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.
I had dinner there a few weeks ago and enjoyed it so I went back for lunch with two coworkers. I had the jerk chicken sandwich that was bone dry with a few small dry pieces of chicken that were flavorless. Most the volume of the sandwich was fried plantain. I asked for aioli or mayonnaise to keep me from choking on the arid sandwich but that didn’t help- I had mayo on a dry flavorless sandwich for $16. One coworker had the curry vegetables. The curry was good but the vegetables were over cooked and soggy. My other coworker had the jerk chicken salad that he said was “edible”. The mango papaya salad we shared was good but there are only a few small slivers of mango and papaya so it is really some bagged Costco baby greens with mango and papaya garnish and a decent dressing. Fried plantain was par for the course but the bean and cream dip is only small enough for two pieces of plantain so you have to be prepared to eat the rest of the plantain on its own- frankly you can get the same dish for half the price with an abundance of beans and cream anywhere in the mission.
I was excited about this restaurant but it is really not worth the trip.
Food and service was excellent. We had a bunch of small plates and the jerk chicken. great spices/flavors. Love the rum list too.
It took ages for us to be taken the order. The food was not delicious neither. I ordered the Curry (vegan version). The rice and beans are friend in butter so didn't come (I get it), however, plantains were supposed to be there and were missing. It is a cool place with nice atmosphere, but the food is not worth it.
Everything was wonderful! the food was so delicious and the ambiance was perfect. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for Jamaican cuisine
My husband and I had a wonderful time. The food, service, music and overall experience was great. We'll definitely be back!
Delicious food and great service! I'll definitely be back.
Friendly and efficient staff. Good Jamaican home cooking and comfortable setting. I would recommend and return.
Our meals were very tasty, the prices were reasonable, and the service prompt and friendly.
Great flavors, staff was friendly but could have been more attentive.
The first time we visited this restaurant, we had a great experience. The food was delicious, our server made recommendations and we had a great time. This time around, it wasn't quite as great. Our server totally forgot about us once we ordered drinks. The restaurant was occupied, but by no means stuffed to the gills. It didn't make sense that we were totally forgotten for most of the night. We were never asked if we wanted a second drink, and our server didn't even take some of our orders. The food was fine this time around, but the level of service ensured that we don't need to come back again, sorry to say.
The restaurant was hopping. There only appeared to be a few servers who were swamped. It took awhile for our server to get to us, but the food came out quickly and was hot and delicious. I had the Pirri Pirri Chicken which is hands-down the best chicken I've ever had in a restaurant; my daughter had the Oxtail Stew which she enjoyed immensely. I only wished there was an option to have fingerling potatoes OR fried plantains. Fortunately, my daughter and I swapped those items, so we were both happy.
Kaya is a friendly restaurant with terrific flavors and excellent value. We shared a roasted kale and beet salad which was very tasty even though the kale was a little chewy. Crispy Salmon with Pickled Vegetables and Piri Piri Chicken were also hits. Host and server made sure we finished in time to make ACT's performance at the Strand Theater.
I have been here twice. Food overall is good and tasty. Certain plates tend sometimes to lack a little seasoning, nonetheless the majority of the plates I have had are good. My favorite so far are the fish fritters, the rock cod fish, the jerk chicken and most definitely the ox tail stew is by far the tastier!! Their habanero and pomegranate molasses ice cream combine with their rum cake is exquisite!! Service is very good! Milton has been my waiter both times and he has been excellent!! I highly recommend this restaurant!
Love the salt fish and ackee. Takes me back to Jamaica
Great Jamaican food, drink and atmosphere. Most enjoyable.
The service was great, and the food was flavorful and nicely presented; however, the menu was a bit limited.
Friendly, stylish, nicely mixed clientele, quite good food. Saltfish fritters, saluted green beans and goat curry plenty for two--goat is clearly the best meat for curry. Sprightly rum drinks even one in a coconut that was surprisingly good. The music level was about to get loud when we left about 7.
Almost ate a piece of undercooked/close to raw grilled prawn which happened to be the last piece...bite into a prawn and it tasted all wrong and texture was off. So had to spit it out, which thank God I did! I had a stomach upset a few hrs later, lasting a while. I had brought it to the attention of a staff when he was clearing the dish with no expectation of a remedy. However he said he would get a manager to address it. Shortly after, a lady came to the table and asked what the problem was and I told her that one prawn was uncooked and she merely said “ok” and removed the plate with no word of apology and in fact I had to apologize to her that I had to spit the raw prawn out as she gave me a rather “dirty” look for even trying to bring the “incident” to their attention. Then when I was having my main course (the crispy skin salmon), she repeatedly came over to the table trying to clear the plate when half of it was still on the plate and I was apparently working on it with the knife and fork in hand and literally eating it! The food was unimpressive as I had tasted better jerk chicken and the salmon did have a crispy skin but also probably had a very uneven seasoning as my 1st bite of the salmon tasted like it had a dollop of salt on, with the rest of the fish being reasonably more edible. I was not going to send any food back to the kitchen for fear of what they might do to my food, especially with the nasty attitude I got from her...probably just a server as she did not identify herself as a manager and in fact was the same person who took the orders at my table. No offer of the desserts to end the meal which I had no desire to have at that point anyways. So overall, bad food and atrociously bad service & bad attitude. DEFINITELY DO NOT RECOMMEND. Probably had lots of fake reviews which I had read and believed before my dining experience. Music was too loud to hold a conversation that I feel like I was competing with it to have a conversation with my friend.
The drinks , food and ambience was perfect
Very tasty food, excellent spicing and strong flavors. Good service and convenient location too.
Very fun place with excellent staff and a new take on some traditional cocktails.
Amazing customer service
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.
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.
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.
One of the worst dining experience , I really doubt the chef knows what’s Caribbean cuisine .
The jerk chicken was cover in cloves, we barely touched it.
The server said nothing , only asked if we were done and just took the plate without asking if there was anything wrong with it .
Our other dish was goat curry that was on the weekend special, the curry was 80% rice 10% curry, 10% plantain . The 10% curry was 50% bones .......100% disappointment
delicious food with wonderful service - would highly recommend the blood orange mimosa and the salt fish fritters
Kaya has a NYC Caribbean restaurant vibe. Food is amazing and atmosphere is energetic.
Amazing food, ambience, and service! The plantains are incredible
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)
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.
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.
A really great vibe and experience for a NYE dinner. Just enough music to be fun, and yummy food. Thanks!
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.
Super yummy, great service, fun vibe!!! Would recommend without reservation.
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.
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.
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.
Amazing food and great atmosphere! I highly recommend the jerk chicken, green beans and kale salad
Excellent all around and they make a fantastic ackee and salt fish - a traditional Jamaican dish. The DJ made brunch that much more festive!