There's a lot of really good restaurants and really good food around, and every now and then I end up in places that I think I should keep track of. So here's a shortlist of some of the discoveries of last month:
- Pranged between the financial district and Chinatown, Louie's has good Chinese. Aimed at the finance people but not overpriced. They encourage to order a couple of plates and then share the food, which is really nice if you want a little bit of everything or if you order dim sum.
- And if you end up there, you're a few blocks from Columbus av. That's where the nightlife is and there is a really nice bar just across Vesuvio's (where I ended up on Thanksgiving). Well-hidden in the alley between Tosca's and Pearl's Jazz near 250 Columbus, the door on the left is the entrance to the tiny Specs Twelve Adler Museum Cafe. It has all kinds of maritime stuff hanging on the walls and from the ceilings, an authentic atmosphere, and (miracle!) a friendly bartender.
- Should you ever end up in Haight-Ashbury and want to get a quick lunch in a place with good beers, there's Magnolia's on the intersection of Haight and Masonic street. There's often a waiting list to get in, the food is pretty pricey unfortunately, but it's good and the time I went there the service was excellent.
- Back to Palo Alto! Just one block from the main street in Lytton avenue is a great Indian restaurant, Darbar. I absolutely love Indian food as long as there's not too much peppers in it, and here they have a sampler menu for about $25 where they give you a little bit of everything. It's most likely more than you can finish, and it's great food. Certainly a good deal for the center of an expensive town.
- For really good food, we sometimes just take the car and go out of town. One really good Japanese restaurant is in Menlo Park. Gombei is not in the most desirable location, next to a major road, but the inside makes you forget about that. The food is delicious.
- By far the nicest town centre is that of Mountain View, not far from the Google headquarters. The main street, Castro, has a mediterranean feel to it, and houses several restaurants that are known all over the Bay area for their excellent quality. At lunchtime, they're all packed, so there might be waiting lists. For an original experience, Shabu-way certainly offers good price-for-value. Cook your own meat in a miso soup dish, it's delicious and dangerous to burn your tongue, but something you need to have done once.
- Slightly closer to home in the San Antonio Shopping center in Los Altos, is a nice Vietnamese, Pho Vi Hoa. Though generally I like Indian, Chinese or Japanese more, it's certainly good for a change, and pho dishes are usually also cheaper: you can have a full meal here for less than $10. When I went here, the meat in my pho was unfortunately all fat, but I take it their fish and vegetable phos are better.
- I'd almost forget the campus itself. There's a variety of places to get good food on campus, and the Treehouse sees me 2 or 3 times a week. This Mexican place in the center of campus is actually best known for its excellent pizza.
So, you see, I won't starve here!
(picture below: some houses near Masonic street in Haight-Ashbury)