Practically hidden off U.S. Highway 101, Brisbane doesn’t often make dining headlines, but there’s a newsworthy new place in town: Lava Indian & Pakistani Bistro, which has a sibling at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. For lunch, there’s an $8.99 buffet, and table service is offered at night. Diners can snack on samosas and crispy papadum before moving onto classics such as chicken tikka masala and tandoori lamb chops. Lesser-known dishes include daal gosht, a lentil and lamb stew and Lava Special Chicken, cooked in a curry with pistachios and a cashew paste. An assortment of naan, biryani and many vegetarian dishes also are served. Lava resides inside the spacious former Mangiare building (a pizza restaurant). Substantial windows allow plenty of sunlight and white tablecloths lend a refined feel.
182 Old County Road, Brisbane; (415) 466-6033. Lavasfbistro.com
South San Francisco
South San Francisco gets a caffeine jolt and neighborhood cafe with Antigua Coffee Shop. Usual suspects — coffee and tea — are served, complemented by smoothies and treats such as a Mexican Mocha. Bagels, pastries and burritos are on the breakfast menu, and lunch features paninis and cold sandwiches. But Antigua, with its hip vibe with reclaimed wood interior, is not just a coffee shop: It has beer on tap, stools at the counter and a 10 p.m. closing. A small dinner menu includes a roast beef sandwich and tacos. The original Antigua, which opened last year in The City, exemplifies a great entrepreneurial story of a young immigrant from Mexico who dreamed of opening a coffee shop.
437A Grand Ave., South San Francisco; (650) 834-3166.
With a very catchy name, The Greedy Ant Gourmet, new in Belmont, is a specialty food shop and deli. Patrons may grab lunch and Lavazza coffee, buy cheese and charcuterie (over 50 to choose from) for dinner, or stock their pantries with quince paste and picos (mini breadsticks) imported from Spain. The cafe’s menu includes a few salads and sandwiches, such as the Naughty Italian with porchetta, Genoa salami and olive tapenade. While plans for table seating are in the works, Greedy Ant currently offers take-out only — so customers for now must enjoy the Don’t Proscuitto The Messenger sandwich at home or two blocks away at Twin Pines Park.
932 Ralston Ave., Belmont; (650) 832-1136. Thegreedyantgourmet.com
Taqueria Mi Durango, a tiny new spot in San Bruno, is serving Mexican cuisine and some American dishes, too. Tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas are offered — as are Philly cheese steak, chicken wings and the Durango Burger with jack cheese, onions and bacon. Yet burritos are the heart of Mi Durango, even offered surf-and-turf style with steak and prawns. The Southern California favorite California Burrito — with french fries as a filling and rarely served in the Bay Area — is also on the menu. You can’t help but smile at the logo: a scorpion holding a taco and wearing a sombrero.
287 El Camino Real, San Bruno; (650) 588-8810.