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Bison chili from Wahpepah’s Kitchen Wahpepah’s Kitchen

The Hottest New Restaurants in the East Bay, November 2021

The most exciting new restaurants in Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond

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Despite the challenges of the past year and a half, the East Bay has seen an influx of exciting new restaurants — mostly unfussy, relatively affordable places that show off the breadth and depth of the region’s varied cuisines. Newer additions include a new natural wine bar and restaurant and an Indigenous-owned restaurant in Fruitvale. Read on for 12 of the East Bay’s most exciting new restaurants.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lulu

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1019 Camelia St
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 529-4300
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Breakfast and lunch get an infusion of Palestinian flavor at Lulu, the debut restaurant from Palestinian-American chef Mona Leena, formerly executive chef at Dyafa. At Lulu she brings forth a menu of sweet and savory pastries — including her popular mana’eesh — and takes deviled eggs to the Middle East with whipped labneh yolks and a za’atar rim. On weekends, mezze brunch means a family-style spread of hummus, labneh, and more in a bright space with hot pink neon accents and a healthy number of plants. 

A platter of food including hummus, baba ganoush, pickled vegetables, fruit salad, and fresh breads. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

2. Sunday Bakeshop

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5931 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 599-8550
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Rockridge has a new crown jewel in Sunday Bakeshop, a bakery using French techniques and Asian American flavors to create craveable, flaky pastries. For example, the aloha croissant combines sweet pineapple pork sausage, green onions, furikake, aged parmesan, and house-made kimchee spiced salt, while a dim sum cookie incorporates sesame tahini, roasted sesame seeds, and sweetened red bean paste. Order ahead or stop by to ogle them all, in person.

Aloha Croissant
Sunday Bakeshop

3. Snail Bar

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4935 Shattuck Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 879-7678
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Hard to say whether it’s the charm of the space — with its sunny interior and checkered floors — or the selection of brightly hued natural wines or the menu of always-rotating chalkboard menu of small plates that’s captivated the attention of Bay Area diners. But in any case, Snail Bar is ready to serve interested parties delicate crudos, colorful crudites, and, naturally, plates of escargots. Chef and owner Andres Giraldo Florez brings experience at Michelin-starred restaurants including Saison and WD-50 in New York to the endeavor.

A plate of snail shells filled with escargot and kumquat. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

4. DAYTRIP

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4316 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

This wine bar and restaurant debuted in late October, bringing a funky destination for wines produced by women and people of color plus fermented focaccia and other inventive fare to Oakland’s trendy Temescal neighborhood. The wine selection (bottles are available to go or to enjoy on site) comes courtesy of Jenny Eagleton (The Punchdown) and offers options that are both exciting and relatively affordable. On the food side,  Daytrip co-owner and chef Finn Stern offers plates like sourdough focaccia dotted with olive oil and various fruit vinegars or pasta with pumpkin miso, kelp, and poblano peppers.

Inside Daytrip sports black-and-white walls, modern artwork on the walls, and a bar covered in colorful tiles. David Matesanz

5. Yilan Foods

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4066 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

The East Bay’s buzziest pop-up of the moment is this Taiwanese beef noodle soup specialist, whose Sunday pickup slots tend to sell out within an hour after they’re posted for online preordering (every Wednesday at noon). The enthusiasm is understandable: The East Bay’s Taiwanese food scene has long been fairly thin, which means there aren’t many places where you can score even a half-decent version of hong shao (red-braised) beef noodle soup or lu rou fan (braised pork belly rice) — Yilan Foods’ two signature dishes. Of course, Yilan’s version aims to be much better than half-decent: The rich broth for the soup is cooked overnight; the lu rou fan is made exclusively with hand-cut pork belly, unlike more Americanized spots, which tend to temper the dish’s inherent, glorious fattiness with leaner cuts.

