We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which local eateries have been on the tips of diners' tongues this month.
Rather than compare eateries based on their number of monthly reviews alone, we calculated their 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 have the momentum heading into the end of the year.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Union Street's Kaiyo, the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant and cocktail bar is a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.
While other San Francisco cocktail bars on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 2.4 percent over the past month, Kaiyo bagged a substantial 112.5 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a convincing four-star rating.
Open at 1838 Union St. (between Octavia and Laguna streets) since September, the restaurant offers elevated, Japanese-inflected versions of Peruvian classics, like its Hokkaido scallop tiradito (raw fish in a spicy sauce) with passionfruit puree.
SF Hole in the Wall Pizza
Photo: Ida H./Yelp
The Outer Sunset's SF Hole in the Wall Pizza, a rebranded and expanded iteration of 20-year veteran Irving Pizza from the same owners, is also making waves compared to other Italian joints.
Open since August under its new name at 1825 Irving St. (between 19th and 20th avenues), it has seen a 32.4 percent bump in reviews, compared to a median increase of 1.2 percent in its category. Over the past month, it's dropped slightly to a mixed 3.5-star rating among Yelpers.
The pizzeria offers pizza by the slice and as whole specialty pies like the Tipsy Suzy: ranch sauce, sliced meatballs, bacon, pickled jalapenos, ham and marinated chicken. It provides delivery through most of the major delivery apps: Grubhub, Doordash and UberEats.
There's more than one hotspot trending in San Francisco's Italian category: Hayes Valley's Doppio Zero, another August arrival on the pizza scene, has seen a 31.2 percent increase in reviews -- though it also has struggled to find firm footing, with a rating of 3.5 stars thus far.
Photo: ALX Gastropub/Yelp
SoMa's ALX Gastropub, a relatively recent arrival from the team behind Alexander's Steakhouse, is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.
The upscale cocktail bar and restaurant, which opened at 680 Folsom St.(between Hampton Place and Third Street) in July, increased its review count by 51 percent over the past month, a clear outlier when compared to the median review increase of 1.3 percent for the Yelp category "New American."
The taphouse offers high-end takes on classic bar fare, like the "Foie-Gyu" burger -- made with two ounces of foie gras and a 15 percent Wagyu beef patty -- and the "Totes M'Goats" tater tots, with chevre and house-made ketchup. But its rating has dropped slightly over the past month, to a middling 3.5 stars.
Photo: JOnathan H./Yelp
Lower Pac Heights's popular deli Limoncello is currently on the upswing in the sandwich category on Yelp, a streak all the more impressive for the fact that it's been open for almost two years in its space at 1400 Sutter St. (at the intersection with Franklin Street).
While other sandwich spots increased their review counts by a median of 2.3 percent over the past month, Limoncello increased its month-over-month numbers by 50.6 percent--and kept its rating consistent, at an eye-popping five stars out of 374 reviews.
The deli doubles as a specialty market for wine, spirits and imported food products like smoked duck breast. Some of its most popular sandwiches include the Siciliano, generously layered with ham, salami, mortadella and provolone cheese; and the Alpino, with oven-roasted turkey, bacon and Swiss cheese.