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Patricia Chang

The Hottest New Restaurants in the East Bay, September 2022

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

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The East Bay is in the thrust of a food renaissance as a new crop of restaurants continues to widen the electrifying mix of dining experiences and cuisine, which includes the opening of a Berkeley deli centered on pastrami, a new space dedicated to East Bay Ohlone food, and a new restaurant awash in French Vibes and wines. Read on for 15 of the East Bay’s most exciting new restaurants.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Delirama

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Pastrami has its cult of fans, but not enough places that make it right. However, Delirama is one of the good ones. Slices of pastrami are the star, and you can get your fix early with the breakfast menu featuring pastrami stacked onto house-made bagels or bialys. Or stick around for a more classic lunch option at about 11 a.m. when the rye bread comes out of the oven and makes a perfect vessel for Delirama’s pastrami goodness. If you’re allergic to lunch lines, head in early and pick up a breakfast sandwich to start your day.

Babette

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Babette was long known as the cafe within the Berkeley Art Museum, residing there for 10 years, but now owners Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker have moved into a cozy new spot on San Pablo Avenue with a beautiful back patio to boot. Expect an expanded menu from Babette’s days at the museum, with a selection of pizzas and dinner entrees, coffee and house-made pastries on the weekdays, and brunch on the weekend.

Cafe Ohlone

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The world’s first Ohlone restaurant has re-opened in our own backyard of Berkeley, serving highly seasonal dishes that reflect the Ohlone culture and the local wonders of Indigenous Bay Area ingredients in a beautiful outdoor patio setting. The menu will rotate as the seasons change but expect both a meal of East Bay Ohlone favorites, as well as history and cultural lessons to boot. For now, the restaurant hosts reservation-only tea hour and lunches, with the expectation of expanding to dinner and brunch in the months to come.

TAROCCO

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The co-founder of Sequoia Diner is branching out on her own with Tarocco, a plant-forward restaurant serving California-Mediterranean dishes. The menu changes regularly, but expect to find dishes like grilled cabbage with tahini sauce and herbs, turmeric roasted cauliflower, or breakfast-y plates like chia seed pudding with tahini almond granola, Sicilian orange marmalade, and a variety of seasonal fruit. If you enjoy the food and want more of it, the restaurant also has a meal delivery program serving the same style of food each week.

A white bowl filled with a salad of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Tarocco

Good To Eat Dumplings & Modern Taiwanese Cusine

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Good to Eat Dumplings gained popularity as a regular pop-up at Original Pattern Brewing, where it served Taiwanese-style dumplings and noodles. Now Angie Lin and Tony Tung have landed a permanent spot in Emeryville, and they’re expanding the menu to include more Taiwanese favorites. You can’t go wrong with the dumpling or noodle options, but lean into the growing menu, and order any of the rotating specials for sharing, family-style.

The Calypso Rose

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Verna McGowan has had many careers in her lifetime — including seven years as author Alice Walker’s personal chef — but now she is showcasing her cooking talents to the public at her new Emeryville spot, Calypso Rose. McGowan serves a mix of Caribbean, Guayanese, and Puerto Rican dishes at the Emeryville Public Market; if you’re hungry, try the oxtail-laden pepperpot dish.

Calypso Rose

The Rendez-Vous

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If you are in need of a Paris-like outing for the night, the Rendez-Vous has French vibes to spare. Lose yourself in the interiors — designed by co-owner Johnelle Mancha who operates the spot with her husband Brian Hill, as well as running her business Mignonne Decor, Berkeleyside writes — but don’t forget about the equally compelling food and drink menu. Slurp Miyagi oysters or try beet-cured halibut with pickled watermelon from chef Nate Berrigan-Dunlop, while sipping on a glass of French wine or dipping into a stronger cocktail, such as the ginger julep.

Ok's Deli

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The long-awaited storefront from pandemic pop-up favorite Ok’s Deli opened September 1 to much fanfare and long lines. Still, don’t let the (potentially long) wait deter you — the sandwiches are still in fine form, including the Taiwanese-style fried chicken sandwich and the egg salad option. Don’t skip the potato chip selection while you’re at it, the Ok’s group specifically picked American and Asian favorites to round out your meal.

Hoang Le

Occitania

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Chef Paul Canales is looking to deeply explore southern French cuisine with his new restaurant, Occitania. Located inside the Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel, expect an artfully designed restaurant that plays against Canales’s menu of French standards and not-so-standards. Explore the charcuterie menu, with its selection of terrine, pate, and rillettes of pork made in-house; there’s also a number of appetizers, from escargot to an omelette crepe to pigeon cooked three ways. If you’re looking for heftier dishes, there’s slow-cooked lamb shank or seafood stew made with petrale sole.

Occitania

Hi Felicia

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Hi Felicia went from a pandemic pop-up hosted on the deck of chef Imana’s Oakland apartment to a brick-and-mortar, bringing the restaurant’s unique style of California comfort food-fine dining to a wider audience. Expect small bites influenced primarily by Mexican culture with global touches throughout, like fried chicken smothered in mole verde or a scallop aguachile dish.