6. Lovely’s

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2344 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94612

Lovely’s chef and owner Mikey Yoon told the SF Chronicle he wants his newly opened burger shack to become a Bay Area institution — and he’s well on his way, drawing diners to his Uptown shipping container-turned-restaurant with hot dogs, fried fish sandwiches, and crispy-edged smash burgers. Yoon is committed to keeping things accessible, which means for under $8 you can get an American cheese–topped burger made with beef from Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin County. 

Ellen Fort

7. Bake Sum

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3249 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Bake Sum has brought its audaciously airy croissants punctuated with slivers of green onion and Technicolor lilikoi- and ube-flavored mochi bites to a storefront in Oakland. Though hours at the brick-and-mortar are currently limited to Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. But fans can also pre-order pastry boxes stuffed with Loco Moco danish (completely with a jiggly egg garland), black sesame snickerdoodle cookies, and fluffy purple ube buns for pick-up at locations in San Francisco and beyond.

Four pastries on a wooden table including a Danish topped with an egg and a croissant covered in everything bagel seasoning. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

8. Tribune

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401 13th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 285-6499
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Downtown Oaklands’ historic Tribune Tower (formerly the home of the Oakland Tribune newspaper) now houses an American brasserie from the team behind Town Revival. Here partners Omri Aflalo, John Cahill, and Darrin Ballon give familiar classics like steak tartare and a chopped salad a slight refresh and offer up cocktails like the Rumble In The Jungle made with both dark and pineapple rum, Campari, and lime juice. 

Herb crusted pork tenderloin Adahlia Cole/Tribune

9. Dela Curo/Sundo

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907 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607

Chikara Ono, chef-owner of B-Dama, has flipped the former izakaya-style kiosk at Swan’s Market into a two-for-one special with the opening of Dela Curo and Sundo. Dela Curo centers around rich, black Japanese curry that’s made by caramelizing each component of the curry before combining them. Sundo, meanwhile, is all about sandwiches served on fluffy milk bread that Ono imports from Japan.

A white plate with rice, shredded cabbage, and pork tonkotsu topped with inky black curry. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

10. La Santa Torta

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95 Linden St
Oakland, CA 94607

It’s been a long wait and slow open for the much-anticipated brick-and-mortar location of this hit birria truck. And though there’s been a truck parked and serving food outside the restaurant at 95 Linden Street, La Santa Torta finally celebrated its soft opening in mid-September. The new digs mean new menu items — including weekend brunch of chilaquiles rojos with choice of birria or chile relleno — though you can never go wrong with a trio of golden, beef-filled tacos on amber-hued tortillas.

A paper plate with two quesabirria tacos Ls Santa Torta

11. Jo's Modern Thai

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3725 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 479-3167
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Former Kin Khao chef Intu-on Kornnawong, who’s eponymous pop-up was one of the highlights of Bay Area dining in 2020, partnered with local owner Kao Saelee to bring pork laab burgers and splashy cocktails to Oakland at Jo’s Modern Thai. Kornnawong’s uncompromising flavors are inspired by her Issan roots and shaped by the flavors of northern California, which means dishes like pad Thai come crowned with lobster or soft shell crab while spicy pad kee mao will showcase brisket sourced from Oakland’s Smokin’ Woods BBQ. Paired with tropical cocktails from Tayler Sampson (Starline Social Club) on the restaurant’s beachy back patio, Jo’s makes escapism easy. 

12. Wahpepah’s Kitchen

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3301 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601

Chef Crystal Wahpepah has taken over the former Reem’s space in Fruitvale, giving the space new life as one of the only Indigenous restaurants in the Bay Area. Wahpepah is a lifetime resident of East Oakland, a displaced member of the Kickapoo tribe of Oklahoma, and a graduate of the La Cocina incubator program. Her seasonal menu at the all-day restaurant, which celebrates its grand opening on November 13, stars ingredients like bison, amaranth, and chokeberries in dishes such as a Three Sisters Salad made with corn, squash, and beans and Kickapoo Chili thickened with hominy.

