“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. Every week we tell you the newest restaurants to try in Berkeley, Oakland and the rest of the East Bay, then organize them by region for this, our monthly roundup. We hope it helps you find somewhere new to try.
As always, tips and recommendations are welcomed at email@example.com.
New Alameda restaurant opening
Macondo Colombian Fusion
2/16/23 Nosh missed this opening two months ago, though the restaurant is not-to-be missed — Alameda’s Macondo Colombian Fusion is from Constanza Ortiz, La Cocina alum and owner of 12-year-old Latin American caterers Maite Catering. Her new brick-and-mortar, named for the fictional town in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, features fresh arepas, empanadas and other Colombian-inspired fare for breakfast and lunch, including fusion dishes true to the business’s name — the banh mi and quesabirria arepas, for example, are popular options. For more detail on Macondo, look to Jeffrey Edalatpour’s Feb. 15 piece in the East Bay Express. Macondo Colombian Fusion, 1545 Webster St. (at Lincoln Avenue), Alameda
New Berkeley restaurant openings
2/8/23 As promised, downtown Berkeley has a new spot for smashburgers and that currently-trending East Coast snack, chopped cheese (similar to Philly favorite, the cheesesteak). Berserk Burger is from chef-owner Cal Kepner, who also owns the very popular nearby El Pollo (formerly Burro) Picante, and is now quietly testing meaty menu items daily during lunch hours. Berserk Burger will host a grand opening celebration on Feb. 11. Berserk Burger, 2026 University Ave. (between Milvia Street and Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley
Blue Willow Teaspot
2/22/23 Not an opening, but a change of format on weekends for woman-owned Berkeley tea refuge Blue Willow: Weekend walk-ins are welcome to enjoy tea, matcha, iced tea and chai by the cup, or to purchase from Blue Willow’s lovely array of loose tea and tea-focused retail offerings. For tea by the pot, specialty flights, or to enjoy more detailed table service (all recommended), you’re encouraged to reserve weekend seating via the tea shop’s website.
“We love what we do and want to share it with you,” explained owner Ali Roth on Instagram, who had noticed an uptick in weekend lines and wanted to lessen wait times and improve her customer experience. “If that means pumping the brakes to keep it genuine then so be it.” Hear hear. Blue Willow Tea, 1200 Tenth St. (at Harrison Street), Berkeley
Chef Green at KC’s BBQ
2/16/23 Quick PSA on a change of venue for Chef Green’s regular taco Tuesdays: For the month of February, in honor of Black History Month, the taco chef known for gathering streetside diners in West Oakland and Richmond will host his weekly Tuesday pop-ups out of Berkeley’s KC’s BBQ restaurant. This means Chef Green’s quesabirria tacos and cobblers along with KC’s own menu of barbecue favorites, in a new collaboration for at least the month of Februar-“yee.” Chef Green pop-ups at KC’s BBQ, 1235 San Pablo Ave. (near Gilman Street), Berkeley
Dessert Cafe at Kimchi Garden
2/22/23 Telegraph Avenue has a new sweets destination in Dessert Cafe, a mochi donut and boba tea biz tucked inside established restaurant Kimchi Garden. The cafe opened Feb. 16. Dessert Cafe inside Kimchi Garden, 2517 Durant Ave. (between Telegraph Avenue and Bowditch Street), Berkeley
iScream Epicurious Garden
