Pizza Antica, Santana Row San Jose, Lafayette, Mill Valley
The original Pizza Antica at San Jose’s Santana Row has been a huge draw since it opened its doors in 2003. Even in the midst of a pandemic, with only takeout and outdoor dining on the Row available, it remains ever popular.
When I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant last week, I found the takeout system easy as can be. There’s plenty of parking at Santana Row these days, so once you find a spot, just walk to the restaurant’s front doors to pick up your to-go food that you can order ahead of time online.
You can never go wrong with pizza here. The thin yet pliable crusts sport those lovely charred leopard spots from the oven. The Margherita ($17) is a solid, classic rendition with sweet tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil leaves on a crust with a noticeable yeasty, developed flavor.
Two years ago, the original Pasta Armellino opened to great anticipation in downtown Saratoga. After all, who wouldn’t be excited about the Michelin-starred chef of the Plumed Horse (right across the street) plying his skills on hand-made pastas at moderate prices?
That casual eatery has done so well that last month, a second Pasta Armellino appeared on the scene at Main Street Cupertino, albeit much more quietly. Then again, it’s not easy for a new business to muster blustery fanfare during a pandemic.
Yet if you are a pasta lover like I am, you should be rejoicing mightily. Because these are supple, toothsome pasta dishes that will surely leave you giddy from the first forkful.
On first reflection, you might not think that beef bourguignon and chicken with egg noodles in a lavish cream sauce would be what you really want to dig into on a warm summer evening.
But these French classics, done so right at Zola in downtown Palo Alto, end up not necessarily feeling heavy and rich, but downright as comforting as a hug. And in this time of upheaval, who wouldn’t want to be enveloped in that kind of contentment?
Zola only offers its to-go food on Fridays and Saturdays. The week’s menu is usually posted on Wednesday (sometimes on Tuesday), so you can start reserving your picks then. The earlier the better, too, because some items sell out fast.
While most other restaurants provide the food warm with instructions to reheat a few seconds in the microwave when you get home, Zola actually goes the heat-and-eat route, meaning everything is refrigerated, and you need to heat it to enjoy it.