- Beside Sky Nail Spa
- Near Ale Arsenal
- Near Animal Dental Clinic
The Refuge San Carlos with The Greatest Pastrami on the Planet
What is the Refuge San Carlos?
“You could be a hardcore New Yorker [and] nothing is gonna prepare you for that (pastrami).” -Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, 2013)
The Refuge thrives in the quiet, unassuming towns of San Carlos, CA, Menlo Park, CA and San Mateo, CA where the hand-carved, ultra tender, boldly flavored navel pastrami sends shockwaves throughout the gastronomic consciousness of patrons who call it “the greatest this planet will see in some time.”
If that wasn’t enough, the REFUGE boasts the world’s best Belgian and Craft Beer on draught (18 in San Carlos, 24 in Menlo Park and 24 in San Mateo) in the Bay Area, with many more by bottle.
Since 2008, the REFUGE has been providing protection for many East Coast street food classics. But wait, just for good measure, we grind our own blend of hamburger on a daily basis as well as procure our own Ribeye Blend for our Authentic Cheese Steaks.
Not to mention, we also offer honest Old World wine, dazzling salads and eclectic appetizers, and an owner and staff crazy (and skilled) enough to pull it all off. Casual connoisseurs unite! This place is the real deal. Whether it’s a quick lunch or a raging evening, the REFUGE experience is unlike any other place at any one time.
The originality and pathos are immediately apparent. We care about every detail, and it means a lot to us when the REFUGE is chosen to spend a piece of precious time.
Vicki S. | Yelp
Refuge has the BEST pastrami in the Bay Area and such an amazing selection of beer! I don’t say that lightly! The managers are beer experts and are always excited and willing to help you choose a beer to go with your meal. Goofy fries are a must and if you’re feeling something a little lighter, the pastrami shopped salad is perfection!
Kay D. | Yelp
This place was delicious! I am obsessed with the short rib nachos and the chili de arbol cheesesteak was something I’ve never had and it was so flavorful and delicious. Definitely worth the drive from Hayward. The staff was also so friendly and attentive and just and all around great vibe.
Jack R. | Yelp
Okay, okay, okay, you’re going to ask me how in the world I can compare this pastrami to Katz Deli in New York, but here we go…. I was expecting a mediocre sandwich, after all everyone including my own grandma can cook pastrami, but when I took a bite of this pastrami sandwich my tastebuds were hit with a “wow” punch.
This pastrami sandwich was expensive and hyped up, but man, did it pack that Tyson Fury punch of goodness. A blend of fat, spices, and lean meat all at once. This sandwich was a knock out and we’ll worth it. It reminded me of those great New York delis like Katz that I tried and loved during my travels.
The fries were hot, the service was on point and that bread pudding was legit 5 stars delicious. This place literally won me over.
Lara C. | Yelp
I’ve always been a fan of world-class pastrami, so when I got a craving, I plugged “pastrami” into the Yelp app, and it led me straight to The Refuge!
I rounded up one of my friends, and we made a date to meet there for lunch. Arriving just as they opened, we pretty much had our choice multiple tables in either their indoor or outdoor seating areas. We opted for an outdoor table, got some menus and deliberated for a bit.
Here’s what I got: Pastrami Reuben – Pastrami, sauerkraut, melted swiss, Russian dressing, on toasted rye. I took one bite and I knew we had come to the right place – the Reuben’s here are made using the best pastrami to be found West of the Hudson River!
Peppered to perfection without overdoing it and full of flavor, The Refuge’s pastrami is unquestionably world-class. Served on New York rye that’s golden brown and perfectly toasted, a single bite made me blissfully happy! Garlic Fries – One of three types of fries available at the Refuge (the other two being “Goofy” and regular fries; the former are garlic fries with chunks of Pastrami mixed in). They are perfectly cooked to a light golden brown and medium cut, served at the optimal level of crunchiness.
It turned out that The Refuge not only has amazing pastrami, they also have lots of great beers on top – they even have multiple Belgian-style ales! I ordered one of the latter and sipped it while waiting for our lunch; I got another to keep my sandwich company after it arrived 😉
After a delicious and delightfully relaxing meal, I asked our helpful and unobtrusively attentive server for the check, paid it and went away a VERY happy camper. If world-class Pastrami and/or Belgian Beers are what you’re craving, then you can’t possible go wrong with a visit to The Refuge!
Dynaton T. | Yelp
Amazing Reuben sandwich. I would definitely say its comparable to the infamous Katz Deli Reuben in New York City. 5/5 for Reuben Sandwich Their tomato bisque was also amazing. Definitely recommend the soup and sandwich combo with the two items above. U will not be disappointed. 5/5 for tomato bisque. They also have a huge variety of beers and wine. Highly recommend this place for San Carlos.
Lessie J. | Yelp
Went here with kids because I wanted pastrami, a la NYC style. Ended up not even ordering the pastrami sandwich. Go figure. Actually was not that hungry. It was a mind craving not a stomach craving.
Instead, got the philly cheesesteak with grilled onions. a pastrami chopped salad (I never ever order salad as a meal. This show how really NOT hungry I was but had to feed the kids.) and goofy fries. Figured I’m getting the pastrami in the salad and fries.
As the waiter explained, the pastrami was moist and good. Now, I’m a bit biased as I hold NYC’s Katz’s deli pastrami as the gold standard and that’s pretty hard to beat. Refuge’s pastrami was close enough just by the virtue of the fact that it was tender and moist (chopped up). Regardless, the cheesesteak was also moist and chewy in the right way. The bread was right as well! Typically the bread makes or breaks the philly cheesesteak. The ‘refuge cheese sauce’ in the goofy fries was excellent.
The salad with the chopped up pastrami bits (i assume they use the end bits) was as good as any salad goes, but it was the dessert that makes it addictive. I like bread pudding and when I see it I almost always order it. It one of the ways I judge restaurants. If they have it on the menu, then they better do it well, or else! It was phenomenal! It was spectacular!
Remember I said i was not hungry when I went? Well, by the end of the meal the food was poking out of my throat, but I just had to order the bread pudding. My pan was just have a couple of bites and call it a night, but I just had to keep taking more bites. It was that good. Kudos to the chef and team at Refuge!
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