From dive bars to date night; late night eats, vegan restaurants and best brunch spots…check out all of our lists from the last 365

If there is one thing we know for sure about local life in 2018, it is that the Peninsula is constantly changing. So while we’ll leave it for others to slug out the better or worse debate, we still feel inclined to embrace the many worthwhile offerings in this unique and colorful place. Looking over the myriad lists and guides we put together over the past 12 months to cover local life and culture only further enforces our glass-half-full enthusiasm for living around the 6–5–0.

So if you’re an old timer looking to see what’s new or a newbie hoping to get clued in, check out some of the many guides we compiled this year to provide some insight into the many many things that the area still has to offer.

Wally’s special with bacon, at Nini’s Coffee Shop in San Mateo; plus Cookie dough waffles at Town, in San Carlos. (Images via Yelp and Town Website)

Our 15 favorite brunches on the Peninsula

Let’s face it, the stakes are high on your brunch game: you’re hungry & possibly hungover, or maybe you’re entertaining guests in town for the weekend. So there’s little margin for error, which could mean stumbling into hour-long waits and subpar food. So we compiled this lengthy list of 15 (count ‘em-15!) worthwhile spots from around the 6–5–0 to get you sorted, sober and satisfied.

The list is as diverse and as it is delicious, showcasing the likes of Fruity Pebble French Toast, King Crab Benedicts and all manner of caffeination. And don’t sleep on the Bloody Marys garnished with bacon and grilled cheese….(that’s the kind of brunch experience we’re talking about).

The veggie curry at Monsoon in HMB; Que SeRaw SeRaw’s chia pudding, scones and an almond milk smoothie. (Photo via Yelp & Que SeRaw SeRaw’s Instagram)

Vegan & vegetarian eats around the Peninsula

What impressed most about the vegan and vegetarians eateries and options around the Peninsula was not just the abundance but the expansive variety: the vegan Filipino menu at Nick’s in Daly City, the sushi rolls at Oh Baby in Redwood City and the celebrated menu at Falafelle in Belmont (which made Yelp’s Top 100 in 2017). Did we mentioned the vegan and vegetarian Himalayan cuisine at Monsoon on the Coastside? Or the vegan Döner Kebap at Wursthall?

We can go on and on. Point is—the Peninsula has a lot to offer for a plant-based purview. So for once the question is not “where can we eat?” but “which of these to choose?”

Tan Tan Men, a Yu-Raku house specialty; and Orenchi’s tonkotsu. (Photos via Yelp)

The 650’s 3-minute guide to the Peninsula’s best ramen

It’s no mystery that ramen is all the rage in the Bay Area these days, and we’re happy to say that the Peninsula’s noodle joints can hang with the best of them. In fact, this was a tough list to distill down to just 10, but we can guarantee that the finalists all deliver, from Ramen Dojo’s garlic pork ramen to Ramen Nagi’s squid ink-based “Black King,” or the classic tonkotsu at Orenchi and Yu-Gen. We also featured the highly sought after ramen pop-up Noodle in a Haystack and the mall food-court magic of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

We’re not suggesting the lines won’t be long, but we will say that these spots are all worth the wait.

A double dozen at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay; Creamy oysters with salty caviar at The Sea. (Photos via Julie Shenkman and by Rina Herkiamto)

The Six Fifty’s guide to getting your oyster fix on the SF Peninsula

We’re big consumers of bivalves by the Bay. So we were more than happy to slurp our way through the research on this one, from seafood shacks to elite eateries.

We’ve seen a rising tide of oyster-centric restaurants around here in the past few years, who like the shellfish themselves, each have their own nuances and characteristics. So whether you want to test the waters or dive deep on a couple of dozen, these are the spots you need to know.

