For more than two years, diners from all over the Peninsula have been enjoying the three-course prix fixe menu at Woodside's Station 1. That dining format left with spring at the solstice, and the restaurant has shifted focus to a la carte. Chef Andrew Mitchell's tidy menu revamp now gives diners the choice of mix-and-match starters, small plates, entrees, and desserts showcasing the Cal-Med philosophy of the restaurant in dishes like chitarra pasta in pepperoni sauce with crimini mushrooms and "olive soil." Early July produce is everywhere on the menu, from summer squash with fried chicken and pastrami-spiced grits to peaches with kouign amann, a French pastry fitting for the season and upcoming Bastille Day. 2991 Woodside Rd., Woodside; (650) 851-4988.
There's no mistaking where to find Redwood City's latest hotspot, Downtown. The modern American tavern on Broadway features high ceilings, cherry wood tables, and an open kitchen with a blue-tiled bar overlooking the action. Small and large plates focus on comfort classics and seasonal ingredients. Share items like bruschetta, beef wontons, or fig and summer berry salad to start, then move onto wood-fired pizza, filet mignon, or crispy herb-roasted chicken. 2050 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 364-8696.
Residents of San Mateo have been dipping pita into hummus recently at Aspendos. Named after a town in Turkey, the restaurant focuses on Mediterranean and Turkish standards like doner and shish kebabs, gyros, and the Turkish pizza lahmacun. Vegetarian and seafood options are plentiful. Order at the counter, then sit outside on the back patio or inside under a mural of the restaurant's namesake town and its famed amphitheatre. Don't forget the baklava for dessert. 514 Peninsula Ave., San Mateo; (650) 344-3595.
South San Francisco
When it's time for your pearl milk tea fix, you'll have to work a bit to find Raging Boba, a counter hidden within the Filipino noodle shop Ling Nam. The boba drinks lean heavily toward Southeast Asian flavors like mango and buko pandan (young coconut and a popular floral-tasting leaf), with add-ins including tapioca pearls and fruit-flavored jelly cubes. Also available are bowls of Taiwanese shaved ice - a cross between ice cream and Hawaiian shaved ice - and the spot is open until midnight on weekends. 2211 Gellert Blvd., South San Francisco; (650) 878-9524.