Kaya SF

4.4
201 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Jamaican
Daniel Patterson and Alta Group have partnered with chef/co-owner Nigel Jones of Oakland’s Kingston 11 Cuisine to open Kaya, a community-oriented restaurant featuring modern Jamaican dishes grounded in tradition and prepared with pristine California ingredients.

Opened in early 2018 in the Mid-Market space that was formerly the original location of Alta, Kaya is Nigel’s first restaurant in San Francisco proper. Named for Bob Marley and the Wailer’s sixth album, Kaya represents the irie feelings cultivated when people gather around a table in community. Kaya offers a distinct experience from Kingston 11 while still retaining the lively and social vibe that has made Kingston a beloved destination for Oakland locals since its opening in 2013.

Alta Group bar director Aaron Paul has collaborated with the Kaya team on a rum-based beverage program to complement Nigel's soulful menu.
What 201 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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N
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very fun place with excellent staff and a new take on some traditional cocktails.

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DE
Orlando
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing customer service

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DT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Went to dinner here before a show at the Golden Gate Theatre. Was easy to get reservations ahead of time and they were very good about getting food out so we had a pleasant dinner and plenty of time to get to the theatre. (6:15 reservation with an 8pm show). Everyone enjoied their food except one that found things a bit too spicy to her liking. The only downside was that the music was a bit too loud to talk over.

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JJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 2

Great food and overall feel of the room. Some innovative and tasty cuisine. Music was good, but WAY too loud for the size of room.

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OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The jerk chicken papaya salad was delicious. Good portion of chicken and a mild dressing made flavors pop. Especially when you got a plantain in the mix. The meet patty was very plain and needed hot sauce but the fish fritters were great.

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k
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

delicious food with wonderful service - would highly recommend the blood orange mimosa and the salt fish fritters

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f
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Kaya has a NYC Caribbean restaurant vibe. Food is amazing and atmosphere is energetic.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, ambience, and service! The plantains are incredible

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food at brunch. Jerk chicken is delicious atop the sandwich or salad. Plantains were cooked perfectly. Server was kind and prompt (and wore an awesome suit)

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II
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Went for brunch with a friend on a rainy weekend - the place was fairly empty so I was nervous but upon looking at the menu and actually getting our food my fears were calmed. The salt fish appetizer was delicious, as was my blackened tofu. I got the montego slang - nice and citrusy and not too strong. Only disappointment was the dessert - it wasn't listed on the menu, but was some kind of rum chocolate cake with dates that was slightly bitter and dry. The overall experience was still a good one, and I would go back - just not get dessert again.

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LP
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a group of 8 for New Years Eve. We got seated right away in a convenient location. The food was very good and came quickly. There was a DJ and the music was just right--not too loud so you couldn't hear each other talk! We danced after dinner and made friends with the group at the next table. They gave out champagne at midnight and we toasted to the New Year with all our new friends in the restaurant. I would highly recommend it for any occasion. I am so glad we chose Kaya over the other New Years Eve price gouger places in SFO.

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OT
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

A really great vibe and experience for a NYE dinner. Just enough music to be fun, and yummy food. Thanks!

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CG
New England
4 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

small menu, big portions. We got the Papaya & Greens, Jerk Chicken, and Ox Tail Stew, all amazing. Their swirl soft serve is the best I've ever had.

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JN
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super yummy, great service, fun vibe!!! Would recommend without reservation.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

There were more people in our party than the reservation was made for. They promptly set up additional tables for us. Shani our server was very attentive to us. The food came not long after we ordered. The food was fantastic as well as our cocktails. Kaya is now on our list of favorite restaurants.

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AA
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

After changing our reservation from Friday to Monday via a phone call to the restaurant (for which they updated the OpenTable reservation for me), we arrived on Monday to find the restaurant completely closed. WOW.

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GF
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

A good place for a taste of the Caribbean. Food is good and authentic. I ordered the piri piri chicken. There was no piri piri taste; it was very bland. There was no flavor, the chicken was blackened too much, but the meat was tender. It was served with roasted pickling potatoes that were tasty, no vegetables. The spicy shrimp was very good for an appetizer. The salted fish fritter was a bit too fishy to order a whole plate-we asked for a sampling. The pomegranate and mint soda is excellent though this second time it did not have as much pomegranate juice in it.

