We celebrated my friend’s birthday at Nopa which is located in Hayes Valley. It was a pretty good restaurant. I think what stood out most was the surprisingly hip looking crowd that inundated the restaurant and bar area. The outside looks rather unassuming, but you walk in and there’s a sea of people all along the bar doing what they do, talking, flirting, drinking and socializing. There’s something very SF about them, laid back yet equally too cool for school. 😉
The upstairs area is kind of small and very hot. Heat really rises! The food was delicious. I was running late, so I didn’t get to examine the menu like I normally do. On the flip side, I got to just come and have food ready and waiting for me. The menu is rather small, but thanks to the size of our group, we managed to sample almost everything on the menu.
The creamy polenta with bolougnaise sauce was delicious! The polenta had just the right creamy consistency without being too heavy or buttery and the meat sauce added just enough flavor to complement the entire dish. The flatbread of house smoked bacon, torpedo onions and cumin yogurt was like pizza but 1000 times better. It had the best elements of pizza (crispy thin-crust & tasty toppings) without the thing I detest most (cheese). Instead they used a cumin yogurt which was light and flavorful. The grass-fed hamburger and grilled pork chop were very well-prepared, but I think the duck breast with risotto was my favorite. As usual, dessert is not the highlight of any meal for me, but I would definitely recommend the butterscotch pudding and warm donut holes. The pudding is light and not too sweet, while the donut holes just hit the sweet spot when they warmly melt in your mouth.
Price 3 1/2 stars
Ambiance 4 stars
Food 4 1/2 stars
Overall rating 4 stars