Mountain View recs
I'm on a work assignment for two weeks in Mountain View and I'm looking for reasonably priced (sub $25) restaurants where a woman can eat alone without feeling terribly self-conscious of that fact. Any recommendations? Any and all cuisines are fine, though I have a bias towards healthy food. I'm open to recs in Mountain View and places that are a short, easily navigable drive away. Thanks...
I claim no expertise re which restaurants might be welcoming for a woman dining alone, but Mountain View is full of casual restaurants that would seem to be "comfortable". There are probably 25 Asian restaurants on or very near the main downtown street (Castro Street); Amarin Thai and Cafe Yulong seem to get some play on this board, although neither has knocked my socks off. There is a decent Mediterranean place on Castro (Zucca) as well as a couple of OK Continental restaurants. You're also a short drive from a great salad place (Country Gourmet) and reputably the best Indian restaurant in the Bay Area (Amber India). All in all, I think you've picked a good place for a work assignment.
If you do a search, you should find my recent op on Mountain View, which will tell you where not to go. It's been a while, but in the past there were some great Chinese restaurants and there seem to be some good tacquerias. You might consider driving up to Redwood City? to Old Port Lobster Shack. I didn't think about it until after my spur-of-the-moment visit to MV, but I wished I had just gone to OPLS instead.
How about carnitas at Taqueria La Bamba http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
or ramen at Maruichi.
If you know anyone that works at Google, hit them up for an invite, they have some new cafes open.
Could also try a sandwich from Ditmers (lots of mentions on the board).
I'm guessing you're thinking more about dinner than lunch. fyi - Dittmer's is only open during the day.
I live in Mountain View and have dined out alone quite a bit as my husband occasionally travels for work. I enjoy Amarin Thai (on Castro) - if it's a warm night, eat outside. Zucca (Castro St.) is good, but sometimes uneven. Nonetheless, nice unintimitated solo dining atmosphere (I usually eat at the bar here when alone). Both Fiesta del Mar (Dana St right off Castro) and Vive Sol (on El Camino near Rengstorff) are sit-down and serve Puebla style Mex and very friendly. Cascal (Castro at California) offers a festive environment, though the food isn't authentic Spanish. