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The Bay Area Heatmap: Where To Eat NOW, December 2014

The hottest new restaurants in SF and the East Bay.

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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.

12/4/14: Added Cockscomb, Hapa Ramen, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan, Rintaro

11/6/14: Added Pink Zebra, Huxley, Orenchi Beyond, Brenda's Meat & Three, Plank

10/2/14: Added Lazy Bear, The Hall, Doc Ricketts

9/4/14: Added Bandidos (renamed as Hecho), Beso, Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House

8/7/14: Added Monsieur Benjamin, Plin, Shakewell, Urchin

7/3/14: Added Causwells, The Dock at Linden Street, Marla Bakery, Pabu & The Ramen Bar, Perdition Smokehouse

6/5/14: Added 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Bartlett Hall, Chino, The Commissary, Gaspar Brasserie, Kusakabe, Outerlands, Palm House, Schroeder's, Red Dog, Ume, Uno Dos Tacos, Urban Putt

5/1/14: Added Dirty Habit, Souvla

4/3/14: Added Trou Normand, Barrel Head Brewhouse, Il Casaro

3/6/14: Added The Coachman, Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, Kin Khao, The Square

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, KronnerBurger

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Give your boca some sugar with the Spanish fare at this new spot from the Bisou guys, which offers tapas both traditional and inventive, plus Spanish wines.

Brenda's Meat & Three

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The latest from soul food queen Brenda Buenviaje boasts an airy new space on Divisadero with a meat-heavy menu and scores of homey sides to round out the meal. Expect the usual brunch lines from Brenda's to make the leap to dinner service here.

Cockscomb

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Top Chef Masters champ Chris Cosentino has risen from the ashes of Incanto at this highly personal new restaurant, where he's taking on San Francisco classics like celery Victor and Hangtown fry with his signature meaty twists (and love of offal). The space is quirky and fun, with plenty of beer and gin flowing.

Crystal Jade Jiang Nan

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One of Asia's most beloved culinary chains has come Stateside for the first time, dropping a whopping $14 million on a huge, glamorous Embarcadero Center perch. Dim sum, Peking duck, whole seafood, and other Chinese banquet classics emerge from a kitchen larger than most SF restaurants, and there's a sizable bar/lounge and to-go arm for office workers.

Doc Ricketts

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The revamp of the former Purple Onion is intended to capture North Beach's bohemian spirit, with relaxed fare upstairs and cocktails to accompany the live music and comedy in Doc's Lab, located downstairs. It's a nice place to catch a show without sacrificing good eating or drinking.

Hapa Ramen

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Richie Nakano's longtime pop-up is now a fully fledged Mission restaurant, complete with cocktails from Bourbon & Branch alums and Asian small plates to accompany his signature noodle soups. Don't expect hidebound ramen traditionalism here: Nakano likes to get experimental, with variations ranging from duck to cheeseburger ramen.

Sit-down Mexican fare has arrived in the Castro with this second project from the folks behind Hi Tops, featuring funky tacos (duck mole, prawns with goat cheese and arugula), plenty of margaritas, and other dressed-up offerings. It was formerly known as Bandidos, but the name was changed due to controversy in the local Mexican-American community.

This intimate 25-seat Tenderloin newcomer features a menu of hearty small plates from Bar Agricole vet Sara Hauman and consulting chef Brett Cooper (Outerlands). Plus a baked goods collaboration by Jane on Larkin and charming interiors from the Bon Vivants Design+Build team.

Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House

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The team behind Bocanova has expanded their Jack London Square empire with this new seafood spot, offering all the classics (chowder, raw bar, fish and chips) with sleek decor, cocktails, and a view of the water.

Lazy Bear

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You'll need a hotly contested ticket to visit the Mission brick-and-mortar from long-running underground chef David Barzelay. But if you can snag one, Lazy Bear is an exciting new player in the tasting-menu scene, with an upstairs cocktail party leading to a lively communal dinner full of playful and seasonal creations.

Monsieur Benjamin

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The second project from Benu whiz Corey Lee is a thoroughly French bistro, with takes on the classics both familiar (duck confit, steak frites, a burger) and less so (escargot, sweetbreads, beef tongue). There are cocktails and a solid under-$100 wine list, and it's open until 1 am.

Orenchi Beyond

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The brand-new San Francisco outpost of the wildly popular Santa Clara ramen shop immediately drew lines when it opened at the end of October— and for good reason, the ramen is worth the wait. Speaking of which, those lines are that much more bearable thanks to a front counter area where you can drink until a table opens up.

Pink Zebra

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The new venture from Mission Chinese Food chef Jesse Koide features an eclectic mix of Japanese and Mediterranean flavors with a 40-seat-dining room and an oh-so-hot-right-now $75 omakase menu that includes nigiri, pickles and other traditional small plates. Get in before the crew decamps for New York.

Oakland's entry into the upscale amusement dining trend features 18 lanes of bowling, 3 bocce courts and a massive 50,000 square feet— not to mention a full menu of unexpected bowling alley items from chef Jason Moniz (Flora, Tres) like ramen and queso fundido. Live music and karaoke round out the entertainment options making this something of a one-stop night on the town.

Alexander Alioto, the former chef of Seven Hills, has taken over Valencia's former Conduit/Another Monkey space for this Italian small-plates spot, which emphasizes seafood dishes, pasta, and wine. Italian-influenced cocktails complete the package.

Rintaro

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Sylvan Mishima Brackett's charming, delicate takeover of the former Chez Spencer features izakaya fare interpreted through a farm-to-table lens, with seasonal, highly NorCal takes on yakitori, chawanmushi, karaage, dumplings, and other Japanese classics.

