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

Photo: 1212 Santa Monica/Yelp

Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending at this very moment?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been in the limelight this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Santa Monica 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 riding a trend, right now.

Poking Poke

Photo: Min S./Yelp

Open since December 2017, this Hawaiian spot, which offers poke and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "seafood" on Yelp.

Citywide, seafood spots saw review counts increase by a median of 1.8 percent over the past month, but Poking Poke saw a 31.6 percent increase, maintaining a strong 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 260 percent.

It's not the only trending outlier in the seafood category: Punta Cabras has seen a 11.5 percent increase in reviews.

Located at 2307 Main St. in Santa Monica, Poking Poke offers bowls made using fresh seafood ingredients like yellowtail, salmon, spicy tuna, scallops and more. (You can view the full menu here.)

1212 Santa Monica

Photo: 1212 Santa Monica/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about 1212 Santa Monica, the well-established cocktail bar and New American spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp increased their review counts by a median of 1.4 percent over the past month, 1212 Santa Monica bagged an 8.1 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a sound four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.2 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

Open since May 2016 at 1212 Third St. Promenade, 1212 Santa Monica offers reimagined dishes such as American kobe meatballs with truffle teriyaki glaze and mussels with Fresno chiles, pickled avocado cilantro, tomatillo and Modelo beer. (See the dinner menu here.)


PHOTO: dagwoods/YELP

Santa Monica's Dagwoods is also making waves. Open for over a decade at 820 Wilshire Blvd., the popular Italian spot has seen a 5 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.8 percent for all businesses tagged "Italian" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis review counts increased by more than 200 percent.

Dagwoods offers pasta, subs, wings and specialty pizzas like the Kickin' Chicken with white onions, cilantro, mozzarella, hot sauce and homemade ranch dressing. Over the past month, it's maintained a convincing four-star rating among Yelpers. (You can check out the full menu here.)
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