There was a lot to be thanked for in November, starting with the party atmosphere at the local vaccination clinics, when children ages 5-11 proudly received their first doses of COVID-19 protection. Last week, the fine weather in the Bay Area provided support for fresh air Thanksgiving get-togethers with friends and family. I hope your chosen celebration was safe, nutritious, devoid of drama and full of deep breaths and gratitude.
In the meantime, things are busy in the restaurant industry but uncertain due to the ever-changing challenges of the pandemic (we’re looking at you, supply chain issues and looming Omicron variants). Many thanks to the dedicated owners and staff who do their best to safely cater to the growing number of indoor guests in an unusual time of the year.
We are also grateful to the readers who keep us up to date on new and old favorite places. Please send news and tips to [email protected]
The Patrick Star (fried chicken, Korean barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, and ranch dressing) at Crave Subs, which just moved to a bigger location on 2122 Shattuck Ave. Credit: Crave Subs / Instagram
CRAVE SUBS Popular fast-casual favorite Crave Subs Berkeley has given up digging on Center Street and is now offering halal specialties in a larger downtown plaza at 2122 Shattuck Ave. The wide sandwich menu offers many options, including choices for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Locals may remember the spacious, central location from the time of the former Seasons of Japan. Crave Subs, 2122 Shattuck Ave. (between Center and Addison Streets), Berkeley
HEROIC ITALIAN Italian gourmet delicacies Heroic Italian has moved into the former Café Mise en Place and gathers fans for its well-made sandwiches, salads and antipasti, made with imported Italian meats, cheeses and other ingredients. (Fresh pasta dishes coming soon.) Don’t miss the wine list, the specialty canned fish or the breakfast sandwich with eggs, fontal, truffle mayonnaise, aioli, roasted tomatoes and a selection of nduja, porchetta or avocado, all served all day. As reported by Nosh Editor Eve Batey, this is the second location of the deli in Santa Monica, Bay Area; the first opened at the Castro in San Francisco last December. Heroic Italian, 2020 Kittredge Ave. (between Milvia Street and Harold Way), Berkeley
The Baba’s House willow bird bowl and pork belly bowl, with Mama Teav’s Chili Crisp on the side. Photo credit: Baba’s house
BABAS HOUSE Follow the White Rabbit candy into this stylish maze of nostalgic Asian-American goodies, first shared by Elena Kadvany from the Chronicle. The multi-story Oakland Den is a restaurant, market, snack and gift shop, art gallery (with pieces for sale), and entertainment venue with mah jongg, a DJ booth, and other fun food. The chef is AC Boral, known for modern interpretations of Filipino cuisine, although his menu spans everything from gyoza to salted Caesar salad with crispy shrimp head croutons. Check out the snack shop that sells local and imported Asian-themed treats and drinks. Baba’s House, 410 15th St. (between Broadway and Franklin Streets), Oakland
CAIRO STATION CAFE The new Cairo Station Cafe in Uptown, opened earlier this fall, serves falafel (including specialty prawn falafel), kebab, gyros and rice plates to eat or to take away and aims to treat “all customers like pharaohs”. Register with us. Cairo Station Cafe, 1720 Telegraph Ave. (between 17th and 18th streets), Oakland
I HAVE HANOI The Vietnamese restaurant newcomer Mam Hanoi has already received impressive support. The restaurant near Chinatown serves banh mi, pho, and noodle dishes, as well as special main plates that are big enough for two. Mam Hanoi Restaurant, 261A 10th St. (on Alice Street), Oakland
CRUMP BAKED PRODUCTS & CONFECTIONERY In a sweet twist, Montclair’s former Batch Pastries is now Miette. Chef Meg Ray’s popular mini-dessert shop chain began as a farmer’s market stall in Berkeley and Ferry Building in 2001 before evolving into distinctive, boutique-style pastry and candy stores in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, and Marin Counties. In 2009, Ray opened a flagship bakery and retail store in Jack London Square, but, as Tablehopper reported last month, a landlord dispute forced it to close – so she has settled in Montclair Village. Look for a nice selection of cakes, macarons, tarts, and other confectionery (Monteclairs!) As well as Ray’s newest venture, sourdough. Miette Patisserie & Confectionery at Montclair Village, 2220 Mountain Blvd., Oakland
