This bustling restaurant by chef-owner Greg Kuzia-Carmel offers lunch, dinner and happy hour, with chic bites like Marin Miyagi oysters, duck confit croquettes and a grilled mushroom- and-ham flatbread. The house specialty: roasted chickpea Panisse with brassicas and Tuscan kale pesto.
Menlo Park 898 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650.321.8980
2. Hero Ranch Kitchen
Warmly finished reclaimed Barnwood meets bright decor at this eatery named for serial chef-owner Angelo Heropoulos. The house specialty is octopus salad tenderized in olive oil and herbs, and grilled, but the chef likes his raw Brussels sprouts salad with bacon in a pecan, grilled lemon and honey vinaigrette.
14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 669.267.3183
This restaurant with one communal table for 16, run by Michael and Meichih Kim, features a Korean tasting menu ($195 per person) that might include the house specialty, galbi (Korean barbecue with meat), banchan (small sides of vegetables, pickles and kimchi), seasonal cast iron pot rice and seaweed soup.
322 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650.656.8161
4. Tre Monti
At this white-tablecloth Italian spot, the name is a play on the Italian for “three mountains” and the three owners’ disparate heights. The specialty: deep-fried prawns in pistachio batter, but chef Mattia Galiano loves preparing pistachio-encrusted rack of lamb.
270 Main St., Los Altos, 650.695.6806