clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Dishes from the Salty Pearl in Oakland. Ginger Fierstein

Here Are the Hottest New Restaurants in the East Bay, February 2024

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

View as Map

The top of a new month offers an opportunity to fill your calendar with plans to visit all the new places you’ve been meaning to check out across the East Bay. That’s where this list comes in: The East Bay Heatmap is for those keeping track of the latest noteworthy restaurants, cafes, and bakeries opening on the east side of the Bay Bridge.

This month, two restaurants settle into their new homes in Oakland, one slinging oysters and the other serving up saucy vegan burgers out of a takeout window. Meanwhile a Thai restaurant favorite opens their long-awaited Berkeley location after plenty of construction delays and Roman-style pizza debuts in Danville. Those looking to add more new restaurants to their checklist can also peruse the San Franciso Heatmap for new spots in the city. Read on for 18 of the East Bay’s most exciting new places to eat and drink.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Dynamite Donuts

Copy Link

If you’re looking for some fun doughnuts with whimsical names such as “Tie Dye Titan” and “Unicorn Poop,” then Dynamite Donuts is your place. The shop sells children’s cereal-topped doughnuts, such as the Flintstones doughnut coated in vanilla glazed icing and rolled in colorful Fruity Pebbles, or the Cookies & Cream topped with Oreo pieces. But if old-fashioned doughnuts and maple bars are more your style, the shop has those ready, too.

Farmhouse Kitchen

Copy Link

Farmhouse Kitchen has been on an expansion tear through the Bay Area, but one of its most closely watched openings is its latest in Berkeley, which faced construction delays at the prominent corner location of Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street. Go for the crispy Branzino in a chile-garlic lime sauce, or the hat yai fried fried chicken if you’re looking for a place to start. The pomelo rice salad with tamarind dressing is also a good option.

Saffron Kitchen

Copy Link

Afghan food now has a home on College Avenue with the debut of Saffron Kitchen, which has taken over the former Golden Squirrel pub space. Try the mantu, the restaurant’s dumplings made with ground lamb and topped with a yogurt-based sauce, or the combination kabobs to get a sampling of the chicken and beef skewers. It’s also worth mentioning that the menu is vegetarian-friendly, with plenty of options for plant-based diners.

Plates of food from Oakland’s Saffron Kitchen Saffron Kitchen

Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Flores has landed in Emeryville, the first East Bay outpost of the restaurant which has locations in San Francisco and Marin. Expect large format plates such as chile relleno and mole negro poblano, or order up a selection of tacos for your meal. There’s also a list of cocktails to order from, including four styles of margaritas, plus beer and wine. If you’re in a rush, quick-service sister business Flores Taqueria next door will serve dishes fast.

A table of Mexican food. Aubrie Pick

Pippal is the latest to join Bay Street’s selection of restaurants, which saw an overhaul this year and plenty of new additions to the outdoor mall. Hailing from the team behind San Francisco’s Rooh, the new Pippal is meant to be a place where diners can discover more of India’s food scene. The menu will rotate seasonally, but highlights include Dungeness crab masala and litti chokha, a ball of lentils slow-cooked in a tandoor and served with eggplant bharta. Don’t ignore the refreshing cocktail menu, which features info on monuments throughout India, of which many of the drinks are named after.

Litti chokha dish from Pippal, served with eggplant. Hardy Wilson

Burdell

Copy Link

Burdell, the restaurant from chef Geoff Davis is finally open, and it’s a space devoted to showcasing the depth and range of soul food in a space reminiscent of having dinner at your grandmother’s house. The menu shifts with the season, but expect standout dishes nonetheless, such as ‘BBQ’ whole shrimp, seasonal greens, and Klingeman pork neck. The low-ABV cocktails are also worth a sip, too.

Patricia Chang

Sushi Salon

Copy Link

Sushi Salon began as an East Bay pop-up from chef Joji Nonaka and Anna Osawa, both formerly of Utzutzu, but now the duo have landed in their own space in Oakland. Expect the same high-quality sushi the team became known for through its pop-ups, but now in an eight-seat restaurant. Diners will feast on a multi-course omakase menu highlighting fish from acclaimed fish concierge Hasegawa Hiroki, with Sushi Salon as the only place in the U.S. serving it.

Full Belly Bakery

Copy Link

Beautiful cakes are the main draw at the new Fully Belly Bakery from founder Eva Allen, with seasonal offerings (and various price points) to meet every occasion. But beyond the cakes, there are smaller treats too if a whole cake feels a bit much for the moment. Look for banana bread, ginger molasses cookies, or pistachio chocolate truffles.

