1601 Bar & Kitchen
1601 Bar & Kitchen

1601 Bar & Kitchen

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.1601sf.com/
  • Phone: (415) 552-1601
  • Hours of Operation:

    Dinner: Tuesday - Friday 6:00pm -10:00pm.

    Saturday: 5:30-10:00pm

    "Brown Bag" lunch to-go Mon-Fri coming late November
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary Asian, Southeast Asian, Wine Bar
  • Executive Chef: Brian Fernando
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Please contact us with catering inquiries, 415-552-1601
  • Special Events: Birthdays, corporate events, corporate meetings, etc. Please contact us for details, 415-552-1601

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 12th Street
  • Public Transit: Muni: Metro-Van Ness & Market, Bus 47 & 49: Van Ness & Mission
    BART-Civic Center
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Easy street parking, no meters after 6pm. A garage available within a block, (closes at midnight)
A word from 1601 Bar & Kitchen
We are an upscale contemporary eatery serving Sri Lankan-inspired cuisine, using local and seasonal organic ingredients in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

Our bar offers premium wines, beers, and has an extended aromatized wines selection. We are honored to have been given a title of a unique addition to the “Key Newcomers” category in the 2014 Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurant Survey and to be assigned a Bib Gourmand status by 2014 and 2015 Michelin Guide, as well as named one of the 2013 San Francisco and Bay Area New & Notable Restaurants and Bars by Wine & Spirits Magazine.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerTapas / Small Plates
1601 Bar & Kitchen reviews from OpenTable diners
59 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (46)neighborhood gem (31)special occasion (23)romantic (20)good for groups (15)notable wine list (7)hot spot (5)late-night find (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Love this place!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Been here twice and both times the food was excellent. Interesting food and everything delicious. Last time we went we went with a group which was a good way to try a lot of different things. Every time a dish came out, everyone in our group would pause and remark how good the food was. Staff was super pleasant and helpful. It's off the beaten path so I hope more folks find this place as it's great! Going to be a new "go to" place for us!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • You've just won the lottery
    LiveToEat
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    If you are looking for a fabulous place to eat that won't break the bank, I recommend 1601 Bar and Kitchen. It is EXACTLY what I look for in a restaurant. The service is impeccable, sweet & attentive w/o hovering. The space is lovely. The food was inspired. We had 6 dishes and shared them among the 3 of us. Each dish was interesting & like nothing I had ever eaten, without being that kind of too-fancy-for-its-britches-I'm-just-trying-to-think-of-a-new-freaky-combination inedible drivel you get at other places. The smoked salmon was AMAZING, the cauliflower and okra off-the-charts good, fennel salad SO good, the muligatawny soup was also fabulous. Vegetarians will be happy here. All I can say is that I can't WAIT to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious
    Natooshka
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    The food was very unique and unlike any other cuisine offered in the city.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pricey
    Chima
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Great food in a quiet neighborhood. Unfortunately, their pricing is high compared to other similar small plate restaurants in the City. Other than that wonderful ambience and staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Interesting
    Meet2Eat
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This place does some interesting things with food. The concept is perhaps more enticing than the execution but all in all the food was good. Perhaps for a place claiming to do Sri Lankan fusion tapas it isn't taking enough of a risk. Some dishes were bland, while others were overwhelmed by a single spice, be it cumin or turmeric, but lacked balance. Since this place is new, I hope the kinks will be worked out and the food will be better. They do not have a full bar, beer and wine only with some 'cocktails' using fortified wines. I wouldn't recommend any of the cocktails. It's a decent place for a large group and sharing is recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    SheilaVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    To bad this place is located in a kind of dead-man's zone b/c we had a great experience on a recent Saturday night. Kind of dark on the street and not much foot traffic. But great and interesting food - presented beautifully. Our group wasn't drinking so can't respond to the wine list but the bar staff was making fun-looking cocktails all evening. A little pricey (but not outrageious for SF) We had several bottle of sparkling water but no alcohol and paid about $50/person. Will definitely go back. Really pleasure staff and service and no difficulty w/ street parking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Under-appreciated Gem
    rg00575
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    While most people are probably not super familiar with Sri Lankan cuisine, this shouldn't dissuade anyone from trying this under-appreciated gem. The flavors are unique but subtle, the ingredients are of the highest quality and the menu offers great variety (for vegetarians too). The Egg Hopper is a must try; you'll probably end up ordering a second one. The wine list is also great, every bottle obviously carefully selected and the sommelier extremely knowledgeable. Finally, the service is relaxed, helpful and attentive. I consider myself a foodie and this is one of my favorite spots in SF. I'm shocked how easy it is still to get a reservation at 1601 despite all the great reviews from patrons and critics...take advantage while it lasts!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Worth a visit!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    We had a fantastic meal here. The staff was very helpful in guiding us through the menu to choose a balanced shared meal. We arrived a bit on the early side for Saturday evening, so perhaps the scene picked up a bit more later in the evening, but it sure was quiet. Not exactly a hot spot (although the interior and food presentation is very stylish), which is a shame because the food was really great. Would love to see more people explore this restaurant! Highlights were the Mulligatawny soup, the cauliflower, and the meatballs. The couple next to us raved about the duck and the scallops. Packed with flavor!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    Fantastic food, wine, great service, and super nice staff. The kale coconut salad, the egg hoper, the duck, and the chocolate / coconut dessert are my faves! Yumm!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hidden Gem
    veroYmiguelitoVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We chose this restaurant based on its great reviews. Were not disappointed. I'm like, "Great reviews, Sri Lankan food? Why not?" Indeed, why not. The food is pretty unique... sort of an East meets West thing working, but not in an Asian sense. The Duck is amazing, as are pretty much every dish. The staff cares. Definitely. And it shows. This is our first restaurant that I've written about on OpenTable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Vibrant
    Flavors
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The menu is intriguing, like looking for treasure. The layered and subtle flavors are vibrant and fresh. Altogether, a rich and delightful experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • feedmysoulVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    A great find! One of the best meals I've had in a while.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellant
    robjpVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    One of the best meals we've had in a while. Did the tasting menu, which consisted of eight courses and everyone was great. My wife did a wine pairing, which she enjoyed. Great service as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food.
    Goodfood15
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Amazing yummy food. Very creative fusion food. Loved the small bites. Would like to see more choices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    VinoVeritasVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    The food is wonderful, and in terms of taste, creativity and presentation deserving of five stars. However, we did the tasting menu and it was a bit of a let down. There was nothing special whatsoever, not even an amuse-bouche. Our group of four could have ordered the entire menu to share, tried every dish and spent less. The wine list is very good. However, somewhat like tasting menu, the "wine" pairings were also a bit of a let down. Two of the "wines" were beer and sherry. The actual wines in the wine pairing were almost all on the sweet side (a Malbec was the lone exception). On a busy Saturday night, the service was just good and the noise level a bit loud.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unique flavours
    canuck
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    1601 has a wide variety of small plates with very unique flavours. Service is fabulous and it is never too busy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • tasty surprises
    citizengateVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    1601 Bar & Kitchen cares deeply about food and service. It worked for our table.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Sri Lankan experience
    pingVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Dinner was possibly the best meal I'll have in 2014. The ingredients were fresh and prepared with care in unusual preparations with spectacular but modestly stated presentations. The cube of salmon that seemed barely poached was presented with a smear of burnt onion creme fraiche and tamarind (?) drops. The crispy okra with curried cashews was my best so far for okra. The duck lamprais and Jidori egg hopper were my Sri Lankan firsts. The women servers were the most knowledgeable about the food I've met in San Francisco. There were few patrons and therefore little noise, and no doubt, was a factor in the overall experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • UNIQUE! SOMA SAYS IT ALL
    hungrychickVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Ignore the grunge neighborhood on Howard St. Focus on the food, which is imaginative and meant to be shared...expect the unexpected with amazing flavors. From Portuguese octopus to goat stew, dining is an adventure.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 40 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 33 reviews are from the 1601 Bar & Kitchen reviews archive.
  • Great Place and Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Food was excellent and beautifully prepared, service was terrific, and it was a great space. The staff was welcoming and offered us complimentary moscato at the end of dinner. I highly recommend it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 1601 never disappoints
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    I had dinner at 1601 saturday night. What to say? This was not my first time and I chose it specifically as I wanted to be able to talk with my friend. We were in the back room and it was very quiet. We both liked the food and wine very much. Good. Different. Perfectly cooked. Nothing pretentious about it. Flavors abound. / The service is more than 5 stars. Any other place pales to insignificant compared to 1601. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like the fact people aren't coming by every 10 minutes asking if everything is alright. Thereby interrupting your conversation to take care of them. This is so common everywhere else. These people at 1601 have class to the nth degree. They are warm and know how to serve.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    MikeCSF
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Went on a first date here and I couldn't have found a better spot. They gave us a secluded table, the service and food were outstanding and the menu is reasonably priced. I highly recommend this place :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • jieh
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    All dishes were subtly seasoned, making this a great dining experience.Highly recommended
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Promise kept - excellence all round
    DannyMVIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    This very interesting, very solid Sri Lankan-cuisine restaurant has been a real find for me, and most recently, for my wife and me to celebrate her birthday. The food is unusual for us in the States – it's fair to say that some southern Indian cuisine can prepare you for a bit of it, but it stands on its own. The house does have specialties from Sri Lanka alone. The service is expert and professional, from the greeting, to the seating, serving (including wine advice and service), and busing – correct, attentive, and thoughtful. Attention from the management is frequent and always welcome. All in all (after three visits), I'm very much looking forward to visits four and five...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent, though expensive
    DoctorK
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    Small plate restaurant. The price is not exorbitant, however it is certainly pricey. Because of the small plates, it may be viewed as not a good value, however the food is tasty, well prepared, unusual (Sri Lankan influence) and the presentation on the plates is artistic and done with care. I would certainly go back and am interested in tasting many other items on the menu. The mulligatawny soup was fantastic. The egg crepe dish (I forget the name) was out of this world. Nothing we had was below par.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service, food just ok
