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About Café Absinthe

1954 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
View Larger Map

Since its opening in 1994, Cafe Absinthe has garnered critical acclaim for it's innovative French/ American cuisine, use of the finest ingredients , attention to detail, an extensive wine list, and attentive and knowlegeble staff make Cafe Absinthe a Bucktown/ Wicker Park treasure.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
French, Fusion / Eclectic

Hours of Operation:
Sunday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
Damen

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(773) 278-4488

Website:
http://www.cafe-absinthe.com/

Catering:
We do large parties of up to 60 people. You may buy the entire cafe out for an event Sunday-Thursdays. Please enquire with James Romeo for details.
773-278-4488

Parking Details:
Valet Parking is $11.00 for patrons. Pull car to the entrance located in alley just north of North Ave. There is also street parking available.

Public Transit:
Damen stop - Blue Line



North Ave Bus\Damen Bus



Taxis Available

Executive Chef:
Jose Garcia

Private Party Facilities:
Cafe Absinthe can accommodate parties up to 65.

Private Party Contact:
James Romeo: 7732784488x

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar

Special Events & Promotions:
Cafe Absinthe is offering a Great Prefix 3 course dinner on Sundays and and Tuesdays for $35.00 a person. For starters (seared blackwing ostriche or crab cake) Soup du jour or Salad, Filet Mignon, Fish dujour or Risotto. Wednesday is 1/2 price on wine.

Restaurant Photos

Café Absinthe Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.8

service

4

ambience

4

noise

Moderate

86% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Romantic
Chicago / Illinois
Romantic
Chicago
French
Chicago
Best Restaurants in Bucktown / Wicker Park ›

romantic (5)
fit for foodies (4)
special occasion (4)
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neighborhood gem (3)
hot spot (2)
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Newest
490 reviews
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Great Valentines Day Choice

vip
Dined on February 15, 2016

My wife and I went here on valentines day. The Prix Fixe menu was very good and fairly priced for the special occasion. The food was all well-prepared. The atmosphere is great for date night.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food3
ambience4
service3

Nice romantic place. Food didn't wow me.

vip
Dined on February 12, 2016

Nice romantic place. Food didn't wow me.

food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Absolutely Absinthe

vip
Dined on February 10, 2016

What a lovely occasion - a fine meal with good friends on a cold winter's night - very few folks but it WAS d**ned cold out ... TRICKY to find the entrance but now that we're "in the know", all future visits will be easy! A smallish but upscale menu, beautifully prepared and presented. Started with the mussels which were tremendous. had an amazing chilean sea bass for entree which chef happily swapped out some food-issue sides for something i could have. portions were generous and, i hear, the bread was amazing! of course, the absinthe soothed the wild beasts who were then braced to return to the chicago wintry wind.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food4
ambience2
service5
value4

Great service & food, too loud for my ag ...

Dined on February 6, 2016

Great service & food, too loud for my age group. No view, little ambiance. Great staff!

Tags: neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service4
value5

Good food-good value

Dined on January 31, 2016

Good food--especially the sea bass; fun vibrant neighborhood; parking a challenge so valet service a big plus

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Nice and Low Key but Good French Food

Dined on January 23, 2016

My husband I had a very nice dinner here. He loved the mussels in Pernod sauce and said his rack of lamb was fantastics. I had the duck and it was very good.

Tags: romantic
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

French Fine Dining

Dined on January 17, 2016

Every dish was excellent and the tastes were perfectly balanced.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food2
ambience3
service3
value1

Tough Luck Duck

Dined on January 11, 2016

My wife's Australian Rack of Lamb was excellent, as always. My Duck Breast was awful. Tough and Grisly. Very disappointing. This was our fourth visit and possibly the last.

food3
ambience3
service5
value3

NYE dinner

Dined on January 1, 2016

My husband and I enjoyed a last minute NYE dinner The service was excellent as was the bar service. The food was good but not exceptional.

Tags: romantic, neighborhood gem
food3
ambience5
service5
value5

Cute and quiet

Dined on December 23, 2015

Given Cafe Absinthe's location, you'd imagine it to be packed 100 percent of the time, but instead, it is a cozy little nook that has no TVs, and plenty of room for diners to enjoy a quiet, lovely meal together. Unfortunately, they do not rotate the menu selections often enough, so the food options are super limited, but they do change the drinks and desserts, and that is enough to visit and revisit them.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Great experience. Loved the food and amb ...

vip
Dined on December 21, 2015

Great experience. Loved the food and ambiance. Cheese plate was on point. Definitely will be back.

food5
ambience3
service4

Food was good but needs more selection

vip
Dined on December 6, 2015

We've been here several times and it has always been hopping but this time it was rather quiet. They have changed the menu and, although the food was excellent, the menu is limited. Not a good selection of appetizers and need a few more selections for entrees. The wine list is limited, as well. Most of the tables filled up by 8 but they did not turn over. We were the last table to leave and had 7:30 res. Therefore, I would say I was disappointed this time. New owners, perhaps???

