San Mateo County's restaurant scene offers everything from authentic Italian cuisine to fresh California seafood, romantic seaside dinner locales to venues perfect for a birthday blowout. With so many small Peninsula towns geared toward weekend tourism, it is easy to find restaurants with ocean views, like Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. San Mateo County is home to some of the largest businesses in Northern California, so many area restaurants are ideal for power lunches and hosting large corporate events. Well known San Mateo County restaurants include Kuleto's in Burlingame, the Moss Beach Distilery, Izzy's Steaks and Chops in San Carlos and Quattro at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto. To help with a stress-free dining experience, many San Mateo County restaurants offer online reservations, just click the link and book your reservation online.
231 Ellsworth restaurant, located in San Mateo, serves some of the best contemporary fusion cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chefs at 231 Ellsworth draw their flavors from Mediterranean, French and American traditions. The delicious menu is accompanied by a world-class wine list and full bar.
50 East 3rd Ave., San Mateo, CA 94402
San Mateo's Astaria is a casual, yet elegant restaurant in the heart of San Mateo offering guests the wonderful tastes of the Mediterranean. The atmosphere at Astaria is relaxed, perfect for an evening with a date or large groups of over 130 in the banquet facility. Jazz, flamenco and R&B musicians provide entertainment.
648 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070
Mixing the popular flavors of modern California dining with French influences, Azure Restaurant in San Carlos delights guests with a fresh, innovative menu. The wine list has an impressive selection of chardonnays, cabernet sauvignons and other fine bottles. Steaks, seafood entrees, fresh salads and expertly prepared started round out the menu.
223 Twin Dolphin Dr., Redwood City, CA 94065
Bay223 is an elegant Redwood City restaurant featuring cuisine with French and California influences. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it a favorite local date spot. Its location in the Hotel Sofitel San Francisco Bay has made it appealing to visitors to Northern California.
1400 Broadway Ave., Burlingame, CA 94010
Burlingame's Broadway Grill is a neighborhood favorite that serves delicious steaks and contemporary American cuisine. Fresh seafood, homemade pasta and tasty sandwiches are also available on the menu. This casual dining restaurant lets patrons enjoy a great meal without having to pay top dollar.
Central Park Bistro
181 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
Central Park Bistro, located in San Mateo, provides a relaxed atmosphere, fresh seasonal American cuisine and an award-winning wine list. Guests celebrate the affordable menu that includes pizza, ribs, burgers and pasta. Martini lovers frequent Central Park Bistro for its vast menu of expertly mixed martinis and cocktails.
Cetrella Bistro and Café
845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Cetrella Bistro & Café is a fine dining establishment in Half Moon Bay reminiscent of a Tuscan villa. This Mediterranean restaurant has been celebrated in the San Francisco Chronicle as "one of the best in the Bay Area." Live jazz provides entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.
Clay Oven Cuisine of India
78 E. 3rd Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401; Tel. 650.342.9194
Clay Oven Cuisine of India serves some of the most delicious Indian food in the Bay Area. Located in San Mateo, this popular restaurant specializes in lamb and chicken dishes, clay oven specialties, biryanis, seafood entrees and vegetarian dishes. Delivery is available for those who don't want to leave home to enjoy a tasty Indian meal.
344 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070
Though Creola is located in San Carlos, it feels more like being in the heart of New Orleans. The Cajun and Creole inspired menu features the finest fresh seafood flown in directly from the Gulf Coast. On special occasions, live jazz and zydeyco are played throughout the night.
968 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA 94002
Located in Belmont, just one block off of El Camino, Ristorante Divino serves both traditional and innovative Italian cuisine. Executive Chef Vicenzo Cucco is dedicated to serve only the freshest pasta, salads, seafood, veal, chicken and lamb. Expert serves are happy to assist with wine pairings from the extensive list.
Duck Club at Stanford Park Hotel
100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
The Duck Club at Stanford Park Hotel is a destination restaurant for duck lovers, but has much more to offer. This upscale restaurant features an incredible Sunday brunch, posh seating and a massive fireplace that adds to the ambiance of The Duck Club. Several private rooms are available for special occasions.