Romana Pizzeria

Copy Link

This casual pizzeria serves Roman-style pizza alongside thin-crust pies, making this a distinctly unique option among Danville’s pizza options. There are classics, such as a margherita, but also lesser-known favorites like the pizza melanzana, which features roasted eggplant, mozzarella, baby arugula, and feta cheese. Those who like greens with their pizza have options, including a caprese salad, Caesar, and the Romana, which comes with baby arugula, walnuts, pear, roasted beets, and Parmesan cheese.

Maison Benoit

Copy Link

East Bay dwellers looking for a French treat on this side of the bridge can now head to Danville bakery Maison Benoit, which opened in early January. The space is led by a head baker from Paris and a pastry chef from Bordeaux, so expect expertly-made croissants, pain Suisse, caneles, tarts, and more. In addition to sweets, there are also baguettes, sandwiches, and quiches to pick up, along with a cup of coffee.

Malibu’s Burgers

Copy Link

Malibu’s Burgers is on the move. Owner Darren Preston announced that his vegan burger spot will expand this year, after moving his flagship location to the uptown area of Oakland in January. Expect the same style of thick, saucy burgers and fries that made his spot a favorite for both vegan and non-vegan diners. Indulge in the Ghostown Burger brimming with a patty, plant-based cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce, while chicken sandwich fans will probably want to check out the La Lulu Chick’n Sandwich. There isn’t really seating to speak of, so prepare to take your food home or to a takeout-friendly bar nearby.

A spread of goodies at Malibu’s Burgers including the “Hella, Hella Fries.” Malibu’s Burgers

Good Luck Gato

Copy Link

Good Luck Gato is a new Oakland spot meshing Mexican and Japanese drinking culture together in what it’s dubbing an “izakaya cantina” from the teams behind Low Bar and Hopscotch. Dine on dishes such as the uni butter elote, hamachi tartare crudo, and a black sesame chocotaco. On the drink side of things, get boozy with the Emerald Zone, which merges nori-infused tequila blanco with mezcal and Suze for sunomono-like flavor.

Nicola Parisi

Taqueria La Venganza

Copy Link

Chef Raul Medina perfected his brand of plant-based meats, and his new place is going all-in on vegan Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, and loaded fries. If you’re not a believer in vegan tacos, you should be — Medina’s tacos crushed at L.A. Taco’s 2018 “Taco Madness” competition, beating out many (non-vegan) businesses. Try the carne asada and carnitas tacos, but also pay attention to the specials, which can include comforting pozole.

Popoca Oakland

Copy Link

Chef Anthony Salguero’s pop-up Popoca has gone permanent with a new restaurant space in Old Oakland. The masa is freshly milled on a daily basis, so diners should plan on ordering a variety of pupusas and made in the restaurant’s hearth. The enchilada de hongos is another lovely addition, featuring grilled mushrooms on a fried tortilla. Meanwhile, an assortment of cocktails, such as the ponche, a clarified milk punch, and non-alcoholic drinks will keep dinner going.

Willows & Pine

Copy Link

First launching as a catering business, now Willows & Pine is a full-fledged restaurant from chef Michauxnée Olier. The focus is Olier’s creole dishes, which include chicken etouffee, oxtails in gravy, and more, with brunch on the weekends.

The Salty Pearl

Copy Link

After the abrupt closure of its Richmond space in 2023, Rocky Island Oyster Co. is back in a new Oakland home under a new moniker, the Salty Pearl. There are plenty of oysters to be slurped, of course, including varieties from the East and West Coast, plus a barbecue option. But the menu expands beyond just oysters with a radicchio Caesar salad, lobster roll, steamed mussels, and a burger. A selection of mostly European wines is available by the glass or bottle, perfect for pairing with seafood.

A tray of oysters with sauce and lemon slices at The Salty Pearl in Oakland. Ginger Fierstein

Taj Mahal Flavors of India

Copy Link

Taj Mahal is a new Indian fine-dining restaurant opened by Vikas Bajaj and his wife Priya, a restaurant modeled after one located inside Maurya hotel in New Delhi, the Mercury News reported at its opening in October. Bajaj recommends the seekh kabab, a tandoor-cooked “minty lamb mince on skewers” but there’s plenty more on the menu, which is also very vegetarian friendly. If you’re interested in sampling more of the restaurant, there’s a lunch buffet available.

