Permanently Closed - Kaya SF

4.3
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242 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Jamaican

Top Tags:

Pre/post Theatre
Casual

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. 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.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Jamaican, Caribbean
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Hours of operation
Brunch:
Saturday, 11:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday, 11:00am - 3:00pm

Dinner:
Tuesday - Saturday, 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Late Night:
Friday - Saturday, 10:00pm - 1:00am

Happy Hour:
Tuesday - Friday, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
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Phone number
(415) 590-2585
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Nigel Jones
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Cross street
10th St.
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Parking details
NEMA 24hr Public Valet Parking Garage 998 Jessie St.
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Public transit
BART station: Civic Center
MUNI lines: F, J, K, L, M, N, 6, 71
Additional
Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Weekend Brunch
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What 242 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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KH
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a lovely experience. All the staff was very kind and informative and sensitive to any dietary restrictions. The food was authentic and richly flavored. We especially enjoyed the oxtail soup. The salt fish and cod with the fresh salsa and peppers small plates were delicious . The jerk chicken was very moist and delightful. The vegetable curry had a lovely combination to wake up your palate.

L
Palm Springs
10 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! Cool Vibe!

LW
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 2

The service was perfunctory, the food mediocre at best. My chicken dish was a leftover; it was cold, clearly had been cooked some time ago, and was dry and tasteless. One of the worst meals we have had in a restaurant in the Bay Area.

VA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Food was meh. Service got our order wrong.

j
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I can't give a bad review but I found no reason to go back

DJ
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Great flavors. Food exceeded my expectations.

s
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was superb, they even stored the baby's car seat for us at the entrance.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Our server Milton was fast and friendly. Loved his irie vibe and the mood was positive and lively. Goat Curry? Legit....

S
San Francisco
86 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

If you're going to Orpheum, this is a good choice. Very limited menu, so one must like Jamaican
food, or else, it's not for you. Otherwise, try it!

DE
Orlando
4 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious! Langston and Nigel consistently deliver superb service!

U
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Nice place. Poor veggie selection. Veggie curry uninspiring

H
San Francisco
114 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Food was hit or miss. Service was simply terrible though - and I rarely if ever complain about service. Slow, sloppy, uninterested, inattentive... from the second we arrived (at 5pm when the restaurant was empty) to the second we left (at 6:45 when the restaurant was full).

D
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Delicious food and cocktails.

C
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Made a 2:45 reservation because that's what was available online. Was called at 1:30 the day of the reservation so they could let me know the kitchen closed at 3:00 so most of the menu would not be available. Ok. "It would be a good idea if you got here early". Ok. Arrived at 2:00. "can we have the hemp cereal please?" Sorry, out. "can we have the ackee and sailfish?" Nope, sorry. Then they must have heard me say "Can we have two jerk chicken sandwiches, but instead of nice crispy fries, could you please make sure they are stone cold, limp AF, and coated in grease? Cuz that's how my mom do." Because that's what they delivered. Second visit. Both visits 2/10. Would not eat again.

TB
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed ourselves. Nice music and a nice atmosphere. Good food.

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

Fabulous food, vibe, and service. We love everything about this restaurant! We happened to be there the night they opened and have returned several times for dinner. Will be back!

KB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Dinner and theater night in the city.

DE
Orlando
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

LOVE KAYA FAVE RESTAURANT IN SG. LANGSTON AND NIGEL ARE AMAZING

G
Denver
14 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was good, but not very many options.
Great flavors.
Very few beer options.
Very loud, so hard to hear.
They add 5% to the bill for "employee benefits", which should be built into the prices, not a surprise in the end.

MT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Very cute space in SF. They were very accomodating for our large group. Great drinks, food. Would love to come back to try their brunch!

o
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

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.

E
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was excellent. We had a bunch of small plates and the jerk chicken. great spices/flavors. Love the rum list too.

MC
Dublin
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

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.

DL
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was wonderful! the food was so delicious and the ambiance was perfect. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for Jamaican cuisine

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I had a wonderful time. The food, service, music and overall experience was great. We'll definitely be back!

L
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food and great service! I'll definitely be back.

BL
Sacramento
13 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Friendly and efficient staff. Good Jamaican home cooking and comfortable setting. I would recommend and return.

M
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Our meals were very tasty, the prices were reasonable, and the service prompt and friendly.

OT
London
5 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great flavors, staff was friendly but could have been more attentive.

MM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

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.

PR
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

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.

o
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

OT
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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!

JM
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the salt fish and ackee. Takes me back to Jamaica

D
San Francisco
51 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great Jamaican food, drink and atmosphere. Most enjoyable.

EM
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The service was great, and the food was flavorful and nicely presented; however, the menu was a bit limited.

TJ
Detroit
53 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

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.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The drinks , food and ambience was perfect

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Very tasty food, excellent spicing and strong flavors. Good service and convenient location too.

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