Berkeley restaurants

Mensho Ramen Crew Opens East Bay’s First Restaurant, Along With 7 Other Mouthwatering Openings Across The Area

Welcome to the second episode of New in the East Bay, a monthly overview of the latest restaurant and bar openings this side of the Bay Bridge.

The area has seen plenty of action, with several new places for intensely spicy fried chicken and a new lunch option from one of the founders of Oakland’s popular Sequoia Diner. Beloved chains like Marugame Udon have expanded into the area, and East Bay has finally secured a new place in the increasingly busy group of restaurants behind Mensho Tokyo.

These openings join new restaurants The Chronicle has already visited and endorsed for our monthly guide to the Bay Area’s must-try new restaurants, which recently featured farm-to-table restaurant Pomet in Oakland and new Tane Vegan Izakaya. of the Shizen team in Berkeley.

A beloved ramen chef is coming to Union City

The team behind Mensho Tokyo, one of San Francisco’s top ramen destinations, has expanded to Union City. Beginners might want to start with the classic tori paitan, the creamy chicken-based cousin of tonkotsu that’s the most popular offering at Mensho Tokyo. On a second visit, try the spicy variations with black garlic or lemony matcha. The restaurant also allows diners to customize their bowls, choosing from chashu pork or spiced ground lamb, thin or thick noodles, and extras like fried garlic or a custard egg. Tokyo ramen chef Tomoharu Shono’s Japanese-born restaurant group arrived in San Francisco in 2016 with its Tenderloin boutique, drawing huge lines for its rich broths and succulent noodles. Since then it has expanded with Menya Shono in San Rafael and Jikasei Mensho in the San Francisco Twitter building.

32165 Union Landing Blvd, Union City. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. 510-400-9257

Tarocco opened in Berkeley with a Mediterranean-inspired salad bar.

Janelle Bitker / The Chronicle

Berkeley gets a trendy salad bar

Tarocco, a breezy daytime eatery with a sunny Los Angeles vibe, is the answer to dreary office lunches at home. Tarocco calls itself a salad bar, though the meaning of “salad” is stretched here: instead of leafy green salads, there could be options like roasted root vegetables with quinoa; sweet potatoes topped with cumin-lime yogurt; and simple white beans dressed in herb oil. Owner Sequoia Del Hoyo was also a co-founder of Oakland’s popular Sequoia Diner brunch.

2570 Ninth Street, Berkeley. 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. mytarocco.com

Oakland’s Favorite
Nashville-style hot chicken is coming to Walnut Creek

Ridiculously spicy fried chicken sandwiches are accompanied by hip-hop, old-school video games and street art at a former Mel’s Diner at the new World Famous Hotboys in Walnut Creek. Owners Victor Ghaben and Berk Gibbs have a reputation for making some of the most delicious Nashville-inspired hot chicken sandwiches at their Oakland restaurant, as well as a branch in Sacramento. But the Walnut Creek location is the biggest, allowing for on-site fun and funky energy.

1394 N. Main St., Walnut Creek. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. worldfamoushotboys.com

World-famous Hotboys in a former Mel's Diner at 1394 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.

World-famous Hotboys in a former Mel’s Diner at 1394 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.

Janelle Bitker/The Chronicle

A Drake-backed hot chicken channel is also here

Dave’s Hot Chicken was born as a Nashville, Los Angeles hot chicken pop-up in 2017 and quickly grew to over 50 locations, including one in Santa Rosa. This growth could be partly due to a major investor: the famous rapper Drake. East Bay’s first spot has landed in Union City, and it’s huge, with a psychedelic design and a simple menu of spicy fried chicken fillets, sliders and sides.

32200 Dyer Street, Union City. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. 11 a.m. to midnight from Friday to Saturday. daveshotchicken.com

Kakitama udon at Marugame Udon at Stonestown Mall in SF

Kakitama udon at Marugame Udon at Stonestown Mall in SF

Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle 2018

Udon madness hits San Ramon

Japanese chain Marugame Udon has found an immediate audience at its third Bay Area location in San Ramon. The spacious new restaurant sits in the glitzy City Center Bishop Ranch mall and follows the cafeteria-style format of its locations in San Francisco and Berkeley: choose a basic bowl of udon noodle soup, customize it, then indulge yourself. try the tempura options. The restaurant is particularly popular with families, with a bowl of fluffy noodles in broth starting at $5.95.

6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1200. 11:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday to Saturday. 11am-8pm Sunday. marugameudon.com

A new pizzeria opens in the Emeryville food hall

Pizzeria Mercato is now open at Public Market Emeryville, with an Italian menu of pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and salads from the same team behind Lokanta in Walnut Creek and Pleasanton. Despite the length of the menu, the pizzas are the star, with blistered Neapolitan crusts coming out of a custom brick oven. The flavors aren’t strictly traditional, ranging from mortadella pesto to hot honey pepperoni to barbecue chicken.

5959 Shellmound Street, Suite 75, Emeryville. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday. www.pizzeriamercato.us

Dumpling 85 dumplings in San Ramon.

Dumpling 85 dumplings in San Ramon.

Kellie Hwang / The Chronicle

Dumplings, dumplings and more dumplings in San Ramon

Dumpling 85 makes a ton of dumplings: juicy soup dumplings, pan-fried pork buns, crispy bottom stickers, handmade boiled dumplings, wontons in soup – the list goes on. Already a popular take-out spot, the restaurant puts on a little show for diners who choose to eat out, with cooks folding dumplings at a rapid pace in the open kitchen.

2005 Crow Canyon Place, Suite 138, San Ramon. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m. daily. dumpling85.com

Afghan classics find another home in Oakland

Traditional Afghan dishes are all on offer at Pasha’s Afghan Kebab House in Old Oakland. The menu includes bolani, the filled flatbread; the mantoo, meatballs covered in yogurt sauce; quabi pallow, fragrant rice topped with a lamb shank; and several different kebab options. At the less expected end of the spectrum, Pacha also serves pizza.

1015 Clay St., Oakland. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 510-817-4951

Janelle Bitker is Food and Wine Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @janellebitker