Yes, this is a chain, but it’s a good chain. There’s a reason The Habit has grown from one humble burger joint in Santa Barbara into a hundred upscale, casual restaurants – they’re really good at making hamburgers. Combine a solid main product with a surprisingly variable menu (if you can find any other burger place that has both teriyaki sandwiches and thick chocolate malts, go ahead and eat there instead), fast wait times, and very reasonable prices, and The Habit more than earns its place on this list.
1111 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 568 1625
A family-owned sushi grill, Sakura has two Redwood City locations; the original is on the city’s restaurant-packed Broadway Street. Cooked meals and Beni Hana-style showmanship aside, Sakura boasts an open, inviting atmosphere, with some affordable, inventive spins on old favorites. The Redwood City Rolls — California rolls with delicious slices of raw tuna artfully arranged on top — are to die for, even if the connection to Redwood City is tenuous.
2198 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 368 0800
Café la Tartine
While Café la Tartine does offer full meals, this warm, European-inspired venue’s real strengths are its hot drinks and baked goods. A wide variety of coffees, teas, cookies, cakes, and other snacks is already great, but a prime location — just across the street from Century 20 theaters — is the icing on the cake. No pun intended; you’ll want to try the chocolate chip cookies first anyway — preferably immediately before or after a convenient trip to the movies.
830 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 474 2233
Green Leaf Asian Bistro & Café
A decidedly modern Asian fusion restaurant, Green Leaf combines the delicious flavors of pork belly and peanut sauce with both classic rice or noodle bowls and spring roll bases and western style salads and sandwiches. It’s unique, fast, and (as expected of any establishment with ‘leaf’ in the name) rife with vegetarian options. Like Café la Tartine, Green Leaf is right next door to Century 20 Theaters; there’s no better way to enjoy Asian style-cuisine before a movie.
865 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 369 5323
Russian Family Restaurant
In a city dominated by chic, modern restaurants serving Asian and Latino fusion cuisine, Tatiana and Vladimir Sommer’s restaurant boasts two unique traits; an unapologetic simplicity symbolized by the name and hearty Russian and Georgian dishes. With walls covered in Russian decor ranging from dolls to dishes and a large variety of European spirits to accompany the dishes, Russian Family Restaurant is not to be ignored, especially in the cold weather that goes best with Stroganoff and dumplings.
2086 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 369 2950
Talk of Broadway
The diner is a dying breed of restaurant; this is a profound disservice to restaurants like the Talk of Broadway, a humble, down-to-earth grill that’s a refreshing, classic style of restaurant. Restaurants with unique, experimental menus and novel aesthetics are excellent, but sometimes simple, comfortable meals are the order of the day. Nobody boasts a better milkshake or cozier bar stool than the Talk of Broadway.
2096 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 368 3295
‘Fancy pizza’ seems like an oxymoron, but Vesta heartily disagrees. The simple black exterior — identifiable as Vesta’s only by an elegant metal ‘V’ — and a modern, sleek interior make this restaurant the rival of any five-star French place in terms of atmosphere – except instead of French food, it serves thin, artisan pizza. Fortunately, the wood-oven baked pies are excellent, both delicious and fancy. Other pizza places give larger portions of pizza for your money, but none can match Vesta’s quality.
2022 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 362 5052
Tacos El Grullense
Grullense, located on the outskirts of Redwood City’s downtown, boasts a vibrant atmosphere. Everything from the bright colors to the fast service to the crowd suggests activity. ‘We’re all busy,’ Grullense seems to say. ‘Here’s your delicious Mexican food. Get out of here.’ If the food wasn’t good, this would be arrogant, but Grullense offers three kinds of dip with an order of chips and makes enchiladas with cheese that literally sticks to the plate, so there’s no problem there.
3018 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 299 0600
Does a deli count as a restaurant? It does when it make the best sandwiches in Redwood City. Woodside Deli is absolutely worth the trip into the suburbs, both as a reminder that the arch, classic Italian delis in movies do exist in real life and because the sandwiches are sublime. Whether you stick with classics like the intimidating Godfather sandwich (four types of meat, artichoke hearts, provolone, and peperoncini are just a few of the toppings) or trust your own judgement, you’re not going to leave unhappy.
1453 Woodside Rd, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 369 4235
Martin’s West Pub
Run by a husband and wife team since 2009, Martin’s feels exactly like a pub should – weathered but warm and welcoming. The cracked brick walls and shelves of old knick-knacks lend some character to the gastro-pub, as does dim mood lighting. Martin’s menu, while making some concessions to modern clientele (like its vegetarian meat pie) is still decidedly a pub experience, with classics like burgers and fish and chips alongside English fare like meat pies and haggis on a stick.
831 Main St, Redwood City, CA, USA +1 650 366 4366