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The Bay Area Heatmap: Where To Eat NOW, February 2015

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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 beyond alphabetical), and drop any feedback in the comments section.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. AL's Place

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1499 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 416-6136
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This Mission neighborhood restaurant from lauded former Ubuntu chef Aaron London is focused on doing great and inventive things with vegetables and seafood (though you can still order meat as a side dish). The price tag is surprisingly reasonable, and they've got a robust loophole cocktail program and wine list.

2. Arguello

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50 Moraga Ave.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 561-3650
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After launching a surprise Presidio hit with The Commissary, Traci des Jardins is back at it with this upscale-casual Mexican restaurant in the revived Presidio Officers' Club, featuring fish and carne asada tacos on housemade tortillas, albondigas soup, ceviche, and carnitas, all through a NorCal seasonality lens. Full liquor and margaritas are in the mix, and there's a big, sheltered patio area.

3. Brenda's Meat & Three

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919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115

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.

4. Burma Love

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211 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA

The Inner Richmond's Burma Superstar now has a flashier, pricier Valencia spinoff, turning out the classics (tea-leaf salad, samusa soup, chicken-coconut-curry noodles) and some new seafood dishes, with full liquor on the way. It all comes at a significantly higher price point than the original, but for Missionites who'd rather not schlep to Clement, it might be worth the tariff.

5. Californios

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3115 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 757-0994
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Val M. Cantu's extremely petite, extremely personal Mission tasting-menu restaurant offers fine dining through a Mexican lens, taking on everything from barbacoa to Mexican wedding cookies with a personal touch to be expected from a Sons & Daughters and Uchi alum. It's also relatively affordable ($57 for seven courses), and they've got a French Laundry veteran on wine. [Update: The price of dinner at Californios has been bumped to $75.]

6. Cockscomb

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564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 974-0700
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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.

7. Crystal Jade Jiang Nan

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4 Embarcadero Ctr
San Francisco, CA
(415) 399-1200
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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 that's larger than most SF restaurants, and there's a sizable bar/lounge and to-go arm for office workers.

8. Hapa Ramen

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2293 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 202-6333
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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.

9. Hawker Fare

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680 valencia, san francisco, ca
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 800-9000
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James Syhabout's popular Uptown Oakland Thai concept has arrived cityside, with a massive, colorful location in prime Valencia territory. Expect spicy Isaan-style dishes consumed family-style with pads of rice (you can even order an entire bottle of Johnnie Walker to make highballs), as well as inventive cocktails at the miniature upstairs bar, Holy Mountain.

10. Huxley

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846 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 800-8223
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This intimate 25-seat Tenderloin newcomer features a menu of hearty small plates from Bar Agricole vet Sara Hauman. Throw in a baked goods collaboration with neighboring Jane on Larkin and charming interiors from the Bon Vivants Design+Build team, and you've got the ultimate neighborhood bistro.

11. Lazy Bear

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3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9921
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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.

12. Liholiho Yacht Club

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871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 440-5446
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One of the most anticipated restaurants of this and many other years, LYC brings together the service and style ethos of the gang behind Nopa and Nopalito with the dynamic Hawaiian-Indian-NorCal cooking of former Prospect chef Ravi Kapur. The result is a sleek, sophisticated, and slightly cheeky tribute to the islands, complete with cocktails.

13. Monsieur Benjamin

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451 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 403-2233
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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.

14. Mourad

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140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 660-2500

A perennial Michelin player at Aziza, Mourad Lahlou has debuted his first spinoff downtown, a splashy, glamorous spot in which to enjoy his signature Moroccan-influenced cuisine. Whether you want to grab a bite at the bar or go all-in on a tasting menu, there's lots to enjoy, including wine selected by a Master Sommelier.

15. Orenchi Beyond

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174 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103

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.

16. Pink Zebra

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3515 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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.

17. Rintaro

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82 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 589-7022
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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.

18. The Hall

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1028 Market St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 558-8293
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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.

19. The Market

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1355 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 767-5130
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A bonkers new grocery store and food complex in the Twitter building, The Market features four fast-casual outposts (including Azalina's Malaysian), a full-service grocery, a tapas bar, a coffee shop with beer and wine, a sushi and oyster bar, and a chocolatier, among other options. Think Whole Foods on steroids, with a price tag to match.

20. The Progress

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1525 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 673-1294
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Scoring a reservation at the new restaurant from State Bird Provisions' Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski isn't easy, but you'll be rewarded with divine, globe-trotting dishes that truly push boundaries. The menu is $68/person for six courses (you choose from a list of 12) served family-style, so go with people who don't mind sharing. Also of note: a full bar with cocktails, and a much more extensive wine list than State Bird's.