Food from Taj Mahal Flavors of India Chinar Desai

Pineapple King Bakery - Fremont

Copy Link

San Francisco’s popular Pineapple King Bakery has made the leap across the bridge, opening a second location in Fremont. The bestseller is, of course, the pineapple bun or bolo bao, which regularly sells out at its Irving Street location. Go with your heart on which version to get. Options include custard-filled versions and even a barbecue pork pineapple bun. But if you’re looking for some direction, it’s hard to go wrong with a pandan coconut butter or guava butter pineapple bun.

A mango pineapple puff from Pineapple King Bakery Lauren Saria

Dynamite Donuts

If you’re looking for some fun doughnuts with whimsical names such as “Tie Dye Titan” and “Unicorn Poop,” then Dynamite Donuts is your place. The shop sells children’s cereal-topped doughnuts, such as the Flintstones doughnut coated in vanilla glazed icing and rolled in colorful Fruity Pebbles, or the Cookies & Cream topped with Oreo pieces. But if old-fashioned doughnuts and maple bars are more your style, the shop has those ready, too.

Farmhouse Kitchen

Farmhouse Kitchen has been on an expansion tear through the Bay Area, but one of its most closely watched openings is its latest in Berkeley, which faced construction delays at the prominent corner location of Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street. Go for the crispy Branzino in a chile-garlic lime sauce, or the hat yai fried fried chicken if you’re looking for a place to start. The pomelo rice salad with tamarind dressing is also a good option.

Saffron Kitchen

Afghan food now has a home on College Avenue with the debut of Saffron Kitchen, which has taken over the former Golden Squirrel pub space. Try the mantu, the restaurant’s dumplings made with ground lamb and topped with a yogurt-based sauce, or the combination kabobs to get a sampling of the chicken and beef skewers. It’s also worth mentioning that the menu is vegetarian-friendly, with plenty of options for plant-based diners.

Plates of food from Oakland’s Saffron Kitchen Saffron Kitchen

Flores

Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Flores has landed in Emeryville, the first East Bay outpost of the restaurant which has locations in San Francisco and Marin. Expect large format plates such as chile relleno and mole negro poblano, or order up a selection of tacos for your meal. There’s also a list of cocktails to order from, including four styles of margaritas, plus beer and wine. If you’re in a rush, quick-service sister business Flores Taqueria next door will serve dishes fast.

A table of Mexican food. Aubrie Pick

Pippal

Pippal is the latest to join Bay Street’s selection of restaurants, which saw an overhaul this year and plenty of new additions to the outdoor mall. Hailing from the team behind San Francisco’s Rooh, the new Pippal is meant to be a place where diners can discover more of India’s food scene. The menu will rotate seasonally, but highlights include Dungeness crab masala and litti chokha, a ball of lentils slow-cooked in a tandoor and served with eggplant bharta. Don’t ignore the refreshing cocktail menu, which features info on monuments throughout India, of which many of the drinks are named after.

Litti chokha dish from Pippal, served with eggplant. Hardy Wilson

Burdell

Burdell, the restaurant from chef Geoff Davis is finally open, and it’s a space devoted to showcasing the depth and range of soul food in a space reminiscent of having dinner at your grandmother’s house. The menu shifts with the season, but expect standout dishes nonetheless, such as ‘BBQ’ whole shrimp, seasonal greens, and Klingeman pork neck. The low-ABV cocktails are also worth a sip, too.

Patricia Chang

Sushi Salon

Sushi Salon began as an East Bay pop-up from chef Joji Nonaka and Anna Osawa, both formerly of Utzutzu, but now the duo have landed in their own space in Oakland. Expect the same high-quality sushi the team became known for through its pop-ups, but now in an eight-seat restaurant. Diners will feast on a multi-course omakase menu highlighting fish from acclaimed fish concierge Hasegawa Hiroki, with Sushi Salon as the only place in the U.S. serving it.

Full Belly Bakery

Beautiful cakes are the main draw at the new Fully Belly Bakery from founder Eva Allen, with seasonal offerings (and various price points) to meet every occasion. But beyond the cakes, there are smaller treats too if a whole cake feels a bit much for the moment. Look for banana bread, ginger molasses cookies, or pistachio chocolate truffles.

Romana Pizzeria

This casual pizzeria serves Roman-style pizza alongside thin-crust pies, making this a distinctly unique option among Danville’s pizza options. There are classics, such as a margherita, but also lesser-known favorites like the pizza melanzana, which features roasted eggplant, mozzarella, baby arugula, and feta cheese. Those who like greens with their pizza have options, including a caprese salad, Caesar, and the Romana, which comes with baby arugula, walnuts, pear, roasted beets, and Parmesan cheese.

