Fine dining restaurant suggestions in San Mateo County?
Try "The Dining Room".
This is true fine dining. The menu has two choices, the prix fixe or the chef's choice. Each month the chef has a new and clever selection. I have enjoyed tropical heat, comfort food and 007 themed food. The 007 meal started with an oyster in chilled vodka topped with three types of caviar and gold leaf.
The service is exceptional. I had grown so accustomed to the gracious service by Edward that I was actually disappointed by the aloofness at Elizabeth Daniel.
The restaurant is a small house and seats just 26. Jackets are required.
Plan on about $100 per person. And worth it.
If you don't mind heading a little farther south, I've had a couple of nice meals at The Left Bank in Menlo Park. It's also casual and reasonably priced enough to eat there regularly -- it was my sister's and her husband's "neighborhood" restaurant when they lived in Menlo Park.
A lot of people like Zibbibo in Palo Alto, but I have to say I wasn't impressed by the meal I had there.
My favorite around here is easily Pisces in Burlingame, a wonderful seafood restaurant that is from the Aqua folks. Excellent tuna tartare dish, same black mussel soufle as Aqua that is devine.
Another good choice is Viognier in San Mateo, above Draegers. Very nice wine selection, a bit more dark and formal in decor than Pisces. It's been a little while, but I think I remember really good lamb chops, a lobster bisque with some type of creative twist, and a good seared foie gras dish.
Haven't yet been to 231 Ellsworth in San Mateo - but their menu is very creative and sounds interesting.
re: brad kaplan
I enthusiastically second the recommendation for Pisces. I first tried the tuna tartare (Asian inspired and a little spicy just so you know) and black mussel souffle at the Aqua in Las Vegas and thought they were just fabulous. Tried them again at Pisces and they were every bit as good. This restaurant is heavy on the seafood obviously, but there are a few land-based entrees (the roasted chicken is good according to a friend). I would definitely go back there again.
As for 231 Ellsworth, I have not been there personally, but there was a review of it in a recent issue of San Francisco magazine (magazine from PBS station KQED). They said the renovations turned out really nice, making the restaurant much more elegant than before, but the food quality seems to have suffered. The menu was described as typical and the flavor uninspired. Not terrible but not great either. For what it's worth...