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San Jose eats


wcmckinney
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Some of us from North Carolina are making an expedition to San Jose for a conference next week. Could some of you with more experience there than we here in the Old North State clue us in to INTERESTING places to eat, or places to eat that are very reflective of greater San Jose?

thanks very much.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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Metroactive San Jose is where I start when I visit this part of California ..

and the thread here on Manresa which is in nearby Los Gatos makes for some interesting reading as well ....The Manresa Thread

Shortly, we'll probably hear from tanabutler who lives nearby, a highly reliabe and trustworthy source of info on all things in this area!! :biggrin:

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Some of the better dining experiences will be found in the suburbs, and not in downtown San Jose proper. I'll start with downtown, and branch out to the suburbs:

Emile's is always excellent, but not overly creative, IMO. A.P. Stumps is very good, but expensive. Grill on the Alley in the Fairmont Hotel is great for steaks, as is Blakes. There is a new McCormick & Schmick's in the Fairmont as well that is OK. Original Joe's is a fun experience and offers up HUGE portions in a comfortable atmosphere. For more upscale italian, I recommend Il Fornaio in the Sainte Claire Hotel or La Pastaia in the De Anza Hotel.

If you're a foodie, journey south about 20 minutes to Los Gatos and experience chef David Kinch's Manresa. It is a true gastronomic find. Be warned...VERY expensive, but worth experiencing (check out the thread on this board). Also in Los Gatos, Forbes Mill Steakhouse (the name says it all), Steamer's (great bar scene and consistent seafood...stay away from the steaks...not the best), Los Gatos Brewing Co. (same chef as A.P. Stumps).

4 miles north of Los Gatos lies the village of Saratoga, where you'll find Restaurant Sent Sovi, formerly owned by Manresa's David Kinch. Although not on the same caliber as when Kinch had it, it is excellent and creative. Another "old stanby" in Saratoga is the Plumed Horse. The menu is on the less-creative side, but it is a nice white tablecloth restaurant with a great wine list. Further up Saratoga Avenue towards San Jose is Le Pappilon which consistently gets high marks. They feature some wild game along with the standard "continental" fare. If you want to take a bit of a drive, their sister restaurant, La Foret on Bertram Road is consistently voted the most romantic restaurant in the South Bay, and the food is very good, if a bit stodgy.

Hope this list is helpful. Please post any questions if you'd like further information on anything I've mentioned.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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eGullet's very own Shneier has a Restaurant Guide for San Jose, a really excellent piece of work.

Here are some of my own random suggestions, DEFINITELY not a complete list:

Money no object:

Manresa Retaurant, Los Gatos. For really "upscale" dining experience in the South Bay area, this is your only choice I think.

Expensive:

* Bradly Ogden's Parcel 104 in Santa Clara. This is inside the Marriott Hotel. Can sometimes be really good, though a bit expensive for its worth.

* Turmerik, Sunnyvale. Indian

* Amber India, Mountain View

Moderate:

* DishDash , Sunnyvale. "Mediterranean Cuisine".

* Mayflower, Milpitas. Chinese. Dimsums are pretty good.

* Dasaprakash, Santa Clara. Under-appreciated, but really good South Indian food. Try the "Masala Dosa" (as mongo_jones says, Crepes are nothing but "French Dosas" :>), or the South Indian Thali.

Cheap Cheap Cheap:

* Vietnamese Sandwiches ("Banh Mi" ) at Lee's Sandwiches, 2-3 branches in San Jose

* Chez Sovan, two branches, Cambodian

* Shahnawaz, Milpitas -- Try the goat meat biriyani if available. Or other tandoori meats.

* Plenty of strip malls with Vietnamese restaurants. Some of them are real good.

* Take out kebabs from Rose Market, Mountain View.

* Taqueria Los Charros, Mountain View. Tacos pretty good. So are the Quesadillas.

* Dont forget the In-n-Out Burgers. Multiple locations.

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Go to Manresa. Just go. Just do it. If money's an object, sit on the patio and have tapas, which range from $3-$12 (in my opinion, the cheese course is not worth the price, but the rabbit is slobberworthy, as is the ham...my God, the ham). Tell Chef Kinch you are an eGulleteer.

How long will you be in town? What's your timeframe?

More in a bit.

Meanwhile: dinner al fresco at Manresa.

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Also great Afghani food out here; one of my favorites is "Afghani House" on the border of Sunnyvale/Santa Clara on El Camino Real...

Delicious kebabs, pumpkin dishes, noodle dishes; truly excellent.

edited to add: another vote for Chez Sovan; I've been to the Campbell location many times and the food was interesting and good

If you like coffee; you should find a Peet's Coffee (started in Berkeley) and only recently expanded out of the Bay area.Peet's in San Jose

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I'm an SJSU alum too; my favorite cheap eats had to be Tacos al Pastor on North Bascom Avenue (the taco al pastor was seminal) as well as Falafel's Drive-In joint on Stevens Creek Blvd - please correct me if I'm wrong on locations.

