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Silicon Valley


alanamoana
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I've recently relocated from New York City (NEW YORK CITY?!) to the lovely burbs of Silicon Valley. Cupertino to be exact.

My husband and I are very impressed with the quality of food available at inexpensive ethnic restaurants in the area.

As much as people tout New York as being a foodie's city, I've had better versions of many cuisines in unassuming strip malls here in the valley.

The only downside being...NO DELIVERY!!! Yes, we're spoiled New Yorkers!

Here are a couple of examples of where we've eaten:

"House of Falafel" - Stevens Creek Blvd

"Tandoori Cafe" - Stevens Creek Blvd

"Pho Hoa" - El Camino Real (chain)

"Fatima" - Islamic Chinese Food on S. DeAnza Blvd

and to be honest...Baja Fresh makes decent "Mexican" even for a chain...better than most in New York...this could easily start an argument.

So now I'm soliciting opinions and recommendations on restaurants in the area that serve good, tasty food for a reasonable price in the Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose area.

What are some of your favorites? I'm NOT talking about Manresa and the like...

Thanks in advance for your contributions :smile:

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Welcome to the area!

I can't say enough good things about Fiesta del Mar! We love this place so much, we drive to Mountain View from SF, just to eat here. Make sure you go to the one on Shoreline right off 101, not the one in downtown Mountain View. They're justly famous for their shrimp dishes -- Cam loves their Camarones Alex and the Camarones a la Diabla -- but I love them for their great margaritas and their unbattered chiles rellenos.

For burritos to go, head to La Costeña... keep heading to the back of the grocery store and through a door you'll find an amazing burrito shop. If the line's too long, they have an outpost up Rengstorff called Burrito Real, housed in an old fast-food restaurant. Same idea, a lot less character.

Hobee's used to be the place for brunch, but the last few times we've gone there, it's been terrible -and- unsanitary. We keep trying different locations hoping that it was a localized thing, but it appears to be chain-wide.

I've heard amazing things about Amber India on El Camino, though I have never been there personally. For Afghani food, we've had a couple of good meals at Kabul.

Down by Valley Fair Mall, there'sFalafel's Drive In on Stevens Creek (just the other side of 880, if memory serves) is great; not really worth a special drive to San Jose, but good food in an otherwise dead culinary zone.

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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So now I'm soliciting opinions and recommendations on restaurants in the area that serve good, tasty food for a reasonable price in the Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose area.

What are some of your favorites?  I'm NOT talking about Manresa and the like...

Thanks in advance for your contributions  :smile:

Hi Alana - I live right here Bollinger near Lawrence Expy. I have a vast array of places I like. Here is a quick rundown of my favorites by cuisine:

Indian (Northern): Amber (Santana Row), Bombay Oven (great lunch buffet, Cupertino, Stevens Creek Bl.), Taj India (El Camino, Sunntvale), Empress of India (back of strip mall on 3426 El Camino, Santa Clara - great spicy homemade food, small buffet - call for hours 296-0717. see reviews at http://www.jatbar.com/detail.asp?num=417), Sue's in Palo Alto (excellent)

Indian (Southern): I like the vendor inside of Bahrat Bazaar (Reed near Lawrence Expy Santa Clara), Udupi Palace (veggie, El Camino Sunnyvale)

Thai: Krung Thai (Winchester at Moorpark, San Jose), any of the Thai Chile Cuisines (Bascom in SJ or Halford off El Camino Sunnyvale/Santa Clara border) or Thai Peppers, Dusita (El Camino Santa Clara)

Felafel: Did you mean Felafel's Drive in on San Carlos (becomes Stevens Creek west of 880) just East of the 880 undercrossing? If not try it - it's the best felafel around.

Mexican: My favorite is Estrellita on San Antonio just off El Camino in Los Altos, regional (multiple daily specials for lunch AND dinner, a Chiapas family), Consuelo's (Santana Row), and Fiesta del Mar in Mountain View.

Malaysian and Indonesian: Layang Layang (De Anza, Cupertino) and Banana Leaf (Milpitas).

Chinese: Tao Tao (Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale), Chef Chu's (Los Altos, corner San Antonio and El Camino, two or three doors down from Estrellita), Mandarin Gourmet (De Anza Bl., Cupertino)

Barbecue: Uncle Franks (Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View)

Good luck!

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Neither SF or NYC (two places that get a lot of run for their ethnic food) hold a candle to San Jose's Vietnamese food. Go to the corner of 10th and McLaughlin and you'll find several shopping centers devoted to Vietnamese food. It's been a few years, but my favorite is Pho Ha located in the largest of the three centers.

NYC also can't touch the Mexican food in the bay area. There's little reason why you should have to settle for Baja Fresh. Once again, I've been gone for a while and actually lived in Santa Cruz when I was there, so names specific Mexican places in the south bay escape me, but they're everywhere.

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Neither SF or NYC (two places that get a lot of run for their ethnic food) hold a candle to San Jose's Vietnamese food.  Go to the corner of 10th and McLaughlin and you'll find several shopping centers devoted to Vietnamese food.  It's been a few years, but my favorite is Pho Ha located in the largest of the three centers.

NYC also can't touch the Mexican food in the bay area.  There's little reason why you should have to settle for Baja Fresh.  Once again, I've been gone for a while and actually lived in Santa Cruz when I was there, so names specific Mexican places in the south bay escape me, but they're everywhere.

And I'd wager that the Indian and Afghan restaraunts in Silicon Valley/lower Esst Bay would stack up very well in comparison to other places in the US too.

I'll come back with some specific recs later.

"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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thanks for the responses everyone! sometimes i feel that these smaller more homestyle places get ingored all too often for the French Laundries and Daniels of the world! where would we eat everyday?!

i used to live in san francisco and having both coasts to draw from, i'm just pleasantly surprised to NOT be in a culinary wasteland...

thanks for all the recs, keep 'em coming and let's show the world what silicon valley has to offer!

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Good New York Style pizza can he found at Cicero's, in the Safeway center, corner of Bolliinger and Miller.

We like Mexico Lindo for Mexican. It's on Foxworthy at Plummer in the Cambrian/Willow Glen area.

Cafe Torre in Cupertino sees us at least once a week for pasta. They also have nice fresh fish specials.

Fontana's Italian, also in Cupertino, is another old favorite.

By the Bucket on Stevens Creek in Santa Clara for family-style Italian; also any of the Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi's (or Giorgio's in San Jose) for good family Italian and pizza.

Golden Wok will deliver chinese...it's not gourmet, but if you get stuck and want chinese delivered, it's pretty good...plus, it's the only game in town for delivery.

There's also a service called Waiters on Wheels that will P/U at local restaurants and deliver. We order Golden Wok thru their website.

Hope these help, and welcome!

Edited to change "Wolfe" to "Miller" in the Cicero's Pizza rec.

Edited by samgiovese (log)

"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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The places I go to in your general area are Layang Layang (mentioned above), good boiled dumplings at Tong Dumpling Pot, ramen at either Ramen Halu, or Do-Henkotsu down the street in the Mitsuwa market center. No shortage of great ethnic foods in this area. Also worth a drive down to SJ for vietnamese and there is a mexican area just north of there as well. Saw an interesting looking Birririaria in the center that houses tropicana market in San jose a few weeks back. Had some decent Indian a few weeks back at Southern Spice Bistro which specializes in Andhara food. I want to get back on the weekend to try their Biriyani.

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hahaha samgiovese! my husband and i have driven by "by-th-bucket" and joke about the name all the time!!! there's no letter E in their the on the sign so we always emphasize that the place is called "BY-thhhhhhhhhhhhh-BUCKET"

we'll have to give it a try one day!

we live on the corner of Stevens Creek and DeAnza so all of these places are really convenient!

this is not food related but a little bit funny:

having moved from new york where a car isn't necessary...i thought to myself, i'm going to walk to Valley Fair Mall...it only takes about ten minutes by car...it can't be that far...

an hour and a half later!!!

AND i walked home, no less!!!

my friends in new york joked that if it takes ten minutes by car in new york, you've only gone about three blocks!

my sense of distance has been completely messed up by moving here and driving again. so i checked it on google maps and it is about 5 miles each way!

needless to say, i was a little tired and sore the next day :wacko:

thanks for all the welcomes! i'm excited to be back on the left coast!

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hahaha samgiovese!  my husband and i have driven by "by-th-bucket" and joke about the name all the time!!!  there's no letter E in their the on the sign so we always emphasize that the place is called "BY-thhhhhhhhhhhhh-BUCKET"

we'll have to give it a try one day!

we live on the corner of Stevens Creek and DeAnza so all of these places are really convenient!

this is not food related but a little bit funny:

having moved from new york where a car isn't necessary...i thought to myself, i'm going to walk to Valley Fair Mall...it only takes about ten minutes by car...it can't be that far...

an hour and a half later!!!

AND i walked home, no less!!!

my friends in new york joked that if it takes ten minutes by car in new york, you've only gone about three blocks!

my sense of distance has been completely messed up by moving here and driving again.  so i checked it on google maps and it is about 5 miles each way!

needless to say, i was a little tired and sore the next day  :wacko:

thanks for all the welcomes!  i'm excited to be back on the left coast!

That's a good one! I have the reverse problem when I travel to Manhattan to visit my daughter!

To you both, I guess the three of us (and one or two others I have heard from here) live very close together. I grew up in Santa Clara and Buy Th Bucket (I could swear it's "Buy" but maybe not anymore...) moved fifteen or so years ago about seventy feet to where it is now. This is a modern building but the old building had much more character. Back 35 years ago a friend who lived a few doors away from my family would take a few friends over there for free food. He knew the owner. Catfish was a specialty.

I agree with you both that this place is a treasure chest of so many excellent small and medium sized ethnic restaurant. We are very lucky. I rarely go to an American place anymore (like Kirks) or to chain restaurants. The White person, like myself, is a minority here as you know, which is OK with me. For instance the guy who owns my favorite liquor store is Indian. I take him hot chiles when they ripen and his wife makes me jars of habanero pickle with some of them.

Welcome to the neighborhood Alanamoana and enjoy!

John S.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you enjoy Italian, Boca de Sicilia, in Morgan hill, is excellent……... the place is a little “rough", but the chef is a graduate of Palermo’s culinary inst. and always does a great job..the lightest tastiest calamari you'll ever have, the Sicilian sea salad is as fresh a salad you'll get this side of the Atlantic...bow ties with chopped basil sausage, fresh daily- lobster ravioli, Braciole Sicilian style of course rolled up), his sauces are very well done, Sicilian wine selection…etc.…..

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thanks for all the advice everyone. let's try to keep this thread current with any new discoveries!

i ate at "shan" an indian restaurant on stevens creek boulevard in the bed bath & beyond complex. it is small and casual, but delicious. rather spicy and as indian food often does, sat with me most of the day...but well worth it.

we do have to make an effort to try all the places mentioned upthread...but don't worry, we will!

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This is the first I've seen of so many folks from my old stomping grounds, it does my heart good! I grew up in San Jose and went to SJSU, I've also lived in Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

I'm glad to see recs for Franky, Johnny, & Louigi's Too. I've only been to the original location in Palo Alto/Mountain View. An incredible southern Italian place, go early or expect to wait!

If you happen to be near a Super Taqueria (the symbol is a big S like Superman) you have to try it. They have incredible burritos and there are a few locations now (Downtown San Jose, Morgan Hill, East Side San Jose). If you are of the mind: go for the super burrito de lengua. mmmmmmmmm.

I'm also glad to see Mexico Lindo still makes the cut. I used to get the enchiladas suisas there every time.

If you are into a steak joint, Andy's was always good. It is just under the freeway past the Pruneyard. A real dive but they cook the steaks right there over an open fire.

If you are downtown for dinner, Original Joe's has a place in history and in my heart. Our big family get togethers were always here. Old time Italian, meatballs etc.

If you like Japanese, you must go spend an afternoon in Japan town, just north of downtown San Jose. There are a couple grocery stores and I think it was at Gombei that I learned to love sushi and miso soup became comfort food.

In Santa Cruz the Hindquarter is a great local steak joint. If you want a very special night, go to Chaminade (its where I married my husband) and eat in the Library. You can also stay the night there. For a yummy treat, stop in at MacKenzie's Kandy Kitchen where they have hand made chocolates to die for!

I'm so glad you are enjoying the bay area so far. I don't get back to visit family and friends nearly enough.

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Just for the sake of accuracy...Andy's has moved. Check it out here.

"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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Ack! Thanks Sam, as I said, its been a while... Oy, looking at the menu makes my mouth water :biggrin: It seems they have expanded their menu some as well! I guess it has lost its "dive" appeal?

Edited by Genny (log)
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thanks for all the advice everyone.  let's try to keep this thread current with any new discoveries!

i ate at "shan" an indian restaurant on stevens creek boulevard in the bed bath & beyond complex.  it is small and casual, but delicious.  rather spicy and as indian food often does, sat with me most of the day...but well worth it.

we do have to make an effort to try all the places mentioned upthread...but don't worry, we will!

Hey alanamoana, I'm glad this thread is reactivating. As I live so close to you and some others, and I have read the previous posts, let me chime in again?

The BBQ place Andy's has moved as samgiovese has said, to the ECR. But the best BBQ around is in Mountain View. Uncle Franks, Old Middlefield Way just off Rengstorrf. I posted the info earlier. His web site is still under construction.

Genny mentioned Mexico Lindo, and I'm sure I have been there but can't remember where it is! I need to look it up!

She also mentioned Japanese. There is a famous Japanese restaurant in Japan named Ringer Hut. (Any help from the Japan members?) There is only one USA franchise: in San Jose on Saratoga, just south of Williams. Totally authentic, it is full usually. It is openened many hours and has super noodles. Like Nagasaki Champon. We have yet to exhaust their menu.

Oh, and I have to update my favorite Indian: It is Flavors. Opened four months, it is on El Camino, Mountain View (but just at the Sunnyvale border) next to an Indian grocery, just south of Grape Ave. The best. Great buffet, mixing many different Indian styles. On weekends, for 2 bucks more, there is a brunch (11:30 AM) with even more selections. Check it out.

John

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