Shakewell

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A duo of Top Chef alumni are behind this new Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar on Lakeshore, which offers classic tapas, bomba rice dishes, and cocktails. Be sure to save room for desserts like blackberry-Manchego tart.

The Dock at Linden Street

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James Syhabout's latest is a restaurant collaboration with west Oakland's Linden Street Brewery, featuring both a full-service restaurant with global shared plates and a more casual "beer shed" with snacks.

The Hall

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Hungry mid-Market office workers are rejoicing at the arrival of this lively new complex, featuring six vendors offering everything from Vietnamese food to Indian curries to sustainable seafood. An Anchor beer and wine bar keeps things bumping, and the $5 dim sum carts at happy hour are a lot of fun.

Urchin Bistrot

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Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani (Ame, Terra) have landed in the Mission, with a new French bistro-inspired restaurant in the former Wo Hing General Store on Valencia. Expect updated classics and plenty of cocktails and wine.

Beso

Give your boca some sugar with the Spanish fare at this new spot from the Bisou guys, which offers tapas both traditional and inventive, plus Spanish wines.

Brenda's Meat & Three

The latest from soul food queen Brenda Buenviaje boasts an airy new space on Divisadero with a meat-heavy menu and scores of homey sides to round out the meal. Expect the usual brunch lines from Brenda's to make the leap to dinner service here.

Cockscomb

Top Chef Masters champ Chris Cosentino has risen from the ashes of Incanto at this highly personal new restaurant, where he's taking on San Francisco classics like celery Victor and Hangtown fry with his signature meaty twists (and love of offal). The space is quirky and fun, with plenty of beer and gin flowing.

Crystal Jade Jiang Nan

One of Asia's most beloved culinary chains has come Stateside for the first time, dropping a whopping $14 million on a huge, glamorous Embarcadero Center perch. Dim sum, Peking duck, whole seafood, and other Chinese banquet classics emerge from a kitchen larger than most SF restaurants, and there's a sizable bar/lounge and to-go arm for office workers.

Doc Ricketts

The revamp of the former Purple Onion is intended to capture North Beach's bohemian spirit, with relaxed fare upstairs and cocktails to accompany the live music and comedy in Doc's Lab, located downstairs. It's a nice place to catch a show without sacrificing good eating or drinking.

Hapa Ramen

Richie Nakano's longtime pop-up is now a fully fledged Mission restaurant, complete with cocktails from Bourbon & Branch alums and Asian small plates to accompany his signature noodle soups. Don't expect hidebound ramen traditionalism here: Nakano likes to get experimental, with variations ranging from duck to cheeseburger ramen.

Hecho

Sit-down Mexican fare has arrived in the Castro with this second project from the folks behind Hi Tops, featuring funky tacos (duck mole, prawns with goat cheese and arugula), plenty of margaritas, and other dressed-up offerings. It was formerly known as Bandidos, but the name was changed due to controversy in the local Mexican-American community.

Huxley

This intimate 25-seat Tenderloin newcomer features a menu of hearty small plates from Bar Agricole vet Sara Hauman and consulting chef Brett Cooper (Outerlands). Plus a baked goods collaboration by Jane on Larkin and charming interiors from the Bon Vivants Design+Build team.

Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House

The team behind Bocanova has expanded their Jack London Square empire with this new seafood spot, offering all the classics (chowder, raw bar, fish and chips) with sleek decor, cocktails, and a view of the water.

Lazy Bear

You'll need a hotly contested ticket to visit the Mission brick-and-mortar from long-running underground chef David Barzelay. But if you can snag one, Lazy Bear is an exciting new player in the tasting-menu scene, with an upstairs cocktail party leading to a lively communal dinner full of playful and seasonal creations.

Monsieur Benjamin

The second project from Benu whiz Corey Lee is a thoroughly French bistro, with takes on the classics both familiar (duck confit, steak frites, a burger) and less so (escargot, sweetbreads, beef tongue). There are cocktails and a solid under-$100 wine list, and it's open until 1 am.

Orenchi Beyond

The brand-new San Francisco outpost of the wildly popular Santa Clara ramen shop immediately drew lines when it opened at the end of October— and for good reason, the ramen is worth the wait. Speaking of which, those lines are that much more bearable thanks to a front counter area where you can drink until a table opens up.

Pink Zebra

The new venture from Mission Chinese Food chef Jesse Koide features an eclectic mix of Japanese and Mediterranean flavors with a 40-seat-dining room and an oh-so-hot-right-now $75 omakase menu that includes nigiri, pickles and other traditional small plates. Get in before the crew decamps for New York.

Plank

Oakland's entry into the upscale amusement dining trend features 18 lanes of bowling, 3 bocce courts and a massive 50,000 square feet— not to mention a full menu of unexpected bowling alley items from chef Jason Moniz (Flora, Tres) like ramen and queso fundido. Live music and karaoke round out the entertainment options making this something of a one-stop night on the town.

Plin

Alexander Alioto, the former chef of Seven Hills, has taken over Valencia's former Conduit/Another Monkey space for this Italian small-plates spot, which emphasizes seafood dishes, pasta, and wine. Italian-influenced cocktails complete the package.

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Rintaro

Sylvan Mishima Brackett's charming, delicate takeover of the former Chez Spencer features izakaya fare interpreted through a farm-to-table lens, with seasonal, highly NorCal takes on yakitori, chawanmushi, karaage, dumplings, and other Japanese classics.

Shakewell

A duo of Top Chef alumni are behind this new Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar on Lakeshore, which offers classic tapas, bomba rice dishes, and cocktails. Be sure to save room for desserts like blackberry-Manchego tart.