Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA

 Dining at Navio is a real luxurious experience.

You are treated as royalty the moment you step in (drove into) the dreamy estate by the stunning California coastline. Service was impeccable yet effortlessly featherlight. There were no hint of stuffiness or unnecessary formalities. I felt right at home and delightfully relaxed. Service like this is not coincidence.

Food was wonderful. Seafood is their specialty and something they really excel. Although I have heard many praises for their meat dish that I have yet to try.

I really couldn’t believe I have paid way more at many restaurants in the city for service less than half as good. Navio is a wonderful place for special occasion celebration. Just make sure you come here early enough to enjoy the killer half moon bay sunset at their dining room.

Tres Potrillos Taqueria, Sunnyvale, CA

Tres Potrillos is a no frills joint serving gratifying Mexican food. It’s not the cleanest nor the cheapest restaurant. Don’t come here expecting a healthy or light meal either.

With that said, if you are a hungry soul looking for a tasty fulfilling meal, you will not be disappointed.

Their fish tacos were awesome and so were anything with lengua and carnitas. Seats could be hard to come by during lunch hour even on the weekends.

Taichi Pot Taiwanese Mala Shabu Shabu, Santa Clara, CA

The name Taichi might mislead you into thinking it is a Chinese/Taiwanese/Cantonese hot pot shop but dinner here is more similar to typical Japanese Shabu Shabu. You won’t be dumping a million things in random order to your hotpot. Your meal would consist of a generous bowl of vegetable, a plate of meat of your choice, and either vermicelli or rice on the side.

The main thing that set them apart from other shabu shabu joint is the choice of broth. They offer a pretty decent Chinese style spicy mala broth rather than simple Japanese soya or clear broth. You will also find satay sauce instead of the standard sesame sauce. Consider this a Chinese+Japanese hybrid restaurant.

Quality of the meat was good. Angus beef, lamb and pork were all fresh and tender. Other fixing such as dumplings and noodles were quite good as well.

Service was a bit slow at times but enthusiastic.

Ming Tasty, Sunnyvale, CA

Ming Tasty is a decent restaurant…provided that you really like authentic Cantonese food. Their menu is very extensive and I do not believe they excel in everything they offer. Your best bet is to sticky with traditional Cantonese dishes and not wander too far off.

You can’t go wrong with their porridge, as well as many of their self proclaimed ‘specialty dishes’. Clay pot rice is wonderful but many of their stir fried and noodle were just average. Dim sum was fine but do not even attempt to get any of their western dishes. You have been warned.

When in doubt, ask the waitstaff. If they are not too busy selling you their pre-fix menu they could give good recommendation.

If you are a Cantonese food novice this is not a good starter place. Your mileage will really varies.

Nomad Tibetan Restaurant, Berkeley, CA

Tasty food at a bargain price.

Perhaps it was our lucky strike, our group picked 6 items from their menu and most of them turned out more than wonderful. The momo was really good. We did half and half with beef and pork and loved every bite of both. Pan Fried Basa Fish was great as long as you don’t mind something sweet and sour. Fried Eggplant appetizer really hit the spot. I really like their vegetable sauce toppings. Do not miss the Shabbaley if you like Chinese style pancakes or pan fried dumplings. The filling was really juicy. The only thing that seemed a bit odd is the Tibetan tea. I really did not expect that to be so savory.

Service was friendly and attentive. They were a tad slow at settling our bill but other than that I have no complaints.