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Hi Felicia Patricia Chang

The Hottest New Restaurants in the East Bay, May 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. There’s not only a fine dining restaurant that began as a pandemic pop-up in a chef’s Oakland apartment, but also a La Cocina incubator graduate who has finally landed in Swan’s Market. Newer additions also include two vegetable-friendly spots in Oakland and Berkeley. Read on for 18 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.

1. Sistory Thai Kitchen

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1233 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94706
(510) 705-1635
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Sistory Thai Kitchen serves its own brand of Thai food in Berkeley, a tough thing to pull off in a city rife with other Thai food options. Where Sistory shines is its willingness to push traditional Thai dishes forward, along with the willingness to riff on dishes with unconventional ingredients. The lobster ravioli tom kha is one shining example of this, along with others like the kanoom jeen nam ngew, a Northern Thailand soup dish boasting a pork and shrimp paste base with vermicelli noodles and a smattering of vegetables tucked inside.

2. Kowbird

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1733 Peralta St
Oakland, CA 94607

Matt Horn has done it again, this time trading slow smoked meats for crispy fried chicken served between fluffy potato buns or atop puffed buckwheat waffles. In the tastefully updated former Pretty Lady Diner corner space in West Oakland, Horn turns up the heat with Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches and wings (they’re incredibly spicy, consider yourself warned), and dives down South with the Honey Bird sandwich that’s drenched in sticky sweet honey butter sauce. Don’t skip the housemade lemonade and sweet tea, plus a side of the blissfully complex white mac n’ cheese. 

Fried chicken from Matt Horn’s Kowbird Kowbird

3. TAROCCO

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2570 Ninth St
Berkeley, CA 94710

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

4. Squabisch Pretzels

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1585 Solano Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707

It’s all pretzels, all the time at Squabisch, Berkeley’s new bakery from former record label manager Uli Elser. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the German native is using his grandmother’s recipe to bring both classic salt-topped pretzels and more innovative twists to the small takeout-only shop — think, sweet variations stuffed with ricotta and apricot preserves and rolls filled with uni and furikake.

A pretzel coated with everything seasoning Squabisch

5. Ceron Kitchen

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1619 Webster St
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-9090
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Chef Juan Jaquez is bringing his fine dining experience to Alameda with Ceron Kitchen, executing a New American menu with touches of details from other cuisines. In dishes like the octopus a la plancha, tendrils of octopus get a punch of Spanish chorizo and beans, and other menu options get similarly thoughtful pairings that showcase Jaquez’s previous work at restaurants such as Paradiso and Boulevard.

6. Roasted and Raw

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607 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 285-6052
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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.

7. La Guerrera’s Kitchen

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907 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 424-8577
Visit Website

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

8. Joodooboo

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4201 Market St
Oakland, CA 94608
(510) 500-1001
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For now, Joodooboo is primarily a takeout deli operation but don’t let that stop you from swinging by to pick up the Bay’s freshest dooboo, the Korean word for tofu, and a box of banchan. It’s all made right there, in the former Kebabery space, and gets its creamy texture from being cooked at a lower temperature and molded gently, with help from gravity alone. The banchan selection rotates weekly but always offers a constellation of pickled, stewed, and fermented vegetables sourced from farms around the region. 

Dooboo and banchan from Oakland’s new Korean deli Joodooboo. Lauren Saria

9. Rose Pizzeria

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1960 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 859-8645
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This University Avenue pizzeria and wine spot comes from a husband-and-wife duo of industry vets who returned to the Bay Area after opening a “very, very good” pasta shop in Chicago, Berkeleyside reports. Now Gerad Gobel and Alexis Rorabaugh pull 12-inch thin-crust pizzas from an electric oven and top them with local burrata, smoked mozzarella, and truffle sauce. Wines and beer are also available to enjoy with a pie on the cute (and heated) rose garden patio.

10. Baba's House

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410 15th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 899-0904
Visit Website

It’s a little bit difficult to put Baba’s House in a box — the business is part restaurant, part snack shop, and part art gallery. Oh yeah, and there’s a mah jong den, a DJ booth, and a live streaming room. But if food is truly what you’re after, stick to the downstairs space, where there’s a small menu of gyoza, salted egg Caesar salads, and a BHK Beef bowl topped with citrus-soy-marinated ribeye. Don’t forget to head upstairs to the one-of-a-kind snack shop, where White Rabbit candy and jars of chile crisp are displayed on multicolored shelves under the glow of neon lights. 

