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Local Restaurant and Small Biz Recommendations?

Original post made by Hmmm, another community, on Dec 23, 2019

Some years ago there was a great thread here that primarily focused on restaurants. The primary commenters were Menlo Voter, Jenny, Colleen and me. Since that thread has been closed and a lot has changed since then, I thought it’d be fun and helpful to start a new thread. So, to kick it off here are some recommendations and questions...

- For a tasty Caesar salad, I like Quattro/Four Seasons in EPA and Amici’s (which still surprises me).
- Arancini - Pizzeria Delfina. Good pizza, too, of course. For deep dish, Patxi’s, though it’s very rich.
- Draeger’s double decker classic sandwich - tuna salad on one side, egg salad on the other.
- Speaking of double decker sammies, Palo Alto Creamery’s turkey club in their house-baked wheat is a winner. It’s enough for two meals.
- Coffee drinks at Mademoiselle Collette, along with a tasty viennoiserie.
- Cook’s Seafood’s fried shrimp and clam chowder bread bowls.
- Menlo Cafe’s wild nutty turkey salad and apple chicken salad.
- Opinions on Selby’s? We’ve heard from friends that it’s rather uneven.
- Do people still enjoy Carpaccio’s food?

Comments (19)

5 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 23, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Great idea to re-start this thread! Thank you.

I was at Carpaccio on Saturday and had the Petrale Sole Picatta. Just amazing! Love Carpaccio!

More to follow

5 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 24, 2019 at 7:32 am

Evvia is still our all time favorite restaurant in the area. The relatively new Taverna (across from Whole Foods in Palo Alto) is also excellent.

I recommend the Redwood Grill in Woodside Plaza for casual lunch or dinner.

My favorite sushi place is Fuki Sushi in Palo Alto. They use a white (not red) spicy sauce) and their spicy handrolls are simply out of this world.

Also like Los Altos Grill (formerly Bandera) and Town in San Carlos. Can't miss with either although Town usually wins for us because we can get a reservation.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 24, 2019 at 7:42 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

We were really liking the BBC, but they've changed chefs. We loved the lobster toast, but it is gone with the new chef. The Caesar salad was better before as well. They deleted the rib eye steak which I had multiple times and it was always perfect. They've kept the braised short ribs which are still amazing. We'll give it a couple more visits, but if it doesn't come back up to where it was......

The Creamery can't be beat for a good old fashioned breakfast.

Maybe it's because I married an Italian and was spoiled by my mother-in-law's cooking which was totally authentic, but we've never found Carpaccio to be very good. I don't think there's a really good Italian restaurant in Menlo Park.

Haven't tried Camper yet, but I've heard from some who have and it sounds spotty.

1 person likes this
Posted by Blatt
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 24, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Carp is GREAT--the food, the ambiance, the alcohol, the bartenders, the hostesses, reasonable pricing--all excellent! There might be some better individual dishes at various other restaurants, but when one considers the entire experience, Carp can't be beat!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2019 at 1:33 pm

I’m glad the editors approved my original post. Thanks for commenting! Pogo, your enthusiasm is really appreciated. MV, I understand, since we have Italian cooks in our family, too. One thing I haven’t been able to duplicate and miss, is the baked gnocchi at Amici. They took it off the menu, but it was very good, either in brown butter and Parmesan or with their tasty pesto. I’m sorry to hear the chef at BBC has been replaced - that lobster roast sounds very good.

Blatt, I’ve always appreciated Carp’s bartenders. Their walnut sauce pasta dish was always good. We probably need to visit again.

For neighborhoody warmth and decent cafe fare, Cafe Zoe is a favorite.

We are glad the bagel place moved from downtown PA a few years ago to Edgewood Shopping Center at Embarcadero and 101. The bakery at the market is quite good, also.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Some more -

Pogo, totally agree with you about Fuji Sushi. I also remember Bandera! We’ve never had a bad experience at Town. It always feels both friendly and sophisticated. We are not at Woodside Plaza often, but we like Yat Sing’s gingery, juicy potstickers. Speaking of Woodside Road, are you looking forward to the return of Woodside Deli?

Heading south on the Peninsula, the women in our family like Glossy Nails at Edgewood did mani/pedis. At the same shopping center, Chef Zhao Kitchen has some dishes we enjoy - both kinds of xiao long bao (xlb) - pan fried and steamed. Their scallion pancake is decent, and their sweet and sour pork spare ribs are tasty. They’re in bite-sized pieces, the sauce is more piquant than standard, so it makes for a filling, rich dish.

