Nopa, Nopa, Nopa. First thing’s first. I made a reservation for this place exactly one month out from the date I wanted to go, and I made it at 7:15am. By that time, there were only two time slots left: 6:30 and 9:00. So the first lesson here is that if you want reservations for Nopa, I’m gonna guess that you either make them by no later than 7:30am one month from the date you want them, or you get very, very lucky.
Do I even need to say much about Nopa? It’s a much talked-about San Francisco restaurant, and after our first dining experience there, the gang and I decided that the talk is warranted. Every single dish we received was delicious, not a flaw among them. Nopa’s menu is heavy on appetizers (hearty dishes that are great for sharing.) We got goat cheese crostini, tomato and avocado salad, baked butter beans with feta and oregano, and melon salad with a zesty ginger finish. Everybody at our table of four dug into everything. Our table’s vegetarian wasn’t even bothered that there was salmon roe on her tomato salad, she enjoyed it so thoroughly.
Mains: I had pappardelle with 9-hour bolognese, a melt-in-your-mouth treat with some squash mixed in to add some extra texture. There was salmon and Moroccan vegetable tagine, plus a side of broccoli with dinner. Again, every dish was spot-on. Flavor, temperature, portion size…all superb. What helps make this experience extra pleasant is the service. NOPA is divided into upstairs and downstairs sections, and upstairs alone we saw – we couldn’t even count – ten different members of the wait staff? They always know who ordered what dish and anticipate every need they can. A+ for service!
And dessert. Dessert dessert. This is what really had us singing Nopa’s praises. If we hadn’t been so full from previous deliciousness we probably would have ordered one of each dessert on the menu. As it was, we got a chocolate ganache tart with Earl Grey ice cream and grapefruit, butterscotch whiskey pudding, a sorbet trio, and sopapillas! Now those are the must-have item. They’re like beignets but with sugar and cinnamon instead of powdered sugar, and they are cooked to BEYOND perfection. The exact amount of crisp you crave but totally fluffy and airy on the inside. And they bring you a shot of caramel sauce to pour into them. Augh. I am not even going to pretend like I wasn’t licking caramel off my fingers at the table. I’d go back to Nopa just to order every dessert. So, so good.
I mean, if you follow food at all, you probably don’t need me to tell you to go to Nopa. But in case there was ever any doubt: Get thee to Nopa, and don’t miss the sopapillas. (Seriously. If you’re not going to finish them, call me and Erica.)
Nopa. 560 Divisadero at Hayes. 415.864.8643