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What you can eat for $20.00 or less

A friend suggested I write about what $20.00 can buy for dinner at restaurants in the Bay Area. I've chosen four restaurants (plus 1) where I've recently dined and here they are......


One of the main draws for dining at Applebee's is their 2 for $20.00 menu which includes two entrées and an appetizer. There are at least 8 entrée choices including a riblet basket, bacon double cheeseburger, fiesta lime chicken, three cheese penne pasta, sirloin steak, two kinds of salads and the double crunch shrimp seen above. The appetizer selections include mozzarella sticks, buffalo chicken wings (or honey chicken wings), spinach and artichoke dip and crunchy onion rings. What I like at Applebee's is that it is easy to ask the staff to substitute vegies with rice or mashed potatoes or french fries. Nothing's too difficult to please you. And they don't skimp on the plate of food they give you. I always go home with leftovers. http://www.applebees.com/


The next restaurant is Shiki's Bistro and they have four branches in the Bay Area. You can choose an entrée, a dinner combo or a sushi and sashimi dinner, all served with miso soup, salad and rice except for the latter which is served over sushi rice. I like saba (mackerel) so I usually order the dinner combo with saba and chicken teriyaki or salmon with tempura. There are quite a few combinations starting at $16.95. The San Carlos location opened recently and it has a nice ambience with modern minimalist decor.  http://www.shikirestaurants.com/


I was introduced to So Gong Dong Tofu House only recently and I still have not tried the tofu dishes on their menu. Why? Because they serve bibimbap (their menu calls this popular Korean dish, bibimBob), one of my favorites. It's served sizzling hot so the rice at the bottom of the stoneware dish is literally toasting. On top of the rice is a colorful and healthy array of vegetables and choice of meats. At the center of the dish is the egg yolk. Mix together or eat separately, there's plenty to chow down.  Plus you get six side dishes like kimchi, rice noodles, pickled cucumber, potatoes, and two bowls of vegetables. About $12.50. Address is 4127 El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

What I crave at Pasta Pomodoro is their Ravioli di Zucca or butternut squash ravioli with "parmesan, brown butter, sage and crumbled amaretti", this according to the menu. I eat each ravioli slowly to savor the sweet roasted butternut.  The small plate is $6.75 and quite filling when eaten with broiled garlic bread with arrabiata sauce (request a mild sauce if you please as arrabiata is spicy). The large plate is $10.50. A cup of tortellini soup is $4.50 and the bread is $2.75.  http://www.pastapomodoro.com/

Bon appetit!

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* I like Ozuma Japanese Restaurant in San Carlos. I've been eating there for years and the food is good and the prices quite reasonable. A bento dinner starts at around $12.00.

Images by Charie

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