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

East Bay diners please note: The week of July 4th is a popular one for industry staff to take a much-needed summer break. Here’s a reminder to please double-check local restaurant hours before heading over.

alaMar Dominican Kitchen

As promised, Nelson German has revamped and reopened his former seafood restaurant alaMar into new concept alaMar Dominican Kitchen, complete with  energetic new murals celebrating Dominican culture. Opened June 30, the restaurant features modern riffs on classic dishes from German’s heritage and upbringing in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City — mofongo, sancocho, pernil and Dominican-style sides such as stewed beans, adobo fries, plantains and chenchen (grits). Slushy, boozy cocktails make for welcome pairings. alaMar Dominican Kitchen, 100 Grand Ave. (between Webster and Valdez), Oakland

Bisou Chocolate

Tablehopper first alerted us back in April to news of this dedicated chocolate shop from Bisou Chocolate. It is the brainchild of chocolatiers Tracey Britton and Eli Curtis, whose handcrafted artisan chocolates have won awards and made it onto many Bay Area must-have lists, via local farmer’s markets, since 2006. Their first brick-and-mortar chocolate counter fronts the Bisou confectionery kitchen at 2929 Ninth St., near Berkeley Bowl West, and features a soft-opening menu (as announced on Instagram, where soft-opening hours should also be checked) of “fresh truffles, caramels, chocolate bars, dragees, and our signature drinking chocolate.” There are also new treats and refreshments from the team, including unique chocolate-inflected beverages on tap. Bisou Chocolate, 2929 Ninth St. (near Ashby), Berkeley   

Matty’s Old Fashioned

Chef Matt Horn’s long-awaited burger restaurant softly opens July 7, as announced on Instagram, and should be a meaty treat for those who can secure a reservation. As with his Oakland success stories Horn Barbecue and Kowbird, Horn’s upscale-nostalgic diner — first announced in 2021 — promises big things, especially on the restaurant’s Tock page: “Immerse yourself in the thoughtful brilliance of our menu, where the traditional American burger is transformed into a testament to gastronomic artistry,” it says. “Allow us to serve you stories and memories, all wrapped in the embrace of extraordinary burgers, uniquely crafted in the inimitable style of chef Matt Horn.” Stories and hugs from a hamburger? Sign us up. Seriously, we look forward to first reports from fans. Matty’s Old Fashioned, 464 8th St. (between Washington and Broadway), Oakland 

Mercado 925

West Berkeley has a new, modern Mexican restaurant and bar in Mercado 925, featuring tacos, burritos, seasonal salads, grilled sandwiches and a menu of Latin-inspired beer, wine, spirits and cocktails at the western end of University Ave. Mercado 925, 925 University Ave. (at 8th St.), Berkeley

Sweet Pipers

Family-owned bakery Sweet Pipers, known for pop-ups since 2009, has opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in Pinole as first profiled in The Chronicle. Married co-owners Rowena Ortega, lead baker, and Jack Ortega specialize in Hawaiian and Filipino sweet treats, including Rowena’s signature buko ube pies and cashew tarts. Check out the opening selection of island-style confections here. Sweet Pipers, 2352 San Pablo Ave., Suite A, Pinole

Sukho Thai

In a long-anticipated reopening, Oakland’s 10-year-old Sukho Thai is back in business after nearly a year of renovations (and concerned regulars of the Rockridge staple hoping for news). The menu appears similar if not the same as before the restaurant was refreshed, to include those rich curries diners have been missing. Thanks to a longtime fan for the tip. Sukho Thai, 5498 College Ave. (at Lawton), Oakland

Freelancer Joanna Della Penna has written about food, people and the arts in the Bay Area since moving here from the East Coast in 2001, and was Gayot's Northern California regional restaurant editor for...