New American Food Gets a Second Look

Bay Area foodie reviews Astaria

Even though it’s been all the rage during the last few years, I’ve never been a big fan of New American cuisine. Many of my experiences at New American restaurants have been disappointing and tinged with too much pretension, so I was a little apprehensive when I tried out Astaria in San Mateo’s downtown a while back.

Astaria was packed when I visited, and I took a seat at the bar while I waited for an open table. I ordered a plate of fried calamari to accompany my drink, and the calamari was delicious, with a light, crispy batter.

The calamari meat itself was cooked well and steered clear of the overly-chewy consistency that occurs all too often.

For my entree, I had the fresh spaghetti with wild gulf shrimp and porcini mushrooms.

Internet, this was so good! The pasta was perfectly cooked, the shrimp were big and juicy and the mushrooms lent just the right amount of earthy flavor to the creamy sauce.

My dining companions had the Spanish paella and the seafood cioppino and were just as pleased by their entrees as I was with mine.

Astaria can get pricey, but aren’t all New American restaurants expensive? Here, the price justified the quality and service. With one solid dish after another, it might be time for me to give New American cuisine a second chance.

Mariam Hosseini is a Bay Area native who has been writing about food and travel for six years.  She blogs regularly at

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