Stella Alpina Osteria
Tucked away in the suburbs of Burlingame, an off-shoot from the main drag, Stella Alpina Osteria modestly presents an authentic Italian menu. With fresh ingredients, chic cocktails, and a welcoming ambience, SAO represents the best of the many Italian restaurants found in North Beach with the convenience of Peninsula parking. Try the white truffle gnocchi, these pillowy bites of potato heaven are not featured on the menu, but the chef is delighted to serve them to all who know about them.
Located in downtown San Mateo, this up-and-coming raw bar offers the most unique in infusion cocktails, late night happy hour, and some of the freshest oysters east of the coast and south of SF – chef’s choice for 99 cents from open to close. Using seasonal ingredients from local purveyors, the dishes at Block 34 range from pork chops to octopus salad. Named after the last ‘block’ in culinary school, the detail, flavor, and execution of each dish represents this expertise to a tee. In fact, including the address, Block 34 tries to incorporate this influential number in its dishes and even the architecture in which they reside. Chef and owner, Alex Anderman, is frequently on site and will gladly educate guests on his philosophy and the foods that are inspired by it.
The Palo Alto Sushiritto delivers sushi burritos that satisfy. Combining the ingredients of two favorite dishes, burritos and sushi, this restaurant lives up to its hybrid name. Ditching the chopsticks, Sushiritto offers on-the-go rolls with the freshest sashimi grade fish accented with eclectic flavors such as kimichurri sauce and teri-mayonesa. With SF locations difficult to access, this Stanford location offers slightly shorter lines and parking.
Cha Cha Cha Cuba
Offering cajun shrimp, chicken wings in guava-chipotle sauce and refreshingly tangy ceviche, this chilled out Cha Cha Cha restaurant delivers the same Cuban flare as its sisters to the north. Colorfully decorated with photos and murals of Cuba, ceiling adornments, and lively Cuban music, there’s no reason to battle that 5 o’clock city traffic when this neighborhood treat sits just 20 minutes south.
B Street & Vine
Small plates, paninis, and wine; B Street & Vine is the perfect place for the after-work glass of pinot or the always-needed girls night out. With bottles of reds, whites, and bubbles, and a selection of bruschetta varying from mascarpone, prosciutto and fig to mango-avocado salsa, this wine bar holds its own in the face of bourgeois SoMa restaurants. Larger parties can enjoy the twinkle-lit covered back patio, while smaller groups enjoy the more intimate seating inside.