1601 Bar & Kitchen

4.7
279 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Sri Lankan
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,' as 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 at least 1,5 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, cauliflower, 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' menu. Parking is easy.

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What 279 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
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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s
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Terrific flavors. We are South Indian and enjoyed the fusion cuisine. The pickles, egg hopper, duck curry and potatoes were my favorite. But the whole meal was delightful.

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GP
New Orleans
7 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A most memorable dining experience and our favorite in the dining mecca that is San Francisco. We sampled every small plate on the menu and were delighted with every bite. The attentive service, savory/spicy flavor profile and calm atmosphere made for a terrific evening out. Highly recommend this very interesting dining experience!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I love the food here. It’s thoughtfully prepared and the flavors are unique. I am always amazed that more people don’t come here. Service is also outstanding.

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OT
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Christmas Eve Early Dinner was very accommodating. Excellent food and service. Wonderful People, the Manager or Host & The Bar Tender or Assistant took amazing care of us... rock stars! Absolutely outstanding. Definitely Top Rated...Recommend.
-Ms Moss-

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SM
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

1601 Bar & Kitchen is a terrific restaurant that combines delicious Sri Lankan food, with lovely ambiance, and fantastic service. The food features unique flavors and spices that are fun to taste. We had theater tickets, and out waiter was kind enough to remind us about the time so that we didn't miss our curtain (we were enjoying the meal so much we had lost track of time). Additionally, the price of our meal was incredibly reasonable for the quality of the food.

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SM
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was fantastic. Service very friendly. Nice atmosphere and not too loud to carry on a conversation. We had the lobster bisque, which was rich, spicy, and flavorful. Yukon gold potatoes were sweet and crispy and the ground lamb curry with chickpeas and cumin yoghurt also had pomegranate, which added texture a flavor for a really special dish. Strongly recommend.

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RW
San Francisco
133 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We weren’t up for the tasting menu and the small plates menu is a bit limited. We had the salmon, lobster bisque, ribs, kale salad and lamb curry, followed by persimmons for dessert. With the exception of the ribs, which were good, everything was fantastic and unusual. Really special food, excellent service and artwork I would happily hang in my house.

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A
San Francisco
74 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our third time there, but it's always charming! Amazingly professional, top-notch presentation, the salmon terrine with roe, and the potatoes being notably outstanding. Fresh, perfectly cooked food every time. The quiet atmosphere lends to an elegant evening out; perfect for that special dinner out. Highly recommend.

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RB
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

It was our first experience eating Sri Lankan cuisine (or a contemporary version of it). We enjoyed the originality, freshness and unique combinations of flavors. The Chef came to our table a number of times, and explained the origin of each dish. The service was courteous and professional. Our sincere appreciation for a lovely evening.

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D
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and food, cozy but elegant, exciting flavors and everything perfectly cooked and seasoned

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DW
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delightful restaurant for any occasion with a gentle reference to the cuisine of Sri Lanka

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CL
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Incredibly delicious, thoughtful dishes--each one featured its own distinct flavor. With four people in our party, we were able to try a nice sampling of dishes (we opted for the a la carte menu, not the chef's tasting). There was not one dish that we felt we could do without. The Hopper Jidori Egg was as delicious as it was unique; two other favorites were the blue lake beans and the roasted potatoes. These sound like basic dishes but they are everything but basic. Be sure not to miss the divine Ceylon Tea Semifreddo for dessert.

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s
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing tasting menu with great wine pairing. Our fav place for tasting menu.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always love doing small plates for the variety. Each dish was delicious and unique. Servers were attentive. We probably ordered one dish too many which caused us to be too full for dessert. Guess we’ll have to go back next time were in town.

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LM
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fab meal; gorgeous hostess and well worth the short uber from union square. Definitely a favourite meal in SFO

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I grew up eating Sri Lankan food, so I came with high expectations. 1601 did not disappoint. The flavor of the lamb curry was spot on, and even added pomegranate for a different flair. The hoppers were awesome, went really well with the curry. I’m glad I finally found a place in SF that serves the wonderful flavors of the curry I’ve grown up to cherish.

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OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The hostess(Ula) and chef(Brian)were amazing, an awesome experience from start to end. The dishes exude bountiful flavors of Asian originality, while ensuring the palette experienced spice and sweet. The ambiance, service, plate presentation coupled with chef explanation of dishes made the evening five stars. 1601 Bar & Kitchen is a must stop, “A Highly Recommend”!!!

