1601 Bar & Kitchen

4.7
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329 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Sri Lankan

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Good Vegetarian Options
1601 Bar & Kitchen is a small, independent, husband and wife owned and ran casual fine dining restaurant, operating since 2013. The atmosphere is intimate and comfortable for conversation, while the noise level is low.

Chef Brian Fernando refers to his interpretations of Sri Lankan cuisine as ‘Californian Sri Lankan.' We strive to get imaginative with Sri Lankan recipes and spices in Californian context. We work with environmentally-conscious purveyors.

Our cuisine is aromatic and vibrant, offering both mild and spicy items. We offer a very popular multi-course Chef’s tasting menu accompanied by optional beverage pairings that usually takes 1,5-2 hours for 2 guests. We also offer an à la carte menu of small and large dishes. The most ordered are the egg hopper, smoked salmon, okra, and the curries. Our menu always contains gluten free and vegetarian items. Children are welcome to order from our regular menu; we do not offer a kids's menu. Parking is easy.

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What 329 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

so great and wonderful service :) amazing food and would definitely go back again

L
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We loved the food— shared small dishes and all 3 curries.
The group enjoyed the ambience— very good for conversation. Also great service.
Unfortunately there was some problem with the heating that evening, and it was quite cold.

t
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had lovely time on our date night at 1601 Bar and Kitchen!
The food was delicious. The staffer's wine recommendations were spot on!
Would go there again!

OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazingly delicious food. A fun twist on Sri Lankan cuisine. I liked that you were able to sample a few items from the tasting menu when you ordered ala carte.

DL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious and beautiful dishes. Host and chef were very helpful, recommending just the right amount of food for our group and assisting us with wine pairing as well. Unique and wonderful cuisine served in an ambient setting that allows for conversation and an overall pleasant dining experience. Will gladly recommend and plan to return again soon.

SF
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

1601 Bar and Kitchen just keeps getting better and better - I have brought family, friends, and business dinners and all of them were terrific! The dishes are delicious, fascinating, and go together in perfect harmony. I highly recommend this wonderful place. MJC

EG
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

This place is a hidden gem of spicy deliciousness in a very zen line dinning room. Highly recommend to anyone looking to have a memorable quiet dinning experience.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Love the creative, seasonal menu and wonderful knowledgeable service.

RH
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Every dish was delicious and had that quality of flavors that are unexpected but just right in combination. From the early girl tomatoes to the lamb curry, which was almost a lamb stew, we enjoyed every bite. The service was friendly and impeccable. I think the owners were doing the serving.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It’s been called the best restaurant in San Francisco that nobody knows about. It is.
New American/French styled food made with Sri Lankan flavors and ingredients (mixed with local produce).

Chef Brian’s food is based on what ingredients him and his wife can find locally and in season. They know where everything comes from in what they serve. They have relatively few dishes but each one was well crafted and thoughtfully made. I couldn’t recommend the food more, particularly for a date night or lovers of carefully made food.

The restaurant is kind of on a weird corner that gets less traffic, so it’s doesn’t look like it gets too busy most nights.

Strong recommend.

JM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

1601 Bar & Kitchen is a very special restaurant. The food is delicious, creative and exciting. There were four of us and we shared everything (egg hoppers, fried okra, chicken and lamb curries, spicy Early Girl tomatoes, and crispy potatoes, and three fabulous desserts). The wine list has been carefully chosen to match this food -- many interesting choices here. Service was excellent, with all our questions answered and recommendations cheerfully made. The location is out of the way, which may explain why this place isn't as busy as it deserves to be. We will happily return, especially with friends who are looking for an adventure.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Service was great, food was alright (I wouldn't come back for it).

OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience3

Overpriced for quality

t
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Very much a hidden gem. From really good service that is super respectful and personal to really really good food that’s unique in this city full of trendy but disappointing places. The owners are doing the cooking and service. And it’s quiet inside so you can actually hear your companion speak.

S
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was some of the best food I have had in a long time! There is also the option of a tasting menu which is diverse and delicious. Wines were amazing. Service was wonderful. I would run to this place if you have not been there yet.

NS
Phoenix
22 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was phenomenal! My husband is Sri Lankan so it was nice to get some flavors of home for him. We enjoyed ourselves! Great food and great ambiance

MM
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a fantastic restaurant. The food is imaginative, the service is excellent and the atmosphere is very warm. The food is delicious and inspired.

