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Peninsula commuting todo list (obscenely long...)

h
hyperbowler May 20, 2012 02:44 PM

I'm about to start commuting to Menlo Park from SF and decided it would be cool to hit a peninsula restaurant once a week. I scoured the Chowhound archives for tips, and came up with the following.

I focused on things that are discussed as superior on the peninsula (e.g., Persian, ramen, Indian), competitive to SF, or caught my eye as noteworthy. This todo list will probably take me a few years, but please let me know if there's anything worth adding or removing.

As of today's date, all the listed places are active businesses. Disclaimer: lots of places are closed on random days, but I still made a loose color coded map for closing time. Note also that I don't list anyplace south of Palo Alto.

http://tinyurl.com/788a2h2

BTW, I wish I'd thought of this before the Chow lists / Restaurant database died ...

==== FOOD EVENTS ====================
Edgewood Eats (Palo Alto, tuesday night, several food trucks

==== EUROPEAN BAKERY / DESSERTS =====
Romolo's Cannoli (San Mateo, Italian

==== ASIAN BAKERY / DESSERTS ==========
Bread Basket Bakery (Daly City; Filipino; Pan de Sal
)Anna's (San Mateo)
Sweet Breams (taiyaki, Japanese style soft-serve)

==== SANDWICHES ======================
Woodside Deli (Redwood City)
Cherimoya (Burlingame; banh mi)
La Casita Chilanga (Redwood City, tortas)

==== SEAFOOD =========================
Cooks Seafood (Menlo Park)
Old port Lobster Shack (Redwood city, New England seafood)

==== AMERICAN / PUB ====================
Spederia Pizzaria (San Carlos; NY style pizza)
Rave Burger (San Mateo; buffalo burger)
Creola (San Carlos; New Orleans)
Marvin Gardens (San Carlos; burger and especially fries)
Old port Lobster Shack (Redwood City; New England seafood)
Martin's West (Redwood City; British food, gastropub)
City Pub (Redwood City, burger)
The Refuge (San Carlos; pastrami)
Village Pub (Woodside)
Jack's Prime (San Mateo)
In-N-Out Burger (multiple locations)

==== CALIFORNIA /EUROPEAN ==============
Flea Street Cafe (Menlo Park; California)
Copenhagen Bakery (Burlingame; Danish)
Cafe Grillades (San Bruno; crepes)
Cuisinett (San Carlos; French)
Gourmet Haus (Redwood City; German)
Donato Enoteca (Redwood City, Northern Italian)
Osterio Coppa (San Mateo, Northern Italian)
Evvia (Palo Alto; Greek, lamb chops)
Zibbibo (Palo Alto; pan-Mediterranean)
Iberia (Menlo Park; Spanish; tapas)

==== LATINO ===========================
MEXICO TAQUERIA
La Cumbre (San Mateo)
El Metate Taqueria (San Carlos)
Taqueria Gonzalez (Redwood City; birria goat stew & menudo)
Chavez (Redwood city; al pastor)
Taqueria El Grullense (Redwood city; carnitas, adobada, tongue tacos)
Tacos El Grullense E&E (Redwood city; lengua and tripitas burritos and carnitas tacos)

MEXICO DF
La Casita Chilanga (Redwood City, tortas)

MEXICO GENERAL
Mihoacan Market (Menlo park; roast chicken)
Los Gemelos (Redwood City; $1 tacos)

PERUVIAN
El Hueco (Redwood City, ceviche)
Estampas Peruanas (Redwood city, fried fish/chicken, chicha morada and that greenish superhot dip)

VENEZUELAN
Coupa Cafe (Palo Alto)

==== LATIN FUSION / CARRIBEAN ===============
Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill (Menlo Park, Jamaican)
Coconuts (Palo Alto, Jamaican)
Bodeguita del Medio (Palo Alto, mestita)

==== MIDDLE EAST / INDIA / PAKISTAN =========
AFGHANISTAN
Kabul Afghan (San Carlos, chicken kebabs)

INDIAN / PAKISTANI
All Spice (San Mateo)
Tabla Flavors (Foster City, South Indian Dosas. Biryani specials. Goat.)
Darbar (Palo Alto; vindaloo)
Hyderabad House (Palo Alto; great achari gosht and chicken biryani)
Curry up now (San Mateo)

IRAN
Shalizaar (San Mateo, Persian; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/46287

TURKEY
New Kapadokia Restaurant (Redwood City

LEBANESE
Tannourine (San Mateo

OTHER
Orens hummus (Palo Alto

)

==== CHINESE ===========================

CHINESE BEIJING
Everyday Beijing (San Mateo; pig ear; noodles)
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (San Mateo)