2/28/23 We all hoped that the back counter kiosk inside North Shattuck’s Epicurious Garden would stay frozen-treat focused when the Lush gelato stand closed last year, and…guess what? Sometimes wishes do come true. Solano Avenue favorite iScream is now scooping up its beloved organic flavors daily inside the fancier food court with the beautiful back garden — and, in big news for birthday revelers, crafting ice cream cakes as well, along with ice cream sundaes, floats and frozen bananas. Everybody: I scream, you scream, we all scream for…iScream inside the Epicurious Garden, 1511 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley
Joyride Pizza at Gilman Brewing
2/22/23 Gilman Brewing is often touted for spreading joy, and now it is also a place to find a Joyride — Joyride Pizza, that is, the crispy-edged, square, loaded, Detroit-style pan pies served across San Francisco, now available in Berkeley through the Gilman Brewing taproom daily. Inquire at the taproom or order online for pickup. Thanks to Eater SF for first sharing the news. Joyride Pizza at Gilman Brewing, 912 Gilman St. (between Seventh and Eighth streets), Berkeley
2/16/23 A new coffee shop has opened in Berkeley near Cal with the unique mission of promoting positive mental health. The Northside neighborhood cafe has a soothing, almost futuristic vibe — a white corridor with soft, all-white, sculptural elements and comfortable seating. Community resources, engagement, programming and events here have mental health awareness as an overall focus, though for self-care, the cafe’s coffee drinks and pastries should not be overlooked. Owner is Chinese Colombian American Viviana Wang. Mind Coffee, 1816 Euclid Ave. (near Ridge Road), Berkeley
Elena Kadvany of the Chronicle had the story on this new East Bay pizza truck popup from pizzaiolo Sam Ciccarelli, named for Ciccarelli’s great-grandfather, now serving naturally leavened wood-fired pies at Broc Cellars and Donkey & Goat Winery, among other venues. (Check Instagram for dates.) Urelio’s Pizza, various locations
New Concord restaurant opening
Cajun Crack’n Concord
2/22/23 There are a number of new fast-casual seafood restaurants on the horizon for the East Bay, and Beyond The Creek had the news that an adventurous chain we’ve been tracking for a year is now open in Concord. Cajun Crack’n serves customizable seafood medleys — choose from options such as head-on or -off shrimp, whole Dungeness crab, mussels, crawfish — and a choice of sauce and spice level, including Cajun-style, lemon pepper and garlic butter (the “house special sauce” is a mix of all three). More traditional a la carte dishes are also on the menu. Tie on a bib and enjoy. Cajun Crack’n, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord
New Danville restaurant opening
The Melt Danville
2/16/23 Growing grilled cheese chain The Melt has a new location in Danville, bringing the total number of Melts in California to 22 (including Oakland’s popular location at Broadway and Grand Avenue). Crowd-pleasing, gooey, toasty sandwiches, burgers, macaroni and cheese dishes and grilled chicken sandwiches are given the full cheese treatment here; the fast-casual menu also includes salads, soups and desserts. The Melt, 43 Railroad Ave. (between W Linda Mesa Avenue and Love Lane, Danville
New Emeryville restaurant opening
2/8/23 Emeryville’s treasured, rotating La Cocina kiosk inside the Public Market — former proving ground for owner-operated standouts Nyum Bai, Pinky’s and Mama Lamees, among others — is now home to chef Carmen Figueroa’s El Meson. Thanks to The E’ville Eye for first sharing the news.
