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Patricia Chang

The Hottest New Restaurants in the East Bay, August 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 continue to widen the electrifying mix of dining experiences and cuisine, which includes the opening of an exciting new restaurant-slash-wine bar from the Snail Bar team. Read on for 12 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.

Tane Vegan Izakaya

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The team behind popular San Francisco vegan restaurant Shizen has finally opened a vegan restaurant on the East Bay side of the bridge, but rather than an extension of Shizen, the team instead installed a second location of their Hawaiian vegan sushi restaurant, Tane Vegan Izakaya. Expect gorgeous vegan food (of course) in the form of nigiri, sushi rolls, and ramen.

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.

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.

Local farms are the star at Oakland’s Pomet, and with good reason: the proprietors behind the new spot hail from K&J Orchards, and they’re centering local food producers in each dish. Each menu item highlights where the ingredients hail from, such as quail from Wolfe Ranch, carrots from Star Route Farms, and honeynut miso butter made by Shared Cultures. This is farm-to-table to the extreme and a celebration of those who grow local produce.

High 5ive

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Bay Area folks love a good rooftop bar, and the lucky residents of the East Bay recently welcomed not just one rooftop bar, but two. High 5ive is the second rooftop bar to debut within the last six weeks, and already people are hyped on not just the views, but also the drink menu, which has vibrant and showy cocktails like the Tony Bennett, which is their smoked version of a manhattan.

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.

Hi Felicia Patricia Chang

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

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

Tane Vegan Izakaya

The team behind popular San Francisco vegan restaurant Shizen has finally opened a vegan restaurant on the East Bay side of the bridge, but rather than an extension of Shizen, the team instead installed a second location of their Hawaiian vegan sushi restaurant, Tane Vegan Izakaya. Expect gorgeous vegan food (of course) in the form of nigiri, sushi rolls, and ramen.

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.

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.

Pomet

Local farms are the star at Oakland’s Pomet, and with good reason: the proprietors behind the new spot hail from K&J Orchards, and they’re centering local food producers in each dish. Each menu item highlights where the ingredients hail from, such as quail from Wolfe Ranch, carrots from Star Route Farms, and honeynut miso butter made by Shared Cultures. This is farm-to-table to the extreme and a celebration of those who grow local produce.

High 5ive

Bay Area folks love a good rooftop bar, and the lucky residents of the East Bay recently welcomed not just one rooftop bar, but two. High 5ive is the second rooftop bar to debut within the last six weeks, and already people are hyped on not just the views, but also the drink menu, which has vibrant and showy cocktails like the Tony Bennett, which is their smoked version of a manhattan.

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 Patricia Chang

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.

Hi Felicia Patricia Chang

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

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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