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NoPa Neighborhood Guidebook

Yael

NoPa Neighborhood Guidebook

Food Scene
With its classic California-style menu, and busy neighborhood feel, this lofty and almost barn-like restaurant quickly worked its way into the hearts of the city when it opened in 2006. It’s remained a favorite since: the grass-fed burger is a late-night restaurant industry go-to; reservations are booked out months in advance; and the narrow bar clutters early-on every night as locals elbow their way in for concisely made drinks.
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Nopa
560 Divisadero Street
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With its classic California-style menu, and busy neighborhood feel, this lofty and almost barn-like restaurant quickly worked its way into the hearts of the city when it opened in 2006. It’s remained a favorite since: the grass-fed burger is a late-night restaurant industry go-to; reservations are booked out months in advance; and the narrow bar clutters early-on every night as locals elbow their way in for concisely made drinks.
Nopa’s kid sister restaurant focuses on regional Mexican food prepared with sustainable ingredients. The result is purely craveable fare like crispy, orange-tinged carnitas with housemade corn tortillas and on point margaritas. No reservations: call ahead to get on the waitlist.
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Nopalito
306 Broderick Street
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Nopa’s kid sister restaurant focuses on regional Mexican food prepared with sustainable ingredients. The result is purely craveable fare like crispy, orange-tinged carnitas with housemade corn tortillas and on point margaritas. No reservations: call ahead to get on the waitlist.
With BarVale, hit-maker Adriano Paganin’s main goal is to emulate the feeling of bars in Spain, where groups of friends gather informally to drink and eat small plates together. he food is Spanish, with an emphasis on tapas like patatas bravas, and boquerones. Paella by the serving — as opposed to the option of ordering one huge plate of rice that takes 45 minutes is also available. The bar is a big part of the bustling vibe: a list of cocktails featuring Spanish sherries and vermouth, plus sangria and kalimotxo (red wine mixed with cola) add to the four gin tonic combinations. Pro Tip: Great happy hour menu.
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barvale
661 Divisadero St
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With BarVale, hit-maker Adriano Paganin’s main goal is to emulate the feeling of bars in Spain, where groups of friends gather informally to drink and eat small plates together. he food is Spanish, with an emphasis on tapas like patatas bravas, and boquerones. Paella by the serving — as opposed to the option of ordering one huge plate of rice that takes 45 minutes is also available. The bar is a big part of the bustling vibe: a list of cocktails featuring Spanish sherries and vermouth, plus sangria and kalimotxo (red wine mixed with cola) add to the four gin tonic combinations. Pro Tip: Great happy hour menu.
Seafood chowder, the crudo sampler, lobster burrata salad, the menu from this Top Chef contestant is worth tasting. The cioppino, when it’s on the menu, is phenomenal as is, naturally, anything from the raw bar. Adding to the fun, owner Tim Selvera consistently geeks out over the beers on offer. Pro Tip: Great happy hour menu.
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Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street
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Seafood chowder, the crudo sampler, lobster burrata salad, the menu from this Top Chef contestant is worth tasting. The cioppino, when it’s on the menu, is phenomenal as is, naturally, anything from the raw bar. Adding to the fun, owner Tim Selvera consistently geeks out over the beers on offer. Pro Tip: Great happy hour menu.
This growing local Greek food chain has a notable California influence. The short menu includes incredibly hearty salads and gyro bread filled with your choice of roasted lamb, chicken, or sweet potato. The atmosphere is fast-casual, but there’s a gorgeous patio, silverware, and a nice wine list which take everything up a notch. If you like Greek yogurt, get the tart frozen soft serve for dessert.
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Souvla
531 Divisadero Street
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This growing local Greek food chain has a notable California influence. The short menu includes incredibly hearty salads and gyro bread filled with your choice of roasted lamb, chicken, or sweet potato. The atmosphere is fast-casual, but there’s a gorgeous patio, silverware, and a nice wine list which take everything up a notch. If you like Greek yogurt, get the tart frozen soft serve for dessert.
Best consumed with a beer on the heated patio, this barbecue spot is filled to the brim with smoked meats of all types, from ribs to chicken to pulled pork. The burger is a favorite for many, featuring grass-fed beef with, lettuce, onion, Gruyere cheese, and secret sauce on a griddled bun. Excellent sides abound, like frankaroni (crispy fried macaroni and cheese with hot dogs), beef tallow French fries, and posole.
