NOPA

Overall Rating: 7.700


Address: 560 Divisadero St.
Cross Street(s): Hayes St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: Western Addition
Phone: 415.864.8643
Hours: Su-Sa 6am-1am
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.60
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
Cup Manufacturer: Heath Ceramics
Price: $2.75
Last Update: 05/08/2010
First Reviewed: 05/08/2010
Notes: None

Review
"NOPA" is short for North of the Panhandle, though nobody never called it that when we lived here in the '90s. This restaurant has earned a loyal following of local fans, who pack the place regularly for cocktails at their extensive bar and/or their two levels of dining tables. It's a bit of a contrast between the $26 entrées here and the drive-by-chicken environment of the Church's across the street, but we cannot argue with Blue Bottle Coffee's James Freeman when he calls it one of the best restaurants in his neighborhood. It's a noisy space - with more than a few clappers among the clientele. ("Clappers" being the sort of American social animal that translates their conversational laughter into something closer to a performing sea lion.) They use an older, two-group La Marzocco Linea at the end of the bar near the kitchen to pull shots of (not surprisingly) Blue Bottle Coffee. They pulled shots of Hayes Valley blend, though they offered a press pot of Three Afrikans for $3.75. The staff here show an awareness of good espresso-making techniques, and they pull shots with an even, medium brown crema of some thickness. It has a nice, round flavor profile - mostly pungent herbal notes but also some cinnamon, tobacco, and a little honey. Although it isn't quite stellar (it could show a little more body and even brightness), it is excellent by restaurant espresso standards. Served in an attractive Heath white cup with matching brown saucer/plate.