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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.


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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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.

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.

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.

Hi Lo BBQ

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Ryan Ostler and Scott Youkilis' new 'cue spot in the Mission is lively, tasty, and won't leave you feeling like you've swallowed a bowling ball. Grab one of Scott Beattie's wild-cherry bourbon rickeys and order up the tender ribs, the sake-braised pork belly, or the insanely good brussels sprouts. They're serving all day now, too, with $2 beers at lunch and killer new desserts from Katherine Zacher.

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.

Trick Dog

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With reports of lines nearly every night, this Mission bar/gastropub from the Bon Vivants might be too hot to handle. But if you can make it inside, the cool decor, Pantone-colored menu, perfectly balanced drinks, and tasty pub grub like fried sweetbreads will win you over. Added bonus: the kitchen's open until 2 am.

KronnerBurger

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Chef Chris Kronner's once cult-followed Bar Tartine burger returns from the ashes at KronnerBurger. The menu includes the famous marrow burger, "crabburger," beef cheek-gravy-covered fries, and cocktails from current Locanda bar manager Gabe Lowe. Dinner is served until late every night but Saturday, in a vacant space next to Bruno's—adding the right dose of edgy mystique to make for true "hotness."

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. (N.B. It won't open officially until Saturday.)

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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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.

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.

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

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

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.

Novela

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

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

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

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.

Hi Lo BBQ

Ryan Ostler and Scott Youkilis' new 'cue spot in the Mission is lively, tasty, and won't leave you feeling like you've swallowed a bowling ball. Grab one of Scott Beattie's wild-cherry bourbon rickeys and order up the tender ribs, the sake-braised pork belly, or the insanely good brussels sprouts. They're serving all day now, too, with $2 beers at lunch and killer new desserts from Katherine Zacher.

20 Spot

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.

Trick Dog

With reports of lines nearly every night, this Mission bar/gastropub from the Bon Vivants might be too hot to handle. But if you can make it inside, the cool decor, Pantone-colored menu, perfectly balanced drinks, and tasty pub grub like fried sweetbreads will win you over. Added bonus: the kitchen's open until 2 am.