Food and Restaurants around San Mateo, CA
Believe it or not, there are some great places to eat and buy food in and near San Mateo. I'll be posting some of my personal opinions here -- including some restaurant reviews. These pages are under development... but here's a little nosh to keep you going.
Restaurants follow the supermarket notes
Interesting (and high-end) SuperMarkets
Draeger's Market is in downtown San Mateo at 4th and "B". Check out what Draeger's looked like long before opening... They seem to have almost any specialty food items, cooking classes, and a restaurant. However, their restaurant leaves MUCH to be desired...
I've been to Viogner a few times now. Once was with a colleague just a week after we had happened to be in Washington DC for a business dinner at a fine restaurant (New Heights). Viogner's prices were about the same or higher, their portions much smaller, many dishes far too salty, the entrees had little if anything "with" them (e.g. no vegetables). All in all, if New Heights or The Obelisk in Washington DC were an "A", then Viogner would be a B-. However, Viogner's wine list was good and very fairly priced.
Bottom line to me --- pass on Viogner unless someone else is paying for it. It's not worth the price.
Piaza's Market is located in Laurelwood Shopping Center on Hillsdale Blvd. near Route 92. A bit down-scale from Draeger's, but a much warmer feeling... and they have an excellent selection (again, not as complete as Draeger's, but excellent for most "speciality" needs). We really enjoy shopping here! No parking hassle... good selection... good prices... and very nice people.
Quickie picks for some good places to eat:
Mutsu - Used to be a nice lunch menu (with great prices), a wide variety of dishes, a great Yosenabe, a bit fancier and pricier at dinner, a long time favorite. A small family run place. Sadly, the folks who owned Mutsu sold the place about a year ago (back in 2001). We've tried going back there since then and... we won't go back.
Kaimuki Grill - good ramen and udon, nice bentos for lunches, great grilled food, should be really crowded now that the SF Chronicle reviewed it, been going here for quite a while too.
Long gone is Maya... They used to be just "east" of the Ben Franklin Hotel on the second floor in the same building as Bogie's. What's especially nice about this place is that their main menu is served until 10:00 p.m., with a secondary menu (soba, udon, onigiri, sweets) that's served until midnight! They close at 1:30 a.m. We really miss it...
Nippa Pon - we ask for dishes "Thai Hot" because we're chile heads, some of the best fried calamari (alas, no longer --- they now use the "bigger" squid which we don't like as much), nice selection, not greasy at all, a long time favorite.
Little Sichuan - some nice Sichuan dishes, often very crowded and noisy,
Hakka - Haven't been there for quite a while, but it used to be quite nice. Loved their clay pot dishes...
Dim sum in this area has gone down hill. It's still ok in a few places, but... ABC Seafood is where I'd go for dim sum, but I'm still looking for the quality we had years ago... Also, most Chinese restaurants get their food too oily for our tastes -- unlike how we and our friends cook at home. Nothing here comes even close to Tan Kian in San Francisco -- for Hakka-style food and superb dim sum.
La Fonda - we've gone here for ages and became friends with the owners. A nice place for some good Mexican food. Sometimes their mole sauce is absolutely exquisite! Other times, it's just very good...
Nawab - Their lunch buffet is usually very good. Sometimes it's excellent, and a couple of rare times it's been just so-so. Usually it's very good -- a great place to go for a Sunday buffet lunch.
Spiedo - Been going here for quite a while. Some great dishes at good prices. Even though they have their own wood oven (and rotisserie), I wish they'd make their own bread... Sadly, the last few times we've been there it's not been worth the money. Gambardellas in Burlingame was much much better!
In a while I'll post some more ideas of places that we thought were good (and some that we didn't enjoy).
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