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1. AL's Place

1499 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

This Mission neighborhood restaurant from lauded former Ubuntu chef Aaron London is focused on doing great and inventive things with vegetables and seafood (though you can still order meat as a side dish). The price tag is surprisingly reasonable, and they've got a robust loophole cocktail program and wine list.

1499 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

2. Arguello

50 Moraga Ave., San Francisco, CA

After launching a surprise Presidio hit with The Commissary, Traci des Jardins is back at it with this upscale-casual Mexican restaurant in the revived Presidio Officers' Club, featuring fish and carne asada tacos on housemade tortillas, albondigas soup, ceviche, and carnitas, all through a NorCal seasonality lens. Full liquor and margaritas are in the mix, and there's a big, sheltered patio area.

50 Moraga Ave.
San Francisco, CA

3. Brenda's Meat & Three

919 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

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.

919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115

4. Burma Love

211 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA

The Inner Richmond's Burma Superstar now has a flashier, pricier Valencia spinoff, turning out the classics (tea-leaf salad, samusa soup, chicken-coconut-curry noodles) and some new seafood dishes, with full liquor on the way. It all comes at a significantly higher price point than the original, but for Missionites who'd rather not schlep to Clement, it might be worth the tariff.

211 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA

5. Californios

3115 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Val M. Cantu's extremely petite, extremely personal Mission tasting-menu restaurant offers fine dining through a Mexican lens, taking on everything from barbacoa to Mexican wedding cookies with a personal touch to be expected from a Sons & Daughters and Uchi alum. It's also relatively affordable ($57 for seven courses), and they've got a French Laundry veteran on wine. [Update: The price of dinner at Californios has been bumped to $75.]

3115 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. Cockscomb

564 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

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.

564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

7. Crystal Jade Jiang Nan

4 Embarcadero Ctr, San Francisco, CA

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 that's larger than most SF restaurants, and there's a sizable bar/lounge and to-go arm for office workers.

4 Embarcadero Ctr
San Francisco, CA

8. Hapa Ramen

2293 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

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.

2293 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

9. Hawker Fare

680 valencia, san francisco, ca, San Francisco, CA 94110

James Syhabout's popular Uptown Oakland Thai concept has arrived cityside, with a massive, colorful location in prime Valencia territory. Expect spicy Isaan-style dishes consumed family-style with pads of rice (you can even order an entire bottle of Johnnie Walker to make highballs), as well as inventive cocktails at the miniature upstairs bar, Holy Mountain.

680 valencia, san francisco, ca
San Francisco, CA 94110

10. Huxley

846 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94109

This intimate 25-seat Tenderloin newcomer features a menu of hearty small plates from Bar Agricole vet Sara Hauman. Throw in a baked goods collaboration with neighboring Jane on Larkin and charming interiors from the Bon Vivants Design+Build team, and you've got the ultimate neighborhood bistro.

846 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94109

11. Lazy Bear

3416 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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.

3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. Liholiho Yacht Club

871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

One of the most anticipated restaurants of this and many other years, LYC brings together the service and style ethos of the gang behind Nopa and Nopalito with the dynamic Hawaiian-Indian-NorCal cooking of former Prospect chef Ravi Kapur. The result is a sleek, sophisticated, and slightly cheeky tribute to the islands, complete with cocktails.

871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

13. Monsieur Benjamin

451 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA

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.

451 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA

14. Mourad

140 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105

A perennial Michelin player at Aziza, Mourad Lahlou has debuted his first spinoff downtown, a splashy, glamorous spot in which to enjoy his signature Moroccan-influenced cuisine. Whether you want to grab a bite at the bar or go all-in on a tasting menu, there's lots to enjoy, including wine selected by a Master Sommelier.

140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

15. Orenchi Beyond

174 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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.

174 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Related Maps

16. Pink Zebra

3515 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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.

3515 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. Rintaro

82 14th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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.

82 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

18. The Hall

1028 Market St, San Francisco, CA

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.

1028 Market St
San Francisco, CA

19. The Market

1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

A bonkers new grocery store and food complex in the Twitter building, The Market features four fast-casual outposts (including Azalina's Malaysian), a full-service grocery, a tapas bar, a coffee shop with beer and wine, a sushi and oyster bar, and a chocolatier, among other options. Think Whole Foods on steroids, with a price tag to match.

1355 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

20. The Progress

1525 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Scoring a reservation at the new restaurant from State Bird Provisions' Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski isn't easy, but you'll be rewarded with divine, globe-trotting dishes that truly push boundaries. The menu is $68/person for six courses (you choose from a list of 12) served family-style, so go with people who don't mind sharing. Also of note: a full bar with cocktails, and a much more extensive wine list than State Bird's.

1525 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

Related Maps