Pizza, plant-based fare & shabu shabu: What's heating up San Francisco's food scene this month

Pizza, plant-based fare & shabu shabu: What's heating up San Francisco's food scene this month
Photo: Mokuku/Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on November 04, 2019.

Curious where San Francisco's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking these days? Sure, it's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which restaurants have been getting outsized notice this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at San Francisco businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot this autumn.


Photo: Mokuku/Yelp

Open since September, this all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu spot — which also boasts a sizable bar — is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Bars" on Yelp.

Citywide, bars saw a median 0.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Mokuku saw a formidable 375% increase, with a slight upward trend from a 3.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today.

Located at 332 Clement St. (between Fourth and Fifth avenues) in the Inner Richmond, Mokuku offers a casual, group-friendly environment for drinking and dining.

The bar area, which features big-screen TVs showing sports, serves up pints of beer, bottles of sake, sake bombs and flavored soju cocktails.

To eat, Mokuku offers a 90-minute all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu feast, with a choice of soup base and a continuous supply of thinly sliced wagyu beef, pork belly, mushrooms, tofu and more. There's also a la carte shabu-shabu, with seafood and vegetarian options.

Mokuku is open from 5–10 p.m. on Sunday–Thursday and 5–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles

Photo: Cherylynn N./Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about SoMa's Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles, it's a hot topic, according to Yelp review data. Specializing in ramen made with soba (buckwheat noodles), Tsuta is drawing lines of eager slurpers — and reviews from dozens of eager Yelpers. 

While businesses categorized as "Ramen" on Yelp saw a median 2.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Tsuta bagged a striking 655.6% increase in new reviews within that time frame. While it currently has mixed 3.5-star rating from customers, it still significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 5.9 times more reviews than expected, based on its past performance.

Open in the Metreon shopping center (155 Fourth St.) since September, this is the first U.S. location for Tsuta, whose original Tokyo location earned a Michelin star in 2016. This new outpost serves the signature shoyu soba ramen, flavored with black truffle oil, as well as miso- and shio-based varieties. Each bowl is fully decked out with toppings like pork belly, marinated egg and bamboo shoots.

Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles is open for lunch from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. daily and for dinner from 4:30–9 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, dinner runs from 4:30–10 p.m.


Photo: Diana S./Yelp

The Western Addition's Apizza is also making waves. Open since September at 2043 Fillmore St. (between California and Pine streets), the pizzeria has seen a massive 230% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1% for all businesses tagged "Pizza" on Yelp.

Opened by the team behind La Boulangerie, this fast-casual pizza joint offers eight styles of personal pizza, made to order on 9-inch, organic sprouted wheat crusts and topped with different meats and veggies (gluten-free and vegetarian options are available). Over the past month, it's maintained a sound four-star rating among Yelpers.

Apizza is open from 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. on Sunday–Thursday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.


Photo: WildSeed/Yelp

Cow Hollow's Wildseed is the city's buzziest vegetarian eatery by the numbers.

With an entirely meat-free menu, Wildseed, which opened at 2000 Union St. (at the corner of Union and Buchanan streets) in September, increased its new review count by a massive 225% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.3% for the Yelp category "Vegetarian."

Taking over the space of Belgian pub Belga, Wildseed features a plant-filled interior and a plant-based menu emphasizing cocktails and shareable plates. The nine signature cocktails include a pineapple Negroni, an apricot julep and a gin and tonic with aloe, while food offerings include harissa-spiced vegetable chips, beet poke, king trumpet mushroom ceviche, rice bowls and a "super grain" paella for two. Happy hour specials are available Tuesday-Friday.

Wildseed is open from 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday, 5–11 p.m. on Saturday and 5–10 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)

Donburi Ya

Photo: Donburi Ya/Yelp

SoMa's Donburi Ya is currently on the upswing in the Japanese category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as "Japanese" on Yelp saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, this fast-casual spot increased its new reviews by a formidable 190% — and kept its rating consistent at four stars.

Open for business at 764 Harrison St. (between Third and Fourth streets) since September, Donburi Ya offers donburi (Japanese rice bowls) for dine-in and takeaway.

Guests can choose from one of six signature bowls, like the slow-cooked pork cartilage bowl and the mapo tofu bowl, or build their own rice bowls, with toppings like katsu chicken, beef, salmon, soft-boiled egg, kimchi, mixed veggies and more. For dine-in customers, Donburi Ya also offers beer, wine and big-screen TVs showing sports.

Donburi Ya is open from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. on Monday-Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.