New Berkeley restaurants

Batter Bakery

9.19.23: West Berkeley’s newest tenant is boutique bakery Batter, recently relocated from its former spot in San Francisco. Founded in 2008 by baker Jen Musty, Batter crafts treats (many of which have won awards) include brownies, shortbread, cookies, cakes, pies, scones, muffins, quickbreads and even housemade graham crackers. The team announced the move across the bay back in June and then launched in mid September. Watch for bakery pop-ups in and around Berkeley via Batter’s website. Batter Bakery, 2701 Eighth St. (at Carleton Street), Berkeley

Burgerim Berkeley

9.12.23: This new burger restaurant at the base of the Stonefire apartment building in downtown Berkeley has been in the works for years (we know — we’ve been peeking through the windows on University since before the pandemic), and now patience has been rewarded. The new, locally owned Berkeley Burgerim has fresh patties (not frozen), Mitchell’s Ice Cream milkshakes and the range of customizable burgers and chicken sandwiches found at Burgerim franchise locations both local (including in El Cerrito Plaza) and nationwide. Catering is also a specialty here. Burgerim, 1974 University Ave. (at Milvia Street), Berkeley

Delah Coffee Berkeley

9.07.23: Berkeley’s Northside neighborhood was packed with coffee lovers for Delah’s grand opening on Sept. 1. The beautiful new cafe (inside the former Brewed Awakening) specializes in rich, sultry Yemeni coffee and tea drinks and desserts, and marks the third Bay Area location for the growing brand. Delah Coffee Berkeley, 1807 Euclid Ave. (between Ridge Road and Hearst Avenue), Berkeley

Lexie’s Frozen Custard

9.12.23: Founder Alexis “Lexie” LeCount’s brick-and-mortar location officially opened Saturday, Sept. 16. Lexie’s started as a food truck that LeCount operated from 2013 to 2020, before closing down to focus on the opening of the new shop in Downtown Berkeley. In addition to scoops, pints and little sundaes, Lexie’s also offers an impressive array of frozen pies. Lexie’s Frozen Custard, 2010 Addison St., Berkeley. — Tovin Lapan

Los Cilantros Berkeley (Reopening)

9.12.23: La Cocina alum Dilsa Lugo, owner of standout Mexican eatery Los Cilantros, is hardly a stranger to Berkeley, having launched her catering company of the same name here back in 2010, and her restaurant at the La Peña Cultural Center in 2014. In late 2020, Lugo pivoted back to catering and community-minded cooking. She also had a spot at the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace food court in San Francisco, which closed earlier this month, but her Berkeley restaurant was much missed. 

Credit: Los Cilantros

Now, Los Cilantros has returned to the La Peña Cultural Center. “While our doors may have been closed, our kitchen and hearts have been hustling,” said the Instagram post announcing the reopening of Los Cilantros on Sept. 13. “We’re proud to have contributed to feeding those in need, partnering with community initiatives that truly make a difference … It’s not just a return, it’s a celebration of resilience, of community, and of the joy that good food can bring into our lives.” Grateful locals are no doubt in agreement. Los Cilantros Berkeley (at the La Peña Cultural Center), 3105 Shattuck Ave. (between Prince and Woolsey streets), Berkeley

Tanghuo Kungfu Mala Town

9.26.23: New on University Avenue in downtown Berkeley (inside the former Sushi GoGo) is Los Angeles-based Tanghuo Kungfu Mala Town, serving up budget-friendly spicy hot pot against a backdrop of bright red decorTanghuo Kungfu Mala Town, 2041 University Ave. (between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street), Berkeley

New El Cerrito restaurant

Dave’s Hot Chicken El Cerrito

9.19.23: The latest East Bay location for popular SoCal-based franchise Dave’s Hot Chicken opened in El Cerrito Sept. 22. The El Cerrito Plaza said good-bye to several keystone properties during the pandemic—franchise Mod Pizza and indie longtimer The Junket, to name two; but with the influx of fresh eateries such as Dave’s, California Fish Grill and Ike’s Sandwiches, the vacancies are dwindling and hungry visitors are returning. The Dave’s Hot Chicken franchise specializes in hot chicken strips, sandwiches and spice levels that achieve “Reaper” status. Dave’s Hot Chicken El Cerrito, 5010 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito

New Emeryville restaurant

Dipped Bay Street

9.07.23: Dipped dessert shop is now softly open on Bay Street’s ground level, featuring chocolate-dipped strawberries, elaborately decorated candied apples (coated in s’mores, fruity cereals, strawberry shortcake), dipped pretzels and marshmallows, Oreos coated in cookie butter and other portable and unique confections. Dipped, 5646 Bay St., Emeryville

New Oakland restaurants

The Barbary

9.19.23: This new cocktail lounge on Grand Avenue operated by sisters Narges and Nala Gardizi, both of whom previously bartended at Trader Vic’s, quietly opened at the end of August. The atmospheric craft cocktail bar (inside the former Libertine) features an eclectic decor and cool outdoor patio, with drinks and grub “inspired by the merchants, the pirates, and the sailors of the Barbary Coast.” Patrons say do not miss the grog. The Barbary, 3332 Grand Ave. (between Lake Park Avenue and Mandana), Oakland


9.12.23: Now open in Oakland’s Temescal is Geoff Davis’s long-awaited destination Burdell, featuring a menu of elevated soul food. As far as local openings go, this one is red hot, blending Davis’s fine-dining chops with satisfying, soulful flavors and heartfelt nostalgia. (The restaurant is named for his maternal grandmother.) Burdell Soul Food, 4640 Telegraph Ave. (between 45th and 48th), Oakland 

Cafe Noir

9.26.23: The former Food Foundry in Oakland’s Dimond neighborhood is now Cafe Noir, softly opened and already growing a local fan base for its hearty American-style plates—crispy chicken wings and Brussels sprouts, big salads, saucy pasta dishes, stacked burgers and chicken sandwiches. (For longtime Oakland locals, the cafe appears unrelated to the former, pizza-focused Cafe Noir in Uptown that closed in 2009.) Cafe Noir, 2818 MacArthur Blvd. (at Coolidge Avenue), Oakland

El Escotillon

9.26.23: While Oakland waits for the hotly anticipated brick-and-mortar version of Taqueria La Venganza to open, vegans and fans of chef Raul Medina can opt for his fry fare at El Escotillon, launched late summer at The Hatch. The pop-up features a menu of “bar food, except it’s vegan,” including bacon cheddar tots, burgers, fries and spicy chicken sandwiches. El Escotillon at The Hatch Oakland, 402 15th St. (at Franklin Street), Oakland

Good Luck Gato

Credit: Good Luck Gato

9.12.23: The former Hopscotch space is now Good Luck Gato, an approachable “izakaya cantina.” The new concept comes from the team behind Oakland’s Low Bar, Daniel Paez and Matthew Meyer, together with their friend and former colleague Kyle Itani, former owner of Hopscotch (where all three friends worked together), and current owner of Itani Ramen, Hopscotch Catering and Yonsei Handrolls. The wildly delicious sounding Japanese-Mexican mashup of a menu features casual, drinks-friendly cuisine that combines flavor-rich ingredients from both cultures. The restaurant opened Sept. 14. Good Luck Gato, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (between Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and 19th Street ), Oakland 

Indian Rasoi

9.19.23: After months of watching for signs of life at the former Cafe Colucci, Nosh is pleased to report that Indian Rasoi is now open. The neighborhood restaurant features an appealing, colorful decor of vibrant textiles and parasols, and a menu of fresh, flavorful Indian cuisine to accommodate a range of diets. (Early online reviews gave a big thumbs up for the aloo gobi, among other dishes.) Welcome, Indian Rasoi, to the Oakland-Berkeley borderland. Indian Rasoi, 6427 Telegraph Ave. (between 66th and Alcatraz Avenue), Oakland

Jerusalem Coffee House

9.19.23: The former Well coffee shop in Oakland is now Jerusalem Coffee House Arts & Wellness Cafe, with an eye-popping mural announcing the same. We love the early morning hours (beginning at 5 a.m. weekdays) and intriguing beverage menu of coffee and tea drinks, many infused with rose, orange blossom, tahini, mint, sage and other refreshing, flavorful and warming spices, herbs and fruit. Jerusalem Coffee House, 5443 Telegraph Ave. (at 55th Street), Oakland  

Nature’s Finest

9.26.23: In a healthful twist, organic mini grocery store Nature’s Finest has taken over the former Maly’s Donut and Burger shop on 14th St. a couple blocks west of Lake Merritt, where fresh produce, whole foods, organic products and specialty goods now line the tidy shelves. Nature’s Finest, 144 14th St. (between Oak and Madison streets), Oakland