CHINESE CANTONESE
Silver House (San Mateo; steamed fish, razor clames, salt baked fishlings, minced beef with spinach
Silver Lake San Mateo drunken chicken with wood ears, stewed taro w/ roast duck;
Cooking Papa (Foster City; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801119

CHINESE DIM SUM
Hong Kong Flower Lounge (Millbrae
)Koi Palace (Millbrae, dimsum

CHINESE HUNAN
Crouching tiger (Redwood City, hunan)

CHINESE SHANGHAI
Little Shanghai (San Mateo; Yen Du Xien claypot soup with bow tie tofu skin; XLB; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/530990
Happy Cafe (San Mateo, Shanghai, XLB and house special chicken are only noteworthy items
)Sunny Shanghai (San Bruno)
Shanghai Dumpling Shop (Millbrae)

CHINESE TAIWANESE
Joy Restaurant (Foster City; clay pots, beef in garlic sauce; Mandarin speaking only )

==== JAPANESE ===========================
JAPANESE GENERAL
Mitsunobu (Menlo Park; Seafood Clay Pot Rice)
Hotaru (San Mateo; homestyle Japanese, oyakodon)
Higuma (Redwood City, kara-age (Japanese fried chicken), gyoza, ramen)
Wakuriya (San Mateo; $90!)

JAPANESE SUSHI
Sushi Sam's (San Mateo, stick with placard specials & white board, sit at sushi bar, omakase, skip hot menu items)
Naomi Sushi (Menlo Park; omakase)

JAPANESE IZAKAYA
Yuzu (San Mateo, izakaya sushi)

JAPANESE w/ GOOD RAMEN
Himawari (San Mateo; clam butter)
Izakaya Mai (San Mateo, Nagasaki style champon ramen)
Ramen Dojo (San Mateo)
Santa Ramen (San Mateo; Kurobota pork belly)

==== ASIAN-OTHER ===========================
BURMESE
Mingalaba (Burlingame)
Little Yangon (Daly City)

FILIPINO
Ongpin Noodles (South SF)
Patio Filipino (San Bruno)
Tselogs (Daly City; late night Fri/Sat and breakfast)

KOREAN
Myung Dong Tofu House (San Mateo)

VIETNAMESE
Cherimoya (Burlingame; banh mi)
Tamarine (Palo Alto; ha long bay soup)

  1. h
    hyperbowler Apr 9, 2013 07:09 PM

    Here's a follow up on some tips I gathered from fellow hounds over the past year. I've commented on a bunch of other restaurants on other threads, but for these places, I either didn't have much to say about my visit or forgot to make a post:

    Sweet Breams -- CLOSED :-(
    Woodchuck BBQ -- CLOSED

    Romolo's Cannoli : a destination dessert spot, their cannolis best anything I had growing up in NY. To boot, their ice cream cannoli is better any ice cream sandwich or whatnot I can think of.

    Shalizaar : really good lamb chops. Their tah dig (crispy rice) appetizer is big enough for a meal and allows for two stews/toppings. I'd recommend against getting the fesenjun as a topping-- all thick sauce, little meat, and not sour enough for my taste. Good value and the meal was started with a complimentary basket of bread, herbs, and cheese.

    Oren's Hummus : excellent smooth and seemingly garlic-free hummus, and even better red chili sauce. Their bread isn't especially good right before closing, but earlier in the night it's puffy and good. It's always pretty blonde. .

    Izakaya Mai : Nagasaki style champon ramen was excellent. Okonomiyaki was heavy on the puffineess, but good and not greasy. Signs in there for new items are 5 years old.

    Santa Ramen : black garlic ramen was well balanced, and had lots of accompaniments. A pleasure to eat.

    Himawari : positive experiences with the clam butter ramen and the tonkotsu ramen

    La Casita Chilanga : All were very good, but the tesorito torta recommended above is the best of the three I've eaten.

    Tselogs : I liked the lumpia a lot, the chicken sisig much less so

    5 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler
      RWCFoodie Apr 10, 2013 04:29 AM

      +1 for Romolo's, Oren's Hummus, Himawari and La Casita Chilanga (caveat in that my vote is for the Middlefield Rd. branch, the Tesorito is the best of all we've tried., Will have to check out more of this list... Someone might have already added it, but I'd include Fey in Menlo Park for Sichuan on the list.

      1. re: RWCFoodie
        h
        hyperbowler Apr 10, 2013 06:42 AM

        Have you been to La Casita Chilanga on Middlefield recently? I haven't eaten there in a while but there was a management change sign posted in December.

        I definitely need to hit Fey, and will organize a Chowdown in about two weeks. Also on my to-eat list are Albayk , Su Hong for knife shaved noodles, and Yi Yuan for northern Chinese dishes. So many choices!

        1. re: hyperbowler
          RWCFoodie Apr 10, 2013 05:33 PM

          hyperbowler: Re Casita Chilanga - no, I haven't been for a few months. I'm not sure but I think that sign has been there for quite some time...