Salad from Wahpepah’s Kitchen Wahpepah’s Kitchen

1. Lulu

1019 Camelia St, Berkeley, CA 94710
A platter of food including hummus, baba ganoush, pickled vegetables, fruit salad, and fresh breads. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

Breakfast and lunch get an infusion of Palestinian flavor at Lulu, the debut restaurant from Palestinian-American chef Mona Leena, formerly executive chef at Dyafa. At Lulu she brings forth a menu of sweet and savory pastries — including her popular mana’eesh — and takes deviled eggs to the Middle East with whipped labneh yolks and a za’atar rim. On weekends, mezze brunch means a family-style spread of hummus, labneh, and more in a bright space with hot pink neon accents and a healthy number of plants. 

1019 Camelia St
Berkeley, CA 94710

2. Sunday Bakeshop

5931 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
Aloha Croissant
Sunday Bakeshop

Rockridge has a new crown jewel in Sunday Bakeshop, a bakery using French techniques and Asian American flavors to create craveable, flaky pastries. For example, the aloha croissant combines sweet pineapple pork sausage, green onions, furikake, aged parmesan, and house-made kimchee spiced salt, while a dim sum cookie incorporates sesame tahini, roasted sesame seeds, and sweetened red bean paste. Order ahead or stop by to ogle them all, in person.

5931 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

3. Snail Bar

4935 Shattuck Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
A plate of snail shells filled with escargot and kumquat. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

Hard to say whether it’s the charm of the space — with its sunny interior and checkered floors — or the selection of brightly hued natural wines or the menu of always-rotating chalkboard menu of small plates that’s captivated the attention of Bay Area diners. But in any case, Snail Bar is ready to serve interested parties delicate crudos, colorful crudites, and, naturally, plates of escargots. Chef and owner Andres Giraldo Florez brings experience at Michelin-starred restaurants including Saison and WD-50 in New York to the endeavor.

4935 Shattuck Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

4. DAYTRIP

4316 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Inside Daytrip sports black-and-white walls, modern artwork on the walls, and a bar covered in colorful tiles. David Matesanz

This wine bar and restaurant debuted in late October, bringing a funky destination for wines produced by women and people of color plus fermented focaccia and other inventive fare to Oakland’s trendy Temescal neighborhood. The wine selection (bottles are available to go or to enjoy on site) comes courtesy of Jenny Eagleton (The Punchdown) and offers options that are both exciting and relatively affordable. On the food side,  Daytrip co-owner and chef Finn Stern offers plates like sourdough focaccia dotted with olive oil and various fruit vinegars or pasta with pumpkin miso, kelp, and poblano peppers.

4316 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

5. Yilan Foods

4066 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

The East Bay’s buzziest pop-up of the moment is this Taiwanese beef noodle soup specialist, whose Sunday pickup slots tend to sell out within an hour after they’re posted for online preordering (every Wednesday at noon). The enthusiasm is understandable: The East Bay’s Taiwanese food scene has long been fairly thin, which means there aren’t many places where you can score even a half-decent version of hong shao (red-braised) beef noodle soup or lu rou fan (braised pork belly rice) — Yilan Foods’ two signature dishes. Of course, Yilan’s version aims to be much better than half-decent: The rich broth for the soup is cooked overnight; the lu rou fan is made exclusively with hand-cut pork belly, unlike more Americanized spots, which tend to temper the dish’s inherent, glorious fattiness with leaner cuts.

4066 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

6. Lovely’s

2344 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612
Ellen Fort

Lovely’s chef and owner Mikey Yoon told the SF Chronicle he wants his newly opened burger shack to become a Bay Area institution — and he’s well on his way, drawing diners to his Uptown shipping container-turned-restaurant with hot dogs, fried fish sandwiches, and crispy-edged smash burgers. Yoon is committed to keeping things accessible, which means for under $8 you can get an American cheese–topped burger made with beef from Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin County. 

