“Can you recommend a new place to eat?” That’s the question Nosh contributors get the most, and it’s a good one — while we all have our beloved standbys, exploring a new restaurant is one of life’s great pleasures.

Watch this space every week for the newest restaurants to try in Berkeley, Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. As always, tips and recommendations are welcomed at editors@eastbaynosh.org.

Crockett Cocina

Crockett locals have a casual new restaurant in Crockett Cocina, serving hearty American breakfasts, as well as lunch and early dinner plates of pasta, bowls of chowder and cioppino, burgers and wings. True to its name, there are also a few Mexican-themed dishes such as carne asada fries and quesadillas. Crockett Cocina, 1207 Pomona St. (between Crockett Boulevard and 2nd Avenue), Crockett

Dave’s Hot Chicken Oakland

Bold signage has been tantalizing locals for weeks at the corner of Broadway and West Grand Ave., and now Dave’s Hot Chicken is finally open, filling Oakland bellies and watering eyes with crispy, spicy fried chicken sandwiches. Much has been made in local media about the Los Angeles-based franchise’s A-list celeb endorsements, but really you can just ask anyone from San Leandro, where Dave’s Hot Chicken opened back in November: These sandwiches are worth a detour. (And the new Oakland space is a beaut). Hotbird chicken-off, anyone? Dave’s Hot Chicken, 2228 Broadway (at West Grand Ave.), Oakland 

H. Salt, Esq. Fish & Chips

All is salty again (in a good way) at the Richmond end of San Pablo Ave. with the reopening of H. Salt, Esq. Fish & Chips, a family-owned, no-frills fried fish shop that was closed temporarily due to a kitchen fire. H. Salt, Esq. Fish & Chips, 12951 San Pablo Ave. (at Andrade Avenue), Richmond  

Nana Thai Bistro

We love reader tips. Thanks to those who spotted that Nana Thai Bistro, once slated to open in May of 2022 (and delayed a bit), is now open at Dwight and Sacramento in Berkeley. The sweet, cozy space dressed in purple hues features a handful of tables and bar seating inside, and some outdoor bistro tables for sunny neighborhood dining. The menu features approachable favorites such as Thai curries, soups, salads, barbecued meats, noodles and chef specialties such as crab fried rice for lunch and dinner. Nana Thai Bistro, 1453 Dwight Way (between Sacramento and Edwards streets), Berkeley    

Organic Greens Solano

Nosh was glad to learn that Organic Greens on Solano, closed since last fall, has had its plumbing issues fixed and has reopened to help with local resolutions for greener, leafier dining. The location is one of three for the popular salad-focused mini-chain. Organic Greens, 1615 Solano Ave. (at Tacoma Avenue), Berkeley

Jan. 16

Arizmendi Emeryville

February 2020 saw local co-op Arizmendi Emeryville’s proud reopening after more than a year’s reconstruction after a car crashed into its electrical closet; three weeks later the world hunkered into the pandemic. Undaunted, the pizzeria and bakery closed its new interior to customers, and pivoted to a take-out window only, where locals stood in long lines outside, grateful for the fresh-baked nourishment and hot coffee to go.

Now the Emeryville location’s preserved interior space and new bakery counter is back open to customers, to include self-serve pastries. (Note: No indoor dining just yet, but at least folks can pick up their pizza and treats in out of the rain.) Open Wednesday – Sunday. Arizmendi Emeryville, 4301 San Pablo Ave. (between Park Avenue and 45th Street), Emeryville 

Bagel Street Cafe Telegraph

Reopened Jan. 12, after a series of the usual inspection delays is Bagel Street Cafe, in its fresh new location on Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave. The move from Center Street, where the bagel shop was a quick, budget-friendly staple for 12 years, is a win-win for the business and its customers, allowing for even faster and more accessible bagels for hungry students in the Southside neighborhood.

The familiar, friendly shop hopes to offer a seamless customer transition to the new space — same satisfying bagels, spreads and sandwiches with a wide variety of flavors, toppings and options, same kind and efficient service. Bagel Street Cafe, 2375 Telegraph Ave. (between Durant Avenue and Channing Way), Berkeley

Bao Dim To Go/Long Jiang Pork Knuckle

Longjiang pork knuckle rice and other Cantonese specialties are available to go from this revived restaurant in downtown Berkeley, which for 34 years was the home of Little Hunan.

