Brunch in SF: All roads lead to NOPA

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

San Franciscans are a little obsessed with brunch. I know this because there are few things that require a reservation a month in advance that early on a Sunday morning. And we take this very personally, often vocalizing with a proselytizing air about where we like to go. Thankfully, at Synapse, being opinionated is my job. So, without any financial incentive, I submit that there is no reason to eat anywhere aside from NOPA.

NOPA is located in a delightful part of San Francisco’s Western Addition district, blocks away from the iconic Painted Ladies, a new cafe affiliated with FourBarrel called The Mint, and the upcoming second Bi-Rite Market.

If I don’t have a reservation, I come at 10:30 a.m. to have a seat at the bar, where I am virtually guaranteed a proper table when they open at 11 a.m. They offer a delicious variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, such as a spritzer made with Navarro Gewurztraminer juice.

The menu features a consistent set of reasonably priced options, but the ingredients vary based on the season, so there is often a new combination to try. I reliably order their sausage dish; most recently this consisted of wood grilled bratwurst, poached eggs, farro and roasted squash ($15). While these are incredibly satisfying, I kept slyly reaching over to sneak pieces of my boyfriend’s whisky-braised pork, which came with pozole, sautéed greens and sage ($15). Other favorites include the house-made granola ($7), quiche ($9) and the unreasonably luscious slice of French toast ($7). Not only is the kitchen spot on with every dish, but it is served in Heath ceramics.

All too frequently I find myself eating at a new restaurant, only to set down my fork and ask (OK, whine), “Why didn’t we go to NOPA?” A missed opportunity. A sigh follows. Which brings me to the double-edged nature of this review, because if you don’t try the brunch here, then you will never know what you are missing.

Sara LaHue is a second-year medical student.


560 Divisadero (at Hayes)

(415) 864-8643

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The bar opens at 10:30 a.m. and stays open until 1 a.m.

Dinner: Seven days a week, 6 p.m. until 1 a.m