Flea Street Café
3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Open for over 30 years, the Flea Street Café in Menlo Park is a Bay Area favorite for its delicious contemporary American cuisine, hand-selected wines and specialty martinis. For entertainment besides the cuisine, the Judicious Jazz Quartet is featured every Sunday night from 7pm-9pm. Flea Street Café has won several awards for its commitment to local, organic produce and sustainable farming practices.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
390 Capistrano Rd., Princeton by the Sea, CA 94019
Beer lovers rejoice—Half Moon Bay Brewing Company offers a full bar complete with six to eight craft brewed beers, created onsite. In addition to all the great drinks, the restaurant features an eclectic California menu with seafood and traditional pub favorites. The dining room overlooks the beautiful Pillar Point Harbor.
275 S. Airport Blvd., South San Francisco, CA 94080
Located in the luxurious South San Francisco Holiday Inn just minutes from the San Francisco Airport, Houlihan's uses only the finest ingredients to create contemporary American favorites. The fully stocked bar is perfect for pre- or post-flight cocktails and is always the place to be. Banquet facilities and private rooms are available for special occasions.
327 Lorton Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94010
Il Fornaio has long been celebrated for being the best place in Burlingame for authentic Italian cuisine and the finest Italian and California wines. The menu includes wood-fired pizza, rotisserie and grilled meats, house-made pastas and fresh salads. Executive Chef Mauro Mazzon always urges patrons to save room for the specialty desserts that perfectly end any meal.
1360 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002
Iron Gate's Executive Chef, Salvador Conchas, strives to serve only the finest French and continental cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located in Belmont, this fine dining establishment features an eclectic menu of hors d' oeuvres, fresh salads, steaks, seafood and vegetarian options. A large selection of fine spirits is available from the full bar.
Izzy's Steaks and Chops
525 Skyway, San Carlos, CA 94070
Good times are sure to be had at Izzy's Steaks and Chops in San Carlos. Izzy's serves only the best steaks and freshest seafood, which go perfectly with a cocktail or glass of wine from the fully stocked 50-foot bar. Happy hour offers half-priced appetizers and discounted drinks.
John Bentley's Redwood City
2915 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94061
John Bentley's in Redwood City is the second installment from Executive Chef John Bentley. The menu offers new American cuisine and includes seafood, short ribs, rack of lamb, steaks and fresh salads. The wine list is as impressive as the menu and features twelve pages of fine selections.
John Bentley's Woodside
2991 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062
John Bentley's original location in Woodside features fine American cuisine, a full bar and extensive wine list. Patio dining is available when the weather is nice, making for a relaxing evening out. When the weather is bad, patrons cozy up by the fireplace to enjoy a fine meal and cocktails.
325 Sharon Park Dr # A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Kaygetsu is a Kaiseki-style Japanese restaurant in Menlo Park. This style of dining features multiple courses of seasonal ingredients, but be sure to give 24-hours notice for this type of dining. Traditional Japanese dinners, fresh sushi and an extensive sake list are also staples of Kaygetsu.
201 S. B St., San Mateo, CA 94401
Live entertainment, three full bars and incredible American cuisine have made Kingfish a San Mateo since its opening. Though the restaurant is best known for steak and seafood, the menu also includes sushi rolls, filet mignon potstickers and various pastas, burgers and salads. Specialty cocktails compliment the extensive menu.
Kincaid's Bayhouse Restaurant
60 Bayview Place, Burlingame, CA 94010
Located in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, Kincaid's Bayhouse Restaurant draws crowds from all over the Bay Area for its unique take on the traditional steakhouse. Fresh seafood, juicy steaks and delicious chops fill out the menu, but the atmosphere is much more vibrant and lively than most steakhouses. Specialty cocktails, cosmsos and martinis compliment the huge wine list.
1095 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA 94010
Kuleto's Trattoria, just minutes south of San Francisco in Burligame, serves contemporary Italian cuisine using only the finest ingredients available. The kitchen and wood-fired oven are open and can be seen from nearly every seat in the restaurant, which adds to the exciting atmosphere. The full bar sees a regular crowd of young Burlingame professionals and couples on dates.
180 W. 25th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94403
La Lanterna, on San Mateo's lively 25th Avenue, has quickly become a Bay Area favorite among those who enjoy a delicious Italian meal. The menu includes traditional favorites, such as vitello picatta, calamari dorati and gnocchi di formaggio. No Italian restaurant would be complete without a large selection of wines, and La Lanterna is no exception—many are offered by the glass, bottle and half-bottle.
