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Jun 15, 2010 07:12 AM

Moving to San Mateo - any recs on restos & markets?

I'm moving to San Mateo from SF in a month and would love recommendations for restaurants & markets in San Mateo. We'll be living within walking distance of Downtown.

Below are what I'm looking for, so any rec for any of the inquries would be greatly appreciated!

1. Casual restaurant that won't break the bank
2. Good seafood restaurant
3. Japanese (we went to a terrible place called not that one, please)
4. Taiwanese
5. Chinese take-out/delivery
6. Late-night
7. Brunch
8. Taqueria (other than Pancho Villa)
9. Pizza (other than North Beach)

1. Asian market (looking forward to nearby Ranch 99, but would love to find out about other nearby asian markets)
2. Fishmonger (sustainable fish)
3. Butcher (organic, free range)
4. Produce market (is there anything like Berkeley's Monterey Market?)
5. Italian grocer (for non-perishable goodies)


Pancho Villa
365 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

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  1. Casual: Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop

    Brunch: Nini's

    Japanese: There's lots of good Japanese restaurants in San Mateo - Yuzu (sushi), Hotaru (Japanese home cooking), Sushi Sam's, Kaz's for fast food style take-out e.g. teriyaki bowls. Sushi Monster also has a good sushi listing on the peninsula here if you like sushi:
    For Ramen: Santa Ramen, Himawari, Ramen Dojo - haven't been to this one yet but have heard good things

    Taqueria: La Pinata (Salvadorian - has good pupusas), Charlie's

    Pizza: Windy City for deep dish

    Asian Market: Nijiya, Marina

    202 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

    54 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

    Sushi Sam's
    218 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

    Ramen Dojo
    805 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mr_Happy

      There's a Nijiya in San Mateo? That's wonderful! I really missed the one in LA when I moved back up to the Bay.

      1. re: yehfromthebay

        Yeah, it's in the same shopping area as Santa Ramen (adding more links)

        Santa Ramen Japanese Restaurant
        1944 South El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA

        Hotaru Japanese Restaurant
        33 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

        Marina Food
        2992 S Norfolk St, San Mateo, CA 94403

        Windy City Pizza
        35 Bovet Rd, San Mateo, CA 94402

        La Pinata Mexicatesen
        120 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

        Nijiya Market
        1956 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA

        Nini's Coffee Shop
        1000 N Idaho St, San Mateo, CA 94401

        Charlie's Taqueria
        725 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

        Kaz Terriyaki Grill
        71 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

      2. re: Mr_Happy

        La Cumbre at the SM train station hands down, best taqueria!

        La Cumbre
        28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

      3. Casual: B Street and Vine (on B inbetween 3rd/4th) (try the bruschetta)

        Seafood: The Fish Market (on Norfolk, off Fashion Island Blvd)

        Brunch: Neither of these are traditional brunch buffets:
        Nini's (on Bayswater) or
        Crepevine, (on Burlingame Ave in Burlingame)
        Market: Draegar's, on 4th/B in downtown. Should fit your requirements for a butcher and produce. I also understand that there is a farmer's market starting soon in the Wells Fargo parking lot (WF is on 4th 1 block from Draegars), Sunday mornings.

        Here is a old link for downtown SM restaurants. As you can see, there is more than a month's worth to try. It's a little dated (Gators is closed) but most of these are still open.

        This is the link to the Downtown San Mateo Restaurant Guide:

        And finally, a link to the City of San Mateo website, with all the other info you'll want/need.

        DT San Mateo has changed alot since I first moved to the area 26 years ago, all for the better. Enjoy your time here.

        1. Most of my favorite eats are chinese dine-in; I'd call that the singular strength of San Mateo. Casual, won't break the bank, very good. I like Shanghai East on 25th, Szechuan Delight downtown (order anything peculiar - had a great Jellyfish), and board favorite Everyday Beijing. Causeway Bay isn't that bad. Regarding brunch, there are several dim sum specialists, two downtown, one across the freeway in ABC, but it's hard not to hop-skip up to millbrea. Of course all of these do take-out (I come up all the way from Menlo Park sometimes); delivery options will be thin.

