August’s weather was such a balm, it even helped soothe and lift spirits during last month’s big return to school. Welcome back to the COVID generation and their dedicated teachers, administrators and coaches — we see you braving those first weeks. Same goes for busy university students and staff, reanimating campuses across the East Bay. Why not treat yourselves to dumplings, a dusky pastrami sandwich, a French-style chocolate gateau, vegan pastries, spiced Ethiopian coffee, crispy chicken wings or any number of other new offerings from the following list? It might help further ease the re-entry as we head into fall. 

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New Berkeley restaurants

CABANAS CAFE Specializing in the interesting fusion of Hungarian-style kuros or “chimney pastries” filled with savory Mexican ingredients and flavors, family-owned Cabanas Cafe also serves hearty, all-day breakfast plates, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and other cafe fare. The new business opened August 22 in the former Northside Cafe. Cabanas Cafe, 1878 Euclid Ave. (at Hearst), Berkeley

A sandwich from pastrami specialists Delirama. Credit: Delirama/Instagram

DELIRAMA There’s a new cult pastrami outfit on Solano, and KQED first had the lowdown on its offerings — high-quality pastrami served on house-made breads, fresh-baked bagels, bialys and even pastrami tacos and pizza. Sandwiches feature appealing fixings such as a signature mustard and really good pickles, and vegan pastrami is also on the menu. The deli is the first brick-and-mortar from pop-up owners Cash Caris and Anahita Cann of Pyro’s Pastrami and Psychedelic Pizza. Look for the long lines outside the shop, and don’t miss the breakfast sandwiches. Delirama, 1746 Solano Ave. (at Ensenada Avenue), Berkeley    

DUMPLING TIME This San Francisco-based dumpling, dim sum and beer house from the Omakase Restaurant Group now has eight very popular locations around the Bay (and one coming soon to San Ramon). The highly-anticipated Fourth Street location opened on Aug. 4, and features a colorful, swank, midcentury vibe with a roomy dining room and outdoor patio. An open kitchen view onto fresh dumpling creation adds to the fun. What time is it? Say it with us, it’s… Dumpling Time Berkeley, 1795 Fourth St (at Delaware Street), Berkeley

THE ORIENTAL RESTAURANT Nosh was grateful for multiple readers’ takes on the reopened Oriental Restaurant, previously owned for three decades by the Nguyen family. The Berkeley classic is now owned by Mongolian-born Ganbld O., and he and his family are starting their journey as first-time restaurateurs by catering to nostalgic Oriental Restaurant customers. Vietnamese pho here is similar, if not the same recipe, as at the original Oriental. Expect ramen, tofu soups, and savory Korean and Mongolian dishes in the future as they get up to speed and broaden their menu, which one diner scanned and shared with us earlier in the month. The verdict so far from one reader, a former Oriental devotee? “Delicious,” especially the beef pho and egg rolls. The (new) Oriental Restaurant, 1782 Shattuck Ave. (between Delaware and Francisco streets), Berkeley 

SASHA COFFEE This new downtown Berkeley coffee shop opened in July at the base of the Center Street parking garage. The cafe is little sister to Oakland’s Haddon Hill Cafe and Leaning Tower Pizza Restaurant, and shares an airy storefront with the Downtown Berkeley Bike Station. It features third wave coffee drinks, fresh baked croissants – butter, almond, chocolate, ham and cheese – and fresh mini pizzas for grab-and-go lunch. Sasha Coffee, 2023 Center St. (between Milvia Street and Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley 

TIP-SEA Berkeley’s newest bar (with a great name, hyphen included) is being lauded for its balanced cocktails, welcoming service and the fresh vibe it has added to the downtown scene. The bar is in the former Venus on Shattuck (the gold Venus sign has finally come down for good from the exterior), and has maintained that long-loved restaurant’s cozy brickwork, adding an appealing main bar to the left of the entrance and comfortable wooden booths to the right. Food is American bar bites — burgers, nachos, wings and more. Note: Tip-Sea is open nightly, and operates until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Look for brunch in the future, as a nod to the former Venus. Tipsea, 2327 Shattuck Ave. (between Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way), Berkeley

