Any Must Visit Restaurants Near San Mateo?

Will respond in full later - on the go in New York now.

But you can probably skip Sushi Sam’s and Gintei is not bad but I haven’t been in a while. The best sushi in the Peninsula area is Sushi Yoshizumi, if you’re inclined for sushi omakase.

Ginji is right in downtown San Mateo and has some pretty good yakitori and is a casual izakaya. Rasa is in Burlingame and has dosas and a little bit upscale Indian, but we often take out from its sister restaurant for Punjabi style food (different than Rasa’s) - Rasoi. Both are in Burlingame, which is a quick drive from San Mateo maybe 10 minutes across El Camino Real.

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I just split this off into its own stand-alone thread, as it will probably garner more responses than hidden within a thread calling for recommendations near downtown SF.

@Chowseeker1999, let me know if you want it merged back.

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Thanks @ipsedixit.

Ive never been but have always wanted to go.

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Royal Feast in Millbrae. Just out side of Millbrae BART Station.

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Good call on wakuriya, solid kaiseki. Definitely worth it if you’re in the area.

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The most expensive food is certainly in SF. Where the best is depends on the cuisine. What do you want to eat? If you’re coming from LA, maybe you don’t care about Chinese or Japanese, which is where San Mateo might beat SF.

I suggested CalTrain only because it beats the rush hour crawl heading into / through SF. Other times Lyft would be more convenient. In SF, CalTrain stops only in Dogpatch and SOMA (a short walk to Saison or Cockscomb), but at Millbrae it connects with BART, which can take you within a short walk of Benu and many other places.

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Same here, would have gone a couple of times if I’d been able to get a reservation.

Thanks @robert!

Yah, given that I’m coming from L.A., not sure how many Chinese restaurants might be worth trying (given the abundance here).

If I’m trying to head to Downtown SF for dinner on a weeknight (say, 5 - 6 p.m.) from San Mateo, how bad would it be by Uber / Lyft? Vs. CalTrain?

Just trying to see if it’s worth the traffic and for scheduling. :slight_smile: Thanks.

It takes me about 1 hr 15 minutes to drive from Campbell to AT&T Park, leaving 4:00 pm, Friday evening.

Probably 40-45 minutes to San Mateo, then 30 minutes to SF.

Cal Train can be slow, there are express and local trains. The SF Caltrain station is 2-3 miles from downtown. As robert suggested, take Caltrain from San Mateo to Milbrae, then take BART to SF.

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Traffic is highly variable. San Mateo to SF, best case at rush hour is 35-40 minutes. Add in a Giants game or a major accident on the Bay Bridge and it can be an hour or more.

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Not sure how you define “downtown” but from the Caltrain station to Union Square is 1.4 miles and easily busable. I’ve walked farther than that with a suitcase. Just an fyi.

How many days (nights rather) are you here and how far out is your trip?

I agree, skip regional Chinese.

Hi @beefnoguy,

I’m still finalizing details (it’s for work), but it might be 2 - 3 nights. So not a lot of time.

If it seems like besides the one @ipsedixit @PorkyBelly recommended (Wakuriya) which could be 1 dinner (if I can get reservations), then the rest might be better spent with the previous recommendations you all kindly gave in the Downtown SF thread? :slight_smile:


What kinds of restaurants do you care about?

I suggest you focus on and attempt Sushi Yoshizumi for downtown San Mateo, and skip Wakuriya entirely. If your coming up here is 60 days out (from a reservation standpoint), it’s a touch bit easier to plan the dinner (similar to planning for n/Naka but maybe different). Otherwise check their reservation system for availability from cancellations.

As an alternative to Wakuriya, and if you cannot book Sushi Yoshizumi, you can think about Ozaoza as a backup in SF Japantown for kaiseki that’s closer to Kyoto/Kansai style, although to be fair you have already experienced the cooked food greatness that is Mori and Shunji which honestly are both superior in taste/overall experience. But otherwise it’s perfectly fine to focus entirely on maximizing the best of your NorCal dining experience in SF (and restaurants that do things better than LA) which is a wiser choice.

Second Izakaya Ginji (as a solid neighborhood izakaya) for a San Mateo dining choice/backup if getting into the city is more of a hassle. They are closed Tuesdays. Solid sake lineup (very well thought out for the Honjozo, Junmai, Junmai Ginjo bottles) and great yakitori, many of them excellent with the food they offer.

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I’m curious. Is OP only interested in Asian food? I only ask cause that seems what s/he is getting recs for mostly.

Hi @robert, @catholiver,

No, actually, just good food. :sweat_smile: That’s why I originally posted this in the previous “Downtown SF recs” thread (which highlighted more of what I was interested in).

Really it’s just about great food in the general SF area; what are the can’t miss spots (hole-in-the-wall, or fine dining is fine).

From the last thread and last visit, thanks to everyone’s suggestions we were able to try Saison (amazing!), In Situ (also awesome!), and try out Arsicault Bakery for Croissants (which were really really good). :slight_smile:

This time we’re in San Mateo and only briefly, so I’m just wondering if there are “FTC worthy” restaurants in the area, or just continue to follow down the long list of great recs from everyone in the Downtown SF thread (i.e., the best food is in Downtown SF proper, just plan on a long commute for Dinner and skip San Mateo)?


I live in SF, but when I think of San Mateo and food, I think of RAMEN. Believe it or not, the ramen offerings in SF suck. San Mateo seems to have cornered the market.

I liked Ramen Dojo a lot (very spicy options)… also Santa Ramen and Himawari. Good luck.

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Much of the best food in the Bay Area is not in SF, and many of the best places in SF are not downtown.

You might consider Little Yangon or Burmese Kitchen. That’s one cuisine we have that LA pretty much doesn’t.