11. Tane Vegan Izakaya

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1956 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 898-1514
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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.

12. Sesame Tiny Bakery

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2969 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

This pocket-sized bakery shares a home with the Kebabery in South Berkeley, where former Camino pastry chef Marykate McGoldrick crafts rustic desserts and pastries inspired by whatever happens to be in season. The bakery’s hand-painted menu might offer a layered ginger cake with poached pears or a craggy almond-chocolate wafer. But if you want to find out exactly what’s up for grabs, just be sure to swing by during the limited hours: Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

Sesame

13. High 5ive

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437 25th St
Oakland, CA 94612

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.

14. Hi Felicia

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326 23rd St
Oakland, CA 94612

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

15. Pomet

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4029 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 450-2541
Visit Website

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. Pomet makes its debut on March 16.

16. Korner Kitchen and Bar

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1014 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 590-0607
Visit Website

Part commissary kitchen and part cocktail bar, Korner Kitchen & Bar is an undeniable destination for exciting cocktails and a wide selection of food from some of the East Bay’s hottest pop-ups. Noodle Belly, pasta pop-up Sfizio, and Bad Walter’s Ice Cream all call it home, plus there’s an outdoor cocktail bar mixing drinks with playful ingredients like horchata, ube-infused vodka, and Red Bay Coffee cold brew. 

17. Sweet Fingers Jamaican Restaurant

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5859 Foothill Blvd Suite 1
Oakland, CA 94605
(510) 553-9869
Visit Website

Jamaican restaurant Sweet Fingers closed after a fire in 2019, but made it’s grand return in late January. The new 3,300-square-foot space in Oakland is now home to chef Clive Barnes’ fried plantains, jerk chicken, and oxtail stew. 

18. LITA

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1602 Bonanza St
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 933-5482
Visit Website

Lita landed in Walnut Creek to much fanfare, bringing its Miami vibe and Latin-Caribbean food to the East Bay. Expect high drama at Lita with the vibrant decor, and delightful bites like the guava kampachi ceviche, coconut curry empanadas, and heartier fare such as ancho chile coffee short ribs.

1. Sistory Thai Kitchen

1233 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

Sistory Thai Kitchen serves its own brand of Thai food in Berkeley, a tough thing to pull off in a city rife with other Thai food options. Where Sistory shines is its willingness to push traditional Thai dishes forward, along with the willingness to riff on dishes with unconventional ingredients. The lobster ravioli tom kha is one shining example of this, along with others like the kanoom jeen nam ngew, a Northern Thailand soup dish boasting a pork and shrimp paste base with vermicelli noodles and a smattering of vegetables tucked inside.

1233 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94706

2. Kowbird

1733 Peralta St, Oakland, CA 94607
Fried chicken from Matt Horn’s Kowbird Kowbird

Matt Horn has done it again, this time trading slow smoked meats for crispy fried chicken served between fluffy potato buns or atop puffed buckwheat waffles. In the tastefully updated former Pretty Lady Diner corner space in West Oakland, Horn turns up the heat with Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches and wings (they’re incredibly spicy, consider yourself warned), and dives down South with the Honey Bird sandwich that’s drenched in sticky sweet honey butter sauce. Don’t skip the housemade lemonade and sweet tea, plus a side of the blissfully complex white mac n’ cheese. 

1733 Peralta St
Oakland, CA 94607

3. TAROCCO

2570 Ninth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
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.

2570 Ninth St
Berkeley, CA 94710

4. Squabisch Pretzels

1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707
A pretzel coated with everything seasoning Squabisch

It’s all pretzels, all the time at Squabisch, Berkeley’s new bakery from former record label manager Uli Elser. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the German native is using his grandmother’s recipe to bring both classic salt-topped pretzels and more innovative twists to the small takeout-only shop — think, sweet variations stuffed with ricotta and apricot preserves and rolls filled with uni and furikake.

1585 Solano Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707

5. Ceron Kitchen

1619 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

Chef Juan Jaquez is bringing his fine dining experience to Alameda with Ceron Kitchen, executing a New American menu with touches of details from other cuisines. In dishes like the octopus a la plancha, tendrils of octopus get a punch of Spanish chorizo and beans, and other menu options get similarly thoughtful pairings that showcase Jaquez’s previous work at restaurants such as Paradiso and Boulevard.