          Re: a Chowdown at Fey: I've been trying to get back by there to ask if they have a banquet menu but haven't made it yet. I'll try tomorrow. It was way too busy to ask when we were there last Saturday for dinner. So might two weeks be the week of 4/29? Hope so because we'll be out of town the week of 4/22 and I'd really like to make this one :-)

          1. re: RWCFoodie
            bbulkow Apr 10, 2013 10:28 PM

            I'd have to try to make a Fey chowdown, since I've been a supporter and it's so close to home. Re Casita Chilange: I haven't been since the sign went up either. Keep ending up at Old El Grullense.

      2. re: hyperbowler
        stravaigint Apr 10, 2013 08:35 AM

        Yes, sadly Sweet Breams has been closed for several months now. A real shame, because it was always the perfect followup to Himawari.

        The homemade cannoli shells at Romolo's is what sets them apart for me.

      3. Melanie Wong Apr 9, 2013 10:07 AM

        Not on your list, but one I'd love to hear about again (if it's still around) is 5 A's Cafe in Burlingame. Some of the best knife shaved noodles I've had. Many of the items are weekend only, but still worth checking out after work.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/29388
        https://plus.google.com/1183094967066...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          h
          hyperbowler Apr 9, 2013 01:06 PM

          Thanks! I've wanted more "breath of wok" the few times I've had knife shaved noodles, so "ed"s description is very promising!

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            h
            hyperbowler Mar 11, 2014 05:14 PM

            Ah bummer. Knife shaved noodles aren't on their takeout menu. To the extent that we understood each other, the person who answered their phone confirmed they don't have knife shaved noodles or dao chow mein.

            http://dineries.com/ca/burlingame/fiv...

            1. re: hyperbowler
              Melanie Wong Mar 11, 2014 05:37 PM

              That menu looks like the same as it did when I was there in 2004. It was not on the English menu then.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3041...

          2. JoyM Oct 1, 2012 03:56 PM

            Dumpling Empire in south city is my current favorite, especially the string beans and the chicken and corn dumpings. It's right off 101.

            1. Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2012 01:31 PM

              The one thing I really liked at Bona's owners previous place in SF.
              http://www.bonasrestaurant.com/index.php/menu/categorie/soups/item/17-ogorkowa
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/741699

              6 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong
                h
                hyperbowler Sep 4, 2012 10:27 PM

                Oh awesome. I've been jonesing for a good pierogi since a recent Chicago visit, so between the pickle soup and their hand-made pierogis, I'll be there in a heartbeat. If I can settle on a day, I'll propose a Chowdown to see if anyone else in the area is interested in checking it out too.

                1. re: hyperbowler
                  bbulkow Sep 4, 2012 10:26 PM

                  Get the zurek. Bona is a great little place that deserves more traffic.

                  1. re: bbulkow
                    i
                    idtoca Sep 5, 2012 06:55 AM

                    Yes! I like the stuffed cabbage with two sauces. And the beer!

                2. re: Melanie Wong
                  h
                  hyperbowler Sep 30, 2012 06:58 PM

                  A last minute detour took me right near Bona so I popped in.

                  Thankfully I was armed with Melanie's pickle soup recommendation, which I wouldn't have otherwise thought to order. It's rich, simple, and very satisfying.

                  The pierogies didn't fare as well. The best pieorgies I've eaten incorporate some kind of dairy product in the dough (sour cream is common, my recipe uses butter). Bona's are just flour, egg, and water so the dough doesn't have a flavor to contrast to the filling. The dough was also rolled thicker than any pierogies, vareneki, etc. I've eaten, factory-made included. That made the potato filled ones especially starch heavy. On the plus side, they're homemade, so at least they're chewy and have a rough surface.

                  Other people's food looked pretty good. I'll return for some of the dishes recommended below.

                   
                   
                  1. re: hyperbowler
                    bbulkow Sep 30, 2012 07:14 PM

                    Yeah, the pierogies aren't that great. The cabbage-wrapped beef is good. And the soups.

                    1. re: hyperbowler
                      Melanie Wong Oct 1, 2012 02:44 AM

                      Thanks, glad to be of help. You might want to tag up in DoM thread.

                  2. s
                    sandrachang Jul 2, 2012 06:28 PM

                    Being a RWC resident, I found your list really interesting, since I'm always looking for a great place to eat! Couple of additions, if I may:
                    1. iDumpling (on Broadway in RWC) - open since Nov, *awesome* dumplings and homemade noodles - only about 10 tables or so, but great side dishes too, like garlic marinated crushed cucumbers, pork/shrimp dumplings with chives, Shanghai dumplings...
                    2. Patty Shack - (on Main St in RWC) - great burgers, sweet potatoe fries, mac/cheese!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sandrachang
                      bbulkow Jul 2, 2012 11:20 PM

                      +1 on iDumpling
                      neutral on Patty Shack. Had lunch there, the burger was bland. I prefer City Pub. Will try again.

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        g
                        gordon wing Jul 3, 2012 08:52 AM

                        Bonne Sante has some amazing sandwiches ...... the last one I had was the Turkey Sandwich. Wow. Here's a picture.

                         
                    2. t
                      tretower Jul 2, 2012 11:00 AM

                      Breakfast: Neal's Coffee Shop Burlingame, has a good, solid menu, great bacon, omelettes, the Swedish Pancakes w/Lingonberry butter are just like my Swedish Nana used to make and my mouth waters just thinking of them...After a trip out of town, they're always the first thing I head for. Also, they have outdoor dining, albeit they could use some planters w/flowers.
                      Other Burlingame: For Thai: Coconut Bay; La Boulange opened an offshoot of their SF location recently on B'game Ave.
                      Ecco, off B'game Ave. is a long open staple of French/Continental and is uniquely good, fastidiously prepared menu. Sake Sushi & Yuzu are amazing & the guy who runs it is a gem.I'm always impressed at what he presents and, yes, the quality of his product does cost a bit more.

                      In San Carlos, Piacere for Italian, I concur with the others re: Refuge, Town is good, Rumi, towards the south end of the street is wonderful (good biz mtg. place), excellent, high quality burgers at hole in the wall -- Klutch, which has good beef, uses Acme Bread buns, good chili, paninis, craft beers, wine, Mitchell's Ice Cream (Mexican Chocolate Shakes!) and even has a few outdoor tables for good days. Kabul good food & value-for-money, very good service. The Office also good tavern food.
                      Chantilly in Menlo Park on El Camino, Bistro Vida, fun authentic, lovely food, Cedro's in the Kepler's complex is great & a good biz mtg. venue, Cafe Renzo on University is fantastic & a great place to watch the world go by. For breakfast or lunch, Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn has great rustic Ital. breakfast sandwiches, paninis & salads for lunch, and a serene outside dining patio. Iberia has been around forever, for a reason: authentic, delicious, beautiful large outdoor dining and adorable waiters:-) Mike's Cafe (2 locations but the one in Portola Valley is being remodelled right now), Hotel Dining: Stanford Park Hotel on El Camino has a great eat-in bar lounge with fireplace that is cozy in winter, as well as a restaurant; Sheraton Palo Alto has poolside dining any time of day that makes you feel like you're on vacation...good brunch too; Soleil at the Westin next door sophisticated, quiet, good food & service; and, if you're pulling out all the stops, Madera in the Rosewood , another oasis, has spectacular food and view, make sure you call for reservations though because it is very popular w/the techies & VC's...
                      California Avenue in PA has several good places & Peking Duck on El Camino as well as Mandarin Gourmet on Ramona. Also, I don't remember what your northern boundry was but, Koi Palace on Gellert in Daly City, and Boulevard in Daly City are good for everyday food.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tretower
                        Glencora Jul 3, 2012 08:26 AM

                        Note that non-guests are only welcome at the Rosewood during the week. Some interesting people-watching there. Insanely expensive. I had bone-marrow and a glass of wine at the bar and I don't want to remember how much it set me back. It was worth it, once. Nice restroom, too.

                        1. re: Glencora
                          t
                          tretower Jul 3, 2012 09:47 AM

                          Good to know...yeah, agree, hella spendy place but, like I said, if you wanted to impress & pull out all the stops...I also enjoyed the people-watching. BTW: Was there treating our mom to a Mother's Day spa weekend. The food and ambience was great I thought but, besides the wait staff, I found a pervasive institutional snottiness in the personnel there (at the spa, front desk, and podium at the restaurant.) and they, honestly, had difficulty getting anything straight, almost as if they hadn't been properly trained for their job. Very off-putting. So, though in some moment of fiscal impropriety I might dine there again, I doubt I would ever stay or use their spa, given our experience, especially when one has Napa or Carmel or any number of resort areas whose staff are congenial & down to earth. I don't mean to hate on the hotel portion but by the time we left, I was very annoyed by what should have been a relaxing and care-free weekend.

                          1. re: tretower
                            bbulkow Jul 3, 2012 04:34 PM

                            I like hanging out on their patio and buying whatever is cheapest - a coke or something. The patio is the best part. For food, I'd go an exit up to Village Pub if I was looking for that rich-scene-atmosphere. VP is, in service, where Rosewood aspires to be.

