Modern Guide to NoPa: Iconic Restaurants + Indie Shops in an Emerging 'Hood

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Longtime San Franciscans know this swath of the city as the Western Addition. But then some years back, one restaurant opened in the neighborhood North of the Panhandle and changed everything. Nopa is still serving some of the best French toast in town, but its presence has redefined—and renamed—the neighborhood.

Today NoPa is one of the city's hippest emerging districts, with such anchors as Bi-Rite, Rare Device, and Bar Crudo holding down the place. Here you'll find cool dive bars alongside trendier watering holes; indie shops with cult followings; classic ice cream and kitschy Asian treats; and arguably the city's hottest restaurant opening of the last few years. Plus, it's all within walking distance to those pretty Painted Ladies at Alamo Square Park.


Shopping in NoPa

Pop into Asmbly Hall (624 Divisadero St) for a selection of contemporary apparel picks. Think modern threads like nylon jackets and hoodies, alongside locally designed and made gear, like this Alamere Men's City Puff Jacket, that's a perfect foil to the City's fog-driven weather. // Topo Designs (645 Divisadero St) is a top spot for well-designed outdoor apparel and gear, including a diverse range of backpacks, jackets and collaborative pieces (like this pair of rad Chaco sandals) that will work just as well in the urban jungle as the great outdoors. // From proprietors Rod Hipskind, an art director, and Kelly Ishikawa, a commercial photographer, comes this eclectic shop—The Perish Trust (728 Divisadero St)—a modern take on a general store, if you will—known for its a highly curated inventory. From Warby Parker sunglasses to Native American rugs to wines from cult Sonoma winery, Scribe, there's no shortage of must-haves for the cultured hipster. // Bi Rite Market (550 Divisadero St) purchases directly from producers, artisans and farmers. Head there for the best apple selection in the business (you'll discover some lesser-known varieties such as the Pink Pearl), and to pick up some of their pre-made chickpea, arugula, or quinoa salads from the deli. On a nice day, join the league of Bi Rite fans queueing up for the famous homemade ice cream. Their salted caramel is a classic, or try the ricanelas, essentially a snickerdoodle in scoop form. // Handcrafted in Portland, Tanner Goods Leather's (651 Divisadero St) products, built to last and age beautifully, include rugged rucksacks and handbags of waxed canvas, in addition to handsome leather wallets for Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World wannabes. // Rare Device (600 Divisadero St) is a quintessentially SF shop that offers local, organic, handmade, independent or recycled local products such as Hipp & Kirk tote bags, Suga jewelry, and prints by Likely Lexi. // Cookin' (339 Divisadero St) is a favorite among chefs and home cooks for vintage cookery, this Divis institution is filled with with funky latte bowls, 1970s Time/Life cookbooks, vintage Le Creuset, and copper pots. // Sunday's weekly neighborhood Farmer's Market (Grove Street between Divisadero and Broderick) is held on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Grove, between Divisadero and Broderick. Some of the local favorites include the Ravioli Lady and her butternut-squash ravioli—go early, she's known to sell out quickly. Another favorite is Juicey Lucy's, which serves fresh vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies and seasonal soup, all of which are 100% vegan and 100% organic. Be sure to try the classic date shake or the Ginger Rodgers. // In the neighborhood since 1985, Gamescape (333 Divisadero St) is the spot for game lovers to find puzzles, party games, collectible card games, vintage boardgames, and everything in between. Needless to say, if you're a Dungeons & Dragons buff, look no further. // Comic book lovers will find a huge assortment of new and used graphic novels and comic books at Comix Experience (305 Divisadero St), such as Star Wars Vol 1: Skywalker Strikes, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, and Bird Boy v2: Liminal Wood. A small selection of DVDs is also available, as well as T-shirts, figurines and other comic-related goods.