M2 MIMOSA ON GRAND This stylish new cocktail and champagne bar and lounge offers bar canapés, bottle service and a spacious room for celebrations and private events. On Sundays there is a bottomless brunch. M2 Mimosa on Grand, 3320 Grand Ave. (between Mandana Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue), Oakland
OSHA THAI EXPRESS In 1996, chef Lalita Souksamlane opened a modest noodle shop on Geary Street in San Francisco and named it Osha, the royal Thai word for “ambrosial”. Since then, the native Thai with an eye for opulence has built a small empire, including the lavish Osha Restaurant in the Embarcadero Center, several Osha Thai Express fast-casual locations in San Francisco and Lao Table in SoMa. She has also expanded abroad to Bangkok; is behind Torsap Thai Kitchen in Walnut Creek (and soon in Hawaii); and even opened a Thai-style luxury resort in Napa called BANN at Oak Knoll during the pandemic. This month she is adding Oakland to her quiver with the new Osha Thai Express near Daughter’s Diner in Uptown offering curries, noodles, rice plates, salads and soups. Osha Thai Express, 326 23rd St., Oakland
PHILLY’S BEST Oakland Food Hall’s newest takeout or delivery-only tenant is the Philly’s Best cheesesteak restaurant, which serves East Coast-style cheesesteaks (yes, on amoroso rolls), chicken cheesesteaks, hoagies, and burgers. This is the California chain’s first foray into ghost kitchen service; There is also a stationary Philly’s Best near Oakland Airport. Philly’s Best at Oakland Food Hall, 2352 E 12th St., Oakland
TAQUERIA LA VENGANZA This new market and eatery offers plant-based Mexican cuisine from long-time vegan pop-up chef Raul Medina. Dishes include vegan burritos, gorditas, empanadas, tacos, french fries, and posole. Orders for tamales and chilaquiles are now being accepted. The pantry staple items include bags of 100 percent plant-based carnitas and other flavorful vegan goodies. Taqueria La Venganza, 597 15th St. (on Jefferson Street), Oakland
La Fontaine’s seafood pappardelle. Photo credit: La Fontaine / Instagram
FOUNTAIN Popular Mountain View restaurant opened a second location in Walnut Creek in November, in the space known as the home of Le Cheval for over 11 years. The Bay Area News Group reports that the outpost in the East Bay of the Franco-Italian town serves a Provencal menu for lunch and dinner, with stalls like branzino, steak fries and pasta. La Fontaine, 375 N. Broadway (near Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek – Eve Batey.)
MOLLI RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Reyes Ramos, the owner of the Agave Grill in Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza, did an interesting turn: he hired Julián Lopez-Kelly, a lively East Bay chef, to crowd with his Molli pop-up in the nearby Nicaraguan town of La Fritanguera attracted to lead the place. So in many ways, this is the story of a pop-up that found a permanent home and then realigned itself to become an upscale restaurant. Molli’s opening prompted the Bay Area News Group to ask if Concord was ready for fine dining, but if emails to Nosh suggest it, there’s a lot of demand in the area for a menu like Lopez-Kelly’s with a Ribeye -Steak that’s aged for 60 days, ramenbirra (the name says it all), or a meaty paella for $ 44 for two. Molli Restaurant & Lounge, 1935 Galindo St. (in Todos Santos Plaza), Concord – Eve Batey
RAMEN GAGA 2 Pleasanton’s Ramen GaGa has a second location in Richmond in the Pacific East Mall and offers characteristic and homemade ramen as well as small plates, salads, tempura and other specialties. The dishes are made with imported Japanese and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Ramen GaGa 2, Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St., Suite C136, Richmond
SAMMY’S AT WONDROUS BREWING A PSA to the fans of this young Korean pop-up restaurant that serves crispy, chewy filled pancakes called Hodduck (sometimes spelled Hotteok): Sammy’s now regularly presses Hodduck at Wondrous Brewing in Emeryville as well as at the Aloha Club, original sample brewing and novel brewing. Readers may have discovered Elena Kadvany’s article on the hip street snack pop-up and its chef, Sammy Pak. You can find dates and locations on Instagram. Sammy’s, various locations in East Bay
SHELL SHOCK SEAFOOD HOUSE What used to be Katsu in Alameda is now Shell Shock Seafood House. The Cajun Seafood Restaurant in Hayward stacks plates of crab, prawn, fried catfish and other seafood, as well as gumbo, garlic noodles and lots of spices. Shell Shock Seafood House, 1465 Webster St. (on Santa Clara Avenue), Alameda
Joanna Della Penna has lived in the Bay Area since 2001 and moved to the East Bay in 2009. She has been writing about restaurants in the area for 20 years and should really be doing more exercise.
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