Trend alert: What's heating up Irvine's food scene this month

Photo: Northwood Pizza/Yelp

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 analyze which local businesses have been on the tips of diners' tongues this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Irvine 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 worth exploring this autumn.

Sessions West Coast Deli

Photo: Yev Eugene I./Yelp

Open since April, this deli and New American spot, which offers sandwiches and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp.

Citywide, New American spots saw review counts increase by a median of 1.8 percent over the past month, but Sessions West Coast Deli saw a 13.5 percent increase, maintaining a strong four-star rating throughout.

Located at 4736 Barranca Parkway in Woodbridge, Sessions West Coast Deli offers a selection of deli sandwiches, along with housemade sides and soups prepared fresh daily. (You can view the full menu here.)

Left Coast Brewing

Photo: Left Coast Brewing/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about East Irvine's Left Coast Brewing, the brewery, which offers craft beer, barbecue and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Barbecue" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.8 percent over the past month, Left Coast Brewing bagged a 35.8 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating.

There's more that's trending on Irvine's barbecue scene: Korean barbecue spot Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong has seen a 4.8 percent increase in reviews.

Open since July at 6652 Irvine Center Drive, Left Coast Brewing features specialty brews like seasonal raspberry wheat and fresh barbecue offerings such as 75-hour beef brisket. (You can check out the full menu here.)

I Can Barbecue Korean Grill

Photo: I Can Barbecue Korean Grill/Yelp

Oak Creek's I Can Barbecue Korean Grill is also making waves. Open since the summer of 2017 at 5781 Alton Parkway, the popular Korean spot, which offers barbecue and seafood, has seen a 6.6 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.8 percent for all businesses tagged "Seafood" on Yelp.

There's more than one hot spot trending in Irvine's seafood category: Coast Fish Company has seen a 6.1 percent increase in reviews.

I Can Barbecue Korean Grill offers an all-you-can-eat-special featuring seafood mainstays like baby shrimp, mussels and spicy marinated squid. Over the past month, it's maintained a solid four-star rating among Yelpers. (See the full menu here.)

Panini Kabob Grill

Photo: Cindy Y./Yelp

Irvine Health and Science Complex's Panini Kabob Grill is the city's buzziest breakfast and brunch spot by the numbers.

The well-established Mediterranean, breakfast and brunch spot, which opened at 8505 Irvine Center Drive in the spring of 2016, increased its review count by 7.4 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.9 percent for the Yelp category "Breakfast & Brunch."

Panini Kabob Grill offers fusion brunch dishes like the Mediterranean wrap consisting of egg whites, chicken, avocado, feta cheese, mint, olives and more. (You can check out the full menu here.)

Northwood Pizza
Photo: Northwood Pizza/Yelp

Northwood Pizza is currently on the upswing in the pizza category on Yelp.

While pizzerias increased review counts by a median of 2.4 percent over the past month on Yelp, this pizza spot increased its count by 5 percent -- and kept its rating consistent at four stars.

Established in 1981, the eatery at 4900 Irvine Blvd., Suite 105, offers fresh and authentic Italian-style pizzas with toppings like meatballs, anchovies, mushrooms, garlic and more. (Check out the pizza menu here.)
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