PLACE FOR A DATE
According to our readers, Flea Street Cafe offers just the right environment for a date. The cozy restaurant features fresh seasonal meals, and "people can hear each other talk while enjoying delicious food and cocktails," according to owner Jesse Cool, a cookbook author and a widely respected leader of the sustainable, locally sourced food movement.
3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park | (650) 854-1226 | cooleatz.com
CASUAL DINING, OUTDOOR DINING, PLACE TO MEET PEOPLE, INDEPENDENT COFFEE AND TEA HOUSE
Cafe Borrone has done it again: It crosses the finish line first in four categories. As anyone can see who walks by the Menlo Center, at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and El Camino Real, this longtime local favorite buzzes with people and conversation. Patrons can enjoy their food and drinks in the plaza, next to the fountain.
1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 327-0830 | cafeborrone.com
FRENCH RESTAURANT, HAPPY HOUR
Left Bank French brasserie apparently has many happy diners, who have voted the downtown Menlo Park brasserie No. 1 in both the French restaurant and the happy hour categories. A favorite place to dine since it opened in 1998, Left Bank hosts happy hour from 3 to 6:30 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to closing time.
635 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 473-6543 | leftbank.com
AMERICAN FOOD, LIVE MUSIC
Menlo Tavern, located at the Stanford Park Hotel, has won a place in the hearts of those who love great food and live music. The menu features what the restaurant calls "elevated American food" that follows the seasons. The restaurant is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. And live music is an added treat every evening from June to mid-October.
100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 330-2790 | menlotavern.com
Woodside Bakery appears to be as popular in its Menlo Park location as it had been in Woodside. It still offers the pastries, cakes, cookies and other baked goods that have kept customers coming back for more than 35 years. The bakery, now located in the Sharon Heights Shopping Center, will bake a custom cake for you, or, if you're in the market, a lovely and luscious wedding cake.
325 Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park | (650) 854-6207 | woodsidebakery.com
BREAKFAST, DINING WITH KIDS
Anyone who's been inside Buck's of Woodside would instantly understand why readers think this longtime establishment is a great place to bring kids. The decor includes whimsical figures and aircraft hanging from the ceiling; floor and tabletop gewgaws and oddities give special meaning to the word "novelty." What's not for a kid to love? The breakfast menu features traditional fare — portions are hearty, flavors are satisfying.
3062 Woodside Road, Woodside | (650) 851-8010 | buckswoodside.com
Our readers have chosen Draeger's Market, which has been a part of the Menlo Park community for 64 years, as the No. 1 place to go for desserts. In addition to the market's famous German chocolate cake and other luscious confections to satisfy your sweet tooth, the bakery offers new desserts for the summer season, such as vanilla coconut cake and s'mores cheesecake. The recently remodeled market added a "grab and go" dessert section, and offers a broader range of bakery goods.
1010 University Drive, Menlo Park | (650) 324-7700 | draegers.com
Jeffrey's Hamburgers has again captured the No. 1 spot as the best place to feast on a hamburger. The meat is ground fresh every day, not prepackaged or frozen. For those who prefer a beef-less burger, Jeffrey's offers turkey and garden burgers. Salads, soups, sandwiches, fish and chips, milkshakes and root beer floats are also on the menu.
888 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 322-1959 | jeffreyshamburgers.com
ICE CREAM/FROZEN YOGURT
Our readers are hooked on Baskin-Robbins ice cream and frozen yogurt. What flavor do you like? The longtime downtown ice cream shop is likely to have it. Also on offer are sundaes, milkshakes, parfaits and other traditional ice cream fare. And ice cream cakes are an item that keeps customers coming back when they want a cool and irresistible treat for their kids and their guests.
863 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 323-9335 | baskinrobbins.com
For nine years, Amici's has been serving up pizza — and pasta, soup, salad and other side dishes — to its Menlo Park customers, and Almanac readers approve. They've voted Amici's the No. 1 place to go for pizza. The thin-crust New York-style pies are cooked in traditional brick ovens next to an open flame. The staff says diners can customize Amici's mac 'n cheese plate "to your taste, with a variety of great additional ingredient options."
880 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 329-8888 | amicis.com
Chef Kwan's continues to satisfy those in the market for good Chinese food, quickly served. Located in the former Su Hong To Go space, Chef Kwan's offers a full menu of traditional dishes and a variety of lunch plates.
630 Menlo Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 322-4631 | chefkwans.com
Koma Sushi Restaurant is the area's No. 1 place to go for Japanese food, Almanac readers have ruled. Some of its customers' favorites are flounder sashimi, grilled squid, ahi sashimi and a nigiri combination plate, according to the restaurant's website.
211 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 321 5662 | komasushi.net
Since 1988, Ristorante Carpaccio has been a favorite dining spot in downtown Menlo Park. And it has consistently won Almanac readers' votes in the Italian restaurant category. Carpaccio features weekly lunch and dinner special menus, while also offering a full range of appetizers, soups and salads, pastas, and meat and fish dinners on its regular menu.