Duarte’s, a perennial of Pescadero; Greg Stern, owner of the Dutch Goose. (Photos via Instagram and the Menlo Park Almanac)

Five Peninsula eateries that will cure your post-Oasis blues

There were far too many lamentable closures on the Peninsula this year, but perhaps none more so than Menlo Park’s longtime local mainstay the Oasis. And while we too were very sad to see it go, their shuttering reminded us of the other quintessential eateries here on the Peninsula that we love, and are still very deserving of our support.

So make the trip to Alice’s or the Alpine. Take the drive to Duarte’s for coffee and a piece of olallieberry pie (with ice cream), or just drop in on the Dutch Goose for a bacon cheeseburger the next time your in the vicinity. These places get by on our present day patronage, not just our nostalgia.

The beef brisket sandwich at Capelo’s; locked and loaded mac and cheese at 3 Pigs BBQ. (Images courtesy of Capelo’s Barbecue & 3 Pigs BBQ)

The Six Fifty’s guide to southern BBQ on the Peninsula

Need that barbecue fix? Sure, the Bay is known for some great culinary trends, and no, southern BBQ is not necessarily one of them. But don’t despair oh carnivorous friend, we’ve compiled this gut-busting guide to our favorite local barbecue spots, which involves a food truck, a train car and a wide selection of southern styles, from St. Louis-style ribs to Texas smoked brisket.

So roll up those sleeves and proceed with proper appetite….this one might get messy.

Dosey-do on the hardwood, out at Pie Ranch in Pescadero; Looking skyward at the Foothill Observatory. (Images via the Pie Ranch website & the Foothill College website)

The 10 best date ideas ever invented on the SF Peninsula

No list we published this year got more views than this handy little guide we put together on offbeat date ideas around the Peninsula. So yes, while we’re a little concerned about your game, we’re glad to help where we can. And since Valentine’s is just up around the corner, we suggest you give our outside-the-box list a look. After all, what is less sexy than being super obvious?

Barn dancing, star-gazing…an ice cream taco truck? We got you covered.

Saddle up in RWC; & the Neon Lights Fred’s Place in Mountain View. (Images via Yelp)

The 650’s eight favorite dive bars on the Peninsula

Not that we have anything against a good high-end cocktail, but we’ve been finding ourselves craving a reprieve from the latest trends of swanky bar culture. Lucky for us then that the Peninsula has no shortage of real deal old school dive bars to bring it all back down to earth. You know the spots—cheap bottled beer with shots of whiskey on the side, amid the glow of a neon PBR sign and the holler of the Sharks in double OT.

So if—like us—you find yourself in need of a break from $15 cocktails served by a hipster with a handlebar mustache, who is “really into amaro these days,” and serving from beneath carefully-placed Edison light bulbs and a repurposed wood interior…well, you get the idea.

The Dutch Goose’s massive $9 bacon cheeseburger; and a taco salad bowl at Tres Amigos in Half Moon Bay (Images via Instagram and Yelp)

Our gluttonous guide to late-night eats on the Peninsula

It’s late. You’re boozy. And starving. And wondering where you can get a Fruit Loop donut…or a Double Double…perhaps a tostada plate with grilled chicken? Don’t fret. We combed the Peninsula for places that go late and were pleased to find a wide range of options. From the hip late night scene at Mokutanya in Burlingame to the old school atmosphere of Heidi’s Pies in San Mateo (open 24 hours!), this list will get you sorted (and sober) in no time.

You can thank us later.

Stay up to date with other coverage from The Six Fifty by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, featuring event listings, reviews and articles showcasing the best that the Peninsula has to offer. Sign up here!

More local eats from The Six Fifty:

Meat in heaven: Silicon Valley’s biggest, baddest sandwiches

Inside Noodle in a Haystack, the local pop-up poised to change the Bay Area ramen game

Can It’s-It Ice Cream rep the Bay Area for another 90 years? Their owner isn’t worried.

Portland’s coolest ice cream shop sets up on the Peninsula

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Sometimes our work is a collaborative effort, hence the "staff" byline. The best of what to eat, see and do on the SF Peninsula.

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