Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerChef George Morrone’s menu at Gusto restaurant in San Carlos features a cream of chanterelle mushroom soup. Morrone is the founding chef at Aqua in The City.

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerChef George Morrone’s menu at Gusto restaurant in San Carlos features a cream of chanterelle mushroom soup. Morrone is the founding chef at Aqua in The City.

Good times for pasta lovers

One of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed chefs is now working on the Peninsula. George Morrone, founding chef of San Francisco’s Aqua, whose proteges include Michael Mina, has joined forces with Locanda Positano’s owner Enzo Rosano to open Gusto — now the headliner on San Carlos’ growing Laurel Street restaurant scene. Gusto takes over Rosano’s former restaurant Limone, transforming the narrow, casual Italian space into a more formal venue with chandeliers, white upholstered banquettes and black velvet-backed wooden chairs. Morrone’s opening menu is compact, with 12 dishes in five categories. Hearty includes shrimp bisque and cream of chanterelle mushroom soup (soup being a subject to which Morrone devoted an entire cookbook). In addition to small plates, more substantial entrees in the higher $20 range include a sea scallop spiedini and beef tenderloin with Barolo butter. Don’t worry, Morrone’s famous timeless tuna tartare has made the move to San Carlos. It’s a starter at Gusto.

619 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 486-1479. GustoSanCarlos.com

Redwood City

Downtown Redwood City’s growing dining scene also has an exciting new opening, Aly’s On Main, owned by Michael Mazaferri, a native of Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany. The sustainable, seasonal and locally sourced menu includes meats butchered in-house and ground daily, and pastas are made each morning and afternoon. The lunch and dinner menus vary greatly. In the daytime, nothing on the menu — from a Chinese chicken salad with tamari-red miso dressing to three types of tacos: cajun fish, braised short rib and beef cheeks — is more than $11. At dinner, eclectic small plates are the theme, with the aforementioned housemade spaghetti prepared as a carbonara. Grilled baby carrots are livened up with caraway and saffron yogurt. The restaurant’s signature dish is spicy lamb meatballs with a pomegranate glaze. The largest plates rarely rise above $20. Aly’s dining room in the rear has exposed brick walls and an open kitchen. In the lively bar area up front, patrons can enjoy local craft beer and watch the 49ers. Plus, there’s housemade sangria.

911 Main St., Redwood City; (650) 995-7500, AlyOnMain.com

Palo Alto

Just in time for the holiday shopping season — and a nice alternative to countless holiday desserts — comes Pressed Juicery’s fifth Bay Area location inside the Stanford Shopping Center. The Southern California-based juice chain’s lengthy menu goes well beyond green juices that blend kale and spinach. Citrus juices include a zippy apple, lemon, ginger and cayenne option. Those in the mood for a roots-based juice may want to try beets or carrots. A seasonal juice blends yam apple, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto; (650) 329-1450, PressedJuicery.comAly’s on MainFeaturesFood & DrinkFood and WineGustoPressed Juicery

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