Sharing the space is Bao Dim To Go, a fast casual dim sum take out counter with a concise menu of offerings, including pork and shrimp dumplings. Bao Dim To Go/Long Jiang Pork Knuckle, 125 Berkeley Sq. (between Center and Addison streets), Berkeley

Bay Kosher

Not a restaurant, but a new grocery store providing Lafayette with a wide array of kosher goods, groceries and brands, some hard to find. A list of some of their stock, described by the business, says it best: “Bissli’s Kariot, herring, smoked whitefish, whole chicken, asado, rib eye steaks, pargiot, schnitzel, bourekasim, Doritos…sweetbreads, veal, lamb, pastrami, tongue! Spread the word!” With pleasure. Bay Kosher, 3477 Golden Gate Way (between First and Second streets), Lafayette

Jebena Cafe

Also in the “reopening” category is Ethiopian coffee shop Jebena Cafe, back in action (and serving breakfast and lunch) after a car crashed into the building soon after its opening in September. Jebena Cafe, 2930 Telegraph Ave. (between 29th and 30th streets), Oakland 

Joodooboo

Note to banchan and tofu fans: After a little pause and refresh that was announced back in October, Oakland Korean deli Joodooboo’s shop is once again open to walk-in and dine-in customers. Joodooboo, 4201 Market St. (at 42nd Street), Oakland

Lounge Chinatown

Johnny Chang’s (Dragon Gate) new bar, restaurant and lounge Lounge Chinatown has opened in Oakland, serving customizable Chinese and Taiwanese dishes and snacks with a side of karaoke in a sleek, sultry, night-market-style atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner daily, with notably late hours (until 2:30 a.m.). Lounge Chinatown, 366 8th St. (between Webster and Franklin streets), Oakland

Parche

Oakland has a new modern Colombian restaurant, now open inside Brown Sugar Kitchen’s former Uptown dining room. Parche in Spanish means “patch” and colloquially references a group of friends. The restaurant is an upscale, lively hangout, featuring cocktails infused with Latin flavors, including a list of inventive “tonicas,” Latin-style drinks made with tonic.

On the food side, look for small and large plates and ceviches showcasing the various cultures and flavors involved in regional Colombian cuisine. Chef-owner is Paul Iglesias (Canela). Read Eater SF’s profile here. Parche, 2295 Broadway (at 23rd Street), Oakland

Uchiwa Ramen

Bay Street’s dining terrace (the second-floor mezzanine) continues its major update with the opening of Uchiwa Ramen, a second location for the long-loved ramen shop based out of San Rafael.

Uchiwa Ramen Bay Street opened on cold, rainy, Friday the 13th — in hindsight a perfect day for folks to check out the warming, savory soups inside this cozy but elegant new ramen restaurant, with tables and a curved ramen bar. Along with bowls of rich, balanced noodle soups and pan-fried ramen, there are also appetizers, rice plates, options for many diets and ramen for kids. Uchiwa Ramen, 5606 Bay Street, Unit 233 (Upper Level), Emeryville

Saltbreaker

Alameda’s upscale dining scene has a new contender in Saltbreaker, now open in the Warehouse District. The soothing, cozy dining room features smooth lines, sea-moss-colored booths, lots of light wood and greenery and a convivial cocktail bar — a great tucked-away spot for a date or special night.

Dishes skew Cal-Med, seasonal, familiar and approachable — steak tartare, salmon, steak frites, grilled chicken with marsala and cranberry compote. House-made breads include focaccia served toasted with burrata and roasted garlic. Per the business, construction and rain are making the restaurant a bit tricky to find; once reservations are secured, map and follow all detour signs to the Saratoga Street address provided. Saltbreaker is on the opposite side of the building from the Storehouse Lofts leasing office. Saltbreaker, 2350 Saratoga St. (at West Ranger Avenue), Alameda

Jan. 10

Brewja Coffee

Thanks to a savvy commenter for the tip that San Lorenzo-based Brewja (“brew-ha”) Coffee has opened a cafe in downtown Oakland. Drinks and bites are Mexican-inflected, from the chorizo toast and jalapeno-cheddar scones to the horchata coffee, mazapan lattes and Mexican mochas. Brewja Coffee, 409 14th St. (between Franklin Street and Broadway), Oakland

Casa Borinquena

Combining two of the Bay’s favorites — vegan and Puerto Rican cuisines — into one luscious plate of plant-based pasteles, Casa Borinquena is now open in North Oakland. The pop-up’s brick-and-mortar has been long awaited — delays abounded, as they so often do — but chef Lulu’s rotating menu of savory, vegan specialties such as bori fries, rellenos de papa, tostones and maduros is now available for delivery or pick-up from her very own Oakland restaurant. Hours are dinner Wed.-Sat. for now as the eatery gets up to speed. Casa Borinquena, 6211 Shattuck Ave. (between 62nd and 63rd streets), Oakland

Kitava Temescal

The dining room of Kitava Temescal. Credit: Carly Hackbarth Photography

San Francisco-based Kitava has opened its second location in the former Hog’s Apothecary/Magpie space in North Oakland, giving Temescal a new option for flavorful, modern California cuisine. The approachable, light-filled dining room on 40th has been refreshed, with welcoming, crisp, clean lines to match the “clean-casual” dining on the plate.

Kitava’s dishes — snacks, small plates, bowls and desserts made with fresh, reportedly sustainable ingredients — are built by founders Jeff Nobbs and Bryan Tublin to accommodate many diets, and notably contain no gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, refined sugars or seed oils. A grand opening is set for this weekend. (Note to fans: The Kitava pop-up partnership with Buck Wild Brewing in Jack London Square came to a friendly end in December to accommodate the big move; look for Canasta Kitchen nibbles at the gluten-free brewery going forward.) Kitava Kitchen, 375 40th St. (at Opal Street), Oakland