1619 Webster St
Alameda, CA 94501

6. Roasted and Raw

607 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612

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.

607 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612

7. La Guerrera’s Kitchen

907 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607
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.

907 Washington St
Oakland, CA 94607

8. Joodooboo

4201 Market St, Oakland, CA 94608
Dooboo and banchan from Oakland’s new Korean deli Joodooboo. Lauren Saria

For now, Joodooboo is primarily a takeout deli operation but don’t let that stop you from swinging by to pick up the Bay’s freshest dooboo, the Korean word for tofu, and a box of banchan. It’s all made right there, in the former Kebabery space, and gets its creamy texture from being cooked at a lower temperature and molded gently, with help from gravity alone. The banchan selection rotates weekly but always offers a constellation of pickled, stewed, and fermented vegetables sourced from farms around the region. 

4201 Market St
Oakland, CA 94608

9. Rose Pizzeria

1960 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

This University Avenue pizzeria and wine spot comes from a husband-and-wife duo of industry vets who returned to the Bay Area after opening a “very, very good” pasta shop in Chicago, Berkeleyside reports. Now Gerad Gobel and Alexis Rorabaugh pull 12-inch thin-crust pizzas from an electric oven and top them with local burrata, smoked mozzarella, and truffle sauce. Wines and beer are also available to enjoy with a pie on the cute (and heated) rose garden patio.

1960 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

10. Baba's House

410 15th St, Oakland, CA 94612

It’s a little bit difficult to put Baba’s House in a box — the business is part restaurant, part snack shop, and part art gallery. Oh yeah, and there’s a mah jong den, a DJ booth, and a live streaming room. But if food is truly what you’re after, stick to the downstairs space, where there’s a small menu of gyoza, salted egg Caesar salads, and a BHK Beef bowl topped with citrus-soy-marinated ribeye. Don’t forget to head upstairs to the one-of-a-kind snack shop, where White Rabbit candy and jars of chile crisp are displayed on multicolored shelves under the glow of neon lights. 

410 15th St
Oakland, CA 94612

11. Tane Vegan Izakaya

1956 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

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.

1956 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

12. Sesame Tiny Bakery

2969 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705
Sesame

This pocket-sized bakery shares a home with the Kebabery in South Berkeley, where former Camino pastry chef Marykate McGoldrick crafts rustic desserts and pastries inspired by whatever happens to be in season. The bakery’s hand-painted menu might offer a layered ginger cake with poached pears or a craggy almond-chocolate wafer. But if you want to find out exactly what’s up for grabs, just be sure to swing by during the limited hours: Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

2969 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

13. High 5ive

437 25th St, Oakland, CA 94612

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.

437 25th St
Oakland, CA 94612

14. Hi Felicia

326 23rd St, Oakland, CA 94612
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.

326 23rd St
Oakland, CA 94612

15. Pomet

4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

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. Pomet makes its debut on March 16.

4029 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

Related Maps

16. Korner Kitchen and Bar

1014 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

Part commissary kitchen and part cocktail bar, Korner Kitchen & Bar is an undeniable destination for exciting cocktails and a wide selection of food from some of the East Bay’s hottest pop-ups. Noodle Belly, pasta pop-up Sfizio, and Bad Walter’s Ice Cream all call it home, plus there’s an outdoor cocktail bar mixing drinks with playful ingredients like horchata, ube-infused vodka, and Red Bay Coffee cold brew. 

1014 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601

17. Sweet Fingers Jamaican Restaurant

5859 Foothill Blvd Suite 1, Oakland, CA 94605

Jamaican restaurant Sweet Fingers closed after a fire in 2019, but made it’s grand return in late January. The new 3,300-square-foot space in Oakland is now home to chef Clive Barnes’ fried plantains, jerk chicken, and oxtail stew. 

5859 Foothill Blvd Suite 1
Oakland, CA 94605

18. LITA

1602 Bonanza St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Lita landed in Walnut Creek to much fanfare, bringing its Miami vibe and Latin-Caribbean food to the East Bay. Expect high drama at Lita with the vibrant decor, and delightful bites like the guava kampachi ceviche, coconut curry empanadas, and heartier fare such as ancho chile coffee short ribs.

1602 Bonanza St
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Related Maps