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The Bay Area Heatmap: Where To Eat NOW

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More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot, which favorite chef just launched a sophomore effort, where to sip the cocktail of the moment. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the 'it' places of the moment. Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight where the foodie crowds are flocking at the moment.

Check out the map of the Bay Area's hottest restaurants right now below (in no particular order), and drop any feedback in the comments section.


7/11/13: Added 20th Century Cafe, Barrel House Tavern, Heartbaker, Le Marais Bakery, Roka Akor, Redford, Waiheke Island Yacht Club

6/6/13: Added Osso Steakhouse, Mason Pacific, Novela, MKT Restaurant and Bar, Mama Ji's, El Techo de Lolinda, The Palace, A16 Rockridge

5/2/13: Added Coqueta, Seaglass, Tribune Tavern

4/4/13: Added Padrecito, Hard Water, Hutong, 20 Spot

3/7/13: Added b. patisserie, South at SFJAZZ

2/7/13: Added Trick Dog, Saison, and Hi-Lo BBQ

1/7/13: Added Ramen Shop, Rickybobby, American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and KronnerBurger

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Barrel House Tavern

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It's hard to miss when you've got a view of the Bay as lovely as Barrel House Tavern's, but a smart menu of French fare from Mirepoix's former chef, as well as exquisite decor and a cool house soda program, definitely don't hurt.

Le Marais Bakery

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The Marina finally has a top-notch bakery to call its own, with French bread and viennoiserie aplenty and desserts from an Aziza and Presidio Social Club alum. The decor is also a notch above the standard for a bakery.

b. patisserie

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Belinda Leong's wildly popular new pastry shop faced sellout crowds in the early going, but has settled into its groove as customers flock for her famous kouign amann, the exquisite grande macaron, and the luscious chocolate-caramel-toffee mousse.

heartbaker

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A bakery in every pot seems to be the mission of the SF food world in 2013, and former Kokkari and Aqua pastry chef Sybil Johnson has a lovely one in the Richmond, with cookies, cheesecake, cupcakes, cream puffs, creme brulee...and that's only the Cs.

Osso Steakhouse

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For old-school pleasure-center maximalism, it's hard to beat a steakhouse, and the Bobo's pedigree and Deco decor here are sure to please those with big pocketbooks. (Hey, what can you expect from a place that cheerfully sells Cristal by the glass?)

Mason Pacific

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This chic new bistro atop Russian Hill is distinguished by its love for vino, with a nifty Copain draft-wine program and a deep reserve list. The chef has cooked at some of the best restaurants in both Paris and SF, and the eclectic menu is fresh and approachable.

Roka Akor

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This big, glitzy new edition of the Illinois-based Japanese chain is a looker, with flown-from-Japan sushi, robata-grilled steaks, and a huge bar in the basement featuring the cocktail talents of Alembic alum Daniel Hyatt.

Redford

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This American tavern in the former Ambassador space isn't fancy, but for simple pub grub, flights of wine and whiskey, and cool decor, it's a friendly, relaxing option.

Waiheke Island Yacht Club

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The America's Cup has brought a terrific pop-up to town: Waiheke Island Yacht Club boasts chefs and staff from one of Auckland's most acclaimed restaurants, and while the atmosphere is industrial, the food is sublime. It all ends December 31, so get in while you can.

Coqueta

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Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello's new Spanish spot is packing them in for tapas, inventive cocktails (liquid-nitrogen sangria!) and the ever-exquisite Bay views. At only 50-odd seats, though, this one's a hot ticket that's filling up fast; reservations are a must.

Seaglass Restaurant

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Yeah, it's a museum restaurant, but with the gorgeous Bay views in that glass box, Cal-Med fare from Loretta Keller, and master sushi chef Sachio Kojima manning the raw bar, this one's not to be overlooked. You don't need a ticket to dine, but do note the wonky hours; it's really only open for dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the latter night is 18+ only, so don't bring the kids.

Hard Water

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Good luck scoring a seat at Charles Phan's shoebox-sized Embarcadero whiskey bar, but if you can get in, you'll be greeted by an impossibly rare collection of bourbons curated by Erik Adkins, tasty Southern-inspired small plates, and a nice Bay view.

Kate Bolton and Alex Smith's on-point cocktail menu (including, as far as we can tell, the first-ever draft punch program) is the draw, but it's the opulent decor at this literary-themed bar that will have you goggling after drink #3.

MKT Restaurant and Bar

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The Four Seasons' updated restaurant and bar boasts sleek new newspaper-themed decor, a locally-sourced cocktail list, and comfort food like pastas, steak, and salads.

