Unsure where San Francisco's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? 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 and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to deduce which eateries have been in the spotlight this month.
To find out who made the list, we first 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. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots have some fresh momentum heading into springtime.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about the Mission's Sushi Shio, the sushi bar is a hot topic, according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Sushi Bars" on Yelp saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, Sushi Shio has seen a much larger surge of interest.
The restaurant offers diners a 12-piece sushi omakase (tasting menu) for $85, with 10- and five-piece menus also on offer. Additionally, there are sushi rolls and other small plates available a la carte.
As we reported when it opened, Shio's omakase has a twist: Chef Alex Kim allows diners to select some of the 12 types of nigiri on the omakase menu, as well as request their preferred salt and heat/wasabi levels.
For dessert, there's cheesecake or kinako (roasted soybean) panna cotta ($7). Beverage director Leoh Goong offers customizable pairings of different light wines and sakes, as well as a selection of beer.
Sushi Shio is open from 5–11 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. (It's closed on Mondays.)
Prelude at the Opera House
Civic Center's Prelude at the Opera House is also making waves. The traditional American restaurant, which opened at 301 Van Ness Ave. last week, is relatively new to Yelp. But it's already seen a surge of new reviews.
Formerly known as Cafe at the Opera, Prelude at the Opera House is located on the lower level the War Memorial Opera House, home to the San Francisco Opera.
The pre-performance fare is targeted at opera patrons, with options like braised short ribs, seared sirloin, glazed ham carved to order and roast chicken Food is available via a buffet or a la carte, and there's a full list of beer, wine and cocktails.
The Grind Cafe
The Grind Cafe, a Lower Haight stalwart that's been open since 1996, is getting some fresh breakfast and brunch buzz.
The cafe at 783 Haight St. (between Pierce and Scott streets) increased its new review count by 1.2% over the past month, slightly above median new review count of 0.9% for the Yelp category "Breakfast & Brunch." Its foot traffic more than tripled over the past month, according to SafeGraph data, with a quarter of all visitors dropping by on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Grind Cafe offers a full breakfast menu, with options like omelets and egg "scramblers," buttermilk pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles. House favorites include the chicken-fried steak and the eggs Benedict. To drink, there's coffee, smoothies, beer and wine.
The Grind Cafe is open from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. If you want to avoid the crowds, SafeGraph data suggests a visit on a Wednesday, when foot traffic is a little lower.
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