La Lanterna Ristorante
La Lanterna Ristorante

La Lanterna Ristorante

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.lalanternasanmateo.com/#
  • Phone: 6503418877
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: M-Sa 11:30am-2:00pm
    Dinner: M-Su 5:00pm-9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Ramon Lopez
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Contact: Jennifer 6503418877

Getting there

  • Cross Street: El Camino Real
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from La Lanterna Ristorante
Open since 2001, La Lanterna is a family-owned business with Ramon Lopez as Executive Chef and Jennifer Villa-McGuffin service as manager. Prior to opening, Ramon and Jennifer were employed at various fine dining restaurants in the San Francisco Peninsula. With his own signature style, Chef Ramon has received numerous accolades and is honored to serve you at La Lanterna.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
La Lanterna Ristorante reviews from OpenTable diners
54 reviews since June 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (43)special occasion (23)good for groups (18)fit for foodies (14)great for lunch (14)romantic (10)kid-friendly (5)great for outdoor dining (5)great for brunch (4)late-night find (3)hot spot (2)notable wine list (2)Show More
  • Always Fantastic!
    zippyVIP
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Great for a special occasion, or a simple night out. We love this place! Each time we introduce new friends, the remarks are consistent...."will have to come back again...there so many things that look good." And they are all good! Never been disappointed by the food, and the service is exceptional - warm, friendly, and helpful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A trure italian experience!
    Rose
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    You will not be disappointed from the time you arrive to the end of your meal! The meal is a true Italian experience, yet is still creative and flexible enough to fit anyone's taste. ENJOY!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • missybabe
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    I love this restaurant. Their food is great and their desserts are awesome. Would return in a heart beat!!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Service!
    Sophie
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    Great dinner! Took 8 people for a birthday dinner and the service was EXCELLENT! Food was perfect!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Horrific. Avoid!!
    AlittlewhineVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    I have never written a review like this and I don't do so lightly. My wife and I had a horrific experience here Sat night. The server, Michelangelo, presented a bill which overcharged for drinks. Assuming it was an honest mistake, I brought it to his attention. Amazingly, he said, "No, the prices on the menu do not include the fee for making the drink. We charge extra for that" Having ordered a Negroni, a cocktail featured on the menu printed for that day and shown at $10, I assumed he was joking. He said, "No joke". "The manager makes us add extra charge. I cannot change." He was demanding a 20% overcharge. I assume this is systematic and he has been defrauding customers this way for some time. He started screaming. He had been drinking.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our second visit
    NMJohn
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The food was great and portion sizes just right. One of us had the chicken florentina and it was great. I had the penne with Italian sausage and the sausage was very tasty and authentic. Only issue was the service. It was crowded and they seemed understaffed
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice dinner experience
    lovediningoutVIP
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Decent sized neighborhood restaurant. Easy parking as it's a daytime type business street. Appealing menu choices and decent wine list. Caesar salad to start was large and very good. Diner was very good. I'll def. go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • otdinerVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Always a good meal with excellent service. We enjoy the relaxed environment and always feel welcome. Tonight we had the antipasti special; a nice variety, and the entrees - the special petrale dore; delicious and a healthy portion, the special lamb chop; very tender, and the calamari dore; cooked perfectly. We had a dessert trio that was also very tasty.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful local Italian gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Comfy booths & a subtle and sophisticated decor. Service is warm & efficient. The food is the most impressive thing. They make their own bread, which they use to make flavorful Bruscetta, and let's face it, not everyone does. Under "Insalates" is the Burrata Caprese. I love cheeses & this didn't disappoint. Burrata was fabulous with a wonderfully subtle favor and creamy interior. Used in a Caprese salad instead of a traditional mozzarella was ingenious. Rabbit wrapped in pancetta had a lovely sauce & portions were generous. Potato tart that came elevated a lowly potato to tasty new heights. We split the Three Petite, a beautiful presentation of three desserts, complete with spun sugar decoration atop. Wonderful food at a reasonable prices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Place for Lunch
    Ntlyn
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Our "Lunch Bunch" is a group of former high school friends, now in our seventies! There are six of us, and we take turns choosing a restaurant for lunch, once a month. This was my turn, and no one was disappointed. Several of us had eaten there before, I had been there for dinner, but never for lunch. Good food and very pleasant service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • NerkTwins
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The food was very good, the hostess was fine, but the service was a bit on the slow side. The waiter brought our appetizer plates but we waited about 10 minutes for the appetizer.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious
    RoseVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The food is wonderful. I sometimes judge a restaurant on how well they prepare vegetables. They're always cooked and seasoned perfectly here. I loved the rabbit and their awesome specials.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Quiet neighborhood ristorante
    Audsomefoodie
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    The food was tasty and authentic Italian. Three in our party felt that the fish was too heavy handed on the salt. But it was a nice quiet evening to chat and celebrate a birthday ... Too bad the restaurant did not help on celebrating with a special treat but guess that's not on their repertoire. Over good but not outstanding.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome
    RoseVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The food is great and service is excellent. Loved the rabbit and the dessert was delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Italian Food
    Raymond
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Perfect right from the start. We've tried several places around San Mateo, good Italian food is getting harder to find. Quick seating, quick, well coordinated service at the table. We went simple on the drinks, martini's. very good. Dinner was excellent, both of us very satisfied with the flavors, quality and quantity for the very fair prices. Will easily go back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Go To Place
    LouBVIP
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    My wife has MS so going out is a little hard. We celebrated her birthday at La Lanterna and they did their usual terrific job. Hector is very attentive and very friendly, as are the whole group.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • yummy and fresh
    kimmiekaeVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Yummy Tortolloni;wow. Very fresh and delightful pasta! Busboy and waiter very efficient and nice. We are return customers!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Patron
    EScotti
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Food was outstanding! We were pleasantly surprised by both the quality and quantity. It wasn't your typical "three bite" plate, and the flavors were excellent. We had the chicken parm and the cheese/spinach ravoli. The desert sampler was also extremely tasty. I would recommend to anyone-and for special occasions ask for a booth!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OnoliciousVIP
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    EVERYTHING WAS GREAT UNTIL THE GUITAR MUSIC STARTED. WE LIKE THIS RESTAURANT BECAUSE IT'S QUIET AND RELAXING, AND WE COULD HAVE A DECENT CONVERSATION AT THE DINNER TABLE; BUT WITH THE MUSIC, WE HAD TO SHOUT ACROSS THE TABLE (THERE WERE 6 OF US). WISH THEY WOULD DO AWAY WITH THE MUSIC.....
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Something changed....
    luvmywineVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We have eaten here 2 - 3 times in just the last few months and really enjoyed it. The food was good and the service was too. This time, the food was just "ok" and the service matched. We did notice there were not as many customers this time too.....was this just an off night? We will give it another try sometime, but not very soon.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Neighborhood gem
    SharVIP
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Always a treat to see a neighborhood restaurant doing well and La Lanterna is one of them. Food is consistently good. I opted to have a spinach salad and then an appetizer for my main course. Appetizer was toasted polenta with Parmesan cheese and garlic. It was excellent and a very large portion. Decor is so pleasing on the eye and food again was delicious.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Little bit of Italy
    Michael
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    La Lanterna is shinning beacon of Italy in San Mateo! This was my first visit to this Italian neighborhood gem. Food, service and atmosphere were excellent!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • La Lanterna
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    The food and service were excellent. Our server was very polite, unobtrusive, and the food came within a reasonable time--and was delicious.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Italian on the Penninsula
    FoodyVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    This small, well appointed restaurant has everything going for it, great, fresh food and good service. All the pasta is hand made and outstanding. What more can I say but to definitely dine here soon.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good for Groups
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Took great care of our large group. Were able to get us in and out in a short amount of time. Excellent turn around. Portions were good and manageable.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Decent food, cold ambience
    vitalmhVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    The food and service are decent with some dishes above average and some below. Service was fine, not stellar. Not sure we'll be back since the space is cavernous and feels cold even with a fair amount of people in it. The front wall is all windows facing nondescript stores on 25th Avenue. I'd suggest drapes which could be closed for dinner so it would feel more intimate. They could also divide up the space with half walls to create smaller dining areas rather than the one large room.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • otdinerVIP
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    We always enjoy this restaurant. The food is consistently good; the specials are always great, too. The staff is friendly and helpful. Tonight we had the special anti pasti plate, and as an entrée, the calamari dore and special swordfish. All were delicious and good portions.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • server was way rude!!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    Just one word good food, but young server should not be in this business! Expressing his self with foul language to his guests.....
