The Monk's Kettle


76 Reviews
The Monk's KettleThe Monk's Kettle

Type: Bar, Eatery

3141 16th St
San Francisco, California, 94103-3334
United States

(415) 865-9523 | map

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Added by NikStique on 12-07-2007

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 129
Photo of ChrisDotson
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I rarely will rate places being in the Industry but this is out of my market so i will give it a go. Man, what great food, ambience and selection. I drank 2 russian river sours (Temptation & Supplication) and had a really delicious pork chop cooked in a demi glace of figs. The menu was written concisely but completely in a beer geek effort to educate the masses on styles. They ran the whole gammit of styles from Belgian Whites and Bocks to American Wild Ales. If you are in the area definitely check this one out. You won't regret it.

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Photo of CraftedBlackout
4.95/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped here my last night in town on a bartenders recommendation. Glad I did. The food was top notch as was the service. Can be a bit of a wait after 5:00 as its first come first serve but grab a seat at the bar and eat there.

For the traffic in this place it was shocking how receptive the staff was and how they kept everyone filled and informed. With the sours in house not sure why you would try anywhere else. Fantastic

Oh and they open some rediculous large formats to serve by the glass with food pairings how great is that.

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Photo of Murchmac
4.95/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

As foreigner sings "i've been waiting", i've been waiting for a beer joint like this to come into my life.

Went here for lunch today and knew it was going to be good just because I got parking right in front. If you're from out of town, bart goes two blocks away to mission and 16th, and the 14, 49 and 22 bus lines go right near it.

Walking into this classy place there are artsy pictures taken by the owner of bay area places and beyond (Sat near a picture of fenway park). The giant gothic/baroque bar piece backdrops the entire establishment. The wood is a very warm color and there are clean lines and very earthy themes throughout. The lamps on the bar are kinda cool along with a giant chalkboard to write what you want on.

Dress warm as the front door doesnt close all the way yet and it's kinda cold. Also, if you sit at a booth, the slats of wood that go over the bench can be uncomfortable after a while. The booths are pretty to look at though. I also love how under the bar there are hooks for your things.

On to the beer. It is an impressive list. Even 21 dollar, 1oz samples of utopia. They have many many local, national, and worldwide beers on tap and an extensive bottle list, explaining the style, the beers, prices, and abv. Everything from maredsous to olympia in a can. Many beers on nitro, which is mucho good.

Dont let the beer fool you, this is actually an organic, upscale, eatery, using local fresh ingredients with beer thrown in to compliment. All the food was amazing, and on the menu you were given a choice of 2-3 styles that pair well with that dish. I got the pan seared goat cheese with bruschetta and greens for an appetizer and a lobster pot pie for the main course. The food was better than the beer.

Overall this place kicks ass. It's a little expensive, I only got two beers, an appetizer and two meals and it was up around 60 bucks, but this place was well worth it. If you are near the area, you should go at least once.

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Photo of swellbrewer
4.95/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Visited during craft brewers conference 2011. Had an 09' 10' vertical of abyss on draft and cantillon fou foune. Ordered the mussels and a cheese plate paired with various fruits. Menu was full of things I would like to try on my next visit. I was blown away to see fou foune on draft. So much so I had multiple glasses. Speaking of glassware these guys are pro's at that as well. All future visits to San Francisco will include a stop here. Highly recommend any foodies or beer geeks check this place out. Pretty cool neighborhood as well.

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Photo of cmlindsay
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

My wife and I live in New York state, and have extensive experience with pubs and taverns in NYC and up and down the East Coast. I lived in California for eleven years some time ago, and we both looked forward to the chance to return again to the Left Coast, about which we both have many fond memories. In preparation for the trip I scanned Beer Advocates reviews of San Francisco's offerings in this respect and developed a list of very promising establishments to visit. This review concerns The Monk's Kettle, which topped my list of places to try. I can say with complete honesty that someone with knowledge and respect for beer need travel no farther in search of a full experience of what beer has to offer.

The atmosphere is perfect. Several reviewers led me to believe that the place was too small, but we found it perfect. It is dominated by a longish bar which seats perhaps thirty people and several tables for four and two along the walls, but it was just the right size for the lunchtime crowd that arrived during our visit. Two features dominate the room. One is a large glass window to the street which admits a lot of natural light into the bar, and the second is a gorgeous hand-carved wooden shelf unit that extends to the ceiling approximately 12 feet above the floor. The glass shelves hold a wonderful array of authentic glasses, mostly of Belgian brewers used by Monk's Kettle in the Belgian manner for particular beers of the supplying brewer.

The service, though we were total strangers, made us feel quite like regulars. Questions were readily answered with knowledge and good humor, comments and advice received with smiles, and sincere concern over our satisfaction with what was offered were all in evidence.

The selection was certainly the most complete we have ever seen. Though dominated by Belgian style beers, virtually all styles of beer were offered, both foreign and domestic craft beers. The draft beer menu consisted of two pages single spaced identifying the beer by name, brewer, and a certain helpful characteristics. The bottle list, usefully sorted by category into about a half dozen types covered about five more pages. Importantly, considerable effort is made to keep the menu current. Our printed copy was identified as having been updated two days ago, and even it contained several deletions done by hand in the ensuing hours since the last revision.

Lastly, the food was quite good. We limited ourselves to a pair of appetizers, a cheese plate with pickled winter vegetables with a pork terrine and some steamed mussels. Mussels were exceedingly fresh in a stock containing white wine, herbs and garlic served with fresh bread, and the cheese was a fresh goat cheese. The terrine was a bit dry and needed a bit more pork fat to give it the proper consistency. On the whole, however, Monk's Kettle is without a doubt without peer among the many taverns I have visited in America.

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Photo of amano_h
4.86/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Monk's Kettle pretty much ruined the Mission District bar crawl for me, simply because there's really no other place worth visiting in the Mission District after you've been (and have been promptly seated at) to the Monk's Kettle.

Where to even begin. The food at Monk's Kettle is out of this world; I've never once been disappointed with their Monk's Daily Sandwich, and the charcuterie board is a home run if you're just stopping by for a few casual drinks late in the afternoon. If you end up staying for dinner, like I usually end up doing once I see the lines forming outside, their trout is a delightful combination of juicy and chewy (two adjectives I don't commonly associate together with fish), and I double dog dare anyone to NOT fall in love with their duck confit. It's impossible, I swear.

The beers. By now everyone has that one friend who is absolutely bonkers about craft beer. When I say absolutely bonkers, I mean that this one friend is the one that drives four-five hours to a different state for bottle releases, will look his nose down at you for drinking an IPA out of a nonic pint glass, and publicly shame anyone who thinks Blue Moon is a "craft beer." Monk's Kettle is kind of like that annoying friend, except he has an ulterior motive to be nice to you in that he wants your money. So imagine that the one beard-toting, hop-sniffing, pot-belly-having, brewery t-shirt wearing friend suddenly had some sort of a lightning epiphany and decided he wanted to share all of his prized possessions with you (in exchange for money) and you pretty much have the Monk's Kettle.

For those of you that speak beer, the Monk's Kettle is one of two places that I can count on to carry Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny the Elder on tap at any given day of the year. They also have around 25+ taps of beer, primarily from CA (Cellarmaker and Firestone Walker being the usual suspects) with some other choice curations from around the US and Europe. They also have an extensive, yet somehow rotating bottle list as well which includes a vintage ($$$) sour/stout selection; a very curious selection of hard-to-find (albeit grossly marked up) Belgian beers with the likes of De Dolle Brouwers, Brasserie De la Senne, and Oud Beersel; and for extra brownie points, they also serve the original Leipziger Gose here as well.

If by some chance you're that one absolutely bonkers guy and are still sporting a resting meh face even after reading the above paragraph, Monk's Kettle is also a long-time participant of Pliny the Younger Day (February); on top of that they regularly have themed tap events, like hosting a vertical of all the years and variants of Deschutes' the Abyss, for example.

My advice for any beer-oriented guy or gal looking for a good time in the Mission District would be to shut up and let Monk's Kettle take your money.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had to kill a some time Friday night while waiting to meet up with friends. Since I was in the area, I strolled into the Monk's Kettle. What an excellent choice that was!

I've gone by this place many times, and it always seems to be packed. Last night was no different. The crowd was decidedly young and, oddly enough, not bogged down with hipsters - yay!

After seating myself in the corner, a server immediately brought me a beer and food menu. The bottle list ran very deep, and the tap selection was loaded with local rarities. All of the food items sounded good, and they came with beer pairing suggestions. I was very impressed. The prices were steep though, and I decided to order a cup of tomato bisque and a Moonlight Sour Mash Lager, partially because they each sounded good, but mainly because they were the cheapest items on the menu.

My server/waiter was right on top of things, and approached me as soon as I looked ready. Immediately after ordering, he asked if I would like to open a tab. I told him that I was only staying for a single round, so he dropped off the check right then and there. While some may view this as rude, I didn't have much time to waste and appreciated the gesture. He immediately fetched my beer, and five minutes later I had my bisque, too. Service was very responsive and speedy.

The food and beer were absolutely delicious (although the soup came out extremely hot, and I burned my tongue on the first sip). I'd love to come back and try more things on their menu (both beer and food). This is one of the most complete beer bars I've ever been too, and possibly my new favorite in San Francisco. I highly recommend this to anyone in the area!

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Photo of tshanahan
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Always have a definitive beer geek list to salivate over. Went for the sour fest earlier this year. West Ashley, Cantillon, Spontaneous Cheer, etc on tap. Prices are a bit high. Their staff is well trained though and the place is really well kept.

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Photo of stupac2
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

By far my favorite bar, mostly because it doesn't feel like a bar, it's more like a fantastic restaurant with a fantastic bar built in. Their food is delicious (and it's not merely good versions of pub food, though they certainly serve very good pub food), the selection fantastic, the staff knowledgeable and friendly. Service only gets knocked down from 5 because of the strange rules about tables (no seating while waiting for the rest of your party to arrive seems quite odd to me).

The only downside is the price, but it's worth it, at least every now and then.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Worth two stops during my week in SF, once for lunch and an encore for dinner. Both times the staff was very friendly and eagerly answered questions, which was especially appreciated during dinner hour as they were packed.

The pub is friendly, clean, and tastefully decorated. The small size is a definite limitation and it was a little difficult to have a conversation over the lively noise level in the evening.

There was plenty to choose from on the tap list that seems to vary almost daily, and is kept up to date on-line. Pub-fare was excellent quality, with a good mix of typical and eclectic choices. The menu suggests beer parings for each entre.

Prices were a little high to this country boy, but not bad considering city standards. However, the selection, quality and friendly service made this a memorable experience. I look forward to visiting again next trip to SF.

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Photo of NorCalgrowler
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Went to the Monk's Kettle for part of my birthday tour of pubs last year in SF. This place to me is spectacular. Just an awesome selection of Belgian beers on tap. Great atmosphere - building is on a corner and you can see a lot of people/foot traffic outside. Its very much a European cafe style. The food was really traditional and also excellent. We had mussels and a charcuterie plate (or cured meat plate, cant quite remember). It was on the 100 SF Eats list for a pint of Belgian beer. And it should be. Cant wait to go back

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Photo of jalepeno4
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Monks Kettle has an excellent selection of hard to find California, national and Belgian beers.
The food is tasty, subtle and well-paired with the beer offerings.
My server was helpful and knowledgeable without being pretentious .
The only knock on the place is that it is tiny and packed.
Get there early or you'll have a long wait.

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Photo of excalibur
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

An outstanding pub with a great selection of beers: Californian, national and Belgium. A comfortable place with booths and a nice bar. We visited in the early afternoon and it was quiet. We sat at the bar and had enlightening conservation with the very friendly staff. The sweet lady bartender even suggested a great pub in Occidental which we visited. We had an order of pommes frites which are large and very tasty. I highly recommend this pub and we will always make the effort to visit whenever we are in town.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I'm not a claustrophobic person but I do get the "this place is kinda small" feeling everytime I walk into The Monk's Kettle. Not sure if it's the guy at the door in charge of admission, the entryway, being immediately greeted by the end of the bar, or the lack of seating space. Like some other reviewers, I do wish this place were bigger.

The quality of beers you'll find here is first-rate. You won't find a single macro adjunct lager in the entire bunch.

Bartenders here are very knowledgeable, taking the same approach to beers that a sommelier would with wine. They're adept at recommending beers based off your tastes and palette, are attentive to your needs (empty glasses) and are good at remembering repeat customers.

The bottle selection is immense and well documented. Menus classify beers by style and you'll be hard pressed to find any beer style that isn't well-represented. For special occasions, they've even got a special menu of harder to get, small issue batches.

Though I've not been blown away by the small sampling of food I've had, I think more menu exploration would gain me a larger appreciation of their culinary treats.

Beers here are $1-$3 more than you'll find them around the city but I've never regretted paying a little extra for an hour or two at Monk's Kettle.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This was the most memorable of the beer bars I visited in San Fran. A small place with a great atmosphere and great (and friendly) service.

The tap list here was excellent. About 20 taps with a great variety of breweries and styles. Tap list included a couple of Almanac beers (which are surprisingly hard to find on tap) as well as Aroma Coma and limited releases from Ballast Point among others.

The food here is AWESOME. Make sure you go here for dinner.

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Photo of marcpal
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

In San Fran on business for the week and thanks to BAs, this was on my agenda.

For some reason, not sure why, I did not at all have high expectations for this place. Well, I was wrong. I was very very wrong.

This is one of those surprise hole in the wall gems that tug at your heartstrings. Reminded me of when I stumbled on the Linkery in San Diego. There is really a hard time finding a bad thing to say about the place- maybe the prices of the beers but thats it.

The atmosphere around the place is bizarre, just bizarre. Not familiar with the neighborhood but you walk in and it is great. Small bar, some seating, and people that just seem happy to be there. Friendly people at the bar, friendly staff, good start.

The quality of the selection was through the roof. The list was cared for, updated, and plentiful. They had pairing suggestion for everything on the menu, nice concise descriptions and plenty from domestic and imported. Well laid out as well. The seasonals were abundant and covered all the necessary bases.

Service was spectacular. Not sure the waitress name but she was great. Asked a simple question on some local beers and before I knew it, samples were right next to me to try. Honest suggestions on beers and food and she batted 1.000. Ordered Oaked Arrogant Bastard to start from tap and that alone will sell me on any establishment. Followed that with the bottle list with HOTD Adam and Fred. Thats a lineup my friends.

Food was knocked out of the park. Waitress/tender gave honest feedback on the food and suggested turkey burger over others and fantastic. The salad with blue cheese was also tremendous. Monk's Kettle is nothing short of a beer bar that cares about its beer, its food, its patrons and loves doing it. Doesnt try too hard but also not too big for its britches.

This is a must stop for any of my trips to San Fran. This and City Beer store will have me eager to come back to this fine city.

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Photo of JamLand
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

A cool, cafe feel to the place. A place to grab a great pint and some great food. The service was very friendly. Amazing selection while we there, including '10 and '11 Abyss. I can't verify much variety with the food because everyone I was with ordered the burger, which was excellent. Plenty of street parking in the area, if you rent a car while visiting SF.

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Photo of RobJDay
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Really good experience here trying some new beers and having a quick meal. The service was excellent. The bartender knew a lot about the beer he was serving. My only knock is how small it was - but that happens

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Photo of hophopandaway
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

The biggest gripe I have with this place is that it is nowhere near big enough. it's so popular that by 6 all the seats at the bar and restaurant were taken and I saw dozens of people leave before they got in because there was not enough space for the poor unfortunate souls.
Bar tender was very helpful and service good. as is the style of this city beer is always slightly underpoured. The beer on offer was very tasty and I worked my way through the moonlight brews because it was meet the brewer night.
I met some really interesting people and the vibe was excellent.
They really do need to move though because they could have packed their small but homely and stylish bar out 3 or four times over, and I'd hate to get here and not get a seat.
It is a littel pricey and they have some beers that are $50 a bottle which I could never justify for a beer. If you're a visiting beerhead you absolutely must visit this place.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This little gem in the Mission is a must-stop for any beer lover, period. A good counterpoint to Toronado on the other side of town, and near many fine food establishments.

Atmosphere - Awesome! Little bar, non-pretentious, the cook grilling away happily, and customers and employees chatting away happily about beer or non-beer related stuff. Right above the bar is a salvaged walk-in fireplace frame, a la Citizen Kane.

Quality - Very beer-centric, clean taplines, everything clean and classy. Huge glassware collection, and our man behind the bar definitely knew how to pour.

Service - Ignore Yelp for this portion. One guy was complaining about the service, but this was the type of dude who wouldn't look out of place on the Jersey Shore. He then proceeded to give a five star rating to his gym, for having a great personal trainer who helped him improve his physique. You get the picture. Our guy, can't remember his name, really knew his beer, corrected me amicably a few times when I was talking to him, poured all beer perfectly into clean, appropriate glasses, was VERY attentive to other customers in the place, etc.

Selection - Not huge, but awesome! On tap I had RR Temptation and Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, bottle list has some gems, but I found them to be too expensive.

Food - Didn't try but looked amazing. In typical SF fashion, it is all local, sustainable, grass-fed, etc. Very environmentally conscious.

Value - On-tap value is very reasonable, and although the bottle selection is great, most were way out of my price range.

All in all, a great place that I'll visit every time I'm in city.

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Photo of DJButters
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Well if you are talking about beer pubs in SF than this is the opposite of Toronado. Good service, warm happy bar with good food. Dug it. Was bit pricey but you pay for what you get, at least I wasnt treated like cattle. Service was good...bartenders could be a little more knowledgeable about what they are selling, but were very attentive. The food and beer were absolutely delicious. The place was a little small but the atmosphere is cool. I highly recommend this to anyone in the area.

Good times with good people. Will be back

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Photo of ericfb18
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

In San Francisco on business...visited twice - 5/15 & 5/16.

Place gets quite busy...but for this beer selection, it's worth it! Beer list is about 4-5 pages long, with solid choices all around. Be ready to pay for it though. I had, over the two nights, an Old Rasputin XII, Cuvee de Tomme, Fou Foune and a Supplication. The beer list on their website seems to be very well maintained so always up-to-date. Prices are listed to give you an idea of what to expect.

Service was good...bartenders could be a little more knowledgeable about what they are selling, but were very attentive. Had an excellent cheese platter, but no looked great though.

Highly recommended to anyone in town...well worth the visit.

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Photo of adsomers
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Came here a bit early and just barely beat the dinner rush. Our hipster waitress seemed to have a chip on her shoulder at first but she turned out to be a sweetheart. Beer selection is top notch. We had a Marin seasonal and a De Dolle oerbier. Food was outstanding. We had mussels, frites, Brussels sprouts, winter lettuce salad, and their absolutely fantastic hamburger. The vibe and decor is perfect for what it is, though I do think this place is too small. I heartily recommend Monks Kettle but would advise going mid day to beat the crowds.

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Photo of erha2
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Super friendly staff. I guess it helps when you bring over some Heady and Sip of Sunshine from the East Coast. No, they were great before I even offered those beers. Tap list still had most of the sours available from their SF Beer Week sour event the day before. Only remember a vintage Lost Abbey Framboise de Amorosa being unavailable the day after. Got to try a lot of Rare Barrel offerings along with Cellarmaker/Sante Adairius I see a Dankness.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Came here on a Monday night a sat at the bar with colleagues from SF. The place was busy, but there didn't appear to be much of a wait, if any. The beertender's had apparently sampled most of the stuff on tap and offered helpful suggestions when asked. Several plates were split among the four of us. All were well prepared and tasty. I will definitely go back next time I'm in town. Decent selection, good food, knowledgeable and friendly staff. The place is small, though. There are, perhaps, 15 or 20 four tops and about a dozen bar seats. I'll make sure to get there early in the week and/or evening, as I believe this place gets packed.

Update - 1/18/11
While the beer and service remains top notch, the menu has changed considerably. I shared four dishes last night and was not impressed (trotters, beef cheeks, confit, and rabbit). All were mediocre at best, lacking the subtlety and finesse you'd expect from upscale dining. The trotters were the best albeit a bit on the heavy side. The beef was well cooked, but accompanied by sauce that combined cloyingly sweet corn with hot-hot horseradish. The rabbit and confit were bland and boring. The only thing upscale was the prices.

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The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
4.38 out of 5 based on 129 ratings.
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