Roasted and Raw

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Imani Greer is another chef who made the leap from pop-up to a permanent space, bringing his style of vegan food to 14th Street in Oakland. Diners can order a chickn’ n’ waffles, a black bean burger, or create their own bowls, choosing a base of rice, quinoa, or greens (or a combo) and a vegan protein, such as the chorizo made from walnuts and spices.

Slug is the sister bar to Oakland’s popular Snail Bar, but it’s not an entire repeat of the original. Yes, there’s the same commitment to natural wine and an array of just-as-impressive dishes, but this location boasts the addition of music via Oakland’s Lower Grand Radio. Don’t sleep on the food, while you’re dancing the night away — sample the boudins if you’ve never been to Snail Bar, and look to the other dishes, such as the scallop crudo, cucumber salad, and the miso sticky toffee pudding on the opening menu.

Patricia Chang

La Guerrera’s Kitchen

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La Guerrera’s Kitchen has moved quite a bit since 2020, from its spot in Fruitvale to pop-ups at Ale Industries to (more recently) a spot in Old Oakland, but this business that came from La Cocina’s incubator program has landed once again on its feet at Swan’s Market. The tamales are still a draw, as well as the pozole verde, but spring for the slow-cooked barbacoa or mango ceviche if you can.

Tamales and peppers from La Guerrera’s Kitchen Jenny Love

Noka Ramen

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Noka Ramen’s photo-worthy Oakland space will get plenty of acclaim from those who enjoyed the similar aesthetics at chef-owner Kasem Saengsawang’s other restaurants, Son & Garden and Farmhouse Kitchen Thai. But there’s also a serious (and fun) food element going for the restaurant. Luxuriate in the rich tonkotsu broth of the ramen, including a classic ramen, a spicy miso version, or a black garlic option — all loaded with soft-boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, and more. There’s a veggie-based broth for those who prefer it, as well as more audacious styles incorporating lobster or short ribs with dry-style Japanese noodles. And if you partake, don’t miss the colorful and playful drink menu while you’re at it.

When it came time to reimagine what to do with their first restaurant space, Nido owners Sylvia and Cory McCollow decided to do something they’ve always wanted: open a mezcaleria. Sample the mezcal selection at Odin in a cocktail or flight, before diving into tacos or tostadas made with local and seasonal ingredients from Devin González of Tacos El Precioso. For a snack, try the tabla de carne or tabla de Quesos Salazar, González’s take on meat and cheese boards. (And there’s typically some vegan or vegetarian options available on the rotating menu, if that’s what you prefer.)

Adahlia Cole

Delirama

Pastrami has its cult of fans, but not enough places that make it right. However, Delirama is one of the good ones. Slices of pastrami are the star, and you can get your fix early with the breakfast menu featuring pastrami stacked onto house-made bagels or bialys. Or stick around for a more classic lunch option at about 11 a.m. when the rye bread comes out of the oven and makes a perfect vessel for Delirama’s pastrami goodness. If you’re allergic to lunch lines, head in early and pick up a breakfast sandwich to start your day.

Babette

Babette was long known as the cafe within the Berkeley Art Museum, residing there for 10 years, but now owners Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker have moved into a cozy new spot on San Pablo Avenue with a beautiful back patio to boot. Expect an expanded menu from Babette’s days at the museum, with a selection of pizzas and dinner entrees, coffee and house-made pastries on the weekdays, and brunch on the weekend.

Cafe Ohlone

The world’s first Ohlone restaurant has re-opened in our own backyard of Berkeley, serving highly seasonal dishes that reflect the Ohlone culture and the local wonders of Indigenous Bay Area ingredients in a beautiful outdoor patio setting. The menu will rotate as the seasons change but expect both a meal of East Bay Ohlone favorites, as well as history and cultural lessons to boot. For now, the restaurant hosts reservation-only tea hour and lunches, with the expectation of expanding to dinner and brunch in the months to come.

TAROCCO

A white bowl filled with a salad of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Tarocco

The co-founder of Sequoia Diner is branching out on her own with Tarocco, a plant-forward restaurant serving California-Mediterranean dishes. The menu changes regularly, but expect to find dishes like grilled cabbage with tahini sauce and herbs, turmeric roasted cauliflower, or breakfast-y plates like chia seed pudding with tahini almond granola, Sicilian orange marmalade, and a variety of seasonal fruit. If you enjoy the food and want more of it, the restaurant also has a meal delivery program serving the same style of food each week.

A white bowl filled with a salad of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Tarocco

Good To Eat Dumplings & Modern Taiwanese Cusine

Good to Eat Dumplings gained popularity as a regular pop-up at Original Pattern Brewing, where it served Taiwanese-style dumplings and noodles. Now Angie Lin and Tony Tung have landed a permanent spot in Emeryville, and they’re expanding the menu to include more Taiwanese favorites. You can’t go wrong with the dumpling or noodle options, but lean into the growing menu, and order any of the rotating specials for sharing, family-style.