Sheba Restaurant

9.26.23: Anh Hong’s former Oakland location is now home to Yemeni restaurant Sheba, with a casual, welcoming dining room and a menu including shareable rice platters, spiced meat and vegetable entrees, sides (including generous Yemeni breads), sandwiches, fruit smoothies and coffee drinks. Sheba Restaurant, 725 International Blvd. (between 7th and 8th avenues), Oakland 

Smoke Berkeley (Redux)

9.12.23: As fans know, long-loved Smoke Berkeley was slated to open in time for July 4 weekend as a new vendor at the Adeline Food Hall in Oakland, but then some restaurant red tape came between the people and Smoke’s tasty brisket. The wait is over. Smoke opened Sept. 15 and is offering a menu of their standard favorites for takeout and delivery, available through the eatery’s website. Look for pulled pork, chicken, links and ribs along with the brisket, and sides such as potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese and cornbread. Delivery available, pickup is at the Adeline Food Hall in North Oakland, days will be Thu.-Sun. to start. Smoke Berkeley at Adeline Food Hall, 5333 Adeline St. (at 53rd St.), Oakland

T’chaka, Taste of Haiti

9.07.23: Haitian flavors from chef Frantz Felix (San Rafael’s Caribbean Spices Restaurant) are the focus at hotly anticipated T’chaka, now open in Old Oakland. Dishes include traditional spiced and savory stews, salads, fried fish, Haitian-style ribs, jerk chicken, oxtail, shrimp dishes, griot and an array of tropical-style beverages to complement. The restaurant celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 3. T’chaka, Taste of Haiti, 901 Washington St. (at 9th Street), Oakland 

Thank Que Grill

9.19.23: The old Koko’s spot in industrial East Oakland is now a cozy brick-and-mortar for the graciously named Thank Que Grill, chef Rene Lontoc and family’s four-year-old Filipino-style barbecue eatery. Thank Que has long been a part of the East Bay food scene—through catering and as a vendor at farmers markets and local businesses such as the Ashland Market and Cafe, the Chabot Theatre, and Novel and Tenma Brewing. Thank Que celebrated its Oakland grand opening Sept. 16 at 1920 Dennison St., and there are plans for live bands and other monthly events at the grill near the waterfront. Hours are lunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday to start. Thank Que Grill, 1920 Dennison St. (between Cotton Street and Embarcadero), Oakland

Yoyo Momoss

9.07.23: West Oakland newcomer Yoyo Momoss (there’s a certain mystery to the final ‘s’ — maybe it’s there to distinguish the restaurant from others with similarly excellent names?) has a menu of fresh, affordable handmade momos, curries, kormas, tandoori dishes and other Nepalese and Indian dishes. The restaurant took over from Twins Halal in the McClymonds neighborhood, a quiet closure from earlier this year not yet made totally apparent online. Yoyo Momoss, 2608 Market St. (at 27th), Oakland 

Xocolate & Confections

9.26.23: Berkeley has long swooned over The Xocolate Bar’s artisan chocolates and chocolate products at their Solano Avenue shop, and now Oakland can join in the fun. Xocolate’s new Rockridge shop features world-class craft chocolates, including those handmade by Xocolate, as well as artisan candies and other confections, “chocuterie” (ingredients for presentable dessert boards at home), sweet local artworks, community events and other surprises. Xocolate & Confections, 5854 College Ave. (at Chabot Road), Oakland 

New Walnut Creek restaurants

The Little Pear

9.26.23: Still in soft-opening mode, The Little Pear is now serving lunch and dinner in Walnut Creek. The California bistro is from chef Rodney Worth, also behind Danville’s The Peasant & the Pear and Alamo’s The Peasant’s Courtyard (and, formerly, Danville’s The Little Pear and Prickly Pear Cantina, both now closed). Dishes include flatbreads, fresh soups and salads, bistro-style sandwiches, composed pastas and, despite the bistro’s lighter sounding name, carnivore-friendly plates such as burgers, lamb shanks and short ribs. The Little Pear, 1699 N California Blvd. (at Cole Avenue), Walnut Creek

Melo’s Italian Table

9.26.23: Downtown Walnut Creek recently welcomed family-owned Melo’s Italian Table to Locust Street, the fifth restaurant from the Melo’s group that first opened in Pleasant Hill in 1971. Melo’s restaurants are known for refined takes on rustic Italian dishes, with an emphasis on upscale pizza and pasta. Melo’s Italian Table, 1360 Locust St. (between Cypress Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard), Walnut Creek