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4505 Burgers & BBQ
705 Divisadero Street
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Best consumed with a beer on the heated patio, this barbecue spot is filled to the brim with smoked meats of all types, from ribs to chicken to pulled pork. The burger is a favorite for many, featuring grass-fed beef with, lettuce, onion, Gruyere cheese, and secret sauce on a griddled bun. Excellent sides abound, like frankaroni (crispy fried macaroni and cheese with hot dogs), beef tallow French fries, and posole.
A respite from the world around us (including Karl the Fog), Ragazza is cozy and welcoming at all times. A list of pizzas with simply but excellently curated ingredients — like peaches with caramelized onions, Cypress Grove goat cheese, speck, upland cress and balsamic — star alongside a few pastas, and antipasti.
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Ragazza
311 Divisadero Street
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A respite from the world around us (including Karl the Fog), Ragazza is cozy and welcoming at all times. A list of pizzas with simply but excellently curated ingredients — like peaches with caramelized onions, Cypress Grove goat cheese, speck, upland cress and balsamic — star alongside a few pastas, and antipasti.
The latest from the Lee brothers (also behind Namu Gaji), Namu Stonepot has debuted on Divisadero with many dishes served in the eponymous vessel, including ramen and stonepot rice. Mochiko chicken, which uses rice flour for an extra crispy crust, is a new signature dish, alongside Namu Gaji favorites like gamja fries.
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Namu Stonepot
553 Divisadero St
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The latest from the Lee brothers (also behind Namu Gaji), Namu Stonepot has debuted on Divisadero with many dishes served in the eponymous vessel, including ramen and stonepot rice. Mochiko chicken, which uses rice flour for an extra crispy crust, is a new signature dish, alongside Namu Gaji favorites like gamja fries.
The oozy, buttery deep-dish pies are not a carbon copy of some Chicago creation by any stretch. With topping possibilities like artichokes and goat cheese, they’re a distinctly California creation — and a drop-dead delicious one at that. Note: the menu recently welcomed some healthy seeming things like a roasted kale appetizer and a broccolini topped deep dish pie, but don’t miss the classic — with sausage, mushrooms, and green bell pepper — and the spicy chicken wings.
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Little Star Pizza
846 Divisadero Street
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The oozy, buttery deep-dish pies are not a carbon copy of some Chicago creation by any stretch. With topping possibilities like artichokes and goat cheese, they’re a distinctly California creation — and a drop-dead delicious one at that. Note: the menu recently welcomed some healthy seeming things like a roasted kale appetizer and a broccolini topped deep dish pie, but don’t miss the classic — with sausage, mushrooms, and green bell pepper — and the spicy chicken wings.
New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje offers a restaurant-y take on the classic southern meat and three. It’s an affordably priced option as far as the neighborhood is concerned. For dinner, order crackly fried chicken, juicy brisket, and vegan collards. Pro tip: I like this place even better for brunch: Try the shrimp and grits, the gumbo, or the beignets. And remember that the U-shaped bar is a great perch for parties of one or two.
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Brenda's Meat & Three
919 Divisadero Street
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New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje offers a restaurant-y take on the classic southern meat and three. It’s an affordably priced option as far as the neighborhood is concerned. For dinner, order crackly fried chicken, juicy brisket, and vegan collards. Pro tip: I like this place even better for brunch: Try the shrimp and grits, the gumbo, or the beignets. And remember that the U-shaped bar is a great perch for parties of one or two.
First popularized for its A+ housemade bread and “four dollar toast,” baker Josey Baker’s neighborhood cafe sports a very San Francisco modern carpenter vibe. Now over four years old, most of The Mill’s toasted sliced bread with toppings will today set you back more than five dollars, but it is actually well worth the price. Also on offer, nightly pizza dinners where the neighborhood comes together over decent pies and bottles of wine. Pro Tip: The line here can get insane. On a weekend, plan to arrive before 9AM or to wait.
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The Mill
736 Divisadero St
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First popularized for its A+ housemade bread and “four dollar toast,” baker Josey Baker’s neighborhood cafe sports a very San Francisco modern carpenter vibe. Now over four years old, most of The Mill’s toasted sliced bread with toppings will today set you back more than five dollars, but it is actually well worth the price. Also on offer, nightly pizza dinners where the neighborhood comes together over decent pies and bottles of wine. Pro Tip: The line here can get insane. On a weekend, plan to arrive before 9AM or to wait.
A little neighborhood gem serving excellent espresso drinks and passable breakfast sandwiches and casual lunches. The only coffee shop in the area that has free wifi, it feels less like a buzzy San Francisco hipster coffee shop and more like your neighborhood joint (in a good way). Also serves wine and beer in the evening.
