Pho Saigon has returned to South San Francisco’s renovated Westborough Shopping Square. The new dining room has freshly painted tan and red walls, large windows and a bright atmosphere. Generous bowls of the namesake beef or chicken Vietnamese noodle soup are the specialty, offered in several personalized versions, depending on your preferred cuts of meat. But pho certainly isn’t the only choice on the menu. Diners can start with a papaya salad with shrimp or spring rolls before moving to rice plates topped with barbecue chicken or shrimp cake. Vietnamese noodle soup, bun bo hue and seafood won ton soup also are on the menu.
2288 Westborough Blvd. Suite 101, South S.F.; (650) 872-2471.
San Mateo has more ramen, in the Marina Plaza east of U.S. Highway 101. Menya Inshou, the sibling of next-door’s Inshou Japanese Cuisine, offers five types of ramen including the traditional tonkotsu, miso and shoyu broths. Also served: the hard-to-find tanmen-salt broth with stir-fried cabbage and carrots and the house-signature Inshou Ramen with soft-shell crab in a miso broth. All ramens, except the tonkotsu, are offered with light or dark broths (a rarity for ramen). A tidy selection of small bites includes gyoza and rafute, an Okinawan simmered pork belly, and rice bowls. Seating is intimate with space for about 20 diners, including a few counter spots in front of the open kitchen.
2944 S. Norfolk St., San Mateo; (650) 212-7768. Menya.inshoujapanese.com
Two new cafes in Redwood City are serving coffee, breakfast and lunch. Luttickens, a three-decade mainstay in Menlo Park, has expanded to a second location, taking over downtown’s venerable Main Street Coffee. Mornings bring cappuccino, muffins and scones, egg dishes and creative bagel sandwiches, including jalapeno bacon or basil pesto toppings. Lunch is a choice of deli sandwiches, burritos, a few Mexican main plates and salads such as shrimp louie. All are under $8. There’s a fun patio and even live music on Saturdays, too.
150 Elm St., Redwood City; (650) 368-3430.
Myostis Caffè has opened in a space just across the railroad tracks from downtown Redwood City. The breakfast menu is small — divided between bagel and croissants with spreads, a scrambled egg sandwich and savory or sweet waffles. Coffee is roasted by Caffè Umbria in Seattle. Lunchtime focuses on sandwiches, all under $6, from a traditional hot pastrami to the more intriguing Famous Smoked Turkey Sandwich with basil pesto, or chicken Sriracha. For an afternoon wake up, order an espresso. Myostis does some of its own baking, so you might take some pecan-walnut-chocolate chip cookies for the train ride home.
1036 El Camino Real, Redwood City; (650) 361-9888. Myosotiscaffe.com