The Calypso Rose

Calypso Rose

Verna McGowan has had many careers in her lifetime — including seven years as author Alice Walker’s personal chef — but now she is showcasing her cooking talents to the public at her new Emeryville spot, Calypso Rose. McGowan serves a mix of Caribbean, Guayanese, and Puerto Rican dishes at the Emeryville Public Market; if you’re hungry, try the oxtail-laden pepperpot dish.

Calypso Rose

The Rendez-Vous

If you are in need of a Paris-like outing for the night, the Rendez-Vous has French vibes to spare. Lose yourself in the interiors — designed by co-owner Johnelle Mancha who operates the spot with her husband Brian Hill, as well as running her business Mignonne Decor, Berkeleyside writes — but don’t forget about the equally compelling food and drink menu. Slurp Miyagi oysters or try beet-cured halibut with pickled watermelon from chef Nate Berrigan-Dunlop, while sipping on a glass of French wine or dipping into a stronger cocktail, such as the ginger julep.

Ok's Deli

Hoang Le

The long-awaited storefront from pandemic pop-up favorite Ok’s Deli opened September 1 to much fanfare and long lines. Still, don’t let the (potentially long) wait deter you — the sandwiches are still in fine form, including the Taiwanese-style fried chicken sandwich and the egg salad option. Don’t skip the potato chip selection while you’re at it, the Ok’s group specifically picked American and Asian favorites to round out your meal.

Hoang Le

Occitania

Occitania

Chef Paul Canales is looking to deeply explore southern French cuisine with his new restaurant, Occitania. Located inside the Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel, expect an artfully designed restaurant that plays against Canales’s menu of French standards and not-so-standards. Explore the charcuterie menu, with its selection of terrine, pate, and rillettes of pork made in-house; there’s also a number of appetizers, from escargot to an omelette crepe to pigeon cooked three ways. If you’re looking for heftier dishes, there’s slow-cooked lamb shank or seafood stew made with petrale sole.

Occitania

Hi Felicia

Hi Felicia went from a pandemic pop-up hosted on the deck of chef Imana’s Oakland apartment to a brick-and-mortar, bringing the restaurant’s unique style of California comfort food-fine dining to a wider audience. Expect small bites influenced primarily by Mexican culture with global touches throughout, like fried chicken smothered in mole verde or a scallop aguachile dish.

Roasted and Raw

Imani Greer is another chef who made the leap from pop-up to a permanent space, bringing his style of vegan food to 14th Street in Oakland. Diners can order a chickn’ n’ waffles, a black bean burger, or create their own bowls, choosing a base of rice, quinoa, or greens (or a combo) and a vegan protein, such as the chorizo made from walnuts and spices.

Slug

Patricia Chang

Slug is the sister bar to Oakland’s popular Snail Bar, but it’s not an entire repeat of the original. Yes, there’s the same commitment to natural wine and an array of just-as-impressive dishes, but this location boasts the addition of music via Oakland’s Lower Grand Radio. Don’t sleep on the food, while you’re dancing the night away — sample the boudins if you’ve never been to Snail Bar, and look to the other dishes, such as the scallop crudo, cucumber salad, and the miso sticky toffee pudding on the opening menu.

Patricia Chang

La Guerrera’s Kitchen

Tamales and peppers from La Guerrera’s Kitchen Jenny Love

La Guerrera’s Kitchen has moved quite a bit since 2020, from its spot in Fruitvale to pop-ups at Ale Industries to (more recently) a spot in Old Oakland, but this business that came from La Cocina’s incubator program has landed once again on its feet at Swan’s Market. The tamales are still a draw, as well as the pozole verde, but spring for the slow-cooked barbacoa or mango ceviche if you can.

Tamales and peppers from La Guerrera’s Kitchen Jenny Love

Noka Ramen

Noka Ramen’s photo-worthy Oakland space will get plenty of acclaim from those who enjoyed the similar aesthetics at chef-owner Kasem Saengsawang’s other restaurants, Son & Garden and Farmhouse Kitchen Thai. But there’s also a serious (and fun) food element going for the restaurant. Luxuriate in the rich tonkotsu broth of the ramen, including a classic ramen, a spicy miso version, or a black garlic option — all loaded with soft-boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, and more. There’s a veggie-based broth for those who prefer it, as well as more audacious styles incorporating lobster or short ribs with dry-style Japanese noodles. And if you partake, don’t miss the colorful and playful drink menu while you’re at it.

Odin

Adahlia Cole

When it came time to reimagine what to do with their first restaurant space, Nido owners Sylvia and Cory McCollow decided to do something they’ve always wanted: open a mezcaleria. Sample the mezcal selection at Odin in a cocktail or flight, before diving into tacos or tostadas made with local and seasonal ingredients from Devin González of Tacos El Precioso. For a snack, try the tabla de carne or tabla de Quesos Salazar, González’s take on meat and cheese boards. (And there’s typically some vegan or vegetarian options available on the rotating menu, if that’s what you prefer.)

Adahlia Cole

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