Fruit Loop donuts and Double Doubles: Our gluttonous guide to late-night eats on the Peninsula
Hangry late-night and at-a-loss? We’ve mapped out your after hours food fix around Silicon Valley.
It’s late. Okay, not that late, but it’s after 9:30. Maybe you already ate dinner and maybe you didn’t (we’re not here to tell you how to live your life) but the point is — you’re hungry. Right now you’re really wishing you could hunt down the Peninsula equivalent of your hometown late-night spot. Maybe you’re craving pie? Or perhaps something with “bacon” as the pivotal adjective? Problem is—most kitchens draw a hard stop sooner rather than later around these parts.
But rest assured, if you’re on the hunt for some late night eats we’ve got you covered: from taquerias that’ll tide you over to hearty hangover-proofing with chicken and waffles. The list is diverse and delicious (and occasionally glazed with breakfast cereal). So with no further wait, here are the best locations serving up quality fare past 10 p.m. on the Peninsula.
We’re starting this list with a what looks-to-be a liquor store that moonlights as a legit late-night sandwich place. We’re not talking your regular run-of-the-mill gas station/airport prepackaged goods, but rather almost-too-big-to-take-a-bite-out-of-in-one-piece sandwiches. We love a good hole in the wall and this place scores big time: it’s open ’til midnight and offers an amazing range of appetizing options, such as the Big Heat —pesto, marinara sauce, rotisserie chicken, melted mozzarella cheese—and the Italian Job, with beef meatballs and cheese. (If you’re scanning this late-night and still feel the need to read on after ‘melted mozzarella’ or even ‘beef meatballs and cheese,’ your self control is a lot better than ours.) Another big upside of this place: most options run in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 bucks.
Big Belly Deli // 11 a.m. — 12 a.m. daily
115 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, (650) 588–5659
When that late-night craving for a glazed or cream-filled hits — and, inevitably, it will — set your sights on Chuck’s Donuts. This mom-and-pop-esque place is cash only, but the glazed donuts and coffee served around the clock merit stopping by an ATM (or using the one they have available in-house). Twelve bucks scores you a dozen glazed donuts, ranging from classics (jelly-filled) to foodie faves (hey Fruity Pebbles!) If you’re not in the mood for a traditional donut (we can’t believe we even have to say that) we highly recommend their apple fritters or maple buttermilk bars. Did we mention they’re open 24 hours?
Chuck’s Donuts // Open daily, 24 hours
801 Woodside Road, Redwood City, (650) 368–0161
There’s no lack of love for this long-running Peninsula institution among us at the Six Fifty: last we talked about the Dutch Goose, it was in the wake of the closing of Menlo Park’s beloved Oasis. Our vote of confidence for this place still stands, especially since the Dutch Goose keeps its kitchen open real late for the better part of the week, meaning you can score a bacon cheeseburger (or some smoked brisket) with a pint of beer at 1a.m. on a Thursday. Happy hour also runs from 10 p.m. until closing and features specials on beer and nachos, so if you’re in the mood for some drinks to go with that late-night food, get loose at the Goose.
The Dutch Goose // Sun. — Tues. 11–12 a.m.; Wed. — Sat. 11–2 a.m.
3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, (650) 854–3245
Not gonna lie—Tres Amigos is arguably our favorite taqueria on the entire Peninsula, not just for their epic chips and salsa bar, but because their entire menu is packed with can’t-go-wrong options. Go classic with a carnitas tostada, wet burrito or sizzling-hot shrimp fajita plate. But don’t sleep on the lesser known gems, like their Mexican chicken Caesar salad (with jicama, and cilantro dressing).
Prices are super affordable, and the atmosphere easy, though prepare to battle your way into the cul-de-sac that is their beloved salsa bar (salsa verde, pico de gallo, avocado relish).
Tres is one of the (very very) few late night options on the Coast, so if you make the trip, time it out carefully.
Tres Amigos // Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
270 Cabrillo Highway S., Half Moon Bay, (650) 726–6080
Heidi’s Pies is a San Mateo classic, and we understand why: it’s open 24 hours, and will serve you whatever your heart desires at any time of day. Order all-day breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or off the separate and very famous pie menu (yes, you read that right—there is both a dessert and a pie menu). The pies are legendary and run the gamut from simple (coconut cream) to seasonal (fresh strawberry) to specialty varieties (Gooseberry), while meal options (we can have the ‘is pie a meal’ debate later) are comprehensive and won’t break the bank. If you were looking for a sign, this is it — consider this our blessing for that 1:30 a.m. steak and eggs order. Cheers.
Heidi’s Pies // Open 24 hours daily
1941 S El Camino Road, San Mateo, (650) 574–0505
Few cities understand late night eats better than New Orleans, and lucky for us NOLA offers up a taste of French Quarter vibe right here in Palo Alto.
Their kitchen is open routinely past midnight (except for Sundays, although happy hour runs 9 p.m — 12 a.m. anyway) and the bar stays open even later. Sit down, snag some Mardi Gras beads (it wasn’t a question) and eye their late-night menu. Of course, it’s not rocket science—crispy hot chicken sliders and a barrel-aged rye sazerac. The atmosphere is festive (NOLA style) and the bar is open late (well…2a.m.).
NOLA //Monday, Tuesday 4 p.m. — 12 a.m.
Wednesday, Thursday 4 p.m. — 12:30 a.m.
Friday 11:30 a.m.–12:30 a.m.
Saturday 10:30 a.m. — 12:30 a.m.
Sunday 10:30 a.m. — 11 p.m.
535 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, (650) 328–2722
If we had to succinctly describe this place, it’d probably be…. eclectic. But also…super hip. And maybe…open late with a killer menu (alright, we exceeded our word limit).
The kitchen at Mokutanya stays open until 2 a.m. nightly, featuring a huge Yakitori menu as well as a wide range of Japanese fare beyond sushi— including beef tataki, grilled oysters, and octopus salad. Also, did we mention that parties of 4 or more past 10 p.m. get a free bottle of sake? Yes, the menu and the cool seating and the see-and-be-seen scene make this the one late night spot on this list were you may want to consider a reservation.
Mokutanya // Open 11–2 a.m. daily
1155 California Drive, Burlingame, (650) 348–9388
This place used to be called Ausiello’s before it obtained a hard liquor license, after which the owners decided that they’d change the name in honor of their newfound ability to house more serious booze. McGraw’s is revered in local circles, and we can understand why: they’re open ’til 2 a.m. daily, serve quality pub fare and feature a juke box and multiple pool tables. Their menu is expansive, especially for late-night bar eats — burgers, snacks, sandwiches or a fish supper (which is a tribute to the Scottish heritage of the couple that owns the place). The prices have our attention, too (a steak sandwich is just $9).
McGraw’s Bar & Grill // Mon. –Wed. 4 p.m. –2 a.m., Thurs. –Sun. 11:30–2 a.m.
864 El Camino Real, Belmont, (650) 595–9531
The jury is technically still out on the official comfort food of California, but we’re kind of leaning in the direction of Mexican food. Can you truly think of yourself as Californian if you haven’t had a late-night craving for tacos? (Or even just a good corn tortilla and some refried beans? Is that just us?) Taqueria El Grullense doles out classic, no-frills tacos that hit the spot for the after-party crowd. Serving up the best of the late-night trifecta — good, cheap and filling — El Grullense sees locals and visitors alike lining up on the regular. There are several locations across Redwood City (with even more throughout the Bay Area), but this one — the one on Middlefield Road — is the original spot, so we’re sending you their way in the name of carne asada fries.
Taqueria El Grullense // Sun. — Thurs. 8 a.m. — midnight, Fri. & Sat. 8 a.m. — 1 a.m.
1243 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, (650) 364–4320
We know, we know. This one is obvious, but leaving In-N-Out Burger off a late-night eats list covering the Peninsula felt like foodie sacrilege. Sometimes you just really, REALLY want that double double with animal fries.
In-N-Out is famously open until 1 a.m. every night, and lucky for you (unlike our woeful east coast brethern), the Peninsula’s roster of In-N-Outs is pretty extensive (see below). No better way to honor living on the Peninsula than a good ol’ wait in an In-N-Out drive-through line at 12:45 a.m. Grab a milkshake and please, eat in the car like a civilized person.
In-N-Out // Open daily, 10:30–1 a.m.
1159 Rengstorff Avenue, Mountain View
53 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
949 Veterans Boulevard, Redwood City
445 Industrial Road, San Carlos
260 Washington Street, Daly City
372 Gellert Boulevard, Daly City
11 Rollins Road, Millbrae
Other noteworthy spots keeping late hours around the Peninsula:
Krispy Kreme, 1575 Sullivan Avenue, Daly City; 6 a.m. — 11 p.m. daily. (650) 985–5612
Wursthall, 310 Baldwin Avenue, San Mateo; 5 p.m. — midnight daily. (650) 931–4282
Mini Gourmet, 599 South Bascom Avenue, San Jose; Sun. — Wed. 6 a.m.–midnight, Thurs., Fri. & Sat. open 24 hours. (408) 275–8973
La Victoria Taqueria, 131 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose; Sun. — Wed 6 a.m.–midnight, Thurs. — Sat. 6 a.m.–3 a.m. (408) 993–8230
Shah Restaurant, 962 West El Camino Road, Sunnyvale; Sun. — Thurs. 11:30 a.m. — 3 p.m., 5 p.m. — midnight (408) 542–9450
Check out more Peninsula food coverage from the Six Fifty: