For more than two years, diners from all over the Peninsula have been enjoying the three-course prix fixe menu at Woodside's Station 1. That dining format left with spring at the solstice, and the restaurant has shifted its focus to an a la carte menu. Chef Andrew Mitchell's tidy menu revamp now gives diners the choice of mix-and-match starters, small plates, entrees and desserts showcasing the Cal-Med philosophy of the restaurant in dishes such as chitarra pasta in pepperoni sauce with crimini mushrooms and "olive soil." Early-July produce is everywhere on the menu, from summer squash with fried chicken and pastrami-spiced grits to peaches with kouign-amann, a French pastry fitting for the season and upcoming Bastille Day.
2991 Woodside Road, Woodside; (650) 851-4988, Station1Restaurant.com
There's no mistaking where to find Redwood City's latest hot spot, Downtown. The modern American tavern on Broadway features high ceilings, cherry wood tables and an open kitchen with a blue-tiled bar overlooking the action. Small and large plates focus on comfort classics and seasonal ingredients. Share items such as bruschetta, beef wontons or fig and summer berry salad to start, then move on to wood-fired pizza, filet mignon or crispy herb-roasted chicken.
2050 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 364-8696
Residents of San Mateo have been dipping pita into hummus recently at Aspendos. Named after a town in Turkey, the restaurant focuses on Mediterranean and Turkish standards such as doner and shish kebabs, gyros and the Turkish pizza lahmacun. Vegetarian and seafood options are plentiful. Order at the counter, then sit outside on the back patio or inside under a mural of the restaurant's namesake town and its famed amphitheatre. Don't forget the baklava for dessert.
514 Peninsula Ave., San Mateo; (650) 344-3595
South San Francisco
When it's time for your pearl milk tea fix, you'll have to work a bit to find Raging Boba, a counter hidden within the Filipino noodle shop Ling Nam. The boba drinks lean heavily toward Southeast Asian flavors such as mango and buko pandan (young coconut and a popular floral-tasting leaf), with add-ins including tapioca pearls and fruit-flavored jelly cubes. Also available are bowls of Taiwanese shaved ice — a cross between ice cream and Hawaiian shaved ice — and the spot is open until midnight on weekends.
2211 Gellert Blvd., South San Francisco; (650) 878-9524