Foreigner Cafe (San Mateo, CA) – It can be hard finding a place to meet up with friends when everyone lives in different parts of the Bay Area. We eventually settled on meeting on the peninsula, and I thought of Foreigner Cafe as a brunch spot for us to gather. I first came across it on Instagram when I saw a couple of food bloggers post their immune booster drink flight as part of their meal that had a matcha drink, a beet drink, a blue drink with spirulina, and turmeric milk.
We arrived at the cafe before noon. This was a few months prior to the pandemic and during the holidays, so downtown San Mateo was as busy as ever. It was so hard to find parking on the street! I’d recommend coming earlier than you think in order to find a spot – for some reason, I don’t remember seeing many parking lots or structures around either. Downtown has a bunch of shops, restaurants, and cafes and on a weekend it was most definitely busy.
I liked the eclectic vibe of the restaurant with it’s floral decor, intentionally mismatched chairs and the fun steampunk-esque clock wall! I was not expecting that at all when I walked in, so it was cool. They also had a small stage area for a band or a singer to come in and entertain while customers are enjoying their meal.
The restaurant has a quintessential brunch menu with open-faced sandwich toasts, larger sandwiches, and other small plates for breakfast and lunch. You walk in and order your meal, take your number and then find a seat. It was a bit challenging to find a seat because the space is so small and we didn’t want to sit outside because it was late December. Some hovering may be required to secure a table. Thankfully, this group of elderly men were leaving and saw that we were trying to get a place to sit so they offered their spot as they were walking out.
Because this was my first meal of the day, I didn’t drink any coffee yet in anticipation of getting one at the cafe. Though the drink flight looked pretty, I honestly prefer coffee over those drinks, so I stuck with my usual Vanilla Latte. Our drinks came shortly before our meal, so it was nice to have something to sip on while the three of us spent time catching up. They also have some signature drinks like a London Fog or a Dulce de Leche latte.
Though there were many great options on the menu, I didn’t want something too filling – mostly because I wanted to get boba afterwards, heh. I eventually settled on the Hummus Avocado toast, which had cherry tomatoes, cucumber, arugula, extra virgin jalapeño and cucumber olive oil on levain bread. This was a nice, fresh meal to eat that paired well with my coffee. The quality bread is what really takes this toast from decent to delicious.
As you can see below, my friend ordered their Smoked Salmon Toast with Avocado, which had a basil pesto aioli, dill yogurt, cucumbers, boiled egg, and cherry tomatoes on Levain bread. This sounded really good and I wish my toast had a little more flavor. I couldn’t order this because of the smoked salmon and egg (I wasn’t sure how cooked the egg would be for my dietary restrictions), so I had to pass.
Overall, it was a great experience! It was fun catching up in this cute little cafe and having an easy, pleasant brunch. I’d definitely come back to try some of the more decadent entrees on the menu, and because they’ve updated and changed their menu since I visited – likely because of the pandemic. As of this blog post, Foreigner Cafe is offering outdoor dining, pick up, and delivery.