          I have no info on brunch or Taiwanese.

          My other favorite slightly outside city limits is Tabla in Foster City. Very down-home indian. South indian. Dosas. Biryani specials. Goat. Very tasty very cheap very hard to find. If you like south indian veggie, Annapurna is worth a trip. For Thai, Manora on 25th. None of which you asked for.

          Sushi Sam's is a treasure. Formica tables and the best whiteboard anywhere. Kind of loud, kind of sassy, but you know you're paying for the fish and not the atmosphere.

          I've never found any late-night in San Mateo. I think Kingfish might serve kind of late, but generally they roll up the sidewalks early. I wouldn't call Kingfish chow-worthy.

          Everyday pizza: check out local chains Amici's and Pizza My Heart. I think Pizza My Heart is edible if you order your pizza *thin crust*. I don't know where the closest Amici's is, might be San Carlos, might or might not deliver to you.

          Remember, San Mateo is only about 15 minutes by car from the Mission district.

          Everyday Beijing
          637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

          Shanghai East Restaurant
          105 W 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

          Sushi Sam's
          218 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

          4 Replies
            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              Redwood shores, close to the freeway - that's where my San Carlos friends go. More importantly, there's one in downtown San Mateo, so that's worth a try for delivery options.

            2. re: bbulkow

              Interesting remark about Kingfish. My friend said it's one of the best restaurants he's ever eaten at but I have no idea when he went.

              1. re: yehfromthebay

                Your friend should get out more, or had some kind of personal epiphany. It's not bad, I just detected nothing out of the usual. And such is the consensus around here.

                Regarding places to eat and drink, the gem is O'Neill's, which is very comfortable but more importantly keeps menus for 5 restaurants in the same block (indian, sushi, burgers, etc). Makes dinner with multiple people more fun - everyone can order from a different restaurant.

                Regrettably, the last time I made plans the place had been taken over by some kind of organization so wasn't condusive to dinner and a drink.

            3. There's a good farmers market at CSM on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.


              College of San Mateo
              1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Two Japanese markets are Suruki's on 4th and Takahashi's on Claremont/3rd which is smaller and has a Hawaiian slant.

                There's an Amici's Pizza on 3rd in downtown San Mateo.

                911 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607

              2. Definitely looking forward to checking out the 2 farmers markets and the Fish Market. Is Draeger's like Whole Foods? I don't particularly like to buy meat or seafood at Whole Foods because they don't seem very fresh.

                7 Replies
                1. re: yehfromthebay

                  Draegers is more gourmet. Most of the stuff is higher quality but higher prices too.

                  1. re: yehfromthebay

                    You might also try Lunardi's on the Burlingame/Millbrae border; it's not that out of your way if you're in the northern part of San Mateo. Their meat counter is all packaged to order by knowledgeable butchers and I've been happy with it. Their produce is not quite as good in general, but they often have interesting Italian veggies that you don't find everywhere. Also, the Safeway in San Mateo on El Camino just north of 92 is very nice as Safeways go.

                    1. re: Nina

                      Mollie Stone's in San Mateo is a good store, much better quality than Safeway. MS's butcher counter is the real deal, knowledgeable staff and good quality stuff but not a lot of local sourcing. Bianchini's in San Carlos carries Marin Sun Farms beef and a good selection of housemade sausages.

                        1. re: artemis

                          There is also one in San Mateo, near the Belmont border

                          1. re: Larry Stein

                            Wow, didn't know that, despite living in San Mateo for the past two years. Beg your pardon, Shane.

                          2. re: artemis

                            mollie stone's

                            Mollie Stone's Market
                            49 42nd Ave, San Mateo, CA