1601 Bar & Kitchen

4.6
298 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 298 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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

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SJ
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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OT
San Francisco
55 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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P
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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AA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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SA
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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m
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

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

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L
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

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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OT
New Orleans
13 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every plate of tapas or bowl of food was exquisite in a mixture of tastes and textures. Amazing.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Date night with my wife who is a celiac!

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AC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Tasting menu was excellent and good value for money. Not cheap, but definitely worth it!

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AH
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Every dish was better than the other. The portions to the way it was presented were exquisite. Its definitely pricey but worth it.

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CM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Interesting combinations of flavors and ingredients at the time but ultimately no dish on the Valentine's menu stood out as memorable.

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I
San Francisco
111 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The ultimate foodie restaurant, tucked away in an unassuming neighborhood, 1601 is a culinary oasis. But when you open the door and step in you get to experience an amazing array of flavors in an elegant setting. 1601 is foodie heaven, every dish perfectly spiced, an elegantly plated so don’t wimp out, drop the $100 and do the multi course tasting menu and a 3 hour slow food experience. Whatever chef Brian Fernando serves you will be unique and you won’t taste it anywhere else, not at French Laundry, not at Crenn, not anywhere. One warning—don’t go here expecting to get Sri Lankan cuisine. It is a take, an interpretation, and in my mind shares more with California and French cuisine that anything you’ll get in Colombo.

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h
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was creative considering the material they used.

Service was a little in short hand and a little of noisy.

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BG
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The house smoked salmon, the egg hopper, and the kale salad with black garlic were so delicious! We also really enjoyed the spicy lamb curry.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and great service.

We had the chicken and egg curry and we both agreed it was one of, if not the best curry we’ve ever had! Ribs were great, as was the semifredo

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s
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
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
9 reviews
Dined on December 29, 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 28, 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
12 reviews
Dined on December 24, 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 22, 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 14, 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
141 reviews
Dined on December 6, 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
76 reviews
Dined on November 29, 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 29, 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 24, 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
4 reviews
Dined on November 20, 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 17, 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 3, 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 3, 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 16, 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 6, 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 5, 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 3, 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 3, 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
165 reviews
Dined on September 8, 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 1, 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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