12 of the Bay Area's hottest new restaurants

Inside Sobre Mesa. Photo courtesy of Sobre Mesa.

Despite the additional difficulty of opening a restaurant during a pandemic, many new restaurants have prevailed recently. With indoor dining coming back, it's the perfect time to venture out and try something new. We've picked out 12 spots in the Bay Area (all within an easy walk of a BART station) you're going to want to check out the next time you're in the mood for a culinary adventure.

Editor's Note: Please wear a mask and keep a physical distance of at least six feet while riding the trains or at a restaurant. Before you travel on BART, use our Trip Planner to get estimated arrival and departure times. See BART's 15-step plan to safely welcome back riders here.

East Bay

Chocolate haupia pie from Ono Bakehouse. Photo courtesy of Ono Bakehouse.

Ono Bakehouse

Owner Desiree Valencia was born and raised on Maui, Hawaii. After moving to California and falling in love with its culture and ingredients. She decided to plant some roots and open a small bakeshop. Check out the lilikoi poppyseed pound cake, chocolate haupia pie, and Queen Emma cake by the slice. This is Valencia's version of Aloha!

When: Wednesday-Sunday: 9am-3pm; Monday-Tuesday: closed
Where: 1922 Martin Luther King Jr, Suite B, Berkeley, CA 94704
Station: Downtown Berkeley
Walk time: Nine minutes
Website: Ono Bakehouse
 

Tapas at Sobre Mesa. Photo courtesy of Sobre Mesa.

Sobre Mesa

Created by Top Chef Season 18 Contestant, Chef Nelson German of alaMar Kitchen & Bar, Sobre Mesa is an Afro-Latino Kitchen featuring lush surroundings, refined cocktails, seasonal cuisine, and up-tempo music. The libations and lively atmosphere take their inspiration from Nelson’s Dominican roots and African ancestry, with influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Latin countries. The tapas menu, made using fresh local ingredients and flavors designed to pair perfectly with the cocktails, is a joyful expression of Nelson's culinary journey and heritage.

When: Thursday: 5-10pm; Friday-Saturday: 5pm-midnight; Sunday: 12-4pm; Monday-Wednesday: closed
Where: 1618 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Station: 19th St/Oakland
Walk time: Seven minutes
Website: Sobre Mesa
 

A cocktail from Low Bar. Photo courtesy of Low Bar.

Low Bar

Low Bar is a new cocktail bar and kitchen in Oakland. The name Low Bar suggests that your expectations can only be exceeded. Visit Low Bar for new and inventive cocktails like the Oaxacan Green Machine with mezcal, green chartreuse, poblano chile, and lime. For munching, enjoy quesabirria tacos, a burger with salsa verde and fried onions, and grilled octopus with crispy potatoes and cashew salsa macha.

When: Thursday-Sunday: 3-10pm; Monday-Wednesday: closed
Where: 2300 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612
Station: 19th St/Oakland
Walk time: Seven minutes
Website: Low Bar
 

Chicken shawarma sizzling on the spit. Photo courtesy of Shawarmaji.

Shawarmaji

Shawarmaji started with the idea of creating the best Jordanian-inspired shawarma. Former Noosh sous chef Mohammad Abutaha specializes in chicken shawarma, sliced hot off a towering vertical spit. Get your shawarma in a wrap or on top of French fries, and don't forget the key element -- intensely garlicky white sauce known as toum.

When: Monday-Saturday: 11am-10pm; Sunday: 11am-9pm
Where: 2123 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94612
Station: 19th St/Oakland
Walk time: Four minutes
Website: Shawarmaji
 

An array of dishes from Hermanos Verdes. Photo courtesy of Hermanos Verdes.

Hermanos Verdes

According to chef Mikey Ochoa, a Castro Valley native who previously cooked at Michelin-starred spots like Lazy Bear and Rich Table in San Francisco, this particular stretch of the East Bay suburbs has never really been a destination for buzzy, ambitious restaurants. That helps to account for the excitement around Ochoa’s mostly Mexican pop-up, Hermanos Verdes, which has drawn huge crowds since the chef first started dishing out plates of pork chile verde and barbacoa tacos, the sweet corn pancakes known as cachapas, and a Mexican take on congee.

When: Check website for hours
Where: 3295 Castro Valley Blvd Space 204, Castro Valley, CA 94546
Station: Castro Valley
Walk time: Nine minutes
Website: Hermanos Verdes
 

A dish from Tang's Haus. Photo courtesy of Tang's Haus.

Tang's Haus

A newcomer to the East Bay’s vibrant Korean food scene, Tang’s serves a few of the standards you’ll find at your typical all-purpose Korean restaurant in the Bay Area — bibimbap and bulgogi and such. But the restaurant is more of a specialist: The vast swath of the menu is dedicated to tangs (soups) and stews. Options run the gamut from seolleong tang (beef bone soup) and kkorigom tang (a thicker oxtail soup) to a pork-based version of the crowd favorite spicy-sweet stew known as galbi jjim. The restaurant has a few tables set up on the sidewalk for outdoor dining.

