A poster child for the current gestalt of the San Francisco restaurant scene, large and airy Nopa combines seasonal “urban rustic” and “organic wood-fired” cuisine made from local ingredients with high-ceilinged industrial-chic environs and a hopping bar scene. Make a reservation well in advance or wait to pounce on a barstool or seat at the big, first-come-first-serve communal table to enjoy artisan libatins, one of the city’s best grass-fed burgers, and plenty of veggie-, meat-, and fishcentric dishes that celebrate the region’s bounty and a successful use of restraint. Don’t worry—the rather precious taste from the kitchen (perhaps a single radish with salt or some other tease) isn’t indicative of the portions, which are hearty. Another reason to visit: Its Divisadero Street location exposes you to an up-and-coming stretch of the city rarely explored by tourists.
- Erika Lennert