Down the street, at Town & Country, the take home chicken dinner from Mayfield Cafe is delicious and kind to the wallet. The bakery’s kouign amman are very good. The buche de Noel from Douce France is always a hit. La Belle Salon is still a favorite, and it’s comforting since it’s been around so long.

Has anyone been to Mami Cheli’s on El Camino in Menlo? They apparently have healthy Mexican food options, plus pupusas.

3 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 24, 2019 at 11:52 pm

Carpaccio still has the best Caesar salad around.

Thanks for the tips on Amici for its other dishes. Their pizza so disappointed me that I never went back.

For me, a great French bakery would have canneles. Sorry, Collette.

Chef Zhao's Chinese chicken salad is the best - glad they didn't change the Su Hong version.

Bistro Vida has amazing comfort food - roast pork filet with potatoes gratin? Divine.

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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 25, 2019 at 7:06 am

Thanks, Hmmm. I love these threads!

Yes, looking forward to return of Woodside Deli. And I miss Max's because their corned beef on rye was my "go to" sandwich.

I understand the complaints about Italian food. We love Amici's - consistent thin crust pizza but definitely overpriced. I guess rents and salaries are high!

For Italian, I would also recommend Stella Alpina Osteria in Burlingame and Vivace in Belmont. Both are excellent in my humble opinion!

1 person likes this
Posted by Uneven experiences
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Dec 25, 2019 at 9:49 am

None of the restaurants we’ve been to in MP have been very consistent. Amici’s service is hit and miss, the good isn’t great. Same for carpaccio. Instead of Menlo Park I would recommend going to the Village Pub in Woodside. It has always been a consistent dining experience with excellent food. In addition, Nobu in Palo Alto has been excellent as well—these two are both worth a visit.

7 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 26, 2019 at 7:32 am

Respectfully, knocking Amici's service and suggesting Nobu or Village Pub as alternatives? Seriously? I go all of these restaurants. When I'm with my grandkids and they want a pizza, I usually don't consider Nobu or Village Pub...

Caesar salad seems to be a recurring theme here. I used to love the caesar at Arrivaderci's in Redwood City's seaport. They made it table side from scratch like in "the olden days!" The only nearby place that still does the table side prep (I think) is Massimo's in Fremont. For me, Massimo's caesar is very good.

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 26, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Camper has one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten. Their pasta is great too. Give it a try.

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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 28, 2019 at 7:22 am

Speaking of salads...

While not a white-table-cloth-restaurant, the salads at The Habit (Sequoia Station in Redwood City) are quite good. Their California Cobb and Caesar salads are prepared fresh for each order, beautifully presented, large... and inexpensive. Worth checking out.

1 person likes this
Posted by Christina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 30, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Just ate at Carpaccio and ordered the eggplant. Oh my word, it was delicious!

For Italian, what about Osteria in Palo Alto, thoughts?

For a great burger try Alices up on Skyline. Actually everything I ever had has been delicious.

Taverna is a favorite for us. Village Pub. Evvia too.

We enjoyed brunch at Dinah’s in Palo Alto. It’s outdoors by the pool. It’s a nice place to have a meal.

Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay has great food, generous portions and a great wine by the glass menu. We love the lobster roll. Right on the water. I think they have live music on Thursdays.

Pescadero has two places I suggest you try.... Duarte’s for in season abalone, take out (or eat in ) pie, great soups. It’s all great. Also the gas station across the steer serves Mexican food. Reasonable and delicious. Funnily enough I found it reading a review in the NYT.

All for now, more later.

1 person likes this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Pogo thank you for all your great suggestions. I remember that marvelous Caesar at Arrivederci!! The salads you've suggested sound tasty.

Christina, your recommendations are wonderful!
Menlo Parent - good to know about their burger.
It’s nice knowing we don’t have to go to Jeffrey’s.
This is a long post because I’ve been jotting notes over several days. I’m reminded how much we miss the Oasis.

How about the new Zotts - has anybody gone?

In Redwood City we enjoy Lovejoy‘s tea room. (We still miss being able to go to Lisa‘s by the Menlo train station. It was convenient to be able to have friends come in from out of town by train and treat them to tea right there.) We’ve had good experiences with the live entertainment at Angelicas. Our favorites there have been jazz and flamenco. Our extended family has had many great meals at Donato Enoteca. We also like La Viga - both the seafood location and the original high end taqueria location.