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    Good service. The risotto is outstanding. Good price/quality relationship.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 25 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.2
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 100 reviews are from the La Lanterna Ristorante reviews archive.
  • Great food but lack of attention
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    Our reservation noted on Open Table that the dinner was to celebrate my wife's birthday and that she had an allergy to the entire onion "family". The allergy problem was mentioned to the waiter again while we were ordering; in fact, he acknowledged she could not have one of the items. Then when her food arrived it included chives all other her food! Never once did the waiter or anyone at the restaurant mention her birthday. This lack of attention is too bad since otherwise the food was tasty and they had a nice added touch of a person playing a guitar
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Have dined here many times over the years and have always been pleased with the experience. They have a private room in the back and we used it for a 90th birthday party for my mom a few years ago. Whether it is a party or small group for lunch or dinner, you can count on good food and professional and friendly service. A real gem in the neighborhood!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • JoJoVIP
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Very friendly and efficient wait staff. Excellent food and great special menu items.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very enjoyable evening!
    sallie
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Food was wonderful, service great. We were not rushed - could enjoy the evening and the delicious meal. Service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent dining continues
    Gourmet1VIP
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    Our most recent visit reinforced our feeling that this is one of the best restaurants on the peninsula for Italian food and for excellent service. The veal piccata was done perfectly as was the house-made-pasta dish. Service from Vito was perfection. Highly recommended. Bravo!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • La Lanterna Restaurant
    Joey
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    I've eaten here many times and food is always really good. Great veal dishes.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • otdinerVIP
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    As always, we enjoyed our dinner. This is a wonderful restaurant with great food and good service, although service can be slow at times. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed. I look forward to their specials, tonight I had swordfish with a delicious sauce, light and airy mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach. My husband enjoyed the calamari steak, one of his favorites, here.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, special occasion, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Birthdays!
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    I haven't been in in a while and celebrated 2 birthdays with friends, they surprised us with lovely desserts on beautifully decorated small plates, very sweet and much appreciated. The bread they serve is outstanding, we shared the polenta and pastry appetizer, both very good. The gnocchi was good, I would have preferred a gorgonzola sauce to the black truffle, but I enjoyed it. My friends had the sole and risotto and both were enjoyed. Good service and overall great celebration!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Impressive neighborhood restaurant
    luvmywineVIP
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    I really had no idea what to expect when we walked into La Lanterna. It is a small simple restaurant and only had a few people dining (we were early). Bottomline, the food was excellent and the restaurant promptly filled up by 6pm. I had their special of pesto rissoto with asparagas and scallops that was amazing. The atmosphere is comfortable and not too loud so you can hold a conversation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great neighborhood restaurant.
    snowmanVIP
    Dined on 3/27/2014
    Great neighborhood restaurant. It is so nice to have La Lanterna within walking distance of our house.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service was not great. We
    MissSFVIP
    Dined on 3/14/2014
    Service was not great. We had a table for 6. The first two in our party arrived 10 min ahead of our 7:15 reservation, and the rest of its at 7:20. After sitting, talking, reviewing the menu for another 10-15 min, we still had no bread or anyone else approach the table. I finally asked a busboy to send our server. The hostess-I assume-was standing near our table the whole time. Never made eye contact or checked in with us. Seemed very aloof--not the trait I would want in a hostess of a family style restaurant. Our server was perfectly fine once he tuned-in. Food was very good; fresh Italian bread; authentic pastas and sauces. Wine list could use some help on the white side.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic