Frequently Asked Questions

Didn't this used to be a McDonald's?

Yes indeed! For about 40 years, the current Kitava site at 2011 Mission St. was home to a McDonald’s fast food joint, until it shut down operations in 2015. In Spring 2017 the Kitava team moved in, and we got to work remodeling the space to make it feel cozy and welcoming.

From fast food to real food, the irony is not lost on us. We’re proud to replace the symbol of everything wrong with the current industrial food system, and bring healthy, nutrient-dense options to our local community.

Are your vegetables 100% organic?

Our goal is to serve vegetable-centric meals with the best sourcing possible for human and environmental health, while doing the best we can to keep our prices affordable. We source organic produce when we can, but prioritize local and seasonal over the "organic" designation. We aim to always source the "dirty dozen" list organic, and also work with some farms that grow organically but are not certified organic. With greater education and access to organic farming methods becoming more prevalent, we aspire to one day serve 100% organically grown produce.

Do you buy locally?

We strive to buy all local ingredients, and work with local farmers and distributors to get the best meat and produce possible from around the Bay Area.

I want to see the ingredients and nutritional information in a specific dish. Where can I find that?

To view ingredients in a dish, visit the menu page on our website, click on a dish, and go to the ‘INGREDIENTS’ tab.

To view nutritional information in a dish, visit the menu page on our website, click on a dish, and go to the ‘NUTRITION’ tab.

I'm doing a Whole30. What can I eat here?

Kitava has officially been designated a Whole30 Approved restaurant by the Whole30 organization. As of May 2019, we are the FIRST and ONLY Whole30 Approved restaurant in San Francisco. Yay!

Almost everything on our menu is Whole30 compliant, or can easily be made so! If a dish contains rice, beans, or quinoa by default, simple choose a substitute for those items, or ask for them to be removed from your order.

Additionally, some items that contain natural sources of sweetness are not Whole30 compliant. According to the creators of the Whole30, these items are expressly prohibited during the elimination period. Take a look at this comprehensive guide and helpful PDF for more information on what is, and is not, allowed during a Whole30.

Depending on your level of strictness in following the Whole30 guidelines, you'll want to avoid the following menu items if you are doing a Whole30 elimination diet:

  • General Tso’s Chicken - the hoisin sauce contains coconut sugar, and even “paleo-approved” breading is generally shunned during a Whole30.
  • Dark Chocolate Brownie - made with coconut sugar; processed “desserts” are not allowed during a Whole30.
  • Almond Butter Cookie - made with coconut sugar; processed “desserts” are not allowed during a Whole30.
  • Vanilla Bean Gelato - made with maple syrup; processed “desserts” are not allowed during a Whole30.
  • Butter Coffee - dairy is not allowed, even if it’s from 100% grass-fed animals.

Most of all, remember - we've got your back! If you have questions about our menu, or want to customize anything, just ask us. We'll do our best to make it work.

I follow the AIP diet. Can I find something to eat here?

Absolutely. Our menu is very accommodating to the AIP diet, and we even created a version of our menu that indicates which items are AIP-friendly. You can download the AIP menu here.

Please note that some items require making notations and adjustments for our kitchen staff, so please don’t hesitate to tell us what you’re trying to avoid when placing an order. We’re also happy to field any questions you might have about how a dish is prepared. If the person taking your order doesn’t know the answer immediately, they’ll find someone on staff who does.

Since there are several stages of the AIP diet, and everyone participates in the reintroduction phases differently, the more clarification you can provide us with the better!

Are there vegan / vegetarian options available?

Yes! We have plenty of options that are very popular among vegans and vegetarians. Almost all of our meal-sized bowls can be made with a vegan/vegetarian option instead of meat. If you have a questions about whether something is vegan or vegetarian, just ask!

(Note: We use the same equipment to fry our plantains, Brussels sprouts, and yuca chips that we use to cook our General Tso’s Chicken. If this is something that bothers you, please refrain from ordering those items.)

White rice and beans? I thought this was a 100% PALEO restaurant … what's up with that?

We believe in serving food that tastes great, is good for our health, and is consciously sourced. It just so happens that much of our food philosophy overlaps with the Paleo/Primal movement, which believes in taking cues from the diets humans evolved to eat prior to the advent of agriculture ~12,000 years ago, and test from there to see what works for us individually.

That last point is key. The Paleo approach to food involves using evolution as a guide, while testing to learn what works for each individual. It’s about learning and self-experimentation, rather than following a list of foods that are “Good” or “Bad.” We didn’t stop evolving 12,000 years ago, but we evolved differently depending on what our ancestors had access to. Some cultures have adapted to thrive off starchy grains (like rice), beans, or dairy, while others do better avoiding products of modern agriculture altogether. If sourced and prepared the right way, these foods can have benefits for those who can tolerate them.

At Kitava we serve long-grain jasmine rice because it is generally viewed as a “safe starch” for those who can tolerate grain-based carbohydrates. Not only is jasmine rice gluten-free, but its long-grain nature makes it a slower-digesting starch. Eating jasmine rice can help avoid the huge insulin spike other starchy carbs can provide, and moderate blood sugar levels after meals.

Our beans are a combination of mayocoba beans and red beans, which we soak overnight to mitigate the negative effects of phytic acid and other anti-nutrients found in legumes. We cook them with bay leaf and cumin, which is a carminative spice thought to ease the gut and reduce flatulence.

Why don't you serve brown rice?

