We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to deduce which local food and drink purveyors have been getting a notable uptick in attention 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 increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots are riding the wave this winter.
Photo: Jenny J./Yelp
Open since last September, Angler is the new a la carte restaurant from the team behind three-Michelin-starred tasting-menu spot Saison. While it offers a variety of dishes, from seafood to vegetarian options, its 28-ounce bone-in porterhouse is a customer favorite, which has led to it trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Steakhouses" on Yelp.
Citywide, steakhouses saw review counts increase by a median of 1 percent over the past month, but Angler saw a 34.2 percent increase, maintaining a convincing four-star rating throughout.
Located at 132 The Embarcadero (between Sacramento and Clay streets) in SoMa, Angler was recently named the best new restaurant in the country by Esquire magazine. Take a look at a sample menu here.
Photo: Zhikuai C./Yelp
Open since last October, classic sushi bar Sake Bomb is trending compared to other sushi bars on Yelp.
Citywide, businesses tagged "Sushi Bars" saw review counts increase by a median of 1.9 percent over the past month, but Sake Bomb saw a 40 percent increase, maintaining an excellent 4.5-star rating throughout.
Located at 2878 24th St. (between Florida and Bryant streets) in the Mission, Sake Bomb offers omakase options for both sashimi and nigiri, as well as signature rolls like the Spiderman (spicy tuna, mango, cucumber and deep-fried soft-shell crab). You can see the full menu here.
Z & Y Bistro
Photo: Z & Y Bistro/Yelp
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Chinatown's Z & Y Bistro, the Chinese-Japanese fusion spot is a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Chinese" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.6 percent over the past month, Z & Y Bistro bagged a 38.9 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month, gaining double the reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 606 Jackson St. (between Cooper Alley and Kearny Street) since last August, Z & Y Bistro is a spinoff of popular Chinese restaurant Z & Y, which is located right across the street.
In addition to the original restaurant's signature Sichuan fare, like chicken with explosive chili peppers, Z & Y Bistro offers Japanese yakitori skewers like duck breast, bacon-wrapped prawns and pork collar. For ramen fans, there's a beef ramen with hand-pulled Lanzhou noodles. Check out the full menu here.
Crostini & Java
Photo: Crostini and Java/Yelp
Lower Nob Hill's Crostini & Java, open since late 2017 at 899 Hyde St. (between Bush and Sutter streets), is also making waves.
The mom-and-pop cafe has seen an 18.7 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.2 percent for all businesses tagged "Sandwiches" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 350 percent.
Over the past month, the cafe has maintained a terrific five-star rating among Yelpers for offerings like its signature "ultimate breakfast sandwich," with maple Dijon sauce on a croissant. Lunchtime fare includes a caramelized onion and roast beef sandwich with rosemary aioli. (See the full menu here.)
Finally, Violet's Tavern in the Outer Richmond is earning buzz for its seafood items. The cocktail and small-plates spot first opened at 2301 Clement St. (between 24th and 25th avenues) last June.
Violet's increased its review count by 13.8 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 1.3 percent for the Yelp category "Seafood." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.4 times more reviews than expected, based on past performance.
It's not the only trending outlier in the seafood category: Luke's Lobster SoMa has seen a 18.5 percent increase in reviews.
Violet's offers a seafood appetizer platter with 18 oysters, half a lobster and a shrimp cocktail, along with larger plates like a whole roasted pink sea bream with braised chard or a shrimp louie sandwich. You can check out the full menu here.