The Best of the Peninsula, from San Mateo to Los Altos

Eighteen years living in the San Francisco Bay Area meant a multitude of days and nights up in the city, an unknown number of blurry nights during my college years in the South Bay, and the majority of my years formative years in the Peninsula.

The Peninsula holds a special place in my heart, and I consider it my hometown. Because of that bond, I love venturing around the various cities revisiting old favorites and discovering new favorite restaurants. Here are my current Top 4 restaurants in the Peninsula:

#4: Pausa Bar & Cookery

Pausa Bar & Cookery in downtown San Mateo successfully brings the Italian lifestyle of leisurely eating and drinking to the faster-paced life of tech-centric California. This is the perfect restaurant to unwind with quality cocktails and wines while savoring on unpretentious Italian cuisine. Read more about Pausa here.

Pausa San Mateo Aperol Spritz
Il Doge Spritz. The restaurant’s signature drink, the Aperol Spritz. If you have been to Venice and tasted the city’s perfect spritzes under the Italian heat, this cocktail will immediately transport you back to Italy
Pausa San Mateo Burata
Burata. Pausa’s strength is in their appetizers and small plates to share with your table. The plates are gorgeously crafted and the flavors are distinct, complex, and showcase the seasonal ingredients


#3: Pizzeria Delfina

From its massive success in the Mission District of San Francisco (where you would wait at least one hour for a table), Pizzeria Delfina has expanded down to the Peninsula in Burlingame and Palo Alto. The wait is worthwhile for the quality of their pizzas and cocktails. Read more about Pizzeria Delfina here.

Pizzeria Delfina Meatballs
Neapolitan meatballs in sugo. Pork, beef, and veal meatballs with tomato sauce and crostini. The meatballs have a roasted flavor on top of the delicious blend of meats. Satisfying and flavor-full to make any meat lover happy
Pizzeria Delfina Margherita Pizza
Margherita pizza with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, and basil. Perfectly baked and charred in the oven with a beautiful chewy crust and the right amount of toppings that do not overwhelm the pizza


#2: Howie’s Artisan Pizza

Pizza is the ideal family meal. One or two pies can be shared with the whole table. At Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto, and now also in Redwood City, families are encouraged to dine together. The large appetizers are perfect supplements to the pizzas and the soft serve dessert with homemade sauces will make everyone go home happy. Read more about Howie’s Artisan Pizza here.

Howies Artisan Pizza Margherita
Pizza margherita with fior di latte mozzarella, tomato sauce, fresh basil, and parmesan. Chef Howard Bulka studied the variations of pizzas in order to create his own artisan-style pizza. While Howie’s is a relaxed pizza joint, you will be treated to creations from this five-star chef
Howies Artisan Pizza Vanilla Soft Serve Caramel Sauce
Vanilla soft serve with homemade caramel sauce and slivered almonds. If you love caramel, you must get this dessert. Intense caramel poured over this milky, vanilla soft serve will make you scrap the bowl until it’s clean


#1: Sumika Grill

Consistency is key, and Sumika Grill in downtown Los Altos consistency offers the best Japanese yakitori experience in the Bay Area. This cuisine and atmosphere transport guests to Japan with its authenticity. Read more about Sumika Grill here.

Sumika Grill Los Altos Karaage
Karaage. Hands down, the best chicken karaage in the Bay Area, and even one of the best fried chickens in general. The succulence of the meat, the crispy well-seasoned batter – this has it all. The karaage is served during both lunch and dinner
Sumika Grill Los Altos Oyako donburi
Oyako-don. One of the most popular lunch items served with miso soup, salad, and pickles. The eggs are prepared runny to moisten the rice bowl. This oyako-don is also the perfect way to end a yakitori dinner, just like in Japan


Addresses & Hours

Pausa Bar & Cookery
223 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, California
Monday to Wednesday, 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 10pm
Thursday and Friday, 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 11pm
Saturday, 5pm to 11pm
Sunday, 5pm to 10pm
Reservations recommended

Pizzeria Delfina
1444 Burlingame Avenue
Sunday and Monday, 11:30am to 9pm
Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am to 10pm
Palo Alto
651 Emeron St
Sunday and Monday, 11:30am to 9pm
Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am to 10pm
Reservations recommended

Howie’s Artisan Pizza
Palo Alto
Town & Country Village
855 El Camino Real #60
Sunday to Saturday, 11:30am to 9pm
Redwood City
837 Jefferson Avenue
Wednesday to Friday, 11:30am to 2pm, 5pm to 9:30pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 2pm, 5pm to 9:30pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday

Sumika Grill
236 Central Plaza, Los Altos, California
Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm
Friday and Saturday, 11:30am to 2pm and 5:30pm to 10pm
Sunday, 5pm to 8:15pm
Closed Mondays
Walk-in only at lunch
Reservations highly recommended at dinner


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