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service4

Excellent Experience - parking terrible

vip
Dined on December 6, 2015

It was a great dinner in a romantic setting. However Wicker Park is booming and street parking is a nightmare. There is no valet parking. Get a ride there or take public transport. A good side of that choice is also the ability to have another if their excellent cocktails.

Tags: romantic, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Great food & ambiamce

vip
Dined on November 29, 2015

The food is absolutely amazing. I love the ambiance in the restaurant.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service3

Great food, ok service.

Dined on November 29, 2015

As a server myself, I think the service could have been a little better. The waiter wasn't super attentive and didn't make an effort to please us after we were dissatisfied with something. The food was delicious and the setting was nice.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food4
ambience4
service2

pleasant, quiet place

Dined on November 9, 2015

The atmosphere in Cafe Absinthe is quite pleasant...entering through the alley gives it a feel of an old time speakeasy, as does the long bar at the front of the restaurant. The restaurant is quite dark, which sets a kind of sultry mood but also makes it a challenge to read the menu! The menu is limited but the entrees were quite good. The salmon was excellent, the beef tenderloin very tasty, and the lamb quite good as well. The duck was flavorful but tough. The chef needs to work on this, as others have also made this comment. Our server was friendly but not terribly competent. We ordered a bottle of wine and a glass was brought to the table...he didn't stop by after our entrees were served to ask how everything was, nor did he ask if we wanted more bread when the tray got empty. Our water glasses were refilled regularly, however, and the meal was well timed. Our salads were very tasty, both the beet salad and the spinach salad. We didn't try dessert, but overall we found the meal quite enjoyable and would consider returning. Service was not great but at least it wasn't borderline hostile as some people have found.

Tags: romantic
food5
ambience4
service4

Cafe Absinthe

Dined on November 8, 2015

Inviting, relaxing atmosphere. Delicious food! The mussels appetizer plate is a definite for the seafood lover. Our party ordered three different entrees and all were excellent-the sea bass, scallops and duck. Another review indicated the temperature in the restaurant was a bit chilly-we also found that to be true. Dress accordingly. Chololate lava cake-Yum! The only negative of our visit was that valet parking was supposed to be available. We waited 10 minutes for the valet, gave up waiting, had to park about 8 blocks away. The valet service is shared, so commuters may want add some extra time if they need this service or take public transportation.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Delicious

Dined on November 7, 2015

I've been wanting to come here and I was so glad I did. Everything was great!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service5

Beautiful presentation, high quality ing ...

vip
Dined on October 31, 2015

Beautiful presentation, high quality ingredients and delicious. My third time here and it is consistently great. Service is perfect. Portions are large too, you can share the apps and dessert. Love cafe absinthe, I will be a regular.

food5
ambience5
service5

Great lobster risotto. Only one observat ...

Dined on October 29, 2015

Great lobster risotto. Only one observation: the cheese platter only had 2 types of cheese (I expected more variety) and a ton of olives, which is ok I guess if you like olives but I don't. Awesome service and ambiance, I will definitely go back!

food5
ambience5
service5

Great food and atmosphere

Dined on October 24, 2015

Our waitress was very nice and recommended a wine for us that was great and reasonably priced. The food was outstanding. Dessert and cheese plate were great as well.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Our waiter, Michael, was fantastic.

vip
Dined on October 1, 2015

Food was outstanding!! Son's birthday was a big hit. We are return customers and always recommend to friends!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

Great menu

Dined on September 19, 2015

Every single item on the menu looked delicious. I had the scallops, and they were amazing!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic
food4
ambience5
service4

Solid place. Will return.

Dined on September 17, 2015

Above average on all levels. Probably will not return in the near future as I do not live in the area. Great for those who enjoy a darker lit restaurant and a somewhat limited yet varied and solid entree selection (i.e. lobster risotto)

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food2
ambience1
service2

Not so Hot

Dined on September 15, 2015

It was dark, there is a whole menu for absinthe drinks, no other interesting drinks the menu was small and unimaginative. bartender ate her dinner at the bar, open kitchen streetside because the bus stop is right in front. Cute back entrance.

food4
ambience4
service2

Not the best night on the service front

vip
Dined on September 14, 2015

I have rated this restaurant before and it scored higher marks. Overall, the food was excellent. We typically like to go on a Sunday, as we assume a weekend would be quite noisy given the high ceilings. Different from other times we have visited, the service was extremely slow. Not sure what the reason was as there were not that many tables. It seemed like the kitchen was slow in getting things out. We'll likely be back, but it was a disappointment this time.

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service5

This place is great!

