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Jul 8, 2006 11:53 PM

What's the BEST Restaurant in the Santa Clara/Mountain View area?

I'm new to the area, and I was wondering what are the best, must-try restaurants in the Santa Clara, Mountain View, & Palo Alto areas?

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  1. There are some nice taquerias, but to be frank, I'm not sure that there are any "must-try" restaurants in this area. If someone feels that I'm mistaken, by all means speak up!

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I agree, "must-try" is vague. If you mean high end and transcendant cuisine, Manresa.

        Also, Kaygetsu...awesome in every way. Kaiseki AND nigiri.


        Back-A-Yard. Possibly my favorite restaurant down here. Authentic jerked chicken. I like the chicken, my friends like the pork. The braised ox-tails are good. Haven't tried the ackee yet.

        Dittmer's for great sausages.

        Taqueria La Bamba for excellent burritos and soft tacos. The carne asada, al pastor, and lengua are solid.

        Uncle Frank's for home smoked BBQ pork ribs and killer (literally) fried chicken wings. I have not been since the alleged family feud though.

        Ryowa in MV for pretty good ramen. I make the trek to Santa in San Mateo though.

        Maruichi in MV for kuro ramen. A unique type of ramen that's pretty intersting. The noodles aren't bad either.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Porthos

          yeah, it's true there aren't many "sublime" restaurants in this section of the bay, but depending on the kind of cuisine you're interested in there are relatively good eats

          Porthos is spot-on on the ramen front -
          Ryowa is solid, but if you're willing to trek out to West San Jose Ramen Halu has more subtle flavors/interesting ramen texture. Santa and Himwari in San Mateo are both good bets

          for Sushi, Tomi in MV, Sushiya in Palo Alto and Akane in Los Altos are solid/decent. If you go to Akane try the shiro maguro or tombo tataki - the white tuna is excellent. if you want to go farther lots of people on the boards prefer Kitsho in Cupertino

          for French/bistro, Cafe Brioche on California(Palo Alto) is a good bet on most days. For a good french style patisserie try Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos

          for Persian, Chelokababi has good kebabs (off Wolfe and El Camino in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale?)

          for Italian, the small Italian restaurant next to Max's in the Stanford Shopping Center is surprisingly consistent/good in their grilled items. sorry can't remember the name

          for Cantonese/Chinese food, I had a fairly good experience at Taipan Palo Alto recently. haven't gone for repeat visits yet though so can't vouch for the consistency of the restaurant/

          I don't eat that much Indian food so if anyone else can elaborate on Amber India in MV or Santana Row(San Jose) that'd be great

          have fun exploring!

          1. re: Trill

            We love Amber India (MV) and return there for the lunch buffet whenever we are in the Bay Area. Our tastes in Indian food are not exactly sophisticated, but it's the best food we've had out of the 20-or-so Indian restaurants we've been to over the years.

            We especially like the Butter Chicken. I was told by an Indian fellow I was working with recently that butter chicken is the Indian equivalent of mac and cheese. No matter--we love it, and haven't found a version that matches up to Amber's. They also do a very nice, not-greasy naan and some tasty vegetable dishes.

            1. re: Trill

              The Italian restaurant is called Babbo's (no joke), and the pizzas are terrific there. The same family owns Bravo Fono around the corner. The panzanella is also quite good. Prices are a bit high, though IMHO, but it IS Stanford Shopping Center.

              1. re: foodiegrl

                I just wanted to add to the above posting about Babbo's. I am not familiar with the restaurant but Babbo in Tuscan (and only Tuscan) is an endearing term for "father." Almost like "pappa" or "dad," but with more love behind it. :) PS. love Chowhound and everything about it!!!

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            1. There's a lot of Chinese food in the area, and it's kinda hard to sift through it all, but here are my 2 favorites:

              1) Chef Liu on Castro St. in Downtown Mountain View. $6 for a huge bowl of beef noodle soup or pretty much for any other good portion of their hand-pulled noodles. 236 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

              2) I also love Shanghai Taste Delight on El Camino, between Shoreline and Castro, also in MV. The food is surprisingly authentic Shanghainese and very reasonable. The place is hard to find, but it's basically in a small strip mall with a weird green-white sign. 855 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA

              In downtown PA, I'm a big fan of Tamarine for upscale Vietnamese and Evvia for upscale Mediterranean. Tamarine's a pretty charming restaurant, with really good takes on popular dishes like Shaking Beef, Papaya Salad, claypots, etc. I love their cod and sea bass especially although they're not always on the menu. Evvia's Mediterranean is as good as any I've tried in the Bay Area for comparable prices but can become overly crowded and noisy.


              Regarding some of the Amber India posts, they've also got a quicker, cheaper, counter-service location near Downtown MV called Amber Cafe. I really enjoy the food there, pretty good quality ingredients for the price and not as heavy on the butter and cream.

              Amber Cafe:

              1 Reply
              1. re: mikeop34

                I took a look at the online menu for Chef Liu. So they really have hand-pulled noodles? If so, that's awesome. Also, has anyone tried their "Tan-Tan" noodles? I assume they are the same thing as "Dan-Dan" noodles, but maybe I'm wrong...