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Mar 10, 2014 01:22 PM

What's up with Nopa? [San Francisco]

For my birthday, my husband is taking me to (3) nice meals! Yay husband! I booked Cotogna this week, tried Nopa for my actual birthday next week and no go! And not the next 31 days, according to OT! These are places, preferably Italian, that I've not been. Don't have to be fancy just really good. I'm thinking La Ciccia, Locanda etc. who know what's going on here??

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  1. Have you phoned them?

    Could be their OpenTable terminal was accidentally turned off or disconnected from the network. When that happens, you can't make a reservation.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      When you call them, ask which days have a waiting list that are likely to get satisfied. If you're on the waiting list, you can still accept-or-reject and bump your other choice --- assuming you're within the reasonable cancellation window.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        NOPA is the most popular restaurant in SF. It would stand to reason that they are solidly booked even a month in advance wouldn't it?

        1. re: BacoMan

          Nopa has 110 seats and they're open seven days a week until 1am and all day on weekends. It's not normal that they would have no openings at all.

      2. Nopa does accept a fair number of walk-ins, so it's worth stopping by to put your name on the list, if you get there decently early. They also have the bar and a communal table, if you don't mind that.

        It's never that easy to get a table to a good resto in SF, and the very popular places will take a bit of planning to reserve. (Conversely, waiting until the night before a meal to reserve a weekend table will result in just about zero good restaurants available in SF.) I didn't know Nopa had become THAT hot, but I guess it doesn't surprise me, what with all that tech money coming in.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dunstable

          This is just one data point, but when I stopped by a few weeks ago on a Sunday, before opening time, they weren't able to seat us walking in till 10 PM at any spot, communal table included. We ended up going to Nopalito instead.

          1. re: Jon914

            By "opening time" do you mean 6pm (kitchen starts dinner service) or 5pm (kitchen reopens but serves only bar snacks)?

            1. re: Jon914

              "they weren't able to seat us walking in till 10 PM "

              That's unusual. Maybe that was their first opening for a reservation that night? Otherwise why wouldn't they just turn you away instead, since they couldn't possibly think you were going to stand there for 5 hours? Normally the communal table fills up, but they're good about handling walk ins and estimating waits.

              1. re: sugartoof

                @Robert - We walked in around 5:15 PM.

                1. re: Jon914

                  They say they start taking names for the walk-in list at 5pm.

          2. A lot of places only reserve a certain % of tables for in order to allow for walk ins and phone calls.

            1. Looks like they don't take reservations through OpenTable before 10pm. Call the restaurant.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                This and Jon's post above made me wonder if there was some sort of bot hack going on, but a glance right now on Opentable shows tables available for a Saturday at 6 and 8:45 pm... albeit 30 days from now. I guess Nopa has just gotten that hot. I mean it always was, but it looks like it's almost at State Bird levels of difficulty now.


                1. re: dunstable

                  I can't speak for NOPA's practices, but my impression's that restaurants allocate a small number of tables to OpenTable and leave the majority for those who call in.

                  I got lucky with Cotogna by calling in the same day and got the slot that I wanted when that wasn't showing up on OT.

                  1. re: Jon914

                    Restaurants policies are all over the map. Some put almost all their tables on, others only a few. I think Cotogna puts only off-hours tables on OT.

              2. Nopa has never had many openings on OT. The easiest way to get a table is to walk in during the snack hour 5-6 pm and ask for table or grab a spot a the bar or communal table. This may not work for larger parties but for 2 it usually works.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: wally

                    This has worked for me, even on weekends.