Left Bank Bistro
1100 Park Pl., San Mateo, CA 94403
San Mateo's Left Bank Bistro couples traditional French cuisine with an elegant Parisian setting, featuring a marble mosaic tiled floor and distinctly European furniture. Serving French favorites with local flair, customers appreciate the affordable yet delicious menu. Live music on Saturday nights adds an elegant dimension to the dining experience that aims to transport customers to Paris and back without breaking the bank.
Left Bank Menlo Park
635 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
When looking for fine French dining in the Bay Area, the Left Bank is sure to impress. The menu is extensive and features the best that French cuisine has to offer. A large selection of fine wines and hor d' oeuvres compliment the entrees. Though elegant, the menu remains affordable, making this an excellent restaurant for large groups and intimate dates.
204 - A Second Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
San Mateo's Lure restaurant offers a menu of seafood dishes and world wines served in a sci-fi, urban setting. With chic wood floors and romantic red lighting, Lure has the look and feel of a cozy bistro. The menu offers seafood dishes served from raw and steamed to pan-seared, with something for every taste.
2021 Broadway St., Redwood City, CA 94063
Redwood City's Mandaloun combines meticulously prepared Mediterranean dishes with a cozy, casual environment that allows patrons to enjoy delicious meals in a warm setting. Offering a full bar and fireplace, Mandaloun also boasts a menu of dishes prepared and served with care in inventive displays. Small plates and entrees are made with local ingredients with Chef David Mann's goal of sustainability in mind.
459 Prospect Way, Princeton, CA 94038; Tel. 650.728.8108
Princeton-by-the-Sea's Mezzaluna boasts a unique menu of Southern Italian dishes and California wines served overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Maverick's surfing hot spot. Homemade pasta dishes and meat dishes feature heavily in the menu, which includes favorites like gnocchi and spaghetti bolognese. Mezzaluna's tasty, authentic cuisine and attentive service make it a consistent favorite as voted by visitors and coastal residents.
Miramar Beach Restaurant
131 Mirada Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019; Tel. 650.726.9053
The historic Miramar Beach Restaurant, located in Half Moon Bay, offers a fare of steaks and seafood served with a beautiful ocean view. Originally built as a speakeasy during Prohibition, the restaurant now has expanded to include a full bar and a menu with dinner specials highlighting fresh, local seafood. The Sunday Champagne Brunch remains a local tradition, boasting salmon benedict and sourdough French toast.
370 Bridge Pkwy., Redwood City, CA 94065
Combining New American cuisine and an impressive wine list, Redwood City's Mistral is an ideal Peninsula location for diners looking for a waterfront setting and delectable menu. Lunch and dinner are served, as well as a mid-day menu for the unnamed time between meals. A blend of French, Mediterranean and seafood gives the seasonal, environmentally conscious menu added flair.
Moss Beach Distillery
140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, CA 94038
A favorite oceanfront restaurant since the 1920s, the Moss Beach Distillery features juicy steaks and local seafood favorites. The outdoor patio is a favorite seating area for beach visitors and at night, the venue is ideal for a romantic dinner overlooking the ocean. A rumored "Blue Lady Ghost," featured on Unsolved Mysteries, adds an element of mystery to any dining experience.
Mullins Bar and Grill
2 Miramontes Point Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019; Tel. 650.726.1818
Overlooking the 18th hole of Half Moon Bay's Ocean Golf Course, Mullins Bar and Grill is an ideal spot to catch drinks and dinner after a day of golfing. Offering casual American dining with traditional fare, the restaurant has a beautiful ocean view and serves three meals daily. Sample meals include gourmet sandwiches served on organic bread and barbecue favorites.
Navio at the Ritz-Carlton
1 Miramontes Point Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Navio, located in Half Moon Bay's posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel, offers a menu of California seafood dishes and an ideal location on an oceanfront bluff. Regional organic produce accents the inventive dishes, which are served alongside wines from around the world. Renowned chefs also teach cooking classes throughout the year, so patrons can recreat the restaurant's elegant dining experience.
Nectar Wine Lounge and Restaurant
270 Lorton Ave., Burlingame, CA 94010
Located in downtown Burlingame, Nectar Wine Lounge and Restaurant boasts a menu of Californian fusion cuisine, accented with a wine list offering over 600 selections. Honeycomb-shaped chandeliers and cozy lounge-style seating accent the restaurant's sensual atmosphere, created by artist Michael Brennan. Seasonal organic produce is featured in the menu, which includes a range of both small and large plate dishes.
