A Southern California-based boba and tea chain and a tapas lounge in Burlingame are among the latest additions to the Peninsula dining scene.
Five new restaurants have joined San Mateo County’s dining scene, offering up a variety of cuisines and dishes ranging from congee and tea to Japanese pastries. In Burlingame, El Quetzal dishes up Guatemalan comfort food, Sunright Tea Studio serves sunny SoCal-inspired boba and fruit teas, and Society Bar and Restaurant offers Mediterranean fare at a hookah lounge. Meanwhile, San Mateo has a new Cantonese restaurant with an extensive menu and Belmont has a new Japanese bakery and cafe.
El Quetzal, Burlingame
El Quetzal serves Guatemalan-style breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfasts include huevos rancheros, plus eggs with chorizo, ham and sausage, pork and chicken tamales and pupusas. Lunches and dinners are served with rice, beans and salad and include carne asada, caldo de res, or beef stew and pepian de gallina, a chicken stew.
The menu is in Spanish and the restaurant is cash-only, according to an early Yelp review.
El Quetzal comida Guatemalteca, 216 California Drive, Burlingame; 650-669-2972.
Society Bar and Restaurant, Burlingame
This hookah and tapas lounge is a new concept and design that began this year, offering Mediterranean, Italian and Greek cuisine, according to employee Ali Cangez. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and offers a number of packages with cake and/or champagne to help people celebrate. The menu has appetizers including truffle burrata, crab cake, waffle fries, and marinated fried Brussels sprouts with pecorino and citrus. Spreads include tzatziki, lachano, tirokafteri and ezme, plus salads, pizzas and an assortment of entrees including shashlik, spice-marinated tenderloin skewers with shallot and rosemary, and chicken Parmigiana. They also offer house hookah flavor mixes, wine and beer.
They don’t take reservations and the dress code is “casual chic” encouraged and “dress to impress” (no sports clothing, no swimsuits or sandals for men). The space is for the 21-and-up crowd except for a front dining area that’s family-friendly.
Sunright Tea Studio, Burlingame
This Southern California-based tea shop is expanding its growing empire into Northern California with the recent opening of its Burlingame location. Others are already up and running in Sunnyvale, Union City and Milpitas. The tea shop encourages customers to shake their drinks precisely 17 times before drinking it, “not just because it’s our tried-and-true method of blending the flavors and textures perfectly, but also because we want you to stop and savor a happy moment,” according to its website.
The tea shop specializes in ceylon black tea, jasmine green tea, roasted oolong and Four Seasons, an oolong varietal, as the bases that pair with different ingredients, flavors and textures, and offers teas with non-dairy milk and Yakult, a probiotic milk beverage.
Hing Lung, San Mateo
This Cantonese restaurant in San Mateo is in its soft opening phase and comes with an extensive menu, from vegetarian-friendly options like deep-fried pumpkin and eggplant with spicy sauce to meat dishes like pig liver with vegetables and wolfberries, also known as goji berries. They’ve also got an extensive menu of 15 types of congee, or rice porridge, served with dace fish and vegetables, homemade meatballs or Hainan-style chicken among other options. Though it shares the same name as the Hing Lung Cafe on Grand Avenue in South San Francisco, it is under different ownership.
Hing Lung, 96 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo; 650-343-6988.
Jiro Cafe & Bakery, Belmont
Taking over the spot of a former Ike’s Lair location, the new Jiro Cafe & Bakery offers Japanese snacks and is working through its soft opening phase. The bakery and cafe is already drawing crowds, and some items sell out early.
On the heartier side of the menu are the tonkatsu sando, made with breaded pork, cabbage, and tomato sauce on fresh-baked bread; gyudon over rice, tri-tip cooked with caramelized onions, red wine, rice wine and soy sauce; and yakisoba pan, Japanese fried noodles in bread. Pastries include melon pan, a sweet bread made with enriched dough and a layer of cookie dough; anpan, a sweet roll often filled with red bean paste; and cornets and challah, among other items. Drinks include a variety of lattes, sodas and teas.
Jiro Cafe & Bakery, 1094 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Belmont; 650-665-0557, Instagram: @jirocafe.