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An Ohlone clam and mussel dish, a version of which might be part of Cafe Ohlone’s new takeout boxes Cafe Ohlone

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The San Francisco-Bay Area’s Most Exciting Upcoming Restaurants and Pop-Ups

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2022

Welcome to Year in Eater 2021, Eater’s annual tradition of celebrating the past 12 months with help from some of the Bay Area’s top food writers. Between now and end of the year, Eater SF will post daily questions about the Bay Area restaurant scene with answers from those who know it best.


I’m very excited about the opening of Cafe Ohlone, which will be located at the courtyard of the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Cafe Ohlone previously operated at the University Press Books and Musical Offering Cafe near campus. During the pandemic, owners Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino began take-home “Sunday Suppers,” which I was able to try, a truly unique, grounded, and all-encompassing experience. I always look forward to the thoughtfulness Vincent and Louis bring to the table, so to speak–because it’s not just about the food; it’s about culture, history, and community. — Momo Chang, freelance food writer and Oakland Voices co-director

Chef Anthony Salguero grinding fresh masa using a small mill
Chef Anthony Salguero grinding fresh masa using a small mill
Andria Lo

I’m still stoked for Popoca to finally open in Oakland, even after so many delays and locations falling through. Chef Anthony Salguero is coming from Michelin stars like Saison in SF and Plumed Horse in Saratoga, and has been running a popular pop-up by the same name Popoca, currently dinner partying at Low Bar. But I can’t wait to see him go all in on his personal style of Salvadoran cuisine at his first full service restaurant. — Becky Duffett, deputy editor, Eater SF

Oh man, there are a lot but I’m excited to see if Eric Ehler lands Outta Sight somewhere permanent in 2022 and to finally eat food from chefs Mike Woods and Solomon “Chef Swoop” Johnson if/when Oko moves to a brick-and-mortar home. — Lauren Saria, editor, Eater SF

Very interested to see what Craig Murli from June’s has up his sleeves… — Omar Mamoon, writer, Esquire

I really hope the couple behind Noodle in a Haystack can persevere through the city bureaucracy and people throw money at them so they can get their ramen shop open. They have so much heart and soul and passion. — Marcia Gagliardi, founder/editor of tablehopper.com

City Kitchen Sacramento, if founder Rebecca Lujan Loveless can make it happen. A queer, indigenous woman currently crafting weeknight delivery-only meals, Loveless is crowd-sourcing loans of $1,000 to $50,000 to start her first brick-and-mortar restaurant with the expressed goal of “fucking up the capitalistic patriarchal system one micro-loan at a time.” Loveless has committed to paying living wages upon opening, radical hospitality and inclusivity toward even the unhoused and mentally ill, allowing employees to maintain work-life balance and mindfully sourcing from areas of abundance. She’s well-traveled thanks to a career working with nonprofits and NGOs, and comfort foods like fried chicken or vegan banh bi ʻĀina (“land” in Hawaiian) bowls have gotten full Instagram backstories ahead of City Kitchen’s sporadic 2021 pop-ups. Time will tell if this can be a viable restaurant model, but it’s exciting to see someone trying it. — Benjy Egel, food and drink reporter, The Sacramento Bee

I am most excited for Nora Haron’s SanDai Modern Indonesian & Kopi Bar in Walnut Creek. Haron (Oakland’s Indo-Mex, Palo Alto’s Killiney Kopitiam) is going to be doing her signature Singaporean-Cali dishes and a laksa ravioli that’s a nod to the location’s long-standing previous restaurant, Prima Ristorante, which closed in 2020 after 40-something years. — Jessica Yadegaran, food and dining writer, The Mercury News and East Bay Times

Little Saint in Healdsburg, an ambitious vegan concept in the space that used to house Shed. — Esther Mobley, senior wine critic, San Francisco Chronicle

Good-to-Eat Dumplings’ new spot in Emeryville. Gorgeous family-style Taiwanese food in the East Bay! — Luke Tsai, food editor, KQED

One of the upcoming restaurant openings that I’m stoked about is Popoca in Oakland. It’ll be chef Anthony Salguero’s first brick and mortar for his popular Salvadorian pop-up, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us. — Susana Guerrero, reporter, SFGATE

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