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Matching Half
1799 McAllister Street
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A little neighborhood gem serving excellent espresso drinks and passable breakfast sandwiches and casual lunches. The only coffee shop in the area that has free wifi, it feels less like a buzzy San Francisco hipster coffee shop and more like your neighborhood joint (in a good way). Also serves wine and beer in the evening.
Your classic SF hipster coffee bar (owned by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, so it’s as San Francisco as it gets).
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Sightglass Coffee
301 Divisadero St
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Your classic SF hipster coffee bar (owned by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, so it’s as San Francisco as it gets).
The hottest restaurant in SF, and recently named the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit. And you’ll pay for it with long waits and impossible reservations. But if you do score, Che Fico serves rustic Italian in a very bustling dining room overlooking Divisadero street. Chef David Nayfeld’s obsession with handmade pasta has yielded excellent results, from Guittard cocoa garganelle with raised shank and rib topped with black truffles to pillowy potato gnocchi. (Make sure to also order the in-house salumi, which hangs in a glass case in the dining room.) Excellent cocktail and wine program.
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Che Fico
838 Divisadero St
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The hottest restaurant in SF, and recently named the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit. And you’ll pay for it with long waits and impossible reservations. But if you do score, Che Fico serves rustic Italian in a very bustling dining room overlooking Divisadero street. Chef David Nayfeld’s obsession with handmade pasta has yielded excellent results, from Guittard cocoa garganelle with raised shank and rib topped with black truffles to pillowy potato gnocchi. (Make sure to also order the in-house salumi, which hangs in a glass case in the dining room.) Excellent cocktail and wine program.
Drinks & Nightlife
Fool’s Errand is a neighborhood beer and wine bar. While it serves small bites, don’t come here for the food. The big draw is the beer (10 taps plus more bottle pours) and wine (15 by the glass options), and the outdoor parklet seating that gets buzzy even on a weeknight. On the wine front, Dampeer is highlighting “fringe regions” from Slovenia to the Canary Islands and “cool natural wines,” with hip California winemakers like Dirty & Rowdy represented on the list.
Fool's Errand
639A Divisadero St
Fool’s Errand is a neighborhood beer and wine bar. While it serves small bites, don’t come here for the food. The big draw is the beer (10 taps plus more bottle pours) and wine (15 by the glass options), and the outdoor parklet seating that gets buzzy even on a weeknight. On the wine front, Dampeer is highlighting “fringe regions” from Slovenia to the Canary Islands and “cool natural wines,” with hip California winemakers like Dirty & Rowdy represented on the list.
Craftsman wood finishes, an enclosed front patio with natural light, and a menu of excellent cocktails from Justin Lew and Ian Scalzo (alums of SF’s Future Bars group) give this neighborhood bar extra charm. The food menu is filled with low-key comfort food items like pulled pork tacos and fried chicken, balanced with lighter dishes like halibut ceviche and a tuna poke bowl. Plus it’s open late, with food available until 1 a.m. — a true gem in this sleepy town. Pro Tip: I come here just for the drinks; food is ok but cocktails are superb and the setting can’t be beat.
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Horsefeather
528 Divisadero St
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Craftsman wood finishes, an enclosed front patio with natural light, and a menu of excellent cocktails from Justin Lew and Ian Scalzo (alums of SF’s Future Bars group) give this neighborhood bar extra charm. The food menu is filled with low-key comfort food items like pulled pork tacos and fried chicken, balanced with lighter dishes like halibut ceviche and a tuna poke bowl. Plus it’s open late, with food available until 1 a.m. — a true gem in this sleepy town. Pro Tip: I come here just for the drinks; food is ok but cocktails are superb and the setting can’t be beat.
The local dive bar. Lots of whiskey, 22 beers on tap, carpet on the floor, and layer upon layer of SF history. It’s also cash only, which freaks patrons out in this day and age. The website’s response to its currency-forward state is: "Berating us about this only makes us stronger."
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The Page
298 Divisadero Street
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The local dive bar. Lots of whiskey, 22 beers on tap, carpet on the floor, and layer upon layer of SF history. It’s also cash only, which freaks patrons out in this day and age. The website’s response to its currency-forward state is: "Berating us about this only makes us stronger."
ntimate, no-frills music venue with a full bar that features indie & emerging acts.
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The Independent
628 Divisadero St
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ntimate, no-frills music venue with a full bar that features indie & emerging acts.
Pinball, pool and old-school arcade games, plus music, cocktails & craft beers, in hip, historic digs.