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KE
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great atmosphere! I highly recommend the jerk chicken, green beans and kale salad

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OS
Seattle
12 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent all around and they make a fantastic ackee and salt fish - a traditional Jamaican dish. The DJ made brunch that much more festive!

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LT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have eaten at Kaya three times now and it has been great each time--good food and excellent service.

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L
Palm Springs
7 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal! Great drinks. Good price. Cool ambience. Will be back for sure!

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EB
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Will definitely be a repeat. Great service and very cordial.

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DG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great. Manager came up and greeted us. Server was attentive and food was great.

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l
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great options for gluten free vegans.

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l
San Francisco
57 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I like this place a lot, it's close to work so happy hour is always an option. The food is authentic and sticks to its Caribbean/Jamaican roots, not to mention great tasting cocktails.

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m
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food and service.

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

The food is amazingly good, but we waited forever for it (as in 30 minutes). I guess there was a mix up in the kitchen. They apologized and the waitress asked what she could bring to make up for it. My husband asked for another ginger beer, but they charged us for it. Also, huge appreciation that they brought out champagne for our 15th anniversary, but we're not drinking right now, so it was completely awkward and we had to send it back. Finally, my plate was cleared before my husband's and the waitress didn't ask if I was ready to have it cleared (pet peeve). It seems like they were trying, but some serious hiccups on the service. The one saving grace was that the food, as said before, was incredible.

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b
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

The music over is very loud and raucous, and nearby conversations were conducted by shouting. It was so unpleasant that I wound up taking my meal to go. The staff was kind and professional about that, so points for them.

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OT
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Best fried plantains I’ve ever had. Everything was really delicious and the staff were all very friendly.

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p
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the food and ambience. Cocktails were great, oxtail stew, jerk chicken, crispy skin salmon and plantains were some favorites. Service was excellent.

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J
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Your palette will praise you for this choice. The food is authentic, delicious and will make your tongue dance. I substituted the white jasmine rice for rice and peas, ordered fresh coconut water -inside the coconut! braised kale and beet salad along with the goat curry. I can't wait to come back and sample the rest of the food offerings!

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m
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall an excellent restaurant choice for San Francisco

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

Excellent experience both food and vibe. We went for brunch, but would probably even be better for HH or first date spot.

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HU
San Francisco
163 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 2

Since there are so few Jamaican restaurants in the Bay Area, this was a fun place to try and it's in an area of SF that needs new places to eat (Market and Van Ness). I had the jerk chicken salad which was perfectly spiced. Be warned, if you are going with anyone else, they will not split the bill (even for only two people!).

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HC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food. Something yummy and different. Great ambiance and live DJ with fun music. Fun, Jamaican vibe. Highly recommended. Especially the punch bowl and fried plantains. Yummmm

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PP
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Interesting diversity of food.

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

We enjoyed our meal very much! The service is attentive and the waiter was very good at describing the dishes and advising on his favorites. Drinks are great (punch bowls!!) and the atmosphere is lively and fun. Good spot for pre-theatre dinner!

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I just love this spot, delicious food and the staff are all friendly the drinks are great I always ask for them to make me something different and they never disappoint.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

In regards to food the best thing was the fried plantains and the fish over plantain chips in the small bites menu. The jerk chicken was very flavorful but a little on the dry side. The only critique I have is the waiter did not offer or informed us of the happy hour menu even after I specifically asked if there was an appetizer that had chicken or something equivalent to a small bite. The table next to us had chicken wings so I asked about it and was told by the guests seating next to us it was the HH menu. Not sure what else was on the HH menu, but the wings were very good!!! Not sure why it was not offered to us despite the fact we got there 20 mins before HH was over. Overall, I would go back and try other dishes. The service was decent. Loved the cleanliness of the restaurant and the decor.

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m
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing Jamaican food. We loved this place. I never pick a restaurants without reading any reviews. But this one I picked from their website and it being recommended as nearby The Orphuem. Let me tell you this was the best choice I could have made. The appetizer that was recommended by our waiter was GRILLED WILD GULF SHRIMP with tamarind sauce - best shrimp I EVER had. I ordered the crispy skin Salmon for my entree - again at the waiters recommendation and love is not a strong enough word for how I felt about this dish. The skin was thin crispy and just the right amount of salty and the salmon delicious and the vegetables were perfect. Wished that had been room left to try their soft serve. I will be back in an understatement!

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