Oak City Bar and Grill
1029 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
A Contemporary American bistro with the feel of a neighborhood bar and grill, Menlo Park's Oak City Bar and Grill offers favorite dishes served in delectable new ways. Dishes like the Macaroni and Cheese, made with three cheeses and garlic herb croutons are reinventions of traditional American meals, while the Crispy Duck Leg Confit is served with pistachios and figs fit for an elegant dinner. Mouth-watering desserts and accompanying wines complete the experience at this "grown-up" bar and grill.
315 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Half Moon Bay's Pasta Moon offers an authentic Italian menu in a cozy, intimate setting. Ornate, hand-carved windows give light to the restaurant, which boasts local produce and seafood from around the world. Over 100 wines are available by the bottle and the restaurant's menu and staff support the neighborhood's community of local organic farmers and fishermen.
727 Laurel St., San Carlos, CA 94070
Piacere, located in downtown San Carlos, incorporates local, farm-fresh produce into its extensive menu of Italian favorites such as pizza and pasta, creating a fresh, traditional Italian dining experience. A modern interior and heated outdoor patio create an intimate feel and the wine list offers an impressive selection of over 2200 Cal-Italian specialties. With wine tasting available nightly and live jazz music on Friday and Saturday nights, Piacere is an ideal location for after-work cocktails or a romantic dinner.
Quattro Restaurant and Bar
2050 University Ave @ University Circle, East Palo Alto, CA 94303
East Palo Alto's Quattro Restaurant and Bar, located in the Four Seasons Hotel, boasts a menu of Cal-Italian cuisine. The restaurant is enclosed by glass on three sides, creating an airy feel for daytime meals and a dinner environment that is illuminated by dramatic lighting. California wines and local produce accent the menu, which changes seasonally.
808 Winslow St., Redwood City, CA 94063; Tel. 650.369.5483
Redwood City's Red Lantern boasts a menu of homestyle Southeast Asian cuisine with influences from the traditional dishes of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Entrees are made from scratch, utilizing ingredients from the restaurant's rooftop herb garden with fresh lemongrass and basil. The restaurant's chic interior, with signature red lanterns and bamboo accents, coupled with an inventive menu, makes the Red Lantern a top choice for elegant Peninsula dining.
310 Baldwin Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
San Mateo's Ristorante Capellini boasts a full menu of seafood and traditional Italian dishes served in an elegant atmosphere. The Spanish-style building, a California landmark, was built in the 1920s and offers a stylish atmosphere of golden lighting and dark wood furniture, with seating available in the wine cellar and mezzanine level, which allows customers to overlook the kitchen. The restaurant's full bar is also a hot spot for the after-work crowd, offering an impressive selection of wines and specialty cocktails.
105 Rockaway Beach Ave., Pacifica, CA 94044
Voted Most Romantic Restaurant by the San Mateo County Times, Pacifica's Ristorante Portofino offers traditional Italian cuisine prepared in inventive, contemporary methods. Chef Giovanni Galati's famous cioppino combines crab legs, mussels, clams, and shrimp a unique "Red Bone Sauce," when coupled with over 45 types of homemade pasta, creates a well-rounded menu to satisfy any craving. An oceanfront location and delightful Italian menu make Ristorante Portofino an elegant choice for any intimate dinner.
1205 Broadway, Burlingame, CA 94010; Tel. 650.344.3900
Downtown Burlingame's Rocca Ristorante combines traditional Northern Italian dishes with Carlifornia cuisine, creating an elegant dining experience that is a favorite of Bay Area residents. The menus, updated seasonally, feature daily specials in addition to favorites like ravioli and veal scaloppini. An extensive wine list and specialty cocktails like the raspberry mojito and blood orange drop martini also add flavorful elements to complement any meal.
Roti Indian Bistro
209 Park Rd., Burlingame, CA 94010
A fusion of traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine, Burlingame's Roti Indian Bistro offers an extensive menu prepared with local and organic ingredients. Awarded the "As Fresh As It Gets" award from the State of California, Roti's cuisine is fresh and elegant. Vegetarian selections are also available and a menu of unique Indian cocktails create a truly authentic experience.