Padrecito

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The latest project from the Mamacita, Umami, and Tipsy Pig team has been drawing lots of love from the neighborhood with upscale Mexican fare, tasty tequila cocktails, and a homey, yet lively atmosphere. It's a nice addition to the fairly quiet food scene in Cole Valley.

Mama Ji's

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Good dim sum in the Castro? It seems impossible, but the sticky lotus-leaf rice, pot stickers, and veggie buns will make you a believer. Plus, there's spicy Sichuan cuisine at dinner and Belgian beer aplenty.

20th Century Cafe

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Michelle Polzine, Range's star pastry chef, now has a bakery of her own, with Eastern European-inspired offerings like potato knish, Russian honey cake, and poppyseed bagels. It's just treats and coffee for now, but savory options will come online soon.

20 Spot

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This adorable Mission wine bar, housed in a former record shop, has an intriguing menu of small plates from Sea Salt alum Anthony Paone to pair with its lovely mid-century modern decor and thoughtful wine and beer selection.

El Techo de Lolinda

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Though it's atop Lolinda, El Techo is very much its own entity, with a separate food and cocktail menu and, of course, that to-die-for view. Added bonus: the tenting and glass walls, which keep things toasty for SF "summer" without sacrificing the vista.

The Palace

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Frills are few at Manny Torres Gimenez' new Mission steakhouse, but the high-quality food (lobster, oysters, filet) from the SPQR and Quince alum, not to mention its BYOB status and $50 tasting menu, elevate it to heatmap status.

Tribune Tavern

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Chris Pastena's latest project is getting attention for Huw Thornton's meat-heavy pub menu, the inventive cocktail program, and a strong beer and wine selection. The cool historic vibe of the Tribune building doesn't hurt either.

A16 Rockridge

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The Marina staple's new Oakland sister spot retains its focus on pizza and pasta, but with more of an emphasis on seafood and some unusual pies. The mothership's amazing wine selection remains, and unlike the original, it's got a full liquor license and cocktails.

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Barrel House Tavern

It's hard to miss when you've got a view of the Bay as lovely as Barrel House Tavern's, but a smart menu of French fare from Mirepoix's former chef, as well as exquisite decor and a cool house soda program, definitely don't hurt.

Le Marais Bakery

The Marina finally has a top-notch bakery to call its own, with French bread and viennoiserie aplenty and desserts from an Aziza and Presidio Social Club alum. The decor is also a notch above the standard for a bakery.

b. patisserie

Belinda Leong's wildly popular new pastry shop faced sellout crowds in the early going, but has settled into its groove as customers flock for her famous kouign amann, the exquisite grande macaron, and the luscious chocolate-caramel-toffee mousse.

heartbaker

A bakery in every pot seems to be the mission of the SF food world in 2013, and former Kokkari and Aqua pastry chef Sybil Johnson has a lovely one in the Richmond, with cookies, cheesecake, cupcakes, cream puffs, creme brulee...and that's only the Cs.

Osso Steakhouse

For old-school pleasure-center maximalism, it's hard to beat a steakhouse, and the Bobo's pedigree and Deco decor here are sure to please those with big pocketbooks. (Hey, what can you expect from a place that cheerfully sells Cristal by the glass?)

Mason Pacific

This chic new bistro atop Russian Hill is distinguished by its love for vino, with a nifty Copain draft-wine program and a deep reserve list. The chef has cooked at some of the best restaurants in both Paris and SF, and the eclectic menu is fresh and approachable.

Roka Akor

This big, glitzy new edition of the Illinois-based Japanese chain is a looker, with flown-from-Japan sushi, robata-grilled steaks, and a huge bar in the basement featuring the cocktail talents of Alembic alum Daniel Hyatt.

Redford

This American tavern in the former Ambassador space isn't fancy, but for simple pub grub, flights of wine and whiskey, and cool decor, it's a friendly, relaxing option.

Waiheke Island Yacht Club

The America's Cup has brought a terrific pop-up to town: Waiheke Island Yacht Club boasts chefs and staff from one of Auckland's most acclaimed restaurants, and while the atmosphere is industrial, the food is sublime. It all ends December 31, so get in while you can.

Coqueta

Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello's new Spanish spot is packing them in for tapas, inventive cocktails (liquid-nitrogen sangria!) and the ever-exquisite Bay views. At only 50-odd seats, though, this one's a hot ticket that's filling up fast; reservations are a must.

Seaglass Restaurant