One of the best-kept secrets for those who live in west Menlo Park is how pleasant it is to dine outside during the summer at Ladera Country Shopper on Alpine Road. The dining scene has evolved there over the past couple of years with a Lobster Shack opening in the space once occupied by a deli and the addition of Amigos Grill.
Earlier this year another restaurant, Mike’s Cafe, closed, promising a transformation in a space that had gotten tired and food that had gone from predictable to not-so-good. It re-opened a week ago as Portola Kitchen, and we decided to make a visit.
What’s the same: Still a great place to eat out-of-doors. There are both fans to move what can be hot summer air around and heaters to warm diners up, as needed.
The new menu features moderately-priced dining options, at least by mid-Peninsula standards. And the crowd continues to be a mix of families as well as locals, including those from the nearby Sequoias retirement complex.
What’s new: The interior is more modern and light. The open kitchen remains, but is more visible. And the menu offers rustic Italian food, with pizzas and for from run-of-the-mill pastas. Entrees include a variety of fish to fowl to red meat options.
Bottom line: it’s a welcome addition to west Menlo dining options.