nopa.jpgIf there is one thing that basically equals love for San Franciscans that thing is Nopa the restaurant.

Nopa has a bunch of things going for it. First, it’s a restaurant, which, if you’re a San Franciscan, is just kill-yourself awesome.

Second, it’s sort of named after a neighborhood that only exists in people’s minds, which appeals to San Franciscans’ sense of being in love with neighborhoods generally and the one they think they live in specifically.

Third, the decor is California rustic, which basically means the napkins look like dish towels, the ceilings are soaring, the bar is stocked and there’s a communal table.

Finally, the people who work there act like you showing up is basically a joke that you’re playing on yourself, and this appeals to their sense of French Relativism, which is like irony only thinner.

You’ll walk in at 1am after loitering all night at some show at The Independent that you only went to because you were waiting for a table at Nopa, and you’ll say something like, “Two? For dinner?” and the restaurant’s beautiful* hostess will smirk and invite you to try to find a seat at the bar, which is an invitation to go fuck yourself, which is a euphemism for life.

So you will, try to find a seat at the bar that is. You won’t, but for the sake of argument let’s say that you do.

You sit down and promptly try to order some fried broccoli florets with zesty breadcrumb icing. To which the server will say “We might have that” like you just made it up off the top of your silly little dopey head, and hadn’t read it directly off the menu that he himself set in front of you not one minute before. Hell, you wish you had made it up. If you could come up with a dish like that, you’d own this town.

He’ll saunter away to see about some broccoli, and you’ll sit there hoping against hope that he’ll let you pay for something that’s on the menu. Then, he’ll saunter back, smile like the handsome man that he knows you think he is, and say, “We will be able to accommodate your request for broccoli.”

And you will say, “Great! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!” With so many exclamation points someone might mistake you for a work email.

You’d like to complain, but this is of course the reason you come to Nopa. Just to see what might not happen, and maybe eat a guinea hen in the process, and maybe not.

*people who are hot in restaurants are not necessarily hot on the street or even in a café.

Photo of Nopa: Yelp user Maybelline “Bean” C.

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  • Pumpkin Pie
  • moore

    You know this column is usually funny in that it pokes fun at *us* but this was more making fun of *them* and mostly just felt mean and not even based in reality.

  • wordygirl

    Yeah, I have to agree. I went with a foodie friend who knows everyone that works there and I still got the attitude from the bartender. When he approached us, sans smile, and asked what I wanted to drink, I said I was going to have wine. He tossed the menu at me and said, “We usually start with the menu, then.” My friend was aghast. Then when the check came, he had made one for her (with comps) and one for me, even though we shared our meal. The food was divine, but I have absolutely no desire to go back there.

  • renegade

    WillieBrown patronized that venue and got the royal treatment. Apparently, people who dine there think they’re WillieBrown cuz Yelp reviews are fairly positive. I’m a BeanBagBoy myself; sometimes PopeyeTuesday with my homies.

  • Andrew Dalton

    Sean Penn brought his entourage in once, he must not have liked the bartender either because he headed to Madrone for a drink afterward. For dessert he had a powdered donut, which he insufflated in the bathroom.

  • Karl

    What’s wrong with a show at the Independent… In fact Tricky was on deck last night and that’s the stuff that’ll beat any nosebleed restaurant in SF hands down. No contest, not even close.
    Great staff there BTW too.

  • Soonerdiver

    If this is the sort of “treatment” that San Franciscans Like it would explain a hell of a lot! It sounds like the wait staff are a bunch of over paid, arrogant people trying to impress you with their knowledge of restaurant etiquette.

    It would explain that most San Franciscans wouldn’t know a good restaurant if it hit them in the arse! This joint may serve good food, but that doesn’t make up for rude staff. Get out of the bay area and learn what life is really like!

  • netzard

    Hilarious!!! I had to share this with a bunch of my friends who live in the Western Addition. We have a tentative date to eat at Nopa in January. Not every night you can experience a branch of modern French philosophy with your dinner, though over at Flour+Water they do give one a taste of one of the hoary old Structuralists. Tee hee!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuralism

  • sfbarexperiment

    Weird. I’ve always had excellent service at NOPA. I often wonder about the people who complain about service in San Francisco. I don’t think I’ve ever really had bad service here, and I’ve never had a server be rude to me. What is it then that makes the same people experience bad service over and over? It it truly bad service, or something else?

  • bryce

    are you all crazy? this restaurant rocks, and this article makes me pee my pants.