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Emporium SF - Arcade Bar Venue
616 Divisadero St
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Pinball, pool and old-school arcade games, plus music, cocktails & craft beers, in hip, historic digs.
Culture (and Yoga)
My favorite yoga studio ever. They offer a great “tourist pass” package ($50 for 3 classes in 10 days) that can be shared with a friend. I'll lend you a mat if you need one, or you can rent there for $2.
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Yoga Garden SF
286 Divisadero Street
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My favorite yoga studio ever. They offer a great “tourist pass” package ($50 for 3 classes in 10 days) that can be shared with a friend. I'll lend you a mat if you need one, or you can rent there for $2.
Fantastic art museum, with a (free!) tower at the top with a beautiful view of the whole city. Go for the permanent collection, special exhibits, or just for the view.
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M.H. de Young Memorial Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
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Fantastic art museum, with a (free!) tower at the top with a beautiful view of the whole city. Go for the permanent collection, special exhibits, or just for the view.
Fantastic science museum - great for kids! Special events on Thursday nights after regular hours.
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California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr
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Fantastic science museum - great for kids! Special events on Thursday nights after regular hours.
Lovely Japanese garden in Golden Gate park, with a tea house with delicious teas and lovely snacks.
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Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
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Lovely Japanese garden in Golden Gate park, with a tea house with delicious teas and lovely snacks.
Historic San Francisco landmark in Golden Gate Park since 1879 boasting rare tropical flowers and plants from around the world. Architectural gem with five distinct galleries. Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; open holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F Kennedy Drive
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Historic San Francisco landmark in Golden Gate Park since 1879 boasting rare tropical flowers and plants from around the world. Architectural gem with five distinct galleries. Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; open holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Parks & Nature
Two blocks South; walk (or bike) the length of the panhandle to go directly into Golden Gate park, past the Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Museum, the famous bison, and all the way to Ocean Beach. You can do one long loop down one side of the Panhandle / the Park and back the other way for a beautiful, active day that feels like you’re anywhere but in a city.
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The Panhandle
Stanyan St
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Two blocks South; walk (or bike) the length of the panhandle to go directly into Golden Gate park, past the Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Museum, the famous bison, and all the way to Ocean Beach. You can do one long loop down one side of the Panhandle / the Park and back the other way for a beautiful, active day that feels like you’re anywhere but in a city.
Two blocks South; walk (or bike) the length of the panhandle to go directly into Golden Gate park, past the Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Museum, the famous bison, and all the way to Ocean Beach. You can do one long loop down one side of the Panhandle / the Park and back the other way for a beautiful, active day that feels like you’re anywhere but in a city.
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Golden Gate Park
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Two blocks South; walk (or bike) the length of the panhandle to go directly into Golden Gate park, past the Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Museum, the famous bison, and all the way to Ocean Beach. You can do one long loop down one side of the Panhandle / the Park and back the other way for a beautiful, active day that feels like you’re anywhere but in a city.
Just a few blocks South of here, a great little under-visited park with beautiful bonus views of the Golden Gate bridge at the top (of a fairly steep hill). Tennis courts are hiding up there, as are some fun trails for running / walking. One of my favorite green spots in the city.
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Buena Vista Park
Buena Vista
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Just a few blocks South of here, a great little under-visited park with beautiful bonus views of the Golden Gate bridge at the top (of a fairly steep hill). Tennis courts are hiding up there, as are some fun trails for running / walking. One of my favorite green spots in the city.
On Grove street, just East of Divisadero (so a good place to go to after a coffee at the Mill). A short uphill walk has payoff views of City Hall, the San Francisco skyline, and yes, the Painted Ladies.
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Alamo Square
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On Grove street, just East of Divisadero (so a good place to go to after a coffee at the Mill). A short uphill walk has payoff views of City Hall, the San Francisco skyline, and yes, the Painted Ladies.
A pristine man-made lake located in the heart of the park where you can rent a row boat, electric boat or pedal boat from the Stow Lake Boathouse. The surrounding views and grounds are gorgeous. And the boathouse café sells food, snacks and drinks to keep you going throughout your park adventure. It’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon. Pro Tip: Great for kids!
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Stow Lake Boathouse
50 Stow Lake Drive East
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A pristine man-made lake located in the heart of the park where you can rent a row boat, electric boat or pedal boat from the Stow Lake Boathouse. The surrounding views and grounds are gorgeous. And the boathouse café sells food, snacks and drinks to keep you going throughout your park adventure. It’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon. Pro Tip: Great for kids!