12:30 PM

              No choucroute garni, though they do have flammenk├╝che. I'll have to check it out agian.

          2. g
            Gail RE: dcbean Oct 13, 2009 10:01 AM

            Le Central on Bush Street?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gail
              dcbean RE: Gail Nov 17, 2009 08:05 AM

              A delayed response here, but thanks for all the suggestions! I think the Grand Cafe is definitely the closest to what I had in mind. Looking forward to trying it out!

            2. m
              mrs bacon RE: dcbean Nov 17, 2009 09:12 AM

              I'm sorry I don't have a recommendation for you. But this thread brings up nagging pet peeve of mine. Michael Bauer seems to not know the difference between a bistro and a brasserie. He repeatedly refers to bistro-type restaurants as "brasseries." Drives me batty.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrs bacon
                Robert Lauriston RE: mrs bacon Nov 17, 2009 09:38 AM

                Bauer is a hard worker, but he's not as literate as someone in his position ought to be. The other day in his blog he said "disinterested" when he meant "uninterested."

                He doesn't know as much about food as he should, either. A couple of years ago, a reader asked him to translate some Italian terms he'd used in a review, and he got almost everything wrong.



                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  mrs bacon RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 17, 2009 11:46 AM

                  Just read your links. Oy.

              Show Hidden Posts