In the mid-2000s North of the Panhandle became the city's newest talked-about neighborhood in part because of big, bustling Nopa, which was cleverly named after it. The casual space, with its high ceilings, concrete floor, long bar, and sea of tables, suits the high-energy crowd of young professionals and stylish neighborhood residents. Because the kitchen doesn't close until 1 am, restaurant-industry types pack the bar late into the night. The rustic fare includes an always winning flatbread topped with fennel sausage and caramelized onions; Moroccan-style vegetable tagine (stew) with lemon yogurt; smoky, crisp-skin rotisserie chicken; a juicy grass-fed hamburger with thick-cut fries; one of the city's best pork chops; and, for dessert, the doughnut-like sopapillas. This place is so lively that raised voices are sometimes the only way to communicate with fellow diners. A big communal table and the friendly bar ease the way for those dining solo. The wine list is excellent, and weekend brunch is among the city's best—and most popular, so arrive a few minutes before the 11 am opening to score a table.
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