Some of our other favorite dishes that can be found in Redwood are the clam chowder bread bowls, fried clams and lobster rolls at Old Port Lobster Shack. At Marsh Manor we love the carne asada torta from Los Gallos, the potstickers from Yat Sing and everything we’ve tried at Squeeze In.

We miss the lack of diners in the area but we do like Bill’s Café’ on Middlefield in Palo Alto. They have a huge menu and we’ve stayed away from the overly rich breakfast choices but their biscuits and gravy are surprisingly good and another favorite are the Hawaiian pancakes. Our current favorite breakfast dish is the French toast from Nola, which comes with this creamy sauce. We don’t even use syrup on it, and the fresh fruit that comes with it is the perfect complement to the sweetness of the French toast. It’s surprisingly inexpensive. Shout out also to the crepes and omelettes from Bistro Maxine in Palo Alto.

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Posted by Blatt
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 31, 2019 at 1:39 pm

I'm a Selby's fan but likely not for what it's supposed to be known for. The bar is THE place to dine--not at one of the small tables but at the bar. Service is attentive because they're not busy with diners. I don't drink martinis so the cart is irrelevant but the food is excellent but certainly pricey. The porterhouse steak for two (for one) is really all you need for a great meal. Maybe some spinach on the side, but that's it. If you're really hungry, have a small app. And, the bartenders are good at finding wines-by-the-glass to match the meal.

As for the best burger, it's Kirk's at Town & Country in Palo Alto. Always been the best and still is. Nothing fancy--just a great (steak)burger that you can customize with all the fresh veggies and toppings. And, it's "bargain" priced!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2020 at 10:30 am

Happy New Year!

Blatt, thank you for your recommendation of Selby’s and reminding us of Kirk’s. Good to know the bar at Selby’s for dining is an option. Kirk’s has something for almost everyone, and you’re reminding me of their shakes and tri tip sandwich with onion strings. Plus Peet’s is close by, and so is Mayfield Bakery, which has lovely kouign-amman pastries.

In Palo Alto my family has developed a taste for Wahlburger’s The Melt burger, (which shouldn’t be confused with the restaurant The Melt), which is a burger sandwich, so it’s not on a bun, but in thick cut bread. It sounds boring, but it’s not, because it also has bacon, cheese, onions and mustard sauce, whatever that is.

In Menlo these past few months, we’ve had tasty items from Mama Coco, SusieCakes, Draeger’s, and Bistro Vida:

Mama Coco - Seafood enchiladas - the shrimp are notably large and delish, in a velvety sauce; steak with mole’ enchiladas and cochinita pibil, which includes the sublime coconut banana rice.

SusieCakes - The chocolate candy cane cake was wonderful - rich chocolate cake layered with peppermint chocolate buttercream, and a mint buttercream frosting, covered in sanding sugar. The chocolate cream pie - a favorite with the teenagers in my life. The mini feeds two if you don’t want to splurge on a standard sized pie. Deep, rich, dark chocolate pudding mousse nestled in a crumbly pie shell and topped with thick, decadent, sweetened whipped cream.

Draeger’s - French-style king’s cake for Epiphany. Frangipani and puff pastry freshly baked - perfect winter dessert, enjoyed with a cup of your favorite warm beverage.

Bistro Vida - they can be hit or miss but in recent memory they’ve been all hits. Their salmon, clams frites (enough frites to share, always crispy), signature French onion soup, buttery bibb lettuce salad, sautéed wild mushrooms, citrus tart and chocolate cake have been memorable.

14 people like this
Posted by old school
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:04 am

Flea St.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:38 am

Discovered La Biscotteria in Redwood City last year. Amazing! They have cannoli that are amazing! They also do a pumpkin cannoli for thanksgiving. Fantastic. They also make a puff pastry stuffed with ricotta that is out of this world. Can't remember the name. A real, old school Italian bakery. My wife grew up in North Beach and this place gets her stamp of approval.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2020 at 12:35 pm

MV, we are also fans of La Biscotteria. They’re one of the few places with cannoli. Have you had any of their focaccia varieties? Offered on Saturday’s only. Very good stuff. So easy to drive past that place and not notice it, but worth the parking hassle, IMO.

Other quick recs: The falafel wrap at Mardini’s as well as their kebab plates, the burnt almond cake from the Market at Edgewood bakery, the sandwiches from The Willows Market seem to have improved lately, the customer service at both Menlo’s Trader Joe’s and Redwood’s El Camino Whole Foods, and both the wild nutty turkey salad and apple chicken salad at Menlo Cafe.

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