Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 12, 2006 02:07 AM

Where should a hound live.. in the south bay?

About a year ago DanG posed the question of where to live within walking distance of great food in SF:

Well, I took your advice and have had a great time in the Inner Sunset.. but now I'm going back to school (San Jose State) and need your help again - where are the great food neighborhoods between Palo Alto and San Jose? I know of University Ave (Palo Alto) and Castro Street (Mountain View), but not much beyond that.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Actually University Ave. in Palo Alto isn't that great, especially on a student budget. I'm currently enamoured with El Camino Real in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara on each side of Lawrence Expressway.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I agree that this stretch of El Camino is great for food, especially for ethnic cuisine of all stripes. There's a back room of an ethnic supermarket that is one of my favorite places to eat anywhere. The only downside is that, outside of a few Korean karaoke and billiards places, there's not a lot of nightlife or bars there. And, there's basically no walking or sidewalk culture, so you'd have to drive places.

      1. re: Hungry Hippo

        Cool, what's the name of the supermarket? Would love to hear more details about your favorites along that stretch when you have a chance. Thanks in advance.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy on the supermarket, otherwise a good friend might stop talking to me. For Korean: I like Gaesung and Myung Dong for soon dubu, Korea House for straight Korean food, and, if I've saved up the appetite, Palace BBQ is the only all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue place I've been with good meat (for about $20 a head!), Zazang is a decent noodle place with really cheap prices. I also went to an Afghan place a few years ago which was really good, and there are all sorts of Korean bakeries scattered along El Camino. There are also some pretty good Vietnamese and Italian-American places on the parallel strip of Stevens Creek.

          1. re: Hungry Hippo

            Can you at least tell us what cuisine this "back room" deals in?

            1. re: Hungry Hippo

              Thanks anyway, was thinking it might be Hankook.

              Can you tell me anything about Seoul Rice Cake?

      2. The good thing about living in old Mountain View is that you are near Castro (with pho till 2 am) and have direct and easy access (via the 22, if you like, which runs all night) to the endless treasures of El Camino through Sunnyvale and Sta Clara. Chaat and izakaya; Sichuanese and taquerias.

        I am demoralized about University Avenue dining. There is almost nothing edible left, plus a premium on everything else. The days of Vicolo and Palermo are long gone. The new gelateria accepts only gold coins and isn't even remarkable. Even Q-cup, with its delightful chicken, has evaporated.

        1 Reply
        1. re: David Sloo

          I agree with you about Palo Alto.. I grew up near there through, so I reflexively included it more for historical and nostalgic purposes than actual good chow. OTOH, it does still have good 'sidewalk culture,' as HH said above...

        2. Downtown San Jose is not too bad and getting better.

          Paolo's, Original Joe's, McCormick and Schmick's, E&O Trading, Hawgs, House of Siam, Scott's, lots of very authentic Vietnamese places, Picasso's, Sonoma Chicken Coop, A.P. Stumps, Bella Mia, and others along San Pedro Square. Also downtown is fairly close to Japantown.

          1. I think the area around San Jose State (just south of Milpitas) might be most Chow-y part of the South Bay. People are always posting here about great regional Chinese places in that area. There's also some good Indian food.

            1. The area around SJSU is very restaurant dense and borders downtown.

              There are several ethnic communties in San Jose area, if you are interested in living in a specific community (because you are interested in their chow), post accordingly.