I remember going to Chez Sovan over 10 years ago and couldn't get anyone to join me! It was really good back then.

There was also a great dim sum palace called Ocean Harbor in Town and Country village - is it in existence any longer?

And from the moment Il Fornaio opened it was where I bought my breads. Love the breakfasts there, baskets of toasts and pretty good cappucinos.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Whatever you do, don't go to Straits Cafe. I was dragged there by some colleagues last week and found the meal really awful. Everything was far too sweet and sloppily done, and I'm not referring to the desserts here. The desserts, save the banana frites, were simply bizarre.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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There was also a great dim sum palace called Ocean Harbor in Town and Country village - is it in existence any longer?

Ocean Harbor, along with the entire Town & Country Village is gone...replaced by upscale Santana Row. This is where Straits Cafe is located (the one Pim warned about) along with many other upscale chain-type restaurants. You might want to check it out, Santana Row, but I would find it hard to recommend any restaurant in there.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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At the farmers market here on Saturday, we met an entire family from southern India. The father is an engineer at Borland, living in Santa Cruz. He acknowledged the utter dearth of decent Indian food in Santa Cruz (our only Indian restaurant, Royal Taj, is long past its prime).

He goes over the hill to one of three places for good Southern Indian food:

Pasand

Dasaprakash

Saravana Bhavan

1305 S. Mary Ave.

Sunnyvale, CA 94087

They are vegetarians.

I wish they'd open a restaurant.

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Actually I didn't find Santana Row to be all that bad. There are definitely a lot of restaurants that I'd like to try out on a second visit -- the stores are another matter -- too rich for my blood. :)

My recommendation would be to check out Pizza Antica in Santana Row. Its co-owned by Gordon Drysdale, formerly of Gordon's House of Fine Eats in SF. The pizza is thin crispy crust, quite delicious. And if its the right season, they supposedly serve some of the best pork tenderloin I've ever had (I had it at GHFE).

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  • 1 month later...

Somebody mentioned Orginal Joe's, good gawd, why whould anybody reccomend that in a foodie forum, heh. Yes, it's very historical but the food is sub-par at best imho.

Isaac Bentley

Without the culinary arts, the crudeness of the world would be unbearable. - Kate & Leopold

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Somebody mentioned Orginal Joe's, good gawd, why whould anybody reccomend that in a foodie forum, heh. Yes, it's very historical but the food is sub-par at best imho.

Not knowing the North Carolinians' tastes, I wanted to suggest places that covered all bases. My mention of OJ's wasn't particularly an endorsement; rather just a mention of an old-time downtown establishment that might be a fun representation of a bygone era. I agree the food is not gourmet, and on some occasions barely passable. Since they were in town a few weeks ago, I am hoping wcmckinney will post on where they dined.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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I ate there last year, and that's why I strongly recommend skipping it. You'd have more fun at a funeral parlor, and the denizens would be younger, too. :shock:

:wink:

Second the rec for Santana Row. The Mexican place is supposed to be fantastic.

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Hey, Folks...not to rain on anybody's parade, but Mr. McKinney and his associates were in San Jose in late June...I think further suggestions of where to eat are a bit futile at this point...Just my opinion!

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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One of the unique things about SJ is the abundance of ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese. The interesting places are located in large Asian grocery similar to Safeway but strictly Asian foods. Grand Century mall and LION market at Tully Rd. Those two places should give you pretty good idea and experience of the Asian food scenes. Check the archives for various places at these malls. For example dish like the grilled boneless tumeric flavored fish on top of a bed of dill, the whole thing is put on a hotplate is outstanding and cheap, large portion. This is authentic Vietnames dish (bun cha) seldom seen elsewhere. This is at the Grand Century mall to the left of the entrance and the second restaurant (Pho Tenh Long) on your left. At the Tully rd location there is a good sized food court that looks like a scene taken out of an authentic food court in Southeast Asia. Lots of choices and cheap. These places are great and offers authentic food that taste great although the place is not upscale looking. Also visit one of the stores that sells all kinds of vietnamese goodies and pickup some interesting things there like the mentioned banh mi's at Lee (also available near the LION market location in Tully). As for chinese, visit the slightly upscale Mayflower for HK style dim sum during the lunchtime located in the Ranch 99 market complex in Milpitas (Barber Ln). Also, don't forget to have a pho soup that you can find at many of these places !

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One of the unique things about SJ is the abundance of ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese.

It is actually one of the true glories about SJ and the South Bay. The quality is outstanding in all of these markets and best of all, a vibrant community that supports it. Cantonese Delight has wonderful dim sum near the Whole Foods on Stevens Creek and de Anza in Cupertino...

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