When: Monday-Saturday: 11am-9pm; Sunday: closed
Where: 34555 Alvarado-Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587
Station: Union City
Walk time: Eight minutes
Website: Tang's Haus
 

San Francisco

Inside the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Photo courtesy of La Cocina Municipal Marketplace.

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

La Cocina’s Municipal Marketplace is a food hall that’s all about opportunity with the goal helping women of color develop and launch their food businesses. This new 7,000-square-foot marketplace has taken over the vacant post office, previously owned by the Federal government, at Hyde St and Golden Gate Ave. Current vendors include Boug Cali (Creole Bodega), Esterllita's Snacks (Salvadoran), Kayma (Algerian), Los Cilantros (Mexican), Mi Morena (Mexico City street food), and Teranga (Senegalese). A bar, La Paloma, is set to open later in 2021.

When: Monday-Friday: 11am-2:30pm; Saturday-Sunday: closed
Where: 332 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
Station: Civic Center/UN Plaza
Walk time: Five minutes
 

The bar at Kona's Street Market. Photo courtesy of Kona's Street Market.

Kona's Street Market

The focus at Kona's Street Market is cocktails inspired by street markets from all around the world, and there's also just enough food for dinner. Started by the team behind, award-winning cocktail bar Pacific Cocktail Haven (PCH), the cocktails focus on familiar and unfamiliar ingredients and spirits. Food comes from Francis Ang’s Filipino pop-up, Pinoy Heritage.

When: Monday-Saturday: 3-11pm; Sunday: closed
Where: 32 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Station: Montgomery St
Walk time: Three minutes
 

A dish from Ernest. Photo courtesy of Ernest.

Ernest

Ernest is a new restaurant from Chef Brandon Rice in San Francisco’s Mission District. Experience a market-driven menu with intense global flavors that reflects the way that Chef loves to eat — fun and approachable, yet refined with elegant layers of familiar flavors done in a new way. Grab a beer and a snack at the bar or taste your way through our menu in a relaxed, fun environment.

When: Wednesday-Sunday: 5-9:30pm; Monday-Tuesday: closed
Where: 1890 Bryant St, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94110
Station: 16th St Mission
Walk time: 14 minutes
Website: Ernest
 

Northern Iranian food is served at Komaaj. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle.

Komaaj

With over 300 recipes at hand, Komaaj offers a different take on Iranian cuisine. Northern Iranians, founder Hanif Sadr says, eat rice flour-based breads and use rice flour to thicken their soups and stews. Because there are so many varieties of nuts in the region he says, “the technique of using crushed walnuts or hazelnuts to thicken stews or in marinating is, technically, northern Iranian.” The wide range of vegetables, herbs, and fruits cultivated in Iran accounts for the large number of vegan and vegetarian options.  

When: Check website for hours
Where: 3359 26th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Station: 24th St Mission
Walk time: Five minutes
Website: Komaaj
 

A dish from Mr. Digby's Bar & Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Mr. Digby's Bar & Restaurant.

Mr. Digby's Bar & Restaurant

Mr. Digby’s is a neighborhood bar and restaurant offering elevated American comfort food and classic cocktails in a comfortable, polished setting. Order everything from chicken pot pie and beef tartare to spinach dip baked in sourdough. Wash it down with a glass of beer or wine, or one of their house cocktails (they have everything from martinis to a Fiero spritz). Mr. Digby’s is currently open for dinner with indoor and outdoor dining, and you can look forward to weekend brunch starting soon.

When: Tuesday-Sunday: 5-10pm; Monday: closed
Where: 1199 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Station: 24th St Mission
Walk time: 12 minutes
 

An array of dishes from Herbal. Photo courtesy of The Infatuation.

Herbal

Herbal is a new spot from William Lue, owner of Oakland’s beloved, since-closed Burmese restaurant, Grocery Cafe. With Herbal, Lue wants to share the rich culture and diversity of flavors of Burmese cuisine. The menu at Herbal includes some familiar standbys, like mango chutney pork stew and a nutty tea leaf salad, as well as new dishes, like hemp falafel and steak and brisket curry. Herbal’s biggest draw is that everything is delicious, super shareable, and affordable.

When: Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-8pm; Sunday: closed
Where: 448 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Station: Civic Center/UN Plaza
Walk time: Seven minutes
Website: Herbal

Let's get social. 

Where's your favorite new restaurant? Let us know via social media, @SFBARTable #SFBARTable! Keep up with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable (virtual) events, places to eat (grab take out from) and have fun (outside) around the Bay. 

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