Sam's Chowder House
4210 Cabrillo Hwy., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Located near Highway 1, Half Moon Bay's Sam's Chowder House boasts fresh seafood dining with an oceanfront view. A casual, beach environment with New England seafood menu makes the restaurant a great place for weekend brunch, while a full oyster bar and fresh specialties accent the lunch and dinner menu. Sam's also offers private dining options and clambakes for large groups with ocean views for up to 60 diners.
1447 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, CA 94010; Tel. 650.348.3277
Burlingame's Sapore Italiano offers traditional dishes served by native Italian chefs. Fresh baked bread and homemade pasta and soups feature strongly in the menu and Monday nights are famous at 'Sapore' - as it is known by regulars - for lobster spaghetti. A strong Cal-Italian wine list and menu of cocktails add complementary notes to any meal.
1333 Bayshore Hwy., Burlingame, CA 94010
Scalini, located in Burlingame's Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco Airport, celebrates the traditional cuisine of Northern Italy. Towering columns and ornate wooden benches create an elegant atmosphere and a menu of mouth-watering meat dishes and homemade pasta dishes will please every palate. A large wine selection is also available to complete a fully Italian dining experience.
421 Cypress Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080; Tel. 650.588.1625
A South San Francisco staple for Italian cuisine, Bertolucci's has been serving South City since 1928. A family-owned business, Bertolucci's has stayed true to its Tuscan roots despite changing ownership and offers an array of favorite homemade pasta dishes. Desserts like tiramisu and chocolate torte add a delicious finish to any meal and a full wine list complements any choice of entree.
223 Fourth Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
San Mateo's Spiedo restaurant celebrates traditional Venetian cuisine, including homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Known for an extensive wine list and a delicious, fresh menu, Spiedo is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. An elegant environment makes this restaurant an ideal location for a business dinner or romantic evening.
1100 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, CA 94010
Burlingame's Straits restaurant showcases a fusion of Southeast Asian cuisine, including many dishes blending Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian favorites. Chef Chris Yeo highlights the diverse culinary of Singapore in the menu and the restaurant has a Zen-like feel. A full bar, live DJs and late-night dining transform the restaurant into an upscale nightclub.
Swift Water Café
1333 Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA 94010
Located inside Burlingame's Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco Airport, Swift Water Café boasts a menu of American favorites infused with local California produce. Classic breakfast dishes such as sticky bun French toast and fresh gourmet lunch sandwiches are the restaurant's forte. A Sunday champagne Jazz brunch is also a favorite of hotel guests and locals, boasting over 75 menu items and live music.
Trapeze European Cuisine
266 Lorton Ave., Burlingame, CA 94010; Tel. 650.344.4242
Burlingame's Trapeze restaurant showcases a range of European-inspired dishes, homemade pasta and chemical-free produce. The Cal-Italian menu is coupled with a full bar and extensive wine list; dessert standouts include a Merlot-infused pear and coconut crème brulee. The cozy yet sophisticated environment and wide range of tasty dishes make Trapeze a favorite of Peninsula diners.
The Van's on the Hill
815 Belmont Ave., Belmont, CA 94002
A Belmont restaurant staple, The Van's "On the Hill" has remained popular over the years for its warm atmosphere that allows customers to feel at home while dining out. Frequented by local sports stars and celebrities, The Van's continental steakhouse menu and free Monday hors d'oeuvre buffet have created a base of loyal customers who enjoy the inventive cuisine and friendly service. This Peninsula restaurant also offers a panoramic view of the entire Bay Area.
716 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070
One of downtown San Carlos' most recent additions to the elegant restaurant scene, Town pairs organic produce, local seafood and hand-cut steaks with West Coast wines. Wooden booths and deep red walls create a rich, romantic atmosphere, though the restaurant's dress code remains casual. An array of unique house cocktails also complement the diverse menu.
222 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401
San Mateo's Viognier is a Contemporary American bistro, pairing a distinctly Californian menu with French viognier white grapes. The viognier grape, celebrated since the Roman Empire, has a rich, sweet fragrance with notes of apricots and peaches. Dishes like foie gras and Kobe tri-tip pair elegantly with the wine, creating an exotic dining experience.
1910 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA 94002
Italian for "lively," Belmont's Vivace celebrates the cuisine of Northern Italy's Piemonte and Toscana regions. The restaurant offers a warm dining environment and an open kitchen that allows patrons to see the chefs in action along with an impressive array of dishes coupled with an award-winning wine selection. One of the most celebrated Italian restaurants on the peninsula, Vivace boasts excellent service and a delightful menu.