BOSTON (Hoodline) – As fans of cronuts and cake pops can attest, food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending today?
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which local businesses have been in the limelight this month.
To find out who made the list, we looked at Boston 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.
Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot, right now.
Spyce (New American)
Open since May, this eatery with a robotic kitchen is trending compared to other restaurants categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp. What makes Spyce stand out is that all of the cooking is done by robots designed by students from MIT.
Citywide, New American spots saw review counts increase by a median of 3.8 percent over the past month, but Spyce saw a 26.5 percent increase, maintaining a strong four-star rating throughout.
At Spyce, you order at a kiosk from a menu that includes signature bowls representing various international cuisines, including Thai, Lebanese and Indian, and each is customizable to be vegetarian, pescatarian or whatever you prefer. It’s located at 241 Washington St. downtown.
It’s not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Hopsters Brewing Company has seen a 17.7 percent increase in reviews.
Bootleg Special (Seafood)
Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about South End’s Bootleg Special, the tapas bar and Cajun/Creole spot, which offers seafood and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as “Seafood” on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 2.1 percent over the past month, Bootleg Special bagged a 24.7 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a superior four-star rating.
There’s more that’s trending on Boston’s seafood scene: Lobstah On A Roll has seen a 14.8 percent increase in reviews.
Open at 400 Tremont St. (between Arlington and Appleton streets) since February, Bootleg Special offers Cajun seafood in a New Orleans French Quarter-type atmosphere. The seafood boil is the signature dish, combining a mix of mussels, crawfish, crab legs, shrimp and more. Signature cocktails, beer and wine are on hand to wash it down.
Tuscan Kitchen (Italian)
South Boston’s Tuscan Kitchen is the city’s buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.
The mini-chain, which opened up at 64 Seaport Blvd. in November 2017, increased its review count by 18.6 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.2 percent for the Yelp category “Italian.”
Tuscan Kitchen offers regional specialties from across Italy in an elegant but rustic setting. Entrees include osso buco, grilled salmon and pan-seared sea bass, after which you might consider a warm chocolate cake with milk chocolate sauce and gelato, among other desserts.
Citrus & Salt (Cocktail Bar)
Back Bay’s Citrus & Salt is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as “Cocktail Bars” on Yelp increased review counts by a median of 3.5 percent over the past month, this cocktail bar and Mexican spot increased its count by 17.4 percent — and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars.
Open for business at 142 Berkeley St. (between Columbus Avenue and Stanhope Street) since November 2017, the bar offers Instagrammable design, seafood-heavy Mexican cuisine and handcrafted cocktails, tequila and mezcal. Cocktail options include The Devil’s Sweat, with tequila, aperol, agave and lemon 13, and the Smoke Show, made from silver mezcal, ginger beer, guava and lime 12.
Tatte Bakery & Cafe (Sandwiches)
Is Back Bay’s Tatte Bakery & Cafe on your radar? According to Yelp review data, the breakfast and lunch spot is getting plenty of attention.
While businesses categorized as “Sandwiches” on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 2.3 percent over the past month, Tatte Bakery & Cafe nabbed a 17.6 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a sound 4.5-star rating.
Located at 399 Boylston St. (between Arlington and Berkeley streets), Tatte Bakery & Cafe offers sandwiches like one with bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato, and another with roasted cauliflower and spiced labneh on pita. There are also pastries, croissants, muffins and other desserts, along with breakfast dishes and salads.
Panera Bread recently purchased a greater-than-50 percent stake in the bakery, resulting in some of its recent expansion, according to Eater Boston.