New Oakland restaurants

JAZZY GROUNDS The “jazzy” in the name of this coffee bar from longtime Oakland resident Alison Fleming-McElroy isn’t a reference to the spot’s sleek decor, as she said that her place offers “a smooth and sultry coffee experience while enjoying jazz greats.” It quietly opened last weekend with a menu of coffee drinks and smoothies, with expanded cafe offerings in the works once the kinks are worked out. Jazzy Grounds, 8209 International Blvd. (near 82nd Ave.), Oakland — Eve Batey

JEBENA CAFE We’ve been waiting for this Ethiopian coffee shop since What Now SF brought news of its plans back in May, and were happy to see it quietly open this week. The spot serves breakfast and lunch; it also offers traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies, hence the cafe’s name (the coffee in that ceremony is brewed in a pot called a jebena, you see). No website yet, but Jebena does have that increasingly rare option, a phone number you can call with questions or to order. It’s 510-285-6441. Jebena Cafe, 2930 Telegraph Ave. (near 30th Street), Oakland — Eve Batey

NOKA RAMEN & BAR The team behind Farmhouse Kitchen, known for its sumptuously colorful interiors and flavorful Thai food, are behind this long-awaited modern Japanese ramen shop and bar. Expect stylish Jack London Square digs, QR-code-based ordering and service, luxe cocktails, and above-average soup ingredients such as lobster and slow-cooked short rib; housemade noodles are also a specialty here. Noka Ramen & Bar, 90 Franklin St. (at Embarcadero West), Oakland  

The facade of the Rendez-Vous. Credit: The Rendez-Vous

THE RENDEZ-VOUS Ooh lala!: As spotlit by contributor Brock Keeling, North Oakland has a swank new French-inspired restaurant and lounge that looks straight out of Paris. Married co-owners Johnelle Mancha (Mignonne) and Brian Hill’s cozy, stylish dining room and bar includes lots of copper, art, greenery, vintage accent pieces and some alluring 1930s-era murals found hidden under the space’s wallpaper. Chef is Nate Berrigan-Dunlop, who folks might know from past plates at the Starline Social Club, among other local haunts. Seems a perfect spot to enjoy, well, a little rendezvous, and one that includes cocktails, oysters and savory bistro specials, either indoors or on the sidewalk patio. The Rendez-Vous, 5526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 55th and 56th streets), Oakland

TIGRAI CAFE Tigrai might have only just opened, but the warming Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking here is already attracting regulars. Folks also say not to miss the spiced coffee. Oakland locals might remember this appealing location as the former home of Siam Bay. Tigrai Cafe, 1009 Clay St. (between 10th and 11th streets), Oakland

TIMELESS COFFEE JACK LONDON SQUARE Founded in 2012 by former Sightglass Coffee head roaster RJ Leimpeter, this growing local coffee chain and 100-percent vegan bakery and confectionery just opened an airy fourth location in Jack London Square. Timeless Coffee Jack London, 85 Webster St. (at Embarcadero West), Oakland

YORI KOREAN KITCHEN Longfellow Food Hall ghost kitchen’s newest take-out and delivery food business is Yori Korean Kitchen, featuring traditional rice bowls, soups and meat dishes. (Find the growing list of Longfellow Food Hall restaurants on their website.) Yori Korean Kitchen inside Longfellow Food Hall, 5333 Adeline St. (at 54th Street), Oakland

Restaurant openings elsewhere in the East Bay

Alameda Island Savoy Market founder Mike Stevens (left) and Juliette Ingraham, Credit: Alameda Island Savoy Market/Facebook

ALAMEDA ISLAND SAVOY MARKET Community goodness abounds at this new Bay Station grocery, deli and cafe in Alameda, with specialty wines, craft beers, organic produce and products from local favorites Signal Coffee, Starter Bakery and Julie’s Tea, among many others. The family-owned market’s charming vibe stems from a strong legacy — according to What Now SF, owner Mike Stevens’s grandparents owned the Savoy Market in Providence, Rhode Island, and he named his market in tribute. Alameda Island Savoy Market, 1200 Lincoln Ave. (at Bay Street), Alameda