Maison Benoit

East Bay dwellers looking for a French treat on this side of the bridge can now head to Danville bakery Maison Benoit, which opened in early January. The space is led by a head baker from Paris and a pastry chef from Bordeaux, so expect expertly-made croissants, pain Suisse, caneles, tarts, and more. In addition to sweets, there are also baguettes, sandwiches, and quiches to pick up, along with a cup of coffee.

Malibu’s Burgers

Malibu’s Burgers is on the move. Owner Darren Preston announced that his vegan burger spot will expand this year, after moving his flagship location to the uptown area of Oakland in January. Expect the same style of thick, saucy burgers and fries that made his spot a favorite for both vegan and non-vegan diners. Indulge in the Ghostown Burger brimming with a patty, plant-based cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce, while chicken sandwich fans will probably want to check out the La Lulu Chick’n Sandwich. There isn’t really seating to speak of, so prepare to take your food home or to a takeout-friendly bar nearby.

A spread of goodies at Malibu’s Burgers including the “Hella, Hella Fries.” Malibu’s Burgers

Good Luck Gato

Good Luck Gato is a new Oakland spot meshing Mexican and Japanese drinking culture together in what it’s dubbing an “izakaya cantina” from the teams behind Low Bar and Hopscotch. Dine on dishes such as the uni butter elote, hamachi tartare crudo, and a black sesame chocotaco. On the drink side of things, get boozy with the Emerald Zone, which merges nori-infused tequila blanco with mezcal and Suze for sunomono-like flavor.

Nicola Parisi

Taqueria La Venganza

Chef Raul Medina perfected his brand of plant-based meats, and his new place is going all-in on vegan Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, and loaded fries. If you’re not a believer in vegan tacos, you should be — Medina’s tacos crushed at L.A. Taco’s 2018 “Taco Madness” competition, beating out many (non-vegan) businesses. Try the carne asada and carnitas tacos, but also pay attention to the specials, which can include comforting pozole.

Popoca Oakland

Chef Anthony Salguero’s pop-up Popoca has gone permanent with a new restaurant space in Old Oakland. The masa is freshly milled on a daily basis, so diners should plan on ordering a variety of pupusas and made in the restaurant’s hearth. The enchilada de hongos is another lovely addition, featuring grilled mushrooms on a fried tortilla. Meanwhile, an assortment of cocktails, such as the ponche, a clarified milk punch, and non-alcoholic drinks will keep dinner going.

Willows & Pine

First launching as a catering business, now Willows & Pine is a full-fledged restaurant from chef Michauxnée Olier. The focus is Olier’s creole dishes, which include chicken etouffee, oxtails in gravy, and more, with brunch on the weekends.

Related Maps

The Salty Pearl

After the abrupt closure of its Richmond space in 2023, Rocky Island Oyster Co. is back in a new Oakland home under a new moniker, the Salty Pearl. There are plenty of oysters to be slurped, of course, including varieties from the East and West Coast, plus a barbecue option. But the menu expands beyond just oysters with a radicchio Caesar salad, lobster roll, steamed mussels, and a burger. A selection of mostly European wines is available by the glass or bottle, perfect for pairing with seafood.

A tray of oysters with sauce and lemon slices at The Salty Pearl in Oakland. Ginger Fierstein

Taj Mahal Flavors of India

Taj Mahal is a new Indian fine-dining restaurant opened by Vikas Bajaj and his wife Priya, a restaurant modeled after one located inside Maurya hotel in New Delhi, the Mercury News reported at its opening in October. Bajaj recommends the seekh kabab, a tandoor-cooked “minty lamb mince on skewers” but there’s plenty more on the menu, which is also very vegetarian friendly. If you’re interested in sampling more of the restaurant, there’s a lunch buffet available.

Food from Taj Mahal Flavors of India Chinar Desai

Pineapple King Bakery - Fremont

San Francisco’s popular Pineapple King Bakery has made the leap across the bridge, opening a second location in Fremont. The bestseller is, of course, the pineapple bun or bolo bao, which regularly sells out at its Irving Street location. Go with your heart on which version to get. Options include custard-filled versions and even a barbecue pork pineapple bun. But if you’re looking for some direction, it’s hard to go wrong with a pandan coconut butter or guava butter pineapple bun.

A mango pineapple puff from Pineapple King Bakery Lauren Saria

Related Maps