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 email@example.com.
Handmade tortillas, fresh ingredients, margaritas and vegan-friendly options mark some of new taqueria Alma’s appeal for lunch and dinner. The small, friendly, fast-casual Mexican eatery and bar features tacos, empanadas, burritos and platos, and is now open in the former Rotisserie Deli space in downtown Oakland.
Alma Bar Cocina Mexicana, 361 19th St. (between Franklin and Webster streets), Oakland
Nosh was happy to see that downtown Berkeley’s former Gold Leaf Cafe has been lovingly replaced by the new Bench patisserie and cafe, featuring Highwire coffee drinks, Tay specialty teas and fresh-baked cakes, biscotti, cookies, meringues, fancy toasts and other treats. The chic newcomer opened in June.
Bench, 1947 Martin Luther King, Jr. Wy (near University Avenue), Berkeley
“We are not all the way done with our renovations but we just cannot wait any longer to see our peeps,” said the announcement email for Cellarmaker Brewing’s newly opened taproom and beer garden at their production facility (inside the former Rare Barrel) in Southwest Berkeley. The celebrated craft brewery, first founded in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood in 2003, has become known for its addictive Detroit-style pizza along with its ales; though the Berkeley kitchen is not open just yet, local folks are hoping they can expect similar treats soon. For now, Cellarmaker’s lively, small-batch craft brews and snacks are on offer on weekends in the spacious Berkeley taproom and sunny patio. Look for another new Cellarmaker space opening later this summer in Oakland.
Cellarmaker Brewing, 940 Parker St. (between 8th and 9th streets), Berkeley
There is a handsome new breakfast and lunch restaurant inside the former Sunny Side Up restaurant space within North Berkeley’s peaceful Epicurious Garden. Eggy’s Neighborhood Kitchen features, you guessed it, egg-based dishes in an appealing variety: cheesy egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, steak and eggs, omelets, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles with fried eggs. (Ooo …and a challah meets tres leches French toast.) For lunch, there are also burgers, salads and sandwiches. Indoor seating is on offer within the standalone dining room, but the move on nicer days is to sit in the sunny, enclosed garden. Thanks to a kind Nosh reader for the tip.
Eggy’s Neighborhood Kitchen at the Epicurious Garden, 1511 Shattuck Ave. (between Vine and Cedar streets), Berkeley
Spanish and Mexican flavors marry in intriguing new ways at La Marcha’s new, upscale, take-out and delivery-only restaurant Ibéxico (named for Iberica and Mexico). The curated menu of dishes to go features crafted tacos, croquetas and flautas filled with grilled and slow-roasted proteins — pork shoulder, octopus, shrimp — sauced with big flavors from mole to salsa brava. For dessert, flan and stuffed churros.
Ibéxico at La Marcha, 2026 San Pablo Ave. (near University Avenue), Berkeley
The Berkeley end of Solano Ave. has a new fast-casual Italian-Indian chain restaurant, and reviews are all thumbs-up so far. On offer are traditional and Indian-inflected pizzas, classic Italian pastas, and shareable Indian and Italian appetizers — think breadsticks and samosas. Recent diners seem happy with both the flavors and service so far. The franchise has locations across the U.S. (including more than 40 shops in California), Canada and Indonesia.
Pizza Twist, 1821 Solano Ave. (near Colusa Avenue), Berkeley
Rocky Island Oyster Co. Instagram followers have already heard that the East Coast-influenced seafood outfit, formerly operating out of Assemble Marketplace, has found a soft place to land in a new summer food truck and pop-up series, beginning with a collaboration with Richmond’s Windchaser Wine Company. Check social media for updates but expect fresh oysters, lobster rolls, grilled oysters and shrimp and other fun menu items this weekend at the winery and tasting room, then watch for future weekend locations going forward.
As foretold by The Chronicle, the first brick-and-mortar eatery for longtime Vietnamese pop-up favorite 3 Bottled Fish, owned and operated by chef Paulette Tran, celebrated its grand opening in East Oakland on July 15. The charming cafe (built into a former Orbit Coffee) focuses on Vietnamese coffee and nourishing snacks — porridge, rice noodles, banh mi.
3 Bottled Fish, 1924 35th Ave. (near Foothill Boulevard), Oakland
Just before press time, Wise Sons Jewish Deli announced that reconstruction on its downtown Oakland location is now complete, as the space had to be partially rebuilt after a racing car crashed through the side of the building on June 4. The downtown counter and dining room are back open for all your bagel and sandwich needs.
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, 1700 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland
Featured photo: Ibéxico