Monsieur Benjamin is a modern restaurant inspired by Parisian bistro culture and French culinary traditions. Seafood, small and large plates, cheeses and desserts are all on offer, with wines, beers, cocktails and spirits composing the extensive drink list. Industrial-chic decor is complete with high ceilings, steel accents, giant windows and a marble-topped bar.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is one of the longest-running and most convivial dining institutions in the neighborhood. Located within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, the establishment features French and Northern Italian-influenced brasserie fare for lunch and dinner, plus weekend brunch. Absinthe’s lively bar offers classic and creative cocktails and late-night dining.
At Petit Crenn, Chef/Owner Dominique Crenn takes inspiration from the memories of her childhood in Brittany, France to craft classic menus. While breakfast and lunch consist of traditional French fare, the prix fixe, family-style dinner menu highlights seafood and vegetables. Cider, wine and beer make up the beverage program — perfectly complementing the cuisine — at this simple and approachable neighborhood gem.
Pläj — a phonetic spelling of the word “play” — showcases Scandinavian cuisine with a kick of California flair. Chef/Owner Roberth Sundell serves up Swedish small plates (along with traditional, heartier dishes) made with local, seasonal ingredients, prepared with rustic elegance. Diners can also enjoy Scandinavian beers and creative cocktails in the cozy space, located inside the historic Inn at the Opera.
Chef/Owner Traci Des Jardin serves French-Californian fare made from sustainable and local ingredients at Jardinière, set in a landmark building in Hayes Valley. The pre-theater destination features a multi-course tasting menu, and handmade cocktails and small bites can be enjoyed in the cocktail lounge. The vast wine list includes many international selections.