KS
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the food. We ordered pretty much everything on the menu. :) . The egg basket is a house specialty and just delicious. The curries were wonderful. And the desserts were to die for. The service was wonderful and the chef even came out to chat with us. Overall a lovely evening.

h
San Francisco
134 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an excellent meal. We shared the okra, carrots and ground lamb with chickpeas. We will return for good food which are creatively presented.

OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Amazing food and excellent service

MF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Who would have thought that Sri Lankan food would turn out to be one of my favorite types of food?! Every bite was delicious, unexpected, and beautifully plated. Even foods I tend to not love- lamb, okra, eggplant- I was savoring every morsel. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous food and service

m
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic, elegant and inventive. Amazing flavors. We did the family style option and everything was spot on. Excellent wine list. Beautiful presentations and space. A new favorite - we will be back.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had a great time. Service was on point and they never rushed us out. Our group was there for 3 hours. We enjoyed beer, a recommended bottle of wine, and their food. Had a very enjoyable night catching up with friends with friendly service.

j
New England
8 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I chose this experience as a special dinner for me and my teen son and before he leaves for school abroad. I am so glad we did because it was an experience that we will remember. The flavors were unique and the server was able to explain the preparation to us. The egg hoppers were fantastic as we expected since this is a specialty. My favorite side dish was the okra. I have had okra in both Texas and West Africa and this preparation was the best I have ever had. The salmon melted in our mouths. The daal was so rich with curry and yet enhanced with so many subtle tastes. When we returned home he told his brother all about the meal- so I know it will be a night he remembers in some small way. Thanks 1601 and Chef Fernando!

G
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I saw this place on "Check Please! Bay Area" a while back and was curious to try it out. It exceeded expectations. I highly recommend.

j
San Francisco
46 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Quiet place, just right for an informal dinner. Two very tasty - and slightly unusual - curries, with three inventive sides and a bottle of wine, were just right for the three of us.

ML
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and excellent service. Would definitely recommend.

TC
San Francisco
111 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

If food and service are always great here. This is one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Whenever we have out-of-town guests, we always take them here.

We love:
- Uni ice cream with caviar
- Egg hopper
- Kale salad
- Maldive fish broth
- Chicken curry
- Lamb curry

The menu changes quite often and the wine list is great and very reasonably priced.

A
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Chef Brian never disappoints! I strongly recommend this restaurant, which offers lovingly-prepared, exquisite Sri Lankan-Californian fare, delicious wines, attentive staff and a cozy, yet fancy, experience.

OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very hospitable staff and great food and wine service. Wonderful contemporary Srilankan dinner. I would recommend the chef’s tasting menu. Truly a gem

SJ
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was delicious and service was fantastic!! Lacked a little bit of vibe though as we were seated on a high table away from all the other seating.

OT
San Francisco
68 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This place is a wonderful treat. Sri Lankan California style.

App: MUST MUST have egg hoppers, Don't share! could have had even more. It's a perfect egg in a crisp wrap with delicious spices.... unlike anything else... wow.

Entres: There are grilled varieties on skewers and curry in bowls. We decided to go with the curries [ though the folks next to us seemed to loved the grilled..].
First, Dahl, just perfect over rice -
Second Lamb stew, couldn't be better.

Vegg: Fried asparagus.... wonderful.. if we had room we'd have also had potato.

We had it all with a crisp reisling..

Service was friendly and warm

We will definitely go again.

P
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent knowledgeable service. Interesting food; not same as southern Indian food as I expected. Subtle flavors. My only complaint is that the wine is overpriced: $18 per glass for Sancerre and $14/glass for dry riesling is ridiculous.

AA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is amazing and the whole experience too, with such a great staff!!! Love it!!!!

SA
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dinner with friends- wonderful food in a nice setting. Good wine list and great service. Everyone loved it.

OT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant has everything going for it. The ambience, the service and the food are all outstanding. The menu is ever-changing, but if the banana cake is on the menu make sure to get it.

m
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great find..3 of us shared salad,potatoes,and 2 curries..great chocolate dessert..glad it was wa r.c m and quiet and very relaxed atmosphere..will go there again

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

This was a delicious intimate birthday meal with some close friends. Everything tasted amazing! We are already recommending to friends.

L
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

The food was amazing and the service, outstanding. However, the bar stool seats are NOT comfortable and the shared table is great if you are with a big crowd, but annoying if you have a small group and want to talk.
We got lucky by getting there very early, so when the noisy drunk people showed up we were about ready to go anyway.
But the acoustics are terrible and if you don't want to shout all night, you might want to go somewhere else. Which is a shame, because the food was to die for, seriously.

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