#Trending: What's heating up Irvine's food scene this month

Photo: Tomikawa Japanese Restaurant/Yelp

Want the dirt on Irvine's buzziest local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been seeing especially high review volumes 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, and tracked businesses that consistently increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot, right now.

Tomikawa Japanese Restaurant

Photo: Zubir E./Yelp

Open since 2006, this well-established sushi bar and Japanese spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Japanese" on Yelp.

Citywide, Japanese spots saw review counts increase by a median of 2.8 percent over the past month, but Tomikawa Japanese Restaurant saw a 16.4 percent increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 370 percent.

Located at 14191 Jeffrey Road in Northwood, Tomikawa Japanese Restaurant offers fresh sushi and sashimi dishes, along with small plates like garlic chili edamame and shrimp with jalapeno avocado sauce.

El Torito

Photo: El Torito/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about this El Torito branch -- situated across from John Wayne airport -- the popular bar and Mexican eatery is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Bars" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.4 percent over the past month, El Torito bagged a 10.8 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

Open at 18512 MacArthur Blvd. since 2007, El Torito offers traditional Mexican-style eats alongside refreshing margaritas and cervezas.

Robata Wasa

Photo: Robata Wasa/Yelp

Irvine Spectrum Center's Robata Wasa is also making waves. Open since August at 926 Spectrum Center Drive, the sushi bar has seen a 12.7 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 2.8 percent for all businesses tagged "Sushi Bars" on Yelp.

Robata Wasa offers sushi favorites like salmon roe, freshwater eel, tiger shrimp and bluefin tuna. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed 3.5-star rating among Yelpers.

Umami Burger

PHOTO: Jonathan Francis A./YELP

Last but not least, Irvine's Umami Burger is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.

The popular gastropub and New American spot, which offers burgers and more, opened at 527 Spectrum Center Drive in 2014 and increased its review count by 3.5 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 1.3 percent for the Yelp category "American (New)." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.7 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

Umami Burger offers reimagined classics like spicy tuna pizza, charred shishito peppers with yuzu yogurt and burgers like the Impossible Trufflemaker complete with miso mustard, truffle fondue, port wine and more.
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