                      2. emily Jul 1, 2012 07:13 PM

                        For sandwiches in Menlo Park: Iberia's next-door deli (called Rock of Gibralter) makes great sandwiches. BLATs, Cubanos, Banh Mi (not "authentic," but very good nonetheless), Serrano/butter, and many others. Can call ahead and order to avoid waiting.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: emily
                          a
                          Aridon99 Jul 2, 2012 03:56 PM

                          Went to Rock of Gibraltar today after reading your post. Very cute place but totally empty at high noon. Was torn between the Serrano or Lamb sandwich. Went with the lamb and it was on the bland side served on stale bread. Will go back for the Serrano ham.

                        2. t
                          tre2012 Jun 28, 2012 09:58 AM

                          If you're ever looking for a breakfast meeting place, I can say that the Continental breakfast at Bay 223 @Sofitel Hotel, Redwood City, is to die for. And I mean that seriously, considering the fact I'm a hard-core bacon and eggs fan! The regular breakfast items are okay, not great, but what shoots Bay 223 to the top is....

                          CROISSANTS. They bake their own in-house, and they definitely use French butter. You can taste the difference! And when you order coffee, you get a serious coffee-drinker's coffee. Being a French hotel, what else would they use except a French press? But this isn't the two-cups-and-out, individual sized press. This is the press every other restaurant uses for two people...only here, everyone gets one of their own. This is a full four cups of coffee, and Bay 223 uses extra-large coffecups. Regular blend, BTW, is smoother than decaf.

                          If you're very, very lucky, the chef will be pulling a pan of almond croissants out of the oven so you can score one when it's warm. You've never had almond croissants like these. They are heavily topped with toasted sliced almonds, and inside...a creamy butter/sugar filling that oozes like soft custard. Still warm, they are crispy on the outside, buttery and meltingly soft inside. Sublime!

                          Get some yoghurt and granola, and have TWO croissants....heaven, I'm in heaven...!

                          How much do we like their croissants? They're far better than Bouchon, and even better than our beloved Parker-Lusseau in Monterey.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tre2012
                            bbulkow Jun 28, 2012 06:01 PM

                            +1 on the sofitel. I didn't remember the brioche-things as being quite so special, but I like it a lot. It's a great hangout spot in the early afternoon - I've done more than a few business meetings there, it's a good midpoint between the city and the valley.

                            1. re: bbulkow
                              t
                              tre2012 Jul 1, 2012 04:29 PM

                              Well.....croissants and brioche are very different things. But do try one of the croissants next time you're there. My DH loves the plain ones spread with butter and jam. We take an order (or two) home to make breakfast sandwiches for the next couple of days. Yum!

                          2. a
                            alwayshungrygal Jun 26, 2012 04:03 PM

                            I have to post an update on Old Port Lobster Shack. I hadn't been there for about 2 years and went 2 Fridays ago (6/15) with my son. We got there at about 6:30 pm and the line was of course out the door. The wait was about 1/2 hour, maybe 40 minutes tops. We ordered the (Maine) double lobster roll (to share) and an order of fried shrimp. I think we waited no more than 10 minutes for our food. The lobster rolls were as they have always been, moist, just enough mayo, full of tail meat, buns perfectly toasted. Cole slaw was fresh and fries were crispy but not greasy. We hadn't had the fried shrimp before and that was a great surprise--absolutely delicious, crispy on the outside yet still tender shrimp inside. Our eyes met when we both bit into them--very happy with our selections.

                            I first went there about 6 years ago when they first opened. OPLS is still as excellent as then, no loss of quality that I could see. Many diners ordered a whole lobster, quite a few had rolls like we did and I could tell many people were repeat customers. I wish he would expand or open another location nearby (and yes I know he closed the one in SF), we could use another quality seafood restaurant on the Peninsula.

                            Hyperbowler, I hope you get to OPLS soon, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: alwayshungrygal
                              Melanie Wong Jun 26, 2012 04:11 PM

                              FYI, Old Port Lobster Shack has a location in Portola Valley too.
                              http://www.oplobster.com/locations.htm

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                a
                                Aridon99 Jun 26, 2012 05:44 PM

                                Went to the PV location twice a few months ago and I couldn't believe the horrible experience on the 2nd visit. First visit was fine. Food was good. The 2nd time was just awful. From the dumb as rocks person behind the register taking orders to the long wait for the food and to the food tasting poorly. And we ordered the same things on both visits! For example, on the first visit, the sweet potatoes fries were some of the best we've ever tasted (that's why we went back a week later). On the 2nd visit, it wasn't fit to eat by my dogs. Dunno what happened.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  a
                                  alwayshungrygal Jun 28, 2012 11:59 AM

                                  Interesting, I wasn't aware of that. Kind of out of the way, tho close to 280. I was thinking of the Burlingame/San Mateo area which is thin on seafood options.

                                2. re: alwayshungrygal
                                  h
                                  hyperbowler Jul 24, 2012 09:17 PM

                                  Thanks for pushing me to go there!

