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Yelp’s Biggest Food and Drink Trends for Summer 2021

As temperatures warm, this summer is poised for a return to social activities and celebrations — and for most of us, that means delicious food. Many of us are eager to return to dining out, rooftop bars and outdoor festivities. In April, the share of U.S. restaurant searches specifically for reservations were up 106% from January and searches were up 146% for places that are good for groups.

So what will everyone be eating and drinking this summer? We tapped Yelp’s data science team to analyze millions of reviews to find the food and drink that have been surging in popularity over the last six months. We also consulted with Yelp Trend Expert Tara Lewis to help identify the trends to watch this summer.

Dishes to Try

  • Bánh xèo – This classic Vietnamese crispy, stuffed rice pancake  is being modernized as chefs get creative in their interpretations and playfully reformat the dish. Review mentions for bánh xèo are up 31%.
  • Fufu and egusi soup – Social media has kept the #FufuChallenge top of mind for many as they look to familiarize themselves with West African flavors. This West African stew is served in different ways as each country has their own unique take. Review mentions for fufu and egusi are up a whopping 246%.
  • Korean rice hot dogs (Gamja hot dogs)Korean rice hot dogs, or gamja hot dogs, upgrade your classic corn dog to create a sweet and salty treat. Yelpers love all variations, including ones that are coated in potatoes or ramen like these from Chung Chun Rice Hotdog in Arcadia, CA. The rate of mentions in food, drink, and nightlife reviews are up 59% in the six months through April 30 from the prior six-month period.
  • Rice roll – Whether stuffed with vegetables, spam or delicious crab meat, rice rolls have grown in popularity and we expect to see them on plates across the country this summer. Review mentions are up 63%
  • Seafood tower – Nothing screams summer quite like the multi-tiered goodness of a seafood tower. Filled with oysters, clams, shrimp, crab, mussels and more, seafood tower review mentions are up 26% as Yelpers look to find their new favorite raw bar.
  • Tomahawk steakTomahawk steaks are often referred to as the steak lover’s favorite cut. Tomahawks are perfect for sharing with friends and loved ones and that’s what we expect many will do this summer. Review mentions are up 45%.

Drinks to Watch

  • Cold foam – With temperatures rising, it’s no surprise that cold foam is the new coffee order of Yelpers. Cold foam has been added to menus nationwide this year, as many look to order the “Charli Cold Foam.” Review mentions for cold foam are up 69%.
  • Lavender lattesLavender lattes and other lavender-themed beverages will up your coffee game this summer. Yelpers love the “Spygirl” at Minneapolis’ Spyhouse, a lavender and honey latte.  Review mentions for lavender lattes are up 28%.
  • Martinis – Skip the frosé this summer, and sip on a martini instead. Whether you prefer yours with vodka or gin, martinis are expected to be a top drink order this summer with review mentions up 65% for lychee martinis and 63% for espresso martinis. Espresso and lychee flavors are especially popular this summer as many make their return to bars. 
  • Strawberry matcha – A fruity take on matcha, strawberry matcha provides a refreshing alternative to the traditional matcha flavor. This summer, Yelpers are enjoying the flavor in lattes, milkshakes, cakes and more. Review mentions for strawberry matcha are up 39%.

Don’t let summer slip away without trying a few of these 2021 summer dining trends. What trends are you excited to try? Tell us what you think on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @yelp!