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Exotic Eats to Satisfy the Urge to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

By Carolyne Zinko | January 20, 2020 | Food & Drink

A trio of vibrant new eateries tantalizes palates eager for exotic fare.

TAM TAM

140 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650.322.8000, tamtamrestaurant.com

Sisters Tammy Huynh and Tanya Huynh Hartley of Palo Alto’s upscale restaurant have opened another, more casual eatery nearby. Spare decor is accented by Vietnamese artists’ wall art and a muted TV playing sports channels. Open for lunch and dinner, Tam Tam’s regional Vietnamese dishes incorporate California ingredients. Tom rin man (caramelized garlic prawns topped with a tangle of fried noodles), dau que xao (sauteed green beans with shiitake mushrooms) and desserts such as corn pavlova (egg white meringue with corn mousse and freeze-dried corn) are winners.

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TELEFÈRIC BARCELONA

885 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650. 321-0512, telefericbarcelona.com

Town & Country Village’s hip factor is off the charts with Telefèric Barcelona, the fourth by co-owner Xavi Padrosa (Barcelona, Miami and Walnut Creek). Designed by European design rm Tarruella Trenchs Studio, it’s a date-night hot spot in sand tones with pops of green and red, along with warm wicker light xtures and glass walls. The pulpo Telefèric (Galician grilled octopus), Iberico ham and paella de bogavante (paella with lobster and other seafood) go down easily with sangria Barceloneta (cava, rosemary lemonade and prickly pear juice). For the real Spanish experience, ask for your paella to be made the traditional way, with crispy browned rice on the bottom.

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MESO 3060

Olsen Drive, #50, San Jose, 408.800.0048, mesorestaurant.com

Santana Row’s new French-Mediterranean restaurant, with ingredients from local farms and seafood purveyors, is open for happy hour and dinner and led by executive chef Gregory Short (Masa’s, e French Laundry) and pastry chef Eva Wong ( e French Laundry). General Manager Santiago Gomez curates the cocktail list, while sommelier Serena Harkey focuses on California and Mediterranean wines. Cocktails such as rye and hibiscus, and mezcal and melon whet the appetite for hummus and smoked e plant appetizers, and entrees like harissa seared octopus, Meso roasted chicken and double lamb shank tagine.

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Photography by: Courtesy of Telefèric Barcelona; By Eugene Marchuk; Courtesy of Tam Tam Restaurant