BALTIC KISS Fans of Point San Pablo’s Black Star Pirate BBQ, with all its eclectic decor, colorful quirks, live music and great food, can now get a little taste of that scene at owners Tony Carracci and Suzie Vasco’s new restaurant, bar and music venue, Baltic Kiss. Point Richmond’s historic Baltic Building bar and restaurant space (briefly Baltic Spice) has a funky atmosphere that seems well suited to the couple’s new, music-themed endeavor; food is Southern Louisiana comfort cuisine. Baltic Kiss, 135 Park Place (between Washington and West Richmond avenues), Richmond  

THE CALYPSO ROSE KITCHEN Chef-owner Verna McGowan was Alice Walker’s private chef for seven years, a fact that adds heightened interest to her first public-facing food business — but there’s much more to her story. McGowan’s background is a tapestry of influences, from Caribbean to Southern to Guyanese, and her dishes skew tropical, flavorful and often spicy, such as oxtail stew, shrimp curry and pineapple-lacquered crispy chicken wings. As McGowan told Nosh, the name Calypso Rose is in honor of Calypsonian singer-songwriter Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis, whose songs address social issues such as racism and sexism. The Calypso Rose Kitchen inside The Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound, Emeryville 

CHOW BISHOP RANCH The bygone Chow family of restaurants were tops in Bay Area comfort dining for years, until locals watched with sadness as they closed, one by one, with the final light going out in Lafayette in 2019. Well, folks, it’s been a minute, but Chow is back. Bishop Ranch’s upscale food emporium plays host to the restaurant’s new incarnation, serving dinner for now, with lunch and those famous breakfasts to come. Chow Bishop Ranch, 600 Bollinger Canyon Rd., Suite 1100, San Ramon 

EUROPEAN DELIGHTS This new Romanian family-owned bakery at Walnut Creek’s Citrus Marketplace serves brioche, cakes, muffins, cannoli and other sweet treats with a European bent, and locals could not be more charmed. For a savory snack here try the covridog, a pastry-wrapped hot dog served with mustard. European Delights, 2236A Oak Grove Rd., Walnut Creek

HASUMI SUSHI As first noted in the Chronicle, last month saw the opening of this spacious new sushi bar and restaurant in Walnut Creek. Hasumi Sushi, 3116 Oak Rd. (near Elena Court), Walnut Creek    

HONG KONG CAFE Expect a wait to get a table at the Pacific East Mall’s new Hong Kong Cafe (H.K. Cafe on their signage), offering congee, noodles, sizzling plates and Hong Kong-style wok-fried, baked and barbecued dishes. Lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. include a menu of dishes served with soup for under $15. Hong Kong Cafe inside the Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St. A103, Richmond     

KAISEN DON San Leandro has a new option for sushi, chirashi, and Japanese entrees in Kaisen Don, recently moved to the ‘dro from San Francisco. Kaisen Don, 1042 Marina Blvd. (between Orchard and Pacific avenues), San Leandro 

KIBI’S CAFE Fresh, affordable Vietnamese banh mi, summer rolls and desserts are on offer at this pretty new Walnut Creek cafe with lots of outdoor seating. Kibi’s Cafe, 1981 N Broadway, Suite 115, Walnut Creek 

LEMON DROP Now open in the former Lemon Tree in Alameda is Lemon Drop, a stylish bar with eventual plans for a food program, as well. The new owners uncovered details from the early 1900’s during their building renovations, and kept them to add to the historic bar’s atmospheric appeal. Expect small-batch craft cocktails and late hours, including until 2:00 a.m. on weekends. Closed Tuesdays for now. Lemon Drop, 2542 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda

NICK THE GREEK Nick the Greek in Walnut Creek: It’s not just a fun chant, it’s a chance for fresh falafel, gyros and baklava from this popular fast-casual Greek franchise, now open on Locust Street. Nick the Greek, 1140 Locust St. (between Botelho Drive and Olympic Boulevard), Walnut Creek 

WAKI JAPANESE CUISINE The sushi, execution and ambience at this new Alameda restaurant seem a cut above for lunch and dinner. Waki Japanese Cuisine, 1403 Webster St. (between Taylor and Central avenues), Alameda

Featured image: Noka Ramen’s unabashedly Instagrammable Jack London Square dining room. Credit: Noka Ramen