                                  My previous lobster rolls being a McLobster in 1987 and two more recent celery heavy monstrosities in Manhattan, I was skeptical that CA would introduce me to my first worthy Lobster Roll. I was thankfully proven wrong. The bun was great and the lobster buttery, plentiful, and delicious. Best of all, there was no filler to distract from the lobster.

                                  The clam chowder was pleasant, but I wish it had a stronger flavored base. I'll give them credit avoiding the pastiness, over creaminess, or potato heaviness that's pretty common. I did like its texture quite a bit.

                                  Oh, and they get bonus points for having Devil's Canyon Root beer on tap as well as a selection of a dozen or so interesting bottled sodas.

                                  1. re: hyperbowler
                                    a
                                    alwayshungrygal Jul 25, 2012 05:06 PM

                                    I'm so glad you liked it! I went back to OPLS a week ago after a visit to the East coast, which included a few days in CT. I went to a place in Old Saybrook, had their lobster roll plate and was greatly disappointed. First, the roll itself (not so much the lobster, just the roll) was smaller than the one at OPLS and kind of limp. The fries were limp too, and the cole slaw was worse than pathetic, minced to the point of being just mush. AND it cost more than at OPLS--it was $20.00. I didn't think the water view (not ocean, just an inlet) justified the higher cost. So that meal put me in the frame of mind to going back to OPLS a few hours after I landed at SFO. I got there around 5:30 pm Monday night and the place was pretty empty. Had another great lobster roll and have vowed to go back much, much more often.

                                    I look forward to your other posts on the Peninsula dining scene, it's great to hear from someone "new" to the area.

                                3. h
                                  huckleberry Jun 26, 2012 07:57 AM

                                  echoing other posters - really helpful list as I am a fellow commuter as well. Other spots I frequent around MP are:

                                  Gombei (on El Camino in Menlo Park, near Naomi Sushi) - primarily cooked Japanese food. i love their oyako-don and whatever specials they have on their white board.

                                  Jonathan's Fish & Chips (on Willow Road in Menlo Park) - really light and nicely seasoned fish & chips. their fried catfish and fried okra are two of my favorites.

                                  Osteria (Palo Alto) - casual spot focusing on Tuscan Italian. Their pastas are comfort food for me. Relatively quick and easy if you're around downtown PA.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: huckleberry
                                    c
                                    ceekskat Jun 27, 2012 11:28 AM

                                    We used to go to Osteria often years ago but stopped after they changed their side dishes (from buttery beans & carrots to rice & broccoli). Is their spaghetti carbonara still good? Never found any place as good as theirs. We also used to love their calamari steak.

                                  2. h
                                    hyperbowler Jun 25, 2012 10:18 PM

                                    I hit Speederia tonight at about 6:30 to see how well their "NY slices" fared.

                                    The place is small, and when I asked if they had any fresh slices, I was told that all the slices are fully cooled to allow for even cutting. I wasn't very impressed with the floppy Whitestone they reheated, but I ordered a pie as backup.

                                    The crust could have been cooked another 45 seconds or so, but it had a nice chew and flavor. If a place can't have the perfect combination of a crispy bottom and a chewy top, I prefer the under-charred to dry-cracker like that I've occasionally had at Gioia or the defunct Pie in the Sky.

                                    The cheese and sauce melded into that plasma-like goo that NY slices showcase, and they had the right flavor. There wasn't a lot of orange oil drippage out the tail end of each slice, there wasn't as much oregano as I personally prefer, and the outer crust wasn't as raised as it should be, but these are some minor quibbles. This was very good pizza, and I enjoyed it enough to eat an embarrassingly large quantity.

                                    1. Civil Bear Jun 13, 2012 01:55 PM

                                      Just wanted to thank the OP for this great list. I have a new work assignment in Redwood City and the rec's have been a great help. To which:

                                      The Refuge: Went to lunch today and had the best pastrami sandwich in the Bay Area to date. House cured on rye with melted Swiss and sauerkraut. A huge pickle on the side and a prefect helping of crispy seasoned fries. Unfortunately at $19 for a sandwich & fries the Refuge will not be on me regular rotation.

                                      Woodside Deli: Huge line of locals for lunch. Had the Panini Cuban and asked to add ham because it only came with roast pork. Very, very tasty.

                                      Chavez Market: Very tasty al pastor burrito.

                                      Los Genesis: good $1 pollo tacos as advertised. Also on the small side as expected. Friendly service. Chips & salsa $1 extra.

                                      Taquaria El Grullense: A better helping of carnitas on their tacos, so even at $1.25 it’s a better value than at Los Genesis, IMO.