    MissMolly
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    I get that this is tapas, but the portion is oh so tiny for the price. I think tapas size should be charged accordingly. For example, sea bass at $23 and steak at $23 is just slightly less than the standard entrée prices, but the portion is 1/3 of the entry sizes. I think it should be slightly less. Fish and meatball were a bit dry. Service is lovely and the staff is wonderful, but the food is just ok.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Deliciously Different
    Anacana
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    Expand your repertoire of dining experiences. Sri Lankan food is wonderful and 1601 Bar & Kitchen certainly does it justice. We enjoyed a delightfully tasty meal, artfully presented, and with excellent service. I'll be going back for sure. Make this your next gastronomic discovery. This restaurant deserves SF prominence. To make things even better, there was ample parking nearby.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delightful experience
    MaamsayVIP
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    Wonderful team that delivers a well orchestrated dinner service. Clean and elegant contemporary design. Menu is good all around - recommend 2-3 plates per person. The egg dish is a staple of the menu and the mulligatawny soup is rich and flavorful. Definitely will be back again
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always excellent
    AcahtiVIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    Have eater at 1601 numerous times and always enjoy the food, the service, and the environment.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • from the street
    flavorfiend
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    It looked a little shabby in the neighborhood. But we found parking right near the door. The food was a great surprise. Flavors were really complex while seemingly simple uncontrived but pretty presentations. We shared dishes halibut sashimi was my favorite Nexttime I would definitely have the tasing menu with wine pairings. A must try Find.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Better than expected
    hanayaVIP
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    The food was amazing and the service was great. They have an amazing list of wines and the food menu is very unique. We sat in the higher tables, but the chairs weren't too uncomfortable. My friends and I ate to our stomach's fill and the food was delicious! That night, a certain percentage went towards the SF Aids foundation. It made me like the restaurant even more for them suporting organizations like that!
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Late-Night Find, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Will return!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    Great food. Highly recommend the octopus! The plates are small though, so order more if you're hungry.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • exquisite!
    smk2011VIP
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    The chef has skillfully applied haute cuisine techniques to the South Asian flavorful ingredients into delectable delights!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding Find
    MMcIVIP
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    The food was excellent, both the tastes and the presentations . We shared many of the small plate items and loved them all. Loved th scallops, the rabbit, and the kale salad. We also shared the desserts, one of each. All were very good. We had an Argentine Malbec which complemented our varied dishes. Will definitely be back to try the tasting menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sri Lankan Inspired Gem
    JenSFVIP
    Dined on 4/9/2014
    Had dinner with a friend on a Wednesday night. We were one of only two tables who were dining. Thus, the service was great and the noise level was virtually non-existent. I would like to return on a Friday or Saturday night to see how different the experience is when the restaurant is full. We had a few small plates to share - namely the the halibut ceviche, Norwegian cod, and okra dishes are not to be missed. Great texture, flavors, and presentation. Look forward to returning for another visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not Super Size, it's Tapas
    ShaftVIP
    Dined on 3/26/2014
    Bottom Line: We will go again, and we will take friends The food was fresh, tasty and healthy. The raw Kale salad was so good that we ordered a second when the meat dishes arrived The service was excellent. Not just, "Is everything OK?" It was, "How do you like that beer?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • SF Gem
    MiniGreen
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    We enjoyed dinner at 1601 Bar & Kitchen on Thursday evening. Oh my. We chose three plates each and left comfortably fed. Chef Brian's creations were at once beautiful, incredibly flavorful, and perfectly cooked. Knowing scallops are often served rare, I asked for "medium-rare" and they were exactly that, with a yummy sear. Their house-smoked salmon is amazing. Tasting vegetables prepared with the respect they deserve is always a treat, and Brian's Mixed Brassicas, and his soon-to-be-famous Kale Salad were two of the most delicious dishes I've ever eaten. Service, led by the lovely Yuliya, was friendly, informative, and courteous. She and Brian absolutely deserve the great reviews they've been getting. Street parking is easy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sri Lankan is so tasty
    KenKVIP
    Dined on 3/18/2014
    Trying a new cuisine is what first drew me to 1601 Kitchen and after half a dozen visits, I am still intrigued and delighted by the flavors, smells and textures when I go in. The chef (who is almost always there himself) has designed a small plates menu with great local ingredients. This time, the hopper (Sri Lankan crepe with a summy side egg and spicy sambol) was so good, we each had to get our own. Also love the ceviche wtih compressed cucumber and the lamb and pork meatballs. It was very quiet (earlyish on a Tuesday night), but the place is usually full. Full or not, the service is terrifically welcoming, attentive and competent. They make you feel like it is their secret gem that they proudly share with you.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food was high quality
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    The food was high quality and excellent and delicious, and presented quite artistically. But the tiny size of the servings, served on a giant plate with giant prices makes it a fad place that's fun to check out once, but you won't be going back again and again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not totally awful but not good
    DoraVIP
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    The food was tasty but super small plates. Practically none existent food. Super expensive for what you get. I don't mind paying a lot for good food when it's worth it and this was not worth it. Super friendly staff though.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet