Curious where San Francisco’s insiders are eating and drinking? It’s easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which eateries have been seeing especially high review volumes this month.
To find out who made the list, we looked at San Francisco businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots are trending right now, from an Outer Sunset cantina serving up margaritas to an omakase spot focused entirely on grilled chicken.
Open since September, this Mexican restaurant and bar in the Outer Sunset is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Mexican” on Yelp.
Citywide, Mexican spots saw a median 0.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Sunset Cantina saw an imposing 187.5% increase, with a slight downward trend from a five-star rating a month ago to 4.5 stars today.
It’s not the only trending outlier in the Mexican category: Mission newcomer Chuy’s Fiestas has seen a 166.7% increase in reviews.
Located at 3414-3416 Judah St., this casual spot serves a concise menu of tacos (al pastor, chicken mole, portobello mushroom and shrimp) and other Mexican pub grub, like elotes and fried shrimp with yucca fries. Weekend brunch brings chilaquiles, churro waffle sticks and other Mexican-inspired breakfast fare.
One of a handful of businesses in the city’s outer reaches to receive a full liquor license under a new program, Sunset Cantina also offers a full selection of tequila, mezcal and margaritas — a neighborhood rarity.
Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about the Western Addition’s new Japanese spot Izumiya, it’s a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as “Sushi Bars” on Yelp saw a median 0.9% increase in new reviews over the past month, Izumiya bagged a significant 216.7% increase in new reviews within that time frame, with an upward trend from a 3.5-star rating a month ago to its current 4.5 stars.
Recently under new ownership, this “shokudo,” or informal Japanese eatery, specializes in Japanese comfort food, from ramen and donburi to okonomiyaki, bento boxes and sushi rolls. Head over to 1581 Webster St., Suite 270 (between Post and Geary), to check it out.
Izumiya is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday and for dinner from 5:30–9 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday and 5:30–9:30 p.m. on Friday. It’s open from 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m on Saturday and 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday. (It’s closed on Monday.)
South Park Cafe
SoMa’s South Park Cafe is also making waves. After closing in 2017, the 32-year-old bistro was recently reopened by credit card startup Brex, which has turned its second floor into a members-only lounge for its clients: startup founders and other top-tier tech employees.
However, the restaurant’s ground floor remains open to all diners — and as a result, South Park Cafe has seen a massive 185.7% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 0.9% for all businesses tagged “American (New)” on Yelp.
Whereas the original South Park Cafe was a traditional French bistro, the revamped location serves a contemporary menu of dishes like chorizo and mussels, lamb meatballs, trout with sunchokes and fried chicken glazed with spicy “hot honey.” Over the past month, it’s maintained an excellent five-star rating among Yelpers.
South Park Cafe is open from 8 a.m.–9 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)
Housed in the former Stelladoro pizzeria on the Divisadero corridor, Hina Yakitori is the city’s buzziest Japanese spot by the numbers.
Hina, which opened at 808 Divisadero St. (between McAllister and Fulton streets) in September, increased its new review count by a formidable 233.3% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1% for the Yelp category “Japanese.”
This reboot of chef Tommy Cleary’s Oakland restaurant of the same name, which closed in 2017, offers a fine-dining experience centered on yakitori — or Japanese chicken skewers.
For $110, guests receive a 16-course omakase (tasting menu) featuring small plates made with different cuts of chicken, prepared in an open kitchen and served directly by the chefs. A few of the courses also feature seafood, and there’s also dessert — made from chicken eggs, of course.
Hina Yakitori is open from 5:30–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday. (It’s closed on Sunday and Monday.)
Golden Goat Coffee
SoMa’s Golden Goat Coffee is currently on the upswing in the coffee and tea category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as “Coffee & Tea” on Yelp saw a median 1.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, this cafe increased its new reviews by a considerable 115.4% — and kept its rating consistent at five stars. Review counts increased by more than 500% on a month-to-month basis.
Open for business at 599 Third St. (between Varney Place and Brannan Street) since August, Golden Goat sources its beans from Sacramento’s Temple Coffee Roasters. It serves up classic coffee and tea drinks like cappuccinos, flat whites, cold brew, and matcha and chai lattes.
Golden Goat Coffee is open from 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. on weekdays. (It’s closed on weekends.)