Nopa had been on my want-to-eat-in-SF list for awhile! It was totally impromptu, which I guess is the way to do it. Well, that is, if the restaurant has a bar where they accept walk-ins AND it's early enough to get a seat at said bar.
We went after a summer Giants game (as in, I was wearing a bright orange jersey) because I didn't want to leave the city yet. We hardly ever make it up here so I wanted to finally cross Nopa off my list. Thankfully, nobody made me feel under-dressed. We arrived even before they started serving dinner. Actually, we were the first people to sit at the bar! It was really fun watching the kitchen prep for dinner service, like a sneak peek.
They were serving small bar snacks, but since I was still a little full from ballpark food, I stuck with a cocktail: fresh raspberry eau de vie cava. Unfortunately, since I was a little under the weather, I only had one drink. I did learn that the bartender could make me "the bee's knees" (one of my favorites right now) -- next time. The restaurant quickly filled up, as did the bar. People lined up to take our prime real estate.
The service was lovely. The bartender was nice and our server, after learning that it was our first time here, spent extra time explaining things and making sure everything was OK.
For dinner, we ordered the flatbread, the burger, and the porkchop. Nopa is known for their burger and porkchop. The burger was good, but the porkchop was flippin' amazing. Best porkchop I've ever had.
This place just defined "San Francisco restaurant" to me: farm-to-table, strawberries with a honey yogurt and sea salt, hand-crafted cocktails, hip interior.
I'm glad that my expectations were met!