Shabuway Restaurant Review, San Mateo



145 E. 3rd Ave (@South San Mateo dr.)

San Mateo, CA 94401

(650) 544-2483

Shabuway Website

Shabuway San Mateo Front

Shabuway is a Japanese hot pot restaurant in San Mateo that opened in 2004.  They also have a location in Mountain View, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Union City. You cook vegetables and thinly sliced beef at your table in a your own boiling pot of watery broth. Shabuway does not take reservations and insists all folks are present when names are called. Our last visit was in 2016, where we get a sense that the business changed hands.

Shabuway San Mateo Inside

Shabuway’s decor is stylish and modern with LCD TVs on the wall. The small restaurant has 3 tables and counter seating. The place used to be very busy and had long waits last year, but has gotten better lately.  You get served quickly and can cook fast, so turnover is fairly rapid. They do have other items on the menu, but the draw is the shabu shabu.

Shabuway Menu pics (Click to zoom in on any picture)

Shabuway San Mateo menu

Shabuway’s menu has few options with a choice of 2 kinds of broth, lean or regular beef, regular or large size.  Non beef options are a vegetable shabu shabu. ($12.99) Shabuway occasionally adds special meat options to the menu.  They have also had all you can eat specials for certain months. ($26.99 – $27.99)

Shabuway Website menu

Shabuway full image set

Shabuway Food Picks:

Shabuway San Mateo Beef

Regular Beef

Shabuway San Mateo Vegetables

Nappa Cabbage, Spinach, Carrots, Enoki Mushrooms, and Tofu

Shabuway San Mateo 15

Hot Pot in action

Shabuway San Mateo Lean Beef

Lean Beef

Shabuway San Mateo 2

Cooked Beef after dipping for 30 seconds

Shabuway San Mateo 21

2 Kinds of Dipping Sauce – Gomadare and Ponzu

Shabuway San Mateo Noodles

Udon Noodles

Shabuway Angus Beef Shabu Shabu ($16.49 regular size) with comes with tofu, nappa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, thinly sliced beef, rice, and 2 dipping sauces. The meat is good, has some angus taste, and comes in surprisingly good quantity. You can order extra meat if desired. You can choose from regular Seaweed broth, Spicy Miso broth, or half/half.

Lamb and Angus Beef ($17.49 regular size) mixed it up a little bit.  The lamb was a bit bland but not gamey.

American Kobe Style has beautiful marbling and but lacked the Angus-like after taste of the Original.

You can also get lean beef, but it simply doesn’t taste as good. Get it only if you are on a diet.

The easiest way to cook is to toss in all the veggies, some spices, then when it all starts to boil, cook the beef. Dipping the meat in the boiling broth for 15 to 30 seconds is all it takes. It is easy to overeat shabu shabu, with these bite size chunks.  Hard core folks drink the leftover broth.

Purebred Berkshire Kurobuta Pork was a bit bland and on the fatty side.


Service was fair on our last visit. They did not have enough staff so we had to literally chase them down.

If you are interested in Japanese hot pot, be sure to check out Shabuway.  It is not cheap, but the delicious meat keeps them coming back.  Avoid the lines, come either early or late. It takes only about 45 minutes for a meal, so the wait moves fast. Their dessert menu is limited to mochi ice cream, so hit Baskin Robins next door, or the desert places across the street instead.

Shabuway Hot pot Shabu Shabu is fun way to eat, and great for groups. Order a little first and then add more if you have the room. It is easy to overeat when chowing on small bites at a time, so eat slowly. Don’t forget to drink the leftover soup when you’re done cooking.

Around the corner is Chinese oriented Little Sheep Mongolia Hot Pot. Boiling Point opened in 2016 a couple blocks away, but their style is very different. Hot Pot restaurants in Beijing are interesting in their diversity.  Kid’s menu available. ($4.99 lunch, $5.99 dinner)

Also At:

5120 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 668-6080

180 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 961-8880

4306 Moor Park Ave
San Jose, CA, 95129

34308 Alvarado-Niles Rd
Union City, CA 94587

Restaurant Map:

Shabuway Overall Rating: (Good 2)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Good)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine, Sake
Hours:Mon-Fri 1130am-2pm, 530pm-10pm. Sa/Su Noon-3pm. Sa 530pm-10pm. Su 530pm-9pm.

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