Dined on September 12, 2015

My girlfriend and I had reservations to celebrate our two year anniversary at a rooftop restaurant in the city but it was too cold to sit outside. Luckily we found this place and they took our reservation last minute! The ambience when you first walk in is dark and romantic. Candles are lit at every table and the tables are spread out enough that you don't feel like you're eating with the strangers next to you. The specialty cocktails all sounded great - and the one I had was perfect. A bit pricey over $10 but it was a strong drink so I did not feel like I was getting cheated by the bar. The food was delicious - the sauce on my beef tenderloin wasn't out of this world but the meat was cooked perfectly. The service was amazing. Our waiter was friendly, had great recommendations, and did not hover. Our water glasses were never empty! We wrote in our opentable reservation request that we were celebrating our two year and wished for a private table. Not only did we get the private table but in honor of our celebration our wine was on the house. It was so nice and really made us feel special. I would definitely come back here on dates and even special occasions.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Very pleasantly surprised by this spot

vip
Dined on September 12, 2015

Located right at North and Damon, you enter through an alley and are immediately taken into another world. Food was amazing, service even better.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

Great for a First Date

Dined on September 4, 2015

Cafe Absinthe was a great suggestion from my date who had never been there either. We arrived around 7 pm and we were the only ones in the restaurant. The drinks were great and the food was phenomenal. She had the risotto and I had the sea bass; we shared our food with each other because we both like to try a little bit of everything. I recommend an earlier time for dinner if you are on a date because it does get a little bit loud and the brick wall creates and echo on the right side of the restaurant. Other than that, I think Cafe Absinthe has a pretty great thing going for them. Our server was super sweet and picked up on us being on a date the minute we got there. Our server timed everything perfectly and we did not feel rushed at all.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Hidden gem

Dined on August 12, 2015

Hard to find (The entrance is off the alley in the back.) but worth it. Romantic setting with great service. Our waiter was extremely helpful with recommendations. Drink specials were really good. Dinner was excellent. We both had fish (she had salmon, I had sea bass) and both were cooked to perfection. The presentation of our dinner suggestions was unique. The infused chocolate cake was delicious and was enough for both of us. We will definitely be going back. A great place to spend a special occasion.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service4

Great Evening Out

Dined on August 8, 2015

This was my third time at Cafe Absinthe. Each time I've been there I've ordered something different and each time the food was exceptional. This has become one of my favorite restaurants.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food4
ambience3
service4

Parking is a big issue. It is very limi ...

vip
Dined on August 1, 2015

Parking is a big issue. It is very limited - no lots in the vicinity. Valet is available if advance notice is given,

Tags: romantic, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

Five Stars for Absinthe.

Dined on July 26, 2015

The decor and service were very nice and the food was excellent. In particular, I liked that the waitstaff was not intrusive. The portions were on-point - not too big or too small.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5

EXCELLANT EXPERIANCE

Dined on July 24, 2015

Fun experience! Backward design that works. Kitchen is in the front window, enter thru the alley and dine in the middle. Scallops were perfectly cooked and well presented, good French wine choices and be certain to save room for the chocolate deserts.

Tags: neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service5

great service

Dined on July 4, 2015

the server we had was super respectful, friendly, and extremely down to earth. Greatly appreciated the service and would recommend it to anyone.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic
food5
ambience5
service5

Would definitely love to go back. Waitre ...

Dined on June 20, 2015

Would definitely love to go back. Waitress was amazing. Staff was excellent and continued to happily serve us pass close. Tried everything on the menu literally. It was amazing and didn't even hit $300. Not one dish was under perfect and servings fill you up. Went with a group and used a groupin and it was terrible of them to not tip on the full bill amount even after staying way pass close. Respect restaurants and their staff if you have amazing experience and great food they deserve the full tip. Stay classy guest as the restaurant is very classy!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service4

Very cozy, warm restaurant

vip
Dined on June 14, 2015

Limited menu but having tried a few different things on occasion I can tell you everything on the menu is quite good. I especially love the scallops and the risotto. It is quite dark in there though. Could use a bit more light to see the menu at least. Other than that the food and service are wonderful.

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

Beautiful food and service

vip
Dined on June 14, 2015

We had a great experience here - lovely service by Rachel, and great beet salad, lobster risotto, sea bass and bread pudding - very happy with all!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service5

Change of Pace Place

Dined on June 9, 2015

This was the second time I dined at Absinthe. The first time was to rate the food and dining experience for the TV show 'Check, Please!" as guest reviewer. Absinthe's food was better than most a and the service was excellent. My date and I are meat eaters and this really isn't the place for us. There's plenty of menu options for seafood eaters, but, this wasn't our place. Like I said on my appearance on the tv show, this is good place for special occasions, but, not my regular cup of tea.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience3
service3

Wicker Park gem

vip
Dined on May 31, 2015

Delicious French food, French jazz without the snooty French service? Sign me up! Cafe Absinthe is a casual yet slightly romantic bistro in the heart of Wicker Park. Though the address states it's on North Ave., the entrance is through an alley off of Damen. Service was very polite but a tad spotty.I recommend: - Pernod Mussels (even though a couple of ones were fishy) - Lump Crab Cake: very good though the portion was small - Crispy Duck Breast: not crispy but delicious especially with the generous portion of exotic mushrooms. My friends seemed to enjoy their Chilean Sea Bass and Australian Rack of Lamb.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem

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