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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.

1. Nico

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3228 Sacramento
San Francisco, CA
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.

2. Verbena

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2323 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 441-2323
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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.

3. Stones Throw

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1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 796-2901
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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.)

4. Ala Romana

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1098 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
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.

5. Tosca Cafe

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242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-9651
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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.

6. Second Act

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1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 668-3994
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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.

7. Chaparral

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471 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 793-9016
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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.

8. ALTA CA

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1420 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
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.
1077 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 431-1826
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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).

10. Victory Hall & Parlor

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330 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 543-4255
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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.

11. Merigan Sub Shop

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636 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA
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.

12. Maruya

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2931 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 503-0702
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.

13. Loló

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974 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 643-5656
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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.

14. La Nebbia

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1781 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 874-9924
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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.

15. Iyasare

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1830 4th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
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.

16. Box & Bells

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5912 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 923-2000
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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.

17. Penrose

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3311 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 444-1649
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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.

1. Nico

3228 Sacramento, San Francisco, CA
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.
3228 Sacramento
San Francisco, CA

2. Verbena

2323 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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.
2323 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

3. Stones Throw

1896 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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.)
1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109

4. Ala Romana

1098 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
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.
1098 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

5. Tosca Cafe

242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
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.
242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

6. Second Act

1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
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.
1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

7. Chaparral

471 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
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.
471 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

8. ALTA CA

1420 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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.
1420 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. TBD

1077 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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).
1077 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Victory Hall & Parlor

330 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107
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.
330 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

11. Merigan Sub Shop

636 2nd Street, San Francisco, CA
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.
636 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA

12. Maruya

2931 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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.
2931 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

13. Loló

974 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
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.
974 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. La Nebbia

1781 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131
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.
1781 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131

15. Iyasare

1830 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
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.
1830 4th St
Berkeley, CA 94710

Related Maps

16. Box & Bells

5912 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
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.
5912 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

17. Penrose

3311 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
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.
3311 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Related Maps