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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.


2/6/14: Added Victory Hall & Parlor, Loló, Second Act Marketplace

1/2/14: Added Verbena, La Nebbia

12/5/13: Added Alta CA, Nico, Merigan Sub Shop, Iyasare, Penrose

11/7/13: Added Tosca Cafe, TBD, Maruya, Chaparral, Box & Bells, Stones Throw, Ala Romana

10/3/13: Added Fog City, 1760, Bergerac, The Vestry

9/5/13: Added The Cavalier, La Urbana, Palmer's Tavern, Pesce, Stuffed

8/1/13: Added Mikkeller Bar, Bouli Bar, Rustic, Homestead, Aliment

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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After cooking in some of the Bay Area's best restaurants, French-trained Nicolas Delaroque and his wife Andrea opened this charming little bistro, featuring an ever-changing menu of seasonal fare. Wine lovers will dig the half-glass options, and a magnum of vintage Champagne gets popped every night.

Verbena

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The crew behind Berkeley's Gather have opened their first cityside restaurant, with cocktails, vegetable-centric seasonal fare, and a glowing wall of pickles. It's another nice addition to the suddenly hot restaurant scene in Russian Hill.

Stones Throw

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Good neighborhood joints can be hard to come by in this wave of culinary innovation, making this comfort-food-with-a-twist spot a counterintuitively rare bird. (Maybe that's why there are stencils of them everywhere.) For a comforting pasta or salmon dish, childhood-influenced dessert, and a smart wine or beer from the extensive selection, Stones Throw seems bound for glory in the Tuesday-night-restaurant category. (But Saturday is fine too.)

Ala Romana

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The first spinoff from Allegro Romano's Lorenzo Logerici and A16 vet David Taylor is all about Roman food, with hearty, satisfying options like seafood in acqua pazza, nettle and ricotta gnocchi, and Jewish-style artichokes. There's plenty of Italian wine, too.

Tosca Cafe

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April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman have revived the North Beach icon with an experience that hits on all levels, from the satisfying Italian food to the fun bar bites and cocktails to the deep Italian wine program. The only problem is getting in: this white-hot spot doesn't take reservations, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you time it.

Second Act

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The Red Vic has gotten new life as a marketplace and events space, featuring Southern fare, a bakery cooperative, fresh juice, piroshki, and spices. It's a great place for breakfast, a snack, and anything in between.

Chaparral

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The pop-up of the moment comes to us from Thomas Martinez (Mission Beach Cafe), who's turning Lower Haight brunch perennial Kate's Kitchen into an evening spot for smart comfort food like lamb shoulder and roasted Brussels sprouts. The big bonuses: it's currently BYOB, and open until 2 am on weekends.

ALTA CA

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Daniel Patterson's latest boasts Eastern European-tinged comfort food from chef Yoni Levy, a bespoke cocktail program, and ice cream for dessert (or to go). The first upscale restaurant on this stretch of Market, it'll double as a power-dining spot for the swaths of newly transplanted tech employees coming from their nearby offices.

The name is misleading, because the second restaurant from the team behind AQ is very much determined, from its all-live-fire cooking program to its extensive sherry and beer selections. Drop by the bar for a "loophole" low-ABV cocktail and bite, or settle in amongst the camping lanterns for a full meal (complete with concluding s'mores).

Victory Hall & Parlor

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Little Skillet has gone big with this capacious next-door cocktail bar, featuring an expanded menu of down-home Southern fare (including brunch), inventive drinks, and plenty of room for groups to spread out and tuck in.

Merigan Sub Shop

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Former A16 chef Liza Shaw has gone more casual (but by no means sacrificed flavor) with this cute and cheerful sub shop, serving up tastes of East Coast Italian-American goodness like meatball, chicken parm, and roasted pork subs. Italian combos, house pickles, and housemade Italian ice for dessert make Merigan a fun stop for lunch or takeout.

Ultra-pristine omakase is the name of the game at this tiny Mission sushi spot, which boasts the talents of longtime local great Masaki Sasaki. Fast and cheap are not operative words here, but for a Japanese-style sushi experience at Japanese-style prices, it's something of a groundbreaker on the local scene.

