Posted by: charityliz | August 24, 2010

The Downtown Review (so far)

Well it may not be downtown San Francisco, but it is indeed, downtown Redwood City, baby!  Where “weather is best by government test” –Yes, that really is the city slogan!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve actually been living in this weather haven of a town for a month now!  All together, I enjoy living here, but my favorite feature of this city, is by far, the cute little downtown area–renovated and renewed, with a 1950’s flair, complete with plenty of restaurants, little shops and the famous courthouse square at the city center, where there is no shortage of free concerts and dancing throughout the summer.  My kind of downtown.

Although there is far more to downtown Redwood City, this is a little review has to offer, these are the places I’ve experienced personally with my friends & family so far.  I’ve actually been working on this post for awhile, adding things as I experience them, but it now seems like its too long to publish (a sure sign to hit the “post” button and just let it ride).


Mexquite – $$. Two Thumbs Up.  Texmex, with a kick-back cafe/bar atmosphere.  Great outdoor and indoor dining.  They serve two specialty salsas with their chips–the green one is amazing! This was the first restaurant I enjoyed in Redwood City, right after I signed the lease on my apartment.  Then–because it was the only restaurant I knew–I had lunch there again with Tim, Debra & our friend Steve after they helped me move in.

La Victoria Taqueria – $. High five.  Really simple atmosphere, but pretty good food!  The quesadilla was especially delectable–perfectly crispy on the outside with lots of goodies inside.  I enjoyed dinner here with my little brother, David–who happens to be one of my favorite people to explore new food with because he’s willing to walk into a place that looks a little crappy & plain on the outside, knowing that it could still be a foodie treasure!  It was a classic summer evening in downtown Redwood City –we sat on the sidewalk and listened to a free jazz concert that happened to be playing on the street that night.

Milagros Cantina –$$. Two Thumbs Up. Great patio! Really good fajitas and fresh guacamole.  Yummy non-alcoholic fizzy drinks.  Enjoyed this restaurant with Mom during my first week in town!

OK…at this point I realize that it’s obvious that I love Mexican food–but in my defense, every other restaurant downtown is MEXICAN (believe it or not, there are still several more that have been recommended to me as “musts”).  Although I’ve yet to try the Thai, Mediterranean, Indian & El Salvadorian restaurants I’ve been eying…I have ventured into a bit of good ole fashioned American cuisine…

City Pub -$-$$. High Five. Nice atmosphere, especially the outdoor sidewalk seating.  Really good food, but really BAD sangria.  😦   I enjoyed this spot with my Mom, Kristin & Becky (Kristin’s Mom).  It was such a fun afternoon–mainly because my Mom was visiting and she got to meet Becky.

Angelica’s Bistro–$$ Two Thumbs Up. A large restaurant/bar with live music inside and out on most evenings (although we just missed the indoors performer).  Open late.  The atmosphere is relaxed, and old New Orleans style, with comfortable seating on the patio as well.  The menu is reasonable, with a decent variety of options.  Everything I’ve tried here has been delicious, and dare I say excellent  –for what I would expect to be just an average bistro.  (I’ve enjoyed dinner here twice–once with April & Barbara and once with Kristy & Heather).   Probably my favorite place in Redwood City to date.


Up until the weekend before last, I had thoroughly explored the majority of Redwood City–but it was all by day. And as we all know, when the sun goes down, everything changes.  So you can imagine my excitement when Kristy & Heather stopped to stay at my place last Friday.  I mean, it was exciting to see friends…but it was TRULY EXCITING to have the perfect sidekicks for exploring whatever the downtown nightlife has to offer!

Underground Pub–$.  High Five. Two for $1 Jello Shots (no joke)–but that’s not why it gets a High Five. Somewhat of a dive.  A cheap place to hang out with friends, pool table &  a few tables outside. But here’s the real storythis place seemed to be a Redwood City mainstay from my limited glances from the street during twighlight hours. (I passed by this place quite a bit on my walks home as the sun was setting, thinking that it looked like a nice chill place to hang out in the evenings–if only I had friends).  So of course, when Heather & Kristy arrived, it was the first place I wanted to check out after dinner. As we walked over I explained that this seemed to be a place where cool, “normal” people our age hang out. And then we arrived at what turned out to be a total freak show!  Literally.  We walked up to find nearly everyone dressed in scary costumes.  Of course, we were still curious, so we entered cautiously and a friendly “dead guy” introduced himself and then proceeded to explain that everyone at the bar that night was from a local Aduls Kick Ball team and they were having their End of Season Bash/Costume Party.  Since when is there Kick Ball for adults??..and since when does a Kick Ball team have end of year costume bashes??! I was amused to say the least, but we were only here for about 10 minutes and decided to move on to look for a good margarita somewhere else.

Tequila Lounge: $-$$. High Five. Good margaritas. This dance club plays almost exclusively Latin beats–both traditional and pop.  A very jovial and safe atmosphere.  All generations of Latinos packed this place out, which was cool to see–but we stuck out like soar thumbs as the only three gringas in the place!

Red Lantern: High Five. We didn’t even order anything.  We just wanted to dance.  As matter of fact, we were on our way home, but then we got lured in by the music (and the guy at the door). Lots of Latin beats interrupted by a few pop favorites for the three random white girls on the dance floor, but still a fun place.  🙂


Yes, there is a separate category for Yogurt because I come from the land of Yogurt Creations, where the semi-healthy dessert option is plentiful, cheap, and addictive! Looking for a match in Redwood City, but I still haven’t found what I’m lookin’ for.

Yumi Yogurt: $$$$. High Five.  This yogurt is, in fact, very “yumi”, but it is also quite pricey! $3.75 for a child size!  Either I’m getting cheap in my old age, or this is simply outrageous!  Of course, my perspective was changed when Linette joined me the other day and suggested we share a small.  A small size is $4, but extremely generous portion.  This has revolutionized my view of Yumi Yogurt…instead of seeming ridiculously expensive, I just need to go with a buddy who will share. 🙂


Walking: ($). Hands Down.  This is the best form of transportation when it comes to downtown Redwood City–especially because I live so close.  🙂

Driving/Parking: $. High Five.  With the first few hours free in the parking structure and then only .50 cents an hour after that, it’s really not that bad to drive–other than the carbon print factor of course.

Biking: ($). Two Thumbs Up.  Great way to get around fast, but only recommended for daytime.  Plus it’s only possible when I’m solo, since my friends don’t come with bikes.



(not all will be used in this review, but for future reference)…


Hands Down (the Best)

Two Thumbs Up (Great/Really Good)

High Five (Good/Not Bad)

Crap (obviously, not good)

Price Point:

$$$$ Uber Expensive (a good option if I have a wealthy date)

$$$ Pricey (only go on occasion)

$$ Reasonable (most places under $20)

$ Cheap (difficult to make it on your own for any cheaper)

($) So cheap, you don’t even have to spend any money.



  1. as i mentioned in this post, i feel it my duty to make a few corrections:
    1. adult kickball has been around for YEARS. i used to play in LA. and we had end of the year costume parties. it was awesome. i suggest you join.
    2. there was an order at the red lantern: heather and i did a shot of tequila there while you were dancing with francisco. ha ha ha.
    great review! love it. xo

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