The Best Restaurants in NoPa

Make sure you check the wind direction before tucking into this delightful icy dessert whose origins hail from Taiwan. It's lighter-than-air consistency meant that we almost lost half the cup to a sudden gust of strong wind. Try Powder Shaved Snow's (260 Divisadero St) delicious Vietnamese Coffee shaved ice and top it off with a drizzle of condensed milk for a delightfully good frozen take on a cuppa Joe. // The cosy cafe on the corner of Fulton and Divis is a neighborhood fave that serves up classics like scrambled eggs and sausage, bacon sandwiches and hearty omelets amidst a warm, welcoming atmosphere. At Eddie's Cafe (800 Divisadero St) meals come with the option of a house-baked biscuit or slices of bread, and coffee is served in quirky, mismatched mugs, which serves as part of the charm. Kick back against the red vinyl banquette seating or choose a bar perch, where you'll have a full view of all the mugs collected over the years. Cash only. // Being named one of the country's top 10 new restaurants by Bon Appetit magazine this year certainly didn't hurt the foot traffic at Che Fico (838 Divisadero St), NoPa's must-try new dining establishment. Those who despair over the back-to-back reservations at can head down before opening hours to try their luck at securing one of the restaurant's 48 daily walk-in seats. Chefs David Nayfeld, Angela Pinkerton, and partner Matt Brewer have created a mouth-watering seasonal menu inspired by Italian cuisine and made with California-fresh produce, which according to online reviews, seems to tick all the taste boxes. Picks include their unique sourdough-based pizzas (one of which proved a huge hit with local news anchor Anderson Cooper) and a varied selection of pasta, some of which are handmade in-house to achieve the perfect texture and finish to complement a particular dish. // This charming restaurant is a favorite for those craving the simplest preparation of the freshest seafood. Don't miss Bar Crudo's (655 Divisadero St) happy hour from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., where oysters are $1. You'd be remiss if you didn't try their jalapeño-marinated mussels or seafood chowder. // Wholesome Bakery (299 Divisadero St) is a zen spot for home-baked gluten, dairy, egg and soy-free goodness, all of which are freshly-baked on the premises. Enjoy a hot cup of mint tea from Steep Tea Co. whilst nibbling on a banana cream cupcake or tucking into a seasonal fruit galette. // Occupying the former Mojo Bicycle Bar, Fool's Errand (639A Divisadero St) provides a sweet watering hole for those in search of an ice-cold craft beer or glass of Corsican Vermentino, courtesy of their well-sourced wine list. Owner John Dampeer (who previously ran Caskhouse and Hamlet in nearby's Noe Valley) maintains the charm of a neighborhood spot but injects his own vibe with an enviable list of beers and wines. Hit up their happy hour from 2:00-6:00 p.m. every weekday. // Right on the corner of Divis and Grove is Adriano Paganini's latest (and extremely popular judging by its weekend waiting list) dining concept, Barvale (661 Divisadero St). Serving up Spanish Tapas-style plates and delicious cocktails amidst a chic interior, Happy Hour starts from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m every day for a selection of $6 drinks on tap (including Spanish wines by the glass) and a choice of similarly-priced tapas, along with complimentary pintxos—worth bearing in mind the next time you're feeling peckish before the evening rush. Heavy hitters include their smoky and tender Pulpo (octopus, fingerling potatoes, olives, pimentón, $14) and Morcilla (house-made blood sausage, crispy potatoes, $9), though their cold Tapas offerings are equally tasty. Try their Boquerones en piri piri—white anchovies with spicy Iberian sauce for an added kick and wash it down with a glass of Txakolina. // A hip joint from the family that brought you Namu Gaji, this glass-fronted casual restaurant serves up largely Korean-inspired dishes in hot stone bowls, along with salad and Poke options for those wanting something a little lighter. At Namu Stonepot (553 Divisadero St) expect hearty portions and the option to purchase your own stone bowl for repeated future use. The vegetables and herbs on the menu are grown across the bay in a three-acre farm using biodynamic methods of cultivation, so those who love their foods straight from farm-to-table can tuck blissfully into their bowls, especially their yummy Vegan Ramen or Big Baby Salad. // Zaytoon Mediterranean's (607 Divisadero St) second outlet in the city serves up popular shawarma wraps (made with local Superior Farms lamb and free range chicken), alongside spiced fries (try their za'atar fries loaded with za'atar, sumac, and parsley), salads and falafels. It's bigger digs than their Mission St. space but the food served up is just as tasty. // A sliver of a coffee shop right next to Powder Shaved Ice, Native Twins (262 Divisadero St) is opened by twins Jennifer and Ashley Rubin of Native Twins Granola. The shop offers the usual coffee and tea line-ups alongside delicious toast options (try their house-made Garlic Butter Toast for a savory afternoon snack) and gluten-free granola bowls. // The city loves its froyo. The fourth outlet in San Francisco has found its niche nestled between Emporium and Rare Device along Divis, serving up hand-churned frozen yogurt and house-made rice pudding. At Loving Cup (608 Divisadero St) all servings are non-fat and made-to-order and if the choice is overwhelming, you can also go with featured favorites like The Dude Abides or a pretzel-and-salted-caramel infused Salty Dog. // Souvla's (531 Divisadero St) second location with a similar look and feel to their original location in Hayes Valley, but with a nice, new patio. The menu is pleasantly simple—we recommend the chicken salad with fennel, navel orange, pickled red onion, pea shoots, mizithra cheese and their famous granch dressing (which you can make at home using this recipe) and the 7x7 2016 Big Eat winner, baklava frozen yogurt (#4 on the list). // Enjoy incredible pizza and pasta on Ragazza's (311 Divisadero St) charming back patio. Try the Moto pizza with tomato, Calabrian chilies, portobello mushrooms, red onion, sweet Italian sausage and mozzarella. For more decadence, crown it with an egg with an oozy golden yolk. // One of the coolest coffee shops in San Francisco has major steez (Boor Bridges designed its Scandinavian-inspired, loft-like architecture), serious sips (dark and rich Four Barrel Coffee), and fresh Josey Baker Bread (we like the whole-grain raisin and the black-pepper parmesan), which is the canvas for their awesome toast menu. Check out Monday pizza nights at The Mill (736 Divisadero St) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. // Whether you're craving barbecue, a burger or even—gasp!—a salad, there is something at 4505 Burgers & BBQ Burgers & BBQ (705 Divisadero St) for everyone. Some classics include the Best Damn Cheeseburger, slow-roasted brisket, and smoked whole chickens. Great local beers and wines are on tap to help wash it all down. // Nopa (560 Divisadero St) is known for their farm-fresh food, exquisite cocktails, and unique wine list. Their menu focuses on organic wood-fired cuisine created with seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors. We highly recommend the delicious custard french toast for brunch (which you can make at home using this secret recipe) and for dinner, the wood-grilled hamburger for dinner served housemade brioche. // One of the few deep-dish spots in the city, Little Star Pizza (846 Divisadero St) is the perfect restaurant for a casual bite and relaxing night out. You can choose one of theirs (we like the deep-dish Little Star with spinach, ricotta, and mushrooms) or you can opt to build your own. Gluten free pizza is also available. // This recently opened sushi restaurant focuses on nigiri—no rolls in sight. With only 17 seats in the house, at Ijji Sushi (252 Divisadero St) be sure to call ahead for a reservation. They offer a 19-course, omakase experience for $135 per person. Some of the nigiri options you could end up with include sawara (Spanish mackerel), kamasu (barracuda), hotate (sea scallop) and uni (sea urchin). //