This uber-popular Mexican tapas spot now has a big, bright new home on Valencia, with gussied-up cocktails, a mezcal bar, some new bites (as well as classics like the tacos tropical), and fun decor that's the opposite of reclaimed-wood dullness.

La Nebbia

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The team behind family-run gem La Ciccia have expanded with this new Noe Valley wine bar, which boasts a sizable food menu of fresh cheeses, crisp pizzas, and three kinds of homemade lasagna. The all-Italian list offers plenty of intriguing vintages.

Iyasare

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Former Yoshi's chef Sho Kamio has gotten personal with his latest project, incorporating both Japanese and American influences into a menu that spans sushi, miso-cured pork chops, sea urchin fettuccine, and hibachi-grilled beef tongue. It's rustic and refined at the same time.

Box & Bells

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James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare) continues to cement his hometown-hero status with this casual and lively restaurant, built around the kinds of foods he serves for staff meal. Blood pudding poutine, mussels tikka masala, and fried chicken are just some of the mega-hearty options, and with classic cocktails in the mix as well, it's sure to be an industry favorite.

Penrose

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The latest from Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaiolo, Boot & Shoe Service), Penrose is a chic take on a bar and grill, with lots of live-fire cooking (think grilled bone-in ribeyes, flatbreads, and a raw bar to start). Cocktails and a stunningly stripped-down space are also part of the package.

Nico

After cooking in some of the Bay Area's best restaurants, French-trained Nicolas Delaroque and his wife Andrea opened this charming little bistro, featuring an ever-changing menu of seasonal fare. Wine lovers will dig the half-glass options, and a magnum of vintage Champagne gets popped every night.

Verbena

The crew behind Berkeley's Gather have opened their first cityside restaurant, with cocktails, vegetable-centric seasonal fare, and a glowing wall of pickles. It's another nice addition to the suddenly hot restaurant scene in Russian Hill.

Stones Throw

Good neighborhood joints can be hard to come by in this wave of culinary innovation, making this comfort-food-with-a-twist spot a counterintuitively rare bird. (Maybe that's why there are stencils of them everywhere.) For a comforting pasta or salmon dish, childhood-influenced dessert, and a smart wine or beer from the extensive selection, Stones Throw seems bound for glory in the Tuesday-night-restaurant category. (But Saturday is fine too.)

Ala Romana

The first spinoff from Allegro Romano's Lorenzo Logerici and A16 vet David Taylor is all about Roman food, with hearty, satisfying options like seafood in acqua pazza, nettle and ricotta gnocchi, and Jewish-style artichokes. There's plenty of Italian wine, too.

Tosca Cafe

April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman have revived the North Beach icon with an experience that hits on all levels, from the satisfying Italian food to the fun bar bites and cocktails to the deep Italian wine program. The only problem is getting in: this white-hot spot doesn't take reservations, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you time it.

Second Act

The Red Vic has gotten new life as a marketplace and events space, featuring Southern fare, a bakery cooperative, fresh juice, piroshki, and spices. It's a great place for breakfast, a snack, and anything in between.

Chaparral

The pop-up of the moment comes to us from Thomas Martinez (Mission Beach Cafe), who's turning Lower Haight brunch perennial Kate's Kitchen into an evening spot for smart comfort food like lamb shoulder and roasted Brussels sprouts. The big bonuses: it's currently BYOB, and open until 2 am on weekends.

ALTA CA

Daniel Patterson's latest boasts Eastern European-tinged comfort food from chef Yoni Levy, a bespoke cocktail program, and ice cream for dessert (or to go). The first upscale restaurant on this stretch of Market, it'll double as a power-dining spot for the swaths of newly transplanted tech employees coming from their nearby offices.

TBD

The name is misleading, because the second restaurant from the team behind AQ is very much determined, from its all-live-fire cooking program to its extensive sherry and beer selections. Drop by the bar for a "loophole" low-ABV cocktail and bite, or settle in amongst the camping lanterns for a full meal (complete with concluding s'mores).

Victory Hall & Parlor

Little Skillet has gone big with this capacious next-door cocktail bar, featuring an expanded menu of down-home Southern fare (including brunch), inventive drinks, and plenty of room for groups to spread out and tuck in.

Merigan Sub Shop