Seasonal French cooking has arrived at Zola, a new bistro in Palo Alto. It’s the first restaurant for chef-owner and Palo Alto native Guillaume Bienaimé, formerly the chef at the Portola Kitchen in Portola Valley and the much-missed Marché in Menlo Park. It’s a tiny, very French atmosphere much like you’d find in Paris or Tours that avoids the cliches (accordion music and white tablecloths) in favor of clean turquoise colors, dim lighting and a very cozy feel. Menu headings add to the French theme with dishes separated by “pour commencer” and “plates de resistance.” Start with smoked salmon rilettes and steak tartare with shaved black truffle. Larger plates stay in the mid-$20 range, with a Basque-inspired piperade of roasted pork loin and pork belly or a Provençal flounder beurre blanc. A significant part of the menu focuses on vegetables and demonstrates California-French elements with the Parisian-inspired roasted mushrooms cooked Escargot-style or classic Californian end-of-summer tomatoes with pickled shallots, basil and feta. Of course, the wine list follows the balance, giving equal emphasis to France and California. The famed namesake French writer perhaps would love the gateaux aux amandes (almond cake) and chocolate mousse for dessert.
565 Bryant St., Palo Alto; (650) 521-0651. Zolapa.com
Maybe it’s the first crisp winds of autumn or more Chicago deep dish pizza, but the Peninsula now feels even more like the Windy City with the arrival of Blue Line Pizza to Daly City’s Westlake Shopping Center. It’s the fifth outpost of Blue Line on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, courtesy of the owners of San Francisco’s Little Star Pizza. Cornmeal-crusted deep dish pizzas headline the menu, including the signature Blue Line in which spinach, mushrooms and onions are blended with ricotta and feta cheeses. For the deep dish averse, there’s also a small roster of New York-style thin crust pies with different toppings than on the deep dish, such as Barbeque Chicken with bacon and pineapple. A strong craft beer selection, a few salads, spicy chicken wings and garlic wings, and a trio of lunchtime-only sandwiches, including an Italian hoagie with homemade meatballs, round out the choices.
511 Westlake Center, Daly City; (650) 755-8500. Bluelinepizza.com
Redwood City, San Bruno
Tea takes center stage at two new Peninsula spots. After opening its first Peninsula outpost earlier this year in Foster City, global chain Chatime now serves its black tea latte, assortment of tapioca pearl milk teas, fruit teas and fresh-brewed hot teas, emphasizing precision in timing, quality and temperature at a new Redwood City takeout window. Meanwhile in San Bruno, Raging Boba has opened a second cafe (the original is in South San Francisco). The menu focuses on specialty boba teas such as the lychee mint mojito, complemented by plain green and black teas, and Taiwanese fluffy snow, similar to shaved ice, with flavors such as taro and mango for dessert.
Chatime: 2202 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 298-8268. Ichatime.com
Raging Boba: 719 Camino Plaza, San Bruno; no phone or website.