Ditch the Drive to Fog City—Now, New Ways to Eat, with the Redwood City Food Scene
- Meredith Bethune
- 5 Min Read
San Francisco has one of the best food scenes in the country, if not the world, but there’s no need to drive to the city now that the Redwood City food scene is booming. This high-tech Silicon Valley hub, home to companies like Oracle, Evernote, and Electronic Arts, attracts people from around the world. But the dining scene might be the biggest winner. New restaurants, specializing in everything from Hawaiian to Colombian cuisines, mingle with traditional favorites. There’s no doubt that the Redwood City food scene has no shortage of exceptional eats.
A Historic Community That Loves Local Institutions
Take a stroll through the city’s recently revitalized downtown and the robust prosperity is evident. The former San Mateo County courthouse, now the San Mateo County History Museum, recalls a time when this startup hive was a thriving gold-rush outpost. Nearby shops and restaurants like Zadna, a favorite Mediterranean spot for creamy hummus and succulent chicken kabobs, keep the Redwood City food scene buzzing.
Indeed, Mediterranean and its cousin, Italian cuisine, have long prospered across Redwood City. Restaurants like Donato Enoteca serve imported orecchiette pasta with fresh artichokes and fava beans sprinkled with grated ricotta salata cheese and fresh chopped mint and spring onions. Vesta does wood-fired pizzas simply garnished with a bright tomato sauce, aromatic basil, and gooey burrata cheese.
It’s Mexican food, though, that has long been synonymous with Redwood City. According to San Francisco magazine, field workers from Mexico settled here long before the tech boom, and as early as the 1940s. Today it has one of the highest concentrations of taquerias in the state of California, and one section of Middlefield Road is often referred to as Little Michoacan, named for the Mexican state.
“We love having all of our taquerias in the Bay Area,” says Kimberly Williams, director of marketing and catering sales at Lulu’s Mexican Food. “First and foremost, the community here is incredibly supportive of small businesses.”
The sheer variety of Mexican delicacies available within the Redwood City food scene is simply staggering. “Due to California’s abundance of local, seasonal, and fresh ingredients,” Williams explains, “the Bay Area is ideal for sustainable, health-conscious restaurants. When possible, we support our local farmers by buying high-quality produce, all natural meats, and seasonal ingredients.”
Lulu’s wraps warm corn tortillas around tender carne asada or shreds of marinated chicken to make irresistible tacos. Meanwhile, Una Mas Mexican Grill doles out four-foot-long burritos loaded with grilled veggies, pork carnitas, or char-grilled steak, along with sour cream, guacamole, rice, beans, salsa fresca, and plenty of melty Monterey Jack cheese. And at Chavez Supermarket & Taqueria, find crispy-fried flautas bursting with pulled chicken and served with beans, rice, and guacamole.
Open-Minded Eaters On the Go
In this tech-focused area with an on-the-go mentality, convenient and healthy meals are bound to be popular. It’s no surprise, then, that food coming in bowl-form is trending with increasing frequency. In the Redwood City food scene, find almost any crave-worthy ingredient atop a bowl filled with rice, quinoa, or barley.
Vitality Bowls excels in allergy-friendly food like its namesake menu item composed of açai berries blended with banana, strawberries, and flaxseeds, and sprinkled with granola, bananas, goji berries, and honey. But of course, there is a specific type of bowl-based dish from Hawaii taking the Redwood City food scene by storm. Poke is made of sliced raw fish layered over rice, and topped with vegetables and an umami-based sauce. And it’s the most fashionable item of the moment.
At Go Fish Poke Bar, find spicy salmon poke drenched in a spicy togarashi aioli sauce. Meanwhile, Hawaiian-inspired diner Ohana Express does an array of poke-like bowls filled with furikake, carrots, cucumbers, corn, seaweed salad, green onions, and sesame seeds. The Ohana arrives topped with crunchy chicken katsu and fried shrimp, while The Hawaiian comes with that sweet-and-sour combination of spam, grilled pineapple, and teriyaki sauce.
In this forward-thinking community, local institutions easily mix with up-and-coming trends. It all comes together to create a Redwood City food scene that has a voracious appetite for global flavors, healthier eating options, and customization.
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