Figueroa specializes in empanadas from her native Chile, where fillings might include chicken, pork, beef, olives, mushrooms, spinach, hard-boiled eggs, raisins and other flavorful ingredients, including vegetarian empanadas. U.C. Berkeley students and staff might remember Figueroa’s former kiosk on campus, where it was called El Meson de Violeta. El Meson inside the Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville
New Oakland restaurant openings
Delah Coffee House Oakland
2/8/23 Sumptuous, spiced Yemeni coffee and other specialty drinks are served with care at newly opened Delah Coffee House in Oakland, sister location to the original Delah that opened last year in San Francisco. Delah’s mission of spreading the history and traditions of Yemeni coffee is nicely showcased in this Eater profile — the name “Delah” refers to the traditional Yemeni coffee serving vessel with a dramatic shape used to welcome guests and pour with flourish. Lattes at Delah are spiced with cardamom and cinnamon, specialty chai is served in a glass teapot, and all beverages are made that much more enticing when paired with the cafe’s pastries and desserts. Delah Coffee House Oakland, 420 W. Grand Ave. (between Valley Street and Broadway), Oakland
Dek Doi Cafe
2/8/23 It might have a “soft opening” sign in the window, but new Piedmont Avenue tea shop Dek Doi Cafe seems fully realized, and is doing a brisk business in its large, handsome new space on the same corner as Mille Fiori. The shop already has an intriguing menu of specialty drinks, both hot and cold, as well as snacks from roti to waffles to toasts and shaved ice; the team plans to bring Thai coffee and heartier food options to the space going forward. Dek Doi Cafe, 4125 Piedmont Ave. (between 41st Street and Ridgeway Avenue), Oakland
Desta Ethiopian Cafe
2/16/23 Chef-owner Sirgout Ada Badana, known for her veg and vegan Ethiopian fare at local farmers markets, has opened her first brick-and-mortar cafe in the former Chica Oakland space. Her cuisine is hearty and flavorful, and Desta is welcoming, colorful and already being heralded for its family- and veg-friendly vibes. Gluten-free teff-flour injera is also a specialty here, as is Badana’s rich Ethiopian coffee. Desta Ethiopian Cafe, 303-A Oakland Ave. (at Frisbie Way), Oakland
GaiNoi Street Food
2/16/23 GaiNoi is a small Thai street food spot in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood (inside the former Thai Corner Express) that opened in mid January — and already we’re hearing good things. Food is fresh and savory, including comforting bowls of steamed and marinated chicken and rice, curries, fried rice, noodle dishes and soups. Expect fast, friendly service. GaiNoi Street Food, 435 19th St. (between Franklin Street and Broadway), Oakland
Greedy Greg’s (and several others) at the Adeline Food Hall
2/22/23 It can be a trick to keep up with the number of take-out options (and casual turnover) at the Adeline Food Hall ghost kitchen complex on the Oakland-Emeryville border, formerly known as Longfellow Food Hall.
A recent check reveals…36 businesses now serving from that location? And many of them on the newer side, all featuring an impressive range of cuisines from vegan to barbecue, leafy and green to…not necessarily, as with new late night spot Greedy Greg’s bacon double cheeseburgers. Our advice is to check back often, as Adeline’s operations are in constant flux. But whatever your particular craving, you just might find your take-out dish of choice. Greedy Greg’s, etc. at Adeline Food Hall, 5333 Adeline St. (at 54th Street), Oakland
Left Bank Brasserie Jack London Square
2/22/23 Chef Roland Passot’s upscale-casual Left Bank brasseries have been Bay Area destinations since 1994, the year the first one opened in Larkspur. Two more followed soon after in Menlo Park and San Jose, and over the years sister restaurants Petite Left Bank, LB Steak and Meso Mediterranean have added to his impressive lineup. Meanwhile, Passot’s La Folie, RIP, was one of the Bay Area’s finest French restaurants until it closed in an oddly prescient pre-pandemic announcement in 2020.
Now Oakland gets to enjoy a taste of Passot’s vie en rose with his new 5,500-square-foot Left Bank Brasserie, now open in Jack London Square in the former Belcampo space. Left Banks’ vibrant, French-centric dining focused on brasserie meats, seasonal ingredients, and good wines, looks to be a tres beau new dining destination for the waterfront area. Left Bank Brasserie Jack London Square, 55 Webster St. (between Embarcadero West and Water Street), Oakland
Okkon at Forage Kitchen
2/28/23 Local pop-up Okkon, the husband-and-wife crafters of Japanese street food delicacy okonomi yaki — ingredients such as pork belly, yam, cabbage and green onion cloaked in a delectable, savory, rolled, eggy pancake — begin a residency at Forage Kitchen starting this week. Okkon’s menu often includes gyoza and other small plates along with the couple’s fresh, made-to-order okonomi yaki. Look for lunch Thursday-Sunday, and dinner service Friday at the Oakland shared commissary kitchen space. Okkon at Forage Kitchen, 478 25th St. (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland
2/8/23 It’s true — the line to get into Poppy’s opening day in Temescal stretched for blocks and blocks, revealing the East Bay’s ceaseless interest in that rare, relative newcomer on the West Coast: a really good bagel.
