A neighborhood vibe at West Park Bistro 

West Park Bistro is the latest opening in San Carlos’ rapidly growing Laurel Street restaurant row. Courtesy of chef Steve Bibiano, the restaurant’s main focus is on seasonal-driven cooking and ingredient sourcing, with a slight accent from cultures worldwide in various dishes. Dinner may start with bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and grilled octopus with asparagus, pea sprouts and a coriander-lime dressing. Main plates range from a handful of pastas to whole seabream stuffed with couscous, or filet mignon over a huckleberry and red wine gastrique. Starters are in the $10-$15 range and entrees are $20 for spaghetti and meatballs, to $36 for lamb chops. Lunch is mostly the same menu with salads and sandwiches added, such as a lobster salad with avocado and a petrale sole sandwich with caper aioli and tomatoes. There’s always chocolate terrine or key lime pie for dessert, all made in-house. With the hard-to-miss wine cellar on one side of the room as proof, West Park Bistro pays special attention to its heavily California wine list. The interior presents an intimate vibe with hardwood floors, a mirrored wall, real tablecloths and solid black- and- light green-painted walls. While the design and menus skew towards a big city concept, it all still feels like a homey neighborhood bistro.

788 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 453-3313. WestParkBistro.com

Redwood City

One of Redwood City’s favorite spots for Japanese food has expanded to new digs. Taking over the old Koto space, Sakura Teppanyaki and Sushi is now open in larger surroundings on Main Street, in addition to the original nearby at Courthouse Square. The vast menu mostly consists of sushi selections. The usual fish are available as rolls or sashimi but the real fun comes from Sakura’s creations, like the Las Vegas Roll that is stuffed with salmon, avocado and cream cheese, then deep-fried, and topped with a “spicy sauce.” The namesake Sakura Roll comes filled with salmon and avocado and covered by tuna on the outside. A higher than average vegetarian rolls roster is also offered. There’s also the spectacle of hibachi cooking by chefs tableside, with dinners ranging from grilled chateaubriand steak to scallops that come complete with sides and starters for $20-$30 depending on the meat choice. It’s a fascinating menu and room design: part sleek, modern sushi bar and part hibachi theatre with giant exhaust hoods above.

373 Main St., Redwood City; (650) 369-4350. Sakurateppan.com

Palo Alto

Amidst the many boba tea openings on the Peninsula, a regular tea shop is in business in Palo Alto. DavidsTea is a Canada-based specialty tea purveyor and shop, offering iced and warm tea service to drink in the small cafe in the back and all sorts of teas to take home. From chocolate mint rooibos to pumpkin chai, over 150 teas are available. Soon tea lattes will also be offered. This is the second branch on the Peninsula, with the first in Burlingame.

318 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 462-1450. DavidsTea.com

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