The difference between brown and white rice is that brown rice still contains the outer bran of the rice seed, while white rice does not. While this outer layer contains some fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, it also contains anti-nutrients that make it difficult to digest, pesticides or herbicides used in growing the rice, and other toxins common to rice farming (such as arsenic). White rice does not contain the outer bran layer, and therefore is considered a “safer starch” to consume than the whole grain version.

We believe the potential benefits of the fiber and protein found in brown rice are outweighed by the potentially harmful effects of the anti-nutrients and chemicals found in the bran. This is why we serve white rice, and make plenty of nutrient-dense vegetables available to provide adequate fiber, vitamins, and minerals 😃

Which items on your menu are Keto friendly?

We have plenty of options that fit the low carb / keto lifestyle. Our Mix & Match Bowls are very keto friendly, along with Small Plates such as our Pesto Meatballs and Crispy Brussels Sprouts. We also offer Perfect Keto Bars and zero sugar chocolate if you're looking for a low-carb snack or dessert!

Do you serve alcohol?

Yes! We serve natural wine, gluten-free beer, low/no-sugar hard cider, and alcoholic kombucha. Learn more about our alcohol menu.

Can I buy a Kitava gift card!

Yes! You can purchase Kitava gift cards in person at our restaurant or online through our Toast Point-of-Sale system. These eGift Cards will be sent electronically to the email address or cellphone number you specify.

Purchase a Kitava Gift Card

Do you host cooking classes?

We have hosted cooking classes in past, and are currently building out a calendar of cooking classes we plan to host in the future.

For now, we rent out part of our dining area to Chef David Murphy, a friend of the restaurant. His classes can be found on CozyMeal, an online cooking class platform.

What cooking oils do you use?

We only use oils derived from natural sources that will maintain their structural integrity when cooked at high heat.

For roasting and sautéing we use 100% extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil.

For frying we use sustainably sourced organic palm oil from Natural Habitats (part of the Palm Done Right movement).

We NEVER use industrial seed or vegetables oils such as canola, soybean, peanut, rapeseed, or rice bran oil.

I noticed some of your dishes are fried. Isn't fried food unhealthy?

Good question. You’re correct in assuming the fried food served at 99.9% of restaurants is not great for you. The reason for that is because (1) they are almost certainly using hydrogenated vegetable oils that are highly unstable and oxidize at high heat, and (2) the food is likely coated in a white flour-based breading or tempura.  

While the fried food served in most restaurants is certainly something to avoid, we take a different approach. The oil in our fryer is 100% organic and sustainably sourced palm oil. Palm oil is extremely stable at high heat, with a smoke point of 425° F. Our fryer never gets above 375° F, meaning it doesn’t oxidize and cause an inflammatory response in the body.

For items like our General Tso’s Chicken we use breading made from natural, gluten-free ingredients such as cassava flour and tapioca starch. We also use Mary’s organic free-range chicken, meaning our fried chicken is some of the healthiest you’ll ever eat!

Is your restaurant gluten free?

We never use any gluten-containing ingredients in our cooking, and make every effort to ensure our suppliers avoid cross-contamination.

Our kitchen is not officially “certified” as gluten free. However, we have tested our entire menu using Nima sensors to ensure our dishes are free from gluten, and have successfully hosted dozens of gluten-free guests and organizations without issue.

Where do you source your meat?

We’re pleased to work with local farmers and suppliers that share our values for sustainable, ethically raised animal products.

Marin Sun Farms, Petaluma, CA - pasture-raised heritage breed pork; pasture-raised 100% grass-fed beef; pasture-raised chicken; pasture-raised chicken & beef bones; nitrate- and sugar-free heritage bacon

Pittman Family Farms, Sanger, CA - Mary’s organic free-range chicken

Pacific Pastures, Hydesville, CA - pasture-raised 100% grass-fed beef

Ports Seafood, San Francisco, CA - wild line-caught Alaskan coho salmon

Do you take reservations?

No, we don’t officially take reservations. If you would like to call in advance to see if we can accommodate a larger party, we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs.

We can be reached during operating hours at (415) 780-1661.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept cash, credit cards, debit cards, and Samsung Pay. We also now accept contactless payments via Apple Pay and Android Pay!

Can I order online?

You sure can! Pick-up and delivery orders can be placed through our Online Ordering Menu. This link can also be found on our website by clicking the "Order Online" button at the top of the page.

 

Do you deliver?

Yes indeed. Please place delivery orders through our Online Ordering link. This helps support our business, as we avoid the hefty fees taken by 3rd party delivery companies. (We are also available all major delivery apps, in case you're in love with using them)

Does Kitava offer catering?

Yes! We offer family-style catering for office meals, parties, and social gatherings. Please visit our catering page to view our menu and place an order.

What is your catering delivery fee?

Our delivery fees for catering orders are as follows:

  • Mission (SF) - $20
  • San Francisco (non-Mission) - $30
  • Daly City - $50
  • Emeryville - $55

Alternatively, you can choose the free "Pickup" option at checkout when placing your catering order. 

Where can I find out about upcoming events?

Visit our Events page to find out about upcoming events in the community and at Kitava, including weekly specials, cooking classes, volunteer events, and more.

I love Kitava! Where else can I find you guys?

Our restaurant at 2011 Mission Street in San Francisco is our first and only location at the moment. We’d love to share our nourishing healthy food with more people, so please send us a message if you’d like to see a Kitava location in your area.