Chef-owner, New York City native and first-time restaurateur Reesa Kashuk, who began Poppy Bagels as a farmers’-market pop-up during the pandemic, told the Chronicle that her bagels are somewhat of an amalgam, featuring combined favorite aspects of the best of her hometown — the golden crust, the inner give and chew — hand-rolled and, in a touch of her own for flavored bagels, heavily seeded on both sides.
Innovative, well-sourced toppings add to the experience here; watch for future bagel sandwiches and other menu items, and check ahead before getting in that line as soft-opening hours will be limited to start. Poppy Bagels, 5004 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland
Pupuseria Papa Chico
2/28/23 The former Queen’s Cajun space in East Oakland is now Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant Pupuseria Papa Chico. Line up for the pupusas, panes con pollo, Salvadoran pasteles, empanadas and tortas, or try the burritos, tacos and other Mexican-style dishes in this clean and inviting little spot. Pupuseria Papa Chico, 2211 International Blvd. (near 22nd Ave.), Oakland
Rico Rico Vegano
2/22/23 The former Holy Land counter and eating space is now a second, vegan iteration for never-not-busy Rico Rico Tacos. The vegan menu is a hearty mix of burritos (including burrito bowls), quesadillas, flautas, sopes, soups, salads, veg ceviches and yes, tacos, featuring pitaya tortillas and plant-based cheeses, sauces, meats and seafood. We predict lines for miles. Additional seating can be found at the original Rico Rico around the corner. Rico Rico Vegano, 677 Rand Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland
Sliver Pizzeria Montclair
2/28/23 Sliver Pizzeria continues its swift expansion throughout the Bay Area with this newest cozy-casual pizza and housemade gelato restaurant in Montclair Village, next door to Peet’s. Wood booths, cafe tables and bar seating (margaritas are on the menu) fill the nicely designed space. This makes seven welcoming pizzerias for the family-owned mini-chain, with additional ones to come. Note: Diners say don’t miss the sauce bar. Sliver Pizzeria Montclair, 2064 Antioch Ct. (between Antioch Street and La Salle Avenue), Oakland
United Dumplings Rockridge
2/8/23 San Francisco-based United Dumplings has crossed the bay and opened a location in Rockridge, and folks are justifiably intrigued. The popular dumpling restaurant, first opened in 2020 and already boasting two locations in the city, is co-owned and -cheffed by friends Julia Zhu and Sandy Zheng (take a look at this fun profile from SF Gate).
Their menu of potstickers, XLB, steamed dumplings, salads and hand-pulled noodles, includes traditional and more innovative creations that fuse northern Chinese and modern California cooking. It’s a “united” approach, and one sure to draw lunch and dinner crowds on College Ave. United Dumplings Rockridge, 6247 College Ave. (between 62nd and 63rd streets), Oakland
New Richmond restaurant opening
Royal Indian Restaurant
2/22/23 A new Indian and Punjabi restaurant called Royal Indian celebrated its Richmond grand opening on Feb. 1. On offer are a diverse list of vegetarian dishes along with meaty specialties such as goat curry, tandoori chicken, wraps, kebabs and biryani, with customizable degrees of spice. The restaurant is tucked inside the shopping complex at San Pablo and Montoya avenues. Royal Indian Restaurant, 13112 San Pablo Ave. (at Montoya Avenue), Richmond
New San Leandro restaurant opening
2/28/23 San Leandro’s newest cozy bar and restaurant is a pan-Asian tapas lounge featuring cocktails to pair with small plates — noodles, seafood, Japanese-style sandwiches, Korean-style corn cheese, chicken karaage, steamed egg. (The Korean word banju means eating and drinking among friends.) The restaurant took over from now-closed Ellie’s Baked Eggs. Banju Bay, 1865 Orchard Ave. (at Williams Street), San Leandro