Where to Grab Drinks in NoPa

For Teetotalers

Boba Guys (836 Divisadero St) changed the game on bubble tea by taking it to the next level with freshly-brewed teas, a selection of organic milk (including oat and almond milk) and handmade house syrups and fruit purees for their ever-evolving menu of seasonal flavors alongside classics such as their (doubly) delightful Coffee Milk Tea. // There are options aplenty for caffeine fiends in the hood, especially with local roasters Sightglass Coffee (301 Divisadero St) opening a corner cafe that looks more like an elegant design lounge than a neighborhood coffee spot. Pick a spot near the windows and nestle into the homely wooden bench with your smooth cappuccino—it's the perfect place for a cafe 'gram as you sip your expertly brewed pick-me-up. // Kava Lounge (901 Divisadero St) sources most of its ingredients for their cocktails from local and sustainable distributors and they don't use any artificial sweeteners. They even juice many of the cocktail components on site daily, and when juicing is not an option, they use Santa Cruz organic juices as mixers. Some of their speciality cocktails include the seasonal Besito, their version of a mojito made with fresh basil, lime, and your pick of poison (either gin, vodka, or rum), and the Jade Kiss, with fresh cucumber, organic agave nectar, lime, and vodka.

Bars

Designed with a modern aesthetic, Horsefeather Bar (528 Divisadero St) has a gorgeous front seating area within a greenhouse-like setting. If you come for cocktails, you might want to try the Thunderbird (beefeater gin, genepy, carpano bianco, pineapple, and orange bitters) or the Cool Breeze (lime, honey, tempus fugit crème de noyaux, herbs de provence, rosé, soda water and vodka). If you're tempted to try the food, a few of our favorites include the hummus and tomato salad and the fried chicken, served with sautéed Brussels sprouts, bagna cauda, sweet potato mash, and Sriracha honey. // At Wine Kitchen (507 Divisadero St) the extensive wine list is California-heavy and features nearly 20 by-the-glass selections and four local labels on tap, including a 2014 Albariño from Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi and a 2014 cabernet sauvignon from Harrington Wines. Pair the swigs with corn crêpes, tuna crudo, pork chops or foie gras terrine. We recommend hitting this spot on a Monday, when you'll be able to get half-price bottles. // Those yearning for a touch of 90s nostalgia in their entertainment should check out this spacious arcade bar that took over the vacant Harding Theatre lot. Feed tokens (4 for a dollar) into classics like Pac-Man and Mortal Combat II, or try your hand at a pool table or shuffleboard, all with a beer in hand. At Emporium SF (616 Divisadero St) expect neon lights, the occasional Air Hockey goal yowl of triumph, and a rotating list of guest DJs who perform live on stage to the weekend line-up. // If you're looking for a truly authentic dive bar, jackpot! The Page Bar (298 Divisadero St) features an impressive 21 beers on tap including some local brews such as Duboce Park IPA from SF's Local Brewing Co. and a black lager from Oakland's Linden Street Brewery, plus wine and cocktails. Challenge someone to a pool or foosball game and be sure to bring some change for the jukebox. // It is pretty hard not to love a bar that offers both coffee and wine. Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar (359 Divisadero St), open daily, serves Counter Culture drip coffee by day and a hand-picked assortment of boutique wines (such as local Argonaut sauvignon blanc from Northern California and Cru pinot noir from Monterrey County) and beers (Telegraph Brewing Co. in Santa Barbara and Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego) by night. // Fly Bar (762 Divisadero St) has drinks at a great value and always a lively crowd. Their drink menu is largely focused on beer, featuring local labels such as Anchor Steam, Lagunitas, and Poppy Jasper Amber from El Toro Brewing Company. If you're in the mood for something a bit stronger than beer, go for their sake or their famous sangria. // Madrone Art Bar (500 Divisadero St) is best described as a "full-on art experience," with video, photography and paintings paired with live music, DJs and specialty cocktails. Notable local musicians who perform here include DJ El Kool Kyle, pianist and vocalist Suzanne Ramsey, and funk/soul group Atta Kid. Be sure to try the Herbie Hancock cocktail (Russian Standard, Watermelon, Lime, Sugar, Guava Juice) or the luchadore (Mezcal Vida, Tuaca, Lime, Jalapeno Agave).

Things to Do in NoPa

Enjoy limbering up with top instructors at Yoga Garden (286 Divisadero St), a quaint yoga studio, which is housed in an old Victorian just next to Little Chihuahua. Offering a diverse number of classes with a focus on Iyengar, Ashtanga and vinyasa style practices, the three studios are often packed with peeps getting their daily 'Om' on. // Settle into the plush armchairs at this Divis nail and wax spa and let their talented manicurists fix up your talons with Q-Spa (604 Divisadero St) signature Lava Stone Mani (basic manicure with hot stones massage, $40). They even offer Japanese Nail art stickers for those who want a change from their usual French mani/pedi. // Feeling sluggish? Drop into Salt (327 Divisadero St) for an intensive but invigorating full-body workout to catchy tunes. Using an array of equipment like sandbags, balance balls and resistance bands, the specially choreographed classes at Salt are aimed at getting every part of you engaged and activated with their Barre and HIIT classes. // A cool, modern barbershop experience is exactly what J.P. Kempt Barber Social (351 Divisadero St) founder Shorty Maniace set out to offer. In addition to fades and faux-hawks, the shop offers beard trims, straight-razor shaves and straight-razor shaving classes. // Alamo Square (Alamo Square) is possibly the most recognizable park in San Francisco because of its neighbors, the iconic Painted Ladies. Tourists and locals alike re-enact the Full House opening here daily, that is, until the park closed for renovations in May. Don't worry, the green patch is scheduled to reopen early next spring, just in time for Bay to Breakers—the legendary costumed footrace passes the park en route to Ocean Beach. // For some of the best live music in the city, head to The Independent (628 Divisadero St), a general-admission, standing-room-mostly venue with a few first-come, first-serve seats. Past headliners include Sleigh Bells, Hayden James, and Blitzen Trapper. Next up: Dragon Smoke (Dec. 1 and 2), Lord Huron (Jan. 6 and 7), and Foxygen (April 6 and 7).

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