Though Nopa has been at the tippy-top of my to-eat list for awhile now, its spin-off/younger sister restaurant, Nopalito, has been hovering around in my head (stomach) too. Urban legend has it that the mostly Mexican cooking staff at Nopa would cook up giant family-style dinners after work and at one point, the owner realized that that kind of dinner in itself had the potential to become its own restaurant. Thus, Nopalito was born.
That was more than three years ago, but I finally made it to the restaurant this weekend and came away very satisfied.
The location – Falletti Plaza on Broderick between Oak and Fell Streets – is interesting. Falletti Plaza is a mini gourmet mall of sorts, with a Bank of America masquerading as a beautiful but new Victorian home, an amazing gourmet foods market, Nopalito and a small parking garage (very convenient). The restaurant is beautiful, with an small bar, uncovered bulb lights dangling over your head in an add-on like covered patio (I bet it’s opened up during the day/summer) and simple decor.
The food was all pretty simple, too, but done really well. I honestly didn’t have a favorite dish; whatever your palate gravitates toward on the menu, I think you’ll be happy with. Only pitfall was the small plates were hard to share. We tried the two quesadillas, one vegetarian and one with pork belly. Both were served as one large beautiful quesadilla that you have to cut up into pieces to share (which I think takes away from the taste a bit, instead of holding it in your hand and taking bites on by one), but I digress. Really great drinks too – I tried an El Diablo (tequila, cassis, ginger beer, lime – see picture below) and a Killer Bee (tequila, lemon, honey) and I have to say, the Killer Bee came out on top.
Apparently, the second Nopalito (opened in the Inner Sunset last November) is just as good, and I think boasts a slightly different menu. It’s also twice as big, so snagging a reservation/table might be slightly easier there.
Nopalito // 306 Broderick St. San Francisco, CA // Monday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.