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Jun 28, 2012 03:24 PM

Help With French Bistro

Reviewing menus for Cafe des Amis and Absinthe--both look good. I'm staying Union Square and wondering if both are equally recommended in terms of food, service, ambiance. Love onion soup, pommes frites, chicken or steak. Looking for bistro fare--nothing too fancy.

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  1. Have never been to Cafe des Amis, but their menu looks more Louisiana than French. Also, even though it's address is on Union Street, that is not near Union Square.

    Absinthe is a very popular restaurant in SF, in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. They are well known for both their food and a lively bar with good cocktails. Hayes Valley is not that close to Union Square either but accessible by taxi or public transit. Their menu has some French bistro standards, but shows a lot of California influences too.

    I repeat myself from the Steak Tartare topic. Cafe Claude and Chez Papa are both within easy walking of Union Square and have your bistro basics. Also, not much farther off the square is Cafe de la Presse.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pamf

      Are you sure you were not looking at the menu for Cafe de Amis in Breaux Bridge, La. and
      not Cafe de Amis in SF? SF menu link:
      I was surprised when I saw both Cafe de Amis and Absinthe mentioned - I thought I was
      looking at the New Orleans Board :)

      1. re: Bigshadetree

        Oops! That's what I get for trying to do three things at once. Or maybe I was just pining for a trip to Louisiana.

    2. Chez Papa Resto in Mint Plaza, 5th between Market and Mission.

      1. There's always Le Central, 453 Bush St. @Grant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jaiko

          Thanks for the comments. Yes, I see that Cafe des Amis is not in Union Square. How far of a taxi ride is it? Alteratively, Cafe de la Presse menu looks great too, and would be closer.
          Chez Papa looked interesing, but menu at the Amis and Presse more appealing to our tastes.
          Between Amis and Presse, which would you recommend, assuming both menus are terrific. Service? Ambiance?

          1. re: markpy

            I like both places. I think the food may a be a bit better at Cafe de la Presse, but I like the ambience and energy at Des Amis much better. It's more like a Parisian bistro. If you take the 45 Union bus from the corner of Stockton and Sutter it will take about 15-20 minutes to drop you right across the street from Des Amis. A taxi will take about 10 minutes.