“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.

Cafe Buenos Aires West Berkeley

Argentinian empanada purveyor Cafe Buenos Aires has opened a third location, joining the original South Berkeley location and its more recent opening on Powell St. in Emeryville. The new West Berkeley branch is a welcoming little counter-service spot on Tenth Street, with warm tile, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and outdoor cafe seating. The small menu includes fresh empanadas (corn, ham and cheese, “pumpkin pie”), pastries and coffee drinks available weekdays. Cafe Buenos Aires, 2530 Tenth St. (between Parker Street and Dwight Way), Berkeley

Fish and Bonez

As noted by What NowSF, chef Booli Huerta’s pop-up Fish and Bonez has a new HQ at the commercial kitchens at 2701 Eighth St. in Berkeley, joining an eclectic array of local industry players. Look for fresh local collaborations and pop-ups; fingers crossed we’ll eventually have the chance to pick-up the chef’s flavorful boards, tacos and other colorful specials (as seen at Korner, Slug Bar, Rare Barrel, De La Creamery and others) direct from the space. For now, follow them here for weekly pop-up events around the Bay, including Friday at Hammerling Wines. Fish and Bonez (commercial kitchen HQ), 2701 Eighth St., Berkeley 

Hawking Bird

Lucky for us, Oaklander and Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout (his destination restaurant Commis has not one but two stars, and is the only East Bay restaurant to claim any) is equally comfortable slinging comforting street food for the people: His fast-casual, Thai-inspired eatery Hawking Bird reopens its indoor dining room this week, after restricting service to takeout since the pandemic began.

On offer are accessible, flavorful dishes with a focus on chicken  — khao mun ghai, sticky marinated fried and barbecued chicken bowls, curries, salads, hefty sandwiches and a range of soul-satisfying options for many diets. The Temescal restaurant is all the more sought after now that Syhabout has closed all locations of his more upscale-casual Lao restaurant Hawker Fare. Hawking Bird’s indoor dining reopens Mar. 14. Hawking Bird, 4901 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th St.), Oakland

Purple Kow Berkeley

Students! After a few days’ delay, the opening date for Purple Kow’s fresh, pretty new digs on Channing St. at the base of The Den student apartment complex is Mar. 17. Head there to find all those boba drinks and tasty snacks you might recall from the Center St. location, now closed after 10 years of service. Purple Kow, 2508 Channing Wy. (near Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley

March 8

5 Tacos & Beers Berkeley

Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood is about to get even more festive with Tuesday’s grand opening of 5 Tacos & Beers, in the former Shen Hua restaurant space on College Ave. For those who have not visited the original 5 Tacos & Beers in Albany, trust — this restaurant from Lito Saldaña (Los Moles) is known for its fun, easy sophistication.

The lively taqueria features an appealing menu of craft beers and taco flights, and pleases friends, families, groups and dates with equal charm. As at the Albany location, a nice amount of outdoor seating is on offer. 5 Tacos & Beers, 2914 College Ave. (between Ashby Avenue and Russell Street), Berkeley

Highwire Coffee Broadway

Coffee lovers PSA: Highwire has opened a new downtown Oakland cafe at 1111 Broadway, replacing a pandemic-related casualty Peet’s that closed last May. The Emeryville-based roastery with the lovely marketing serves up rich drinks at some of the East Bay’s more handsome locations, from Albany’s Flowerland to Alameda’s Park Street to Oakland’s Market Hall in Rockridge.

This spacious, tony, light-filled new corporate-district shop is no exception. Also on offer are Highwire’s 4Track brand teas, chai, retail coffee products and a curated list of locally made pastries. The downtown Oakland Highwire opened Feb. 13. Highwire Coffee Roasters, 1111 Broadway (between 11th and 12th streets), Oakland 

Shake Shack Walnut Creek

The Bay Area’s tenth and newest Shake Shack burger chain location had the Creek quaking last weekend, as lines snaked around the block at least an hour before the eatery had even opened. As fans know well, the widespread North American franchise began as a single hot dog stand in New York City in 2001, and now boasts a long menu of specialty burgers as well as chicken sandwiches, various topped fries, milkshakes and frozen custard. (And yes, there is still a hot dog on the menu.) Shake Shack, 1604 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek 

Starter Bakery

Brian Wood’s Starter Bakery, well known since 2010 for breads and pastries delivered wholesale to Bay Area specialty shops, restaurants and cafes, has opened its first stand-alone storefront in lucky Rockridge; Nosh readers can find all the details from Eve Batey here.

Fresh croissants, brioche, bread loaves and quickbreads, quiches, pies, cookies and those sought-after kouign amanns, along with some new dedicated treats made just for the new shop, are turned out from on-site ovens in the warm, pleasant cafe space.

While the Rockridge retail shop ramps up, the public-facing online store operating out of Starter’s Gilman Street production site is temporarily paused (though its wholesale operations will continue) — all the more reason to head over to College Avenue and test the wares there, where sandwiches, coffee drinks and other refreshments are also available. Tip: Order ahead to avoid the opening lines, which were deliciously long last weekend. Starter Bakery, 5804 College Ave. (between Chabot Road and Birch Court, Oakland