Good to great places in the Peninsula ...
- osho Feb 12, 2009 04:06 PM
After several years of being in SF, we're moving to the Peninsula.
From what I remember - almost a decade ago, the peninsula has a lot of good to great destinations.
What I would like is some assistance from fellow 'hounds who are peninsula residents with locating those cherished gems and avoiding the misses.
To give you an idea of what some of my favourites in the city are ...
Z & Y Cafe
Henry's Hunan and Xiao Loong (in a pinch)
Punjab Kabob House
Dining Room at the Ritz
Essentially looking for reasonable equivalents of these places .... thanks in advance !
Regarding Indian food, I think you hit the nail on the head with your biriyani post :) I may be wrong but expect to pay more as the restaurants in the Peninsula tend to be full service vs. no frills, counter service (except of course Amber SF). I can only think of Hyderabad House in Palo Alto & couple of Pakistani places in Sunnyvale, namely Shan & Shalimar which are counter service. In case you're interested, the peninsula & the South Bay are home to some of the best S.Indian restaurants in the area, namely Annapoorna, San Mateo, Madras Cafe, Saravan Bhavan, & Komala Vilas, all in Sunnyvale to name a few.
I'm sure hounds more knowledgable will chime in on your other requests although you just may have to make date nights in the City for seafood, pizza & Italian. Little gems that come to mind are Casablanca (great chicken tagine) & New Kapadokia (Turkish) in Redwood City.
People will throw rocks at me for this, but after moving to SF from the Monterey area, we just lost our taste for Mexican food. El Huarache Loco and Los Pastores were the only places we liked in the city. I hope to discover some authentic Mexican as well in the Peninsula - any pointers ?
Moved from the Peninsula to San Francisco a while back, I don't think there's much comparison other than Indian and maybe Mexican. John Bentley's in Redwood City (not the one in Woodside) is probably my favorite. For Mexican, Middlefield Road in unincorporated Redwood City is excellent, along with some places in Mt. View. You're not going to find oysters on the Peninsula like in the city. There's a few good Japanese places.
Twenty years on the Peninsula and I probably ate dinner out in the city at least five times as much as on the Peninsula.
For Japanese and Chinese, you have so much to choose from that is comparable and better on the Peninsula (San Mateo, Millbrae, Burlingame, Redwood City, Mountain View) than in the City, you're going to forget those.
For pizza, Speederia in San Carlos has better slices than Victor's. I like the wood-fired pizza at La Strada in Palo Alto better than Delfina's with the caveat that I haven't been to the new location on Fillmore yet.
Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City supplies lobsters to Woodhouse, so go to the source.
This week I tried Divino in Belmont for the first time. It's owned by Vicenzo Cucco, who is the chef at Bacco in SF. I thought it was quite good, not as formal as Bacco, and can probably be compared to the quality at Aperto.
P.S. I live in the City and am not a Peninsula resident so don't meet your informant criteria.
re: Melanie Wong
I've been to pretty much every Japanese place on the Peninsula and never found anything that could compare to Koo or Maki. It's very generic and un-adventurous. There used to be a great place in Cupertino, but I think the chef is older now and may have retired. Chinese, it's usually more greasy and, other than a few places in Millbrae and one in Belmont, not much beyond standard. And Speederia, which I have eaten at many times, I can't understand how anyone could compare it to Delfina, or Beretta for that matter. Apathetically cooked by people who have never had good pizza.
I haven't been to Divina, so I can't comment on that. Stick to John Bentley's and you can have some terrific food.
Could you tell us about your meals at Hamon Washoku, Wakuriya, Yuzu, Sakae, Kaygetsu, Himawari, or Juban?
Are you forgetting Shanghai East, LIttle Shanghai, Crouching Tiger, Little Sichuan, Happy Cafe, Joy Luck Place, Little Sheep, Noodle Shop, Sunny Shanghai, Classic Sichuan, Fat Wong's, Everyday Beijing, Joy, or Fu Lam Mum to name just a few of the non-Millbrae top Chinese picks?
I compared Speederia to Victor's, not Delfina, they both sell slices, so I'm assuming that's why the OP asked.
Both Kaygetsu (Menlo Park) and Wakuriya (San Mateo) serve kaiseki and are generally considered superior to Kyo-ya though like any other "best of" list, that ebbs and flows over time.
Thanks for the update on Juban. The last eating report for the Menlo Park location that I can find is from Sept 2006, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/319112
And for "osho" in the bistro category, I'd suggest Bistro Elan in Palo Alto, but again with the caveat that I haven't been there for a while. It's not strictly French. Always felt that it was priced a bit high for what you get, but what isn't these days. Would love to hear more recent experiences.
No, sorry, no brunch at Bistro Elan, according to the website.
Drove by it tonight around 9:30pm and it was still packed.
If you're not already a member, you might want to sign up for the Silicon Valley Chowdown group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/svchowd... , covering the Peninsula and the South Bay.
Did you try the wagyu (Japanese beef) option at Juban? I agree that Juban isn't exactly cheap, but it is the only yakiniku place around. Of course one can always head to Santa Clara or Oakland for superior Korean BBQ instead. But where else can you get grilled beef tongue, or yakiniku using Japanese beef?
re: K K
I've been going to Juban on Broadway since they opened and have been loyal since day one and it is the only yakiniku place around as KK mentioned. The price does get you and they just recently stopped doing the happy hour prices which is a shame b/c on mondays and tuesdays the boneless short rib and rib eye were half off per order ( I think they just switched owners again). Every time they switch owners they seem to keep the quality of the meat and they just downsize the portions to cut cost.
My visit last week was disappointing since I think they finally decided to downgrade the quality of meat. The tongue was extra tough and the ribeye had no marbling to it. The only thing I enjoyed was the boneless shortrib that came with a promotion. Even the Juban salad tasted different.
I'll have to go back again to see if it was a one time thing...I sure hope it is.
Hey Osho. Glad to have you down here.
Some of my favorites...
Yuzu - Good sushi. They have an oyster dish that is reminiscent of spoonful of happiness...oysters with uni and ponzu sauce. I think they are kusshi oysters. They also have oyster happy hour which I have never been to but might give you your hog island fix.
Sushi Sams - Good sushi. Check out their white board menu. Also good cooked japanese food IMO.
Oidon - My go to place for izakaya fare...get some takoyaki
Happy Cafe - Shanghainese food. I like to get the pork chop rice, pig ears, spicy beef tendon.
Broadway Bistro - chan cha tang
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot - Hot Pot
There are a lot more in the Japanese and Chinese category...I'm sure others will fill you in.
349 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030
Happy Cafe Restaurant
250 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
215 S Ellsworth Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401
54 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403
218 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401
71 E 4th Avenue, San Mateo, CA
"Essentially looking for reasonable equivalents of these places." In my experience the most interesting restaurants anywhere are generally unique, but I took the request to mean equivalently worth while.
As Melanie demonstrated, a strength among the very numerous Peninsula and South Bay restaurants (contiguous regions) -- many of which opened in recent years -- are Asian, some with unusual specialties. There are also high-end destination restaurants in a contemporary European or "modern American" style (for special occasions, or dinners by food-wine groups, or wine shops showcasing new wines to the public). 231 Ellsworth (San Mateo) and Village Pub (Woodside) are squarely in this category. Marché (Menlo Park) maybe, though the chef who made it known, with his high-end comfort foods, left to make pizza. Chez TJ (Mountain View) certainly, though it has changed chefs often lately and each alters its style. More restaurants in this category are farther south or southwest. (A few years ago when the Bay Area's first Michelin came out, I mentioned it could have given stars to more of these restaurants than it did, including Village Pub and the reborn Plumed Horse in Saratoga; the guide has now done so.)
938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041
231 South Ellsworth Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062
The Plumed Horse
14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070
898 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Sorry to hear of your negative experience, osho. I hope you'll try 231 Ellsworth more. For what it's worth, I've experienced 231 several times (since the reorganization, in 2000 I think) with only positive experiences. Like various locals I know who have a bit of experience with these places. One thing that stood out about 231, which attracts special notice from people like wine-dinner organizers, is that 231 was able to deliver a level of experience roughly comparable to Village Pub or other higher-profile places but on a smaller budget.