Arte Ristorante sees renaissance in Palo Alto 

After a brief renovation and acquiring new ownership and a new chef from Sicily, Arte Ristorante has opened in the former Café Alto space in downtown Palo Alto. Start with antipasti, such as caprese salad or eggplant caponatina, a perfect topping for the delicious focaccia. Primi selections include a classic spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti alla scoglio with tomatoes, and myriad seafood dishes as well as spinach and ricotta ravioli. The substantial secondi roster features salmon picatta, veal saltimbocca and a rendition of cioppino. Remember, save room for a glass filled with tiramisu or chocolate mousse. The spacious restaurant has a grand European atmosphere. There is a casual lounge for drinks and small bites and a main dining room with white tablecloth-covered tables, a striking glass-enclosed wine cellar and impressively detailed stone work.

473 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 329-8300

South San Francisco

Located on the ground floor of an apartment complex, Suga Mama’s in South San Francisco brings a casual cafe to the upper Peninsula. Order coffee and pastry at the counter, then relax on a couch. Or take advantage of free Wi-Fi and work at a table. An artistic vibe permeates the loft-like space, which showcases works by local artists on the walls. The menu includes croissants, scones, muffins, smoothies, chai, bagel sandwiches (ham, egg and cheese) and paninis for lunch.

630 El Camino Real, South San Francisco; (650) 763-1834

Redwood City

Salvadoran cuisine — with its iconic pupusas — are at Zipotes in Redwood City. The menu focuses on various kinds, including pork chicharron and black beans or cheese and zucchini. All tortillas and pupusas are made in-house. Other favorites include yucca fries with carnitas, empanadas, carne asada plates, tamales and fried plantains (that nicely top most dishes). And don’t miss the homemade horchata or atol d’elote (a frothy, sweet corn and milk drink); they’re perfect refreshers to go with pupusas. Omelets and pancakes are served for breakfast, There also is a small selection of Mexican food. After ordering at the counter, diners can grab a seat inside the brightly painted room with colorful tiles and straw-colored walls.

828 Fifth Ave., Redwood City; (650) 216-0010


Burlingame might not have canals (you need to go to Foster City for those) but it will boast a bit of Venice at Pizzeria Delfina’s seasonal farm dinner “Winter in Veneto” on Jan. 20. The family-style, four-course menu includes antipasti, Dungeness crab and radicchio risotto, Strauss Ranch veal shank with polenta, and yuzo fried cream and satsuma orange sorbetto. The meal costs $59 per person, plus $30 for pairings from Sicily’s legendary Azienda Agricola winery.

1444 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame; (650) 288-1041.

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