A taste of Morocco comes to San Mateo 

click to enlarge Fassia in San Mateo
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • The B’stilla Fassia is one of the delicacies you can have on the Moroccan menu at Fassia, a revamped restaurant in San Mateo.

After a nearly three-year run, French-Moroccan bistro Café Tradition has decided to change its name to Fassia. With the new name came a Moroccan menu and Moorish decor overhaul. The chef remains Jean-Roger Rafael, who was born in France, while his wife, Morocco-born Drissia, remains in charge of the front of the house. The menu includes grilled lamb merguez sausage or briouat, and the B'stilla Fassia, savory duck breast wrapped in phyllo dough then dusted with sugar, cinnamon and almonds. A wide range of tagines and couscous plates round out the main courses, all around $20.

123 W. 25th Ave., San Mateo; (650) 345-2233


The owners of Alana's Café in Burlingame and Redwood City announced they have taken over the giant 5,000-square-foot space in Burlingame formerly housing the Hola Cantina and Restaurant. Sixto's Cantina, an authentic Mexican concept with a hacienda-style atmosphere, will be opening later in the fall. A full bar, patio and sidewalk seating are all in the works. The idea comes from the runaway success of the Wednesday night Mexican dinner series that the owners have been running at Alana's Café.

1448 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame; no phone

Palo Alto

Meanwhile, Palo Alto's largest and oldest restaurant has announced major changes beginning at the start of next year. Ming's, a local legend since 1956 known for its dim sum power lunches and 200-plus items on the menu, announced that it will be downsizing from 500 seats to just 150. Taking over much of the venue will be a Staybridge Suites extended stay hotel. The new Ming's also plans to be more dinner-focused because of the surge in local companies offering free lunches to employees.

1700 Embarcadero Drive, Palo Alto; (650) 856-7700, Mings.com


The 6-month-old Beach Monkey Café; in Pacifica is now serving dinner after starting out with only breakfast and lunch. The initial menu includes pasta and a few appetizers and salads, but sandwiches are the main focus, such as a chicken banh mi and a Cubano with pork, white cheddar and homemade pickles. There are both homemade chocolate-chip cookies and homemade blondies for dessert, with the latter thrown in a "dirty blonde" sundae. Plus, there's free Wi-Fi and outdoor seating.

Adobe Plaza Shopping Center, 986 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica; (650) 738-5920, Beachmonkeycafe.com

Redwood Shores

The Rendezvous Café; is now fueling Redwood Shores with its new cafe inside the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits. Breakfast features pastries, fruit and bagels. Sandwiches and salads are on offer midday, along with lunch specials such as a recent dish of pork loin with figs.

350 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood Shores; (510) 605-7501

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