                                      La Casita Chilanga: Had a very pleasant lunch in a nice place with a friendly waitress. Got sit by the window and watch the local talent pass by. The Cubano Torta was as big as my head ($8) but the flavors were meh. Will be back to try other parts of the menu.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Civil Bear
                                        h
                                        hyperbowler Jun 13, 2012 02:18 PM

                                        You're welcome--- I'm really grateful for the thousands of hours of effort (and pounds) that the community contributed before us peninsula newbies feel comfortable exploring on our own.

                                        I had Los Gemelos last night. I was also thinking they were on the small side, and I wound up ordering a quesadilla after eating three of them. But wow ... how often is it that you get tortillas that are pressed to order? The barbacoa and pastor were both great, but I prefer the overall package at the Grullense st 1243 Middlefield.

                                        1. re: Civil Bear
                                          a
                                          Aridon99 Jun 13, 2012 03:12 PM

                                          La Casita Chilanga: If you want to try something very unique and you like spicy food, there is a spicy soda drink they serve here. Like how margarita glasses are rimmed with salt? they do that will chili power on this drink. The more you drink, the hotter it gets. It's a very cool/hot experience :) Sorry, I don't know the name as I ordered it after seeing someone else enjoy one. I too have to agree on the Cubano Torta, it's huge, but not my favorite for flavor.

                                          El Grullense is my 'go to' spot for a taco fix any time of the day. After drinking at the nearby German bar, you can get a taco here way after midnight. I especially like their red 'hot' sauce they put on their tacos. All their meats are good, with carnitas and pastor being my fav. Chicken is their weakest meat choice (just boiled) so I stay away from that.

                                          1. re: Civil Bear
                                            Melanie Wong Jun 13, 2012 03:33 PM

                                            My brother's favorite at La Casita Chilanga is the Tesorito, made with smoked pork leg.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                              bbulkow Jun 13, 2012 04:02 PM

                                              +1 on the Tesorito. That's a fine sandwich.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                Civil Bear Jun 26, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                Finally tried the Tesorito the other day. Much better than the Cubano, but not sure I would need to order it again.

                                                Also tried that spicy sangria. It was definitely different. Again not sure if I would order it again. I guess it would all depend on my mood!

                                                I still really want to enjoy this place though, so I will be back to check out other items on the menu.

                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                  RWCFoodie Jul 2, 2012 01:17 PM

                                                  +2 on Casita Chilanga... For us, it's La Tesorito or nothing... and we prefer the little shack Casita Chilanga on Middlefield over the El Camino branch.

                                              2. a
                                                artemis May 21, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                I am excited to follow this thread. I agree with many of the specific recs above, including Cherimoya, Himawari, Hotaru, Cooks, OPLS, and Oren.
                                                A couple notes:
                                                -add Ramen Parlor, which is owned by the Ramen Dojo people and tasty.
                                                -Sushi Sam's - yes, skip the hot menu items except for the really traditional hot menu items like the chawan mushi and the agedashi tofu, both of which are great. I always get the agedashi tofu.
                                                -Coupa Cafe- get the cachapa
                                                -Myung Dong - the tofu stews are better than the meat plates. we go there often.
                                                -Mingalaba - house special noodles are a can't miss. I also really like the asparagus chicken.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: artemis
                                                  JoyM Oct 1, 2012 03:50 PM

                                                  House special noodles from Mingalaba are to die for. There are very few things I miss about living in the 'burbs, but that's one of them. You can get them with chicken or tofu. Get two orders.

                                                  BTW, Koi Palace is in Daly City, not Millbrae. I like Zen Peninsula in Millbrae, for both dim sum and dinner

                                                2. a
                                                  alwayshungrygal May 21, 2012 05:22 PM

                                                  I agree with other posters, great list! I would note that Kabul is now also located in Burlingame, directly across the street from the train station. I've not eaten at that location but have enjoyed what I've eaten at the San Carlos one. Had a great lamb dish (twice) but don't remember the exact name (it did have spinach).

                                                  I would also add B Street and Vine (downtown San Mateo) to that list. Great bruschetta (most people order it), salads, panini and best of all--dessert panini. Good list of wines by the glass too tho I'm not a wine expert at all. And if you have the time, do a restaurant crawl on B Street (downtown San Mateo) apart from what else is on your list. In a 4 block stretch, there are over 25 restaurants/eateries with just about any cuisine you want (except for a proper deli).

                                                  I noticed you didn't include any breakfast places. I would recommend
                                                  Nini's - Bayswater Ave, San Mateo,
                                                  Crepevine - Burlingame Ave, Burlingame
                                                  Chrystie's, California Drive, Burlingame

                                                  For burgers, consider
                                                  Johnnies - B Street, San Mateo

                                                  Please let us know where you go, what you've liked and enjoy.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: alwayshungrygal
                                                    h
                                                    hyperbowler May 21, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                    Thanks for the breakfast recs--- I left them out b/c my goal is to get to work as quickly as possible in the morning, but I could imagine making a culinary detour if there's an accident or something.