1120 Crane St., Menlo Park | (650) 322-1211 | carpaccios.com
Cafe Del Sol in downtown Menlo Park offers extensive lunch and dinner menus with traditional fare such as enchiladas, tacos and burritos, as well as a range of chicken, fish, other meat and vegetarian dishes. Salads and soups are also on offer. In the mood for Mexican food? Almanac readers say Cafe Del Sol is where you'll find the best.
1010 Doyle St., Menlo Park | (650) 326-2501 | cafedelsolmenlo.com
Almanac readers continue to cast their ballots for Chef Chu's as the place to go for great Chinese food. Many of the signature dishes feature fish and shellfish, but there's also lamb, chicken and a vegetarian cold plate on the signature menu. There's also classic Beijing duck cooked in a cast-iron oven, and an extensive regular menu that ensures everyone will find their favorite traditional entrees.
1067 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos | (650) 948-2696 | chefchu.com
What's the best new restaurant around? Our readers say it's The Village Bakery & Cafe in Woodside. The restaurant's menus are teeming with tempting breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch items, and the bar features cocktails, wines by the glass and bottle, and a long list of spirits.
3052 Woodside Road, Woodside | (650) 851-5555 | tvbwoodside.com
The ambience at The Village Pub in Woodside can be fairly described as elegant and warm — no chilly vibes here. The decor, candlelight, and attentive service are features that have made the Pub our readers' No. 1 choice for romantic restaurant for several years running. And if diners insist that exquisite food is as important as an elegant atmosphere, they've chosen the right place.
2967 Woodside Road, Woodside | (650) 851-9888 | thevillagepub.net
PRODUCE, GROCERY, PLACE TO BUY MEAT, SANDWICHES
Since it opened at its Ladera location in 1998, the family-operated Bianchini's Market has been a favorite of the community. Shoppers can count on Bianchini's for fresh local produce, gourmet cheeses, and groceries from small producers whose items are not found in chain stores. Bianchini's is also valued by readers for its meat counter and sandwiches.
3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley | (650) 851-4391 | bianchinismarket.com
With its commitment to bicycle riders of all types, great customer service, and wide selection of bikes, Menlo Velo Bicycles has long been loved by our readers. The shop rents bikes in addition to selling them, and their wide selection includes everything from road to comfort to electric bicycles.
433 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 327-5137| menlovelobicycles.com
Kepler's Books & Magazines has long been a beloved cornerstone of the Menlo Park community. It offers customers a broad collection of books and magazines, and its nonprofit arm, the Kepler's Literary Foundation, hosts author events, literary discussion groups, and events for youth "to ignite a passion in students for reading and writing," according to its website.
1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 324-4321 | keplers.com
PLACE TO BUY JEWELRY, BOUTIQUE
A reader favorite for artisan gifts and jewelry, Shady Lane has been voted best boutique for the fifth year in a row. The shop offers pieces from both local and international artists and designers. Its collection includes one-of-a-kind jewelry, intricately woven scarves, artisan glass sculptures and wood carvings, and handcrafted soaps.
325 Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park | (650) 321-1099 | shadylanegallery.com
The family-owned and operated Menlo Flooring & Design has been installing floors in homes on the Peninsula for over 20 years. Its selection of flooring includes hardwood, tile, custom carpet, linoleum and vinyl. The store's website boasts of "good old-fashioned customer service" and invites shoppers to sign up for a free consultation.
905 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 384-6326 | menloflooring.com
FRAME STORE, ART GALLERY
Portola Art Gallery has taken the prize this year in the best art gallery category. The gallery has been showcasing work created by 17 local artists for 13 years at its current location in the Allied Arts Guild complex. In addition to the paintings, photos, and pottery it displays, the gallery also offers art classes and workshops.
75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park | (650) 321-0220 | portolaartgallery.com
GIFT SHOP, NURSERY, FLORIST
Ladera Garden and Gifts, operated by Juan and Mercedes Navarro for 38 years, has once again been chosen by our readers as No. 1 in the best gift shop, nursery, and florist categories. With its beautiful custom floral arrangements, friendly service, thriving nursery, and attractive gift selection, the store has long been a treasure of the community.
3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley | (650) 854-3850 | laderagardenandgifts.com
Menlo Hardware is this year's winner in the best hardware store category. A go-to place for home, garden and building supplies, the independently owned Ace Hardware in Menlo Park has been serving customers since it opened in 2005. The store offers services including key cutting, custom glass and acrylic sheet cutting, blade sharpening, window screen repair, propane exchange, and product assembly and delivery.
700 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 325-2515 | menlohardware.com
HOME DECOR AND FURNISHINGS
For over 60 years, Flegel's Home Furnishings has been helping Bay Area residents decorate and design the interiors of their homes. Customers can schedule meetings with interior designers in Flegel's Menlo Park showroom and select items from its extensive online catalog. Flegel's prides itself on its experienced and knowledgeable interior designers, as well as its ability to "work wonders on any budget."
870 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 326-9661 | flegels.com
For the 27th consecutive year, The Pet Place has been our readers' choice for best pet store. The Pet Place has a deep commitment to the well-being of animals, demonstrated both through its selection of high-quality products for animals, including items for disabled pets, and adoption fairs to help animals in need find homes. More about the store's specialized services and products can be found on its website.
777 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 325-7387 | thepetplacemenlopark.com
PLACE TO BUY SHOES
Fleet Feet in Menlo Park is committed to helping its customers find products that improve their fitness experience, as well as to enhancing local running and walking communities. To ensure that shoes fit, in-store outfitters use 3D scanning technology to measure feet, which enables outfitters to find the perfect products for customers. Its customer service and extensive selection of shoes and other gear make Fleet Feet a favorite among readers.
859 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 325-9432 | fleetfeet.com
Cheeky Monkey Toys has been voted best specialty store in this year's poll. The family-owned and operated store prides itself on carrying "high quality toys [...] that center on interactivity and engagement" and a friendly staff that is always eager to help find the perfect toy or gift. The store carries items for children and adults — "anyone young at heart" — and offers complimentary gift wrapping.
640 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 328-7975 | cheekymonkeytoys.com
Portola Valley Garage has been providing locals with high-quality auto repairs and service since its opening in 1948. The garage boasts, in addition to its repair services, 24-hour vehicle drop-off, online appointments, free loaner cars, and "dealership quality knowledge and experience without dealership pricing."
4170 Alpine Road, Portola Valley | (650) 851-7442 | pvgarage.com
Menlo Park Barber Shop is our readers' choice as best barber for the fourth consecutive year. The barbers there pride themselves on developing close relationships with clients, giving excellent cuts, and "blending craft and tradition with a strong dose of humor."
2100 Avy Ave., Menlo Park | (650) 391-9008 | menloparkbarbershop.com
With its high-quality one-day cleaning, alterations, mending, and reweaving services, Ladera Cleaners has been voted best dry cleaner for the fifth year in a row. In addition to clothing, the popular shop also cleans and alters draperies and bedding, and boasts quick and convenient service.
3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley | (650) 854-2291 | laderacleaners.net
Watercourse Way offers a truly relaxing and luxurious experience to spa-goers, with nine hot tub rooms, and an impressive array of massages, facials, and spa treatments. The spa focuses on providing a serene and peaceful experience for clients and therefore avoids communal hot tubs and locker rooms, instead providing private massage and hot tub rooms. The spa offers individual, couple and group options.
165 Channing Ave., Palo Alto | (650) 462-2000 | watercourseway.com
FITNESS CLASSES, GYM
Studio K-Fit is No. 1, our readers say. The studio offers high-intensity but low-impact workouts focused on strength, mobility and cardio through high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Class sizes are small so that instructors can focus on each individual. Personal and corporate training options are also available. In addition to their fitness options, Studio K-Fit also offers lifestyle coaching, personalized nutrition help and outdoor gatherings.
3708 Florence St., Redwood City | [email protected] | studiokfit.com
Its charming setting and commitment to its clients are just a few of the reasons readers voted Olive Hill Salon the best hair salon. Olive Hill specializes in hair cutting, coloring, and styling. In addition to its hair services, Olive Hill is committed to the community, supporting multiple local schools including Menlo-Atherton and Woodside high schools as well as organizations including the Girl Scouts and Toys for Tots.
2920 Woodside Road, Woodside | (650) 851-1150 | olivehillsalon.com
Stanford Park Hotel describes itself as an "oasis" that offers "genuine tranquility in one of the world's most innovative cities." With the hotel's "classic collegiate" spirit, luxurious pool and spa, complimentary in-room snacks, and fireside spots for conversing and reading, our readers think that Stanford Park has accomplished the task.
100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 322-1234 | stanfordparkhotel.com
Customers can expect quality service, a friendly staff and reasonable pricing at A Touch of Elegance Nail Care, a longtime favorite of Almanac readers. In addition to manicures and pedicures, A Touch of Elegance also offers facials and other services. Walk-ins are also always welcome.
1150 Crane St., Menlo Park | (650) 321-0679
Dr. Jane Weston has been bringing expertise in plastic surgery to Bay Area patients since 1985. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, Weston has served as chair of both the Ethics Committee and Women Plastic Surgeons Committee of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.
1047 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 457-6291 | janewestonmd.com
Founded in 1948, Guy Plumbing & Heating is in its fourth generation of family ownership and operation. Guy Plumbing is known for its fast service and friendly and knowledgeable staff. In addition to its plumbing services, Guy Plumbing is an authorized parts distributor with thousands of items stocked. It has an online store as well as a showroom in Menlo Park.
1265 El Camino Real, Menlo Park | (650) 323-8415 | guyplumbing.com
Studio Rincon has been our readers' choice for best yoga studio since 2012. Studio Rincon offers a variety of different yoga and fitness classes for all levels, as well as ballet and hip-hop classes for children. Adult classes include gentle, power, and vinyasa yoga, as well as Zumba and cardio hip-hop. The studio ensures small class sizes so that instructors can focus on each individual, and classes are designed to be fun while still providing a good workout.
3536 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park | (650) 861-0242
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