2344 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94612

7. Bake Sum

3249 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Four pastries on a wooden table including a Danish topped with an egg and a croissant covered in everything bagel seasoning. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

Bake Sum has brought its audaciously airy croissants punctuated with slivers of green onion and Technicolor lilikoi- and ube-flavored mochi bites to a storefront in Oakland. Though hours at the brick-and-mortar are currently limited to Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. But fans can also pre-order pastry boxes stuffed with Loco Moco danish (completely with a jiggly egg garland), black sesame snickerdoodle cookies, and fluffy purple ube buns for pick-up at locations in San Francisco and beyond.

3249 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

8. Tribune

401 13th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Herb crusted pork tenderloin Adahlia Cole/Tribune

Downtown Oaklands’ historic Tribune Tower (formerly the home of the Oakland Tribune newspaper) now houses an American brasserie from the team behind Town Revival. Here partners Omri Aflalo, John Cahill, and Darrin Ballon give familiar classics like steak tartare and a chopped salad a slight refresh and offer up cocktails like the Rumble In The Jungle made with both dark and pineapple rum, Campari, and lime juice. 

401 13th St
Oakland, CA 94612

9. Dela Curo/Sundo

907 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607
A white plate with rice, shredded cabbage, and pork tonkotsu topped with inky black curry. Lauren Saria/Eater SF

Chikara Ono, chef-owner of B-Dama, has flipped the former izakaya-style kiosk at Swan’s Market into a two-for-one special with the opening of Dela Curo and Sundo. Dela Curo centers around rich, black Japanese curry that’s made by caramelizing each component of the curry before combining them. Sundo, meanwhile, is all about sandwiches served on fluffy milk bread that Ono imports from Japan.

907 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607

10. La Santa Torta

95 Linden St, Oakland, CA 94607
A paper plate with two quesabirria tacos Ls Santa Torta

It’s been a long wait and slow open for the much-anticipated brick-and-mortar location of this hit birria truck. And though there’s been a truck parked and serving food outside the restaurant at 95 Linden Street, La Santa Torta finally celebrated its soft opening in mid-September. The new digs mean new menu items — including weekend brunch of chilaquiles rojos with choice of birria or chile relleno — though you can never go wrong with a trio of golden, beef-filled tacos on amber-hued tortillas.

95 Linden St
Oakland, CA 94607

11. Jo's Modern Thai

3725 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

Former Kin Khao chef Intu-on Kornnawong, who’s eponymous pop-up was one of the highlights of Bay Area dining in 2020, partnered with local owner Kao Saelee to bring pork laab burgers and splashy cocktails to Oakland at Jo’s Modern Thai. Kornnawong’s uncompromising flavors are inspired by her Issan roots and shaped by the flavors of northern California, which means dishes like pad Thai come crowned with lobster or soft shell crab while spicy pad kee mao will showcase brisket sourced from Oakland’s Smokin’ Woods BBQ. Paired with tropical cocktails from Tayler Sampson (Starline Social Club) on the restaurant’s beachy back patio, Jo’s makes escapism easy. 

3725 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619

12. Wahpepah’s Kitchen

3301 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
Salad from Wahpepah’s Kitchen Wahpepah’s Kitchen

Chef Crystal Wahpepah has taken over the former Reem’s space in Fruitvale, giving the space new life as one of the only Indigenous restaurants in the Bay Area. Wahpepah is a lifetime resident of East Oakland, a displaced member of the Kickapoo tribe of Oklahoma, and a graduate of the La Cocina incubator program. Her seasonal menu at the all-day restaurant, which celebrates its grand opening on November 13, stars ingredients like bison, amaranth, and chokeberries in dishes such as a Three Sisters Salad made with corn, squash, and beans and Kickapoo Chili thickened with hominy.

3301 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601

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