                                                    1. re: hyperbowler
                                                      a
                                                      alwayshungrygal May 22, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                      Crepevine is good for lunch/dinner as well. Order at the counter and it's delivered to your table. They also have a location somewhere in SF but I can't remember right now. Huge portions on salads, and their egg dishes (served with green salad and potatoes) are comfort food all day long.

                                                      1. re: alwayshungrygal
                                                        drewskiSF Jun 26, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                        Crepevine has numerous locations scattered around the bay in SF, North Bay, East Bay, Penninsula
                                                        http://www.crepevine.com/locations.html

                                                        It's your typical "chalkboard creperie" (aka Squat & Gobble, Crepes on Cole, etc.) with good prices, large portions, OK food.

                                                    2. re: alwayshungrygal
                                                      i
                                                      idtoca Aug 28, 2012 07:29 PM

                                                      Another terrific breakfast place is Main St Cafe in RWC. And try their rhubarb crisp if it's a special. They have an outside patio, too.

                                                    3. Civil Bear May 21, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                      Great list!

                                                      For sandwiches I would add:
                                                      Draegers Market (San Mateo: Wagu Pastrami)
                                                      Ravioli House (San Mateo: pulled pork)
                                                      Little Lucca's (Burlingame: big & cheap)
                                                      Bonne Sante (Burlingame: burgers too)

                                                      Also for Chinese Shanghai you could add:
                                                      Shanghai Dumpling Shop (Millbrae: SF Shanghai Dumpling House extension for great XLB)
                                                      and at Sunny Shanghai in San Bruno be sure to order the dan-dan noodles - best ever!

                                                      Also of interest is Korean
                                                      BART Grocery & BBQ (Daly City: Kimchee fried rice)

                                                      Filipino
                                                      Fil-Am BBQ (Daly City: Chicken & pork bbq'ed skewers)

                                                      Mexican:
                                                      La Tapatia Mexicatessen (South San Francisco: super carnitas burrito)

                                                      Lastly, I would add:
                                                      Woodchuck BBQ (Redwood City – giant beef rib)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Civil Bear
                                                        a
                                                        Aridon99 May 21, 2012 05:21 PM

                                                        Great list guys. I live in Redwood City and I'm learning a lot. I 2nd the large Woodchuck's beef rib. Very tender. Reminds me a lot of getting a prime rib w/o the fancy restaurant prices.

                                                        1. re: Civil Bear
                                                          a
                                                          artemis May 21, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                          +1 on Draeger's wagyu pastrami. The SO adores it. Note that they only have it sometimes, so call ahead to be sure.

                                                        2. bbulkow May 21, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                          Tabla Flavors is now closed - replaced by Paradise, which was a grave disappointment on a trip about 9 months ago.

                                                          I wouldn't bother with both back a yard and coconuts. I think they share lineage.

                                                          Los Gemelos in RWC! Jin Sho in PA.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: bbulkow
                                                            h
                                                            hyperbowler May 21, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                            Thanks for the tip about Table Flavors--- their (Foster City) website and their yelp page are still up, but I recall having difficulty finding them on google.

                                                            BTW, your favorites make up a good chunk of this list. Thanks!

                                                          2. b
                                                            bouncepass May 21, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                            Chinese/Sichuan: Da Sichuan Bistro (Palo Alto). In my experience, flavor profiles are bolder and more authentic than Crouching Tiger. One of the (I think) owners of CT told me they will dial it up to "normal" spicy if you ask, but their default is dialed back.

                                                            Sakae Sushi in Burlingame is still, I think, the best sushi around, although my search is far less extensive than Sushi Monster (and I haven't been to Yuzu, their sister restaurant which is on your list). Great white board. The meal I had there a few weeks ago was fantastic -- it's as good as it ever was, I think. Prices to match quality, though. I'd still frequent Sushi Sam's more often for the value.

                                                            1. ...tm... May 20, 2012 11:53 PM

                                                              Thanks for gathering things in one place. As an eastbayer who rarely gets over to that corridor and when I do always wishes there were a better way to search what might be of interest I really appreciate it. I notice you have Daly City places on your list, so I though I'd mention one that caught my eye, though I've never been there--Jonathan Kauffman's review of the Brazilian Pamonha caught my attention http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-08-31/re...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: ...tm...
                                                                h
                                                                hyperbowler May 21, 2012 06:29 AM

                                                                Nice call. I had a sneaking suspicion that Kauffman recently mentioned something in Daly City that I wanted to check out. A search revealed it to be House of Silvanas, but glad to know about Pamonha!

                                                                I actually didn't use Daly City as a search term when I assembled this list, so I'll make an update later in the week.

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