Michael & Jacqueline

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PA
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Although a small selection on the menu, the food was really authentic and very tasty. Wednesday nights are quiet but there were two large groups dining when we arrived and were shown to a quiet table for two. Hoppers are not usually available on the menu unless you have the banquet option, but we were lucky to have these offered.
We had an egg hopper each with pol and seeni sambol - very nice entree!
Main course was dhal, chicken curry and rice - not that spicy, but really authentic taste. Sad not to see wattalupum on the menu but what we had was a brilliant fusion of tea, brûlée and almond brittle.
Chef Brian came out to see us and offered a complimentary, cleansing sorbet sprayed with arrack - nice touch.
We loved it and we’re sure you will too🤩

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NW
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This restaurant is creative and different. I am always excited to try a type of food that is new to me. Not having had Sri Lankan food before, I received helpful guidance from hostess/owner Yulia, and loved everything we were served. I will recommend this restaurant highly and look forward to returning

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E
San Francisco
158 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I chose it because of strong reviews and I thought it was fantastic. really interesting food--great tomatoes, chicken curry, egg hopper, roast potatoes--and a good looking tasting menu. Ignore the criticisms, it is an excellent choice. great wines by the glass and nice service too. highly recommend and can't wait to go back.

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NB
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible food! The chicken curry was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while! We will come back!!

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TM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Pork ribs were on the dry side; needed more spice. Egg hopper was interesting. Smoked salmon was good; small portion. Vegetable curry was good.

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e
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

May be the best hidden gem in SF, unique,wonderful food with friendly knowledgeable service. If you are looking for something new and a bit different, try Sri Lankan based cuisine at 1601.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food; great staff;. Great wine

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AN
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous experience. Recommend tasting menu with the beverage (wine) pairing

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DJ
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had the chef’s tasting and it was a great way to experience the restaurant’s expertise and cuisine.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Celebrating my wife’s birthday. Added that in when we made the reservation. They did not acknowledge that st all. That was a little disappointing.
In general the food was very good. Good service. Restaurant looks very nice and it was clean. The food was very interesting.
Would possibly go there again.

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PA
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently delicious food and exceptional service!

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JF
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was unique and fabulous!! The service was equally excellent. We will definitely return

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9
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Unique flavors. Great service, elegant but still casual atmosphere.

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c
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful bites of creative cuisine leave you wanting more. Each time gets better and better! A welcome change of pace to the typical SF dining scene.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I love this place!! Been here numerous times. The food is different, creative and delicious!!!

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AG
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Husband and I looked for a last minute reservation and found a table at 1601. We went to Sri Lanka a few months ago and loved the food, so were excited to find this option close to home. Loved every bite - and we ordered virtually everything on the menu. Some favorites might be the cucumber salad, the lentils and of course the egg hopper. Really thoughtful flavors, combinations and sourcing, excellent execution. All that AND an incredibly sweet and knowledgeable staff. Will definitely go back.

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NF
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience: cool, minimal decor with good blues/ standards music; attentive service; absolutely delicious, interesting food (with complex layers of flavor & spice, unlike other SE Asian or Indian cuisines); and reasonable pricing. One of the best meals I’ve had in the City, bar none. The lines should be out the door! Especially recommend the Egg Hopper & the cauliflower, but the other dishes (spicy cucumber with a fish-flake topping, soft shell crab, & a tea creme brûlée were also mouthwatering.

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VV
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love the place, this is my fourth visit and I am still impressed with the food.

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p
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We've enjoyed two delicious dinners at 1601 - one before our visit to Sri Lanka and one after. The menu was slightly different each time but both offered colorful and imaginative versions of vegetables in particular. The cauliflower with spiced carrots and the crispy okra with cashews were outstanding, and the Ceylon tea semifreddo was the perfect ending to a leisurely meal with friends.

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s
Columbus
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A true dining treasure in SF. Outstanding service and gorgeous presentation of food in an intimate atmosphere. Highly recommend!

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RP
San Francisco
101 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a terrific meal. Everything was wonderful, especially the lamb curry and the egg hopper! The cauliflower was also delicious

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service. Thank you!!

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P
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 2

This was the worst place I have gone to since living in SF for many years. The restaurant was completely empty on a Saturday night and overpriced. The food that was listed for two was a small bowl that would be filling for maybe half a person certainly not two people. My friend basically did not eat at all out of courtesy. We had an appetizer that tasted ok but again extremely overpriced with small portions. They tried to be high end but the server just looked very stressed as the restaurant was empty. For the ambiance I would have paid roughly 25% of the price. I also made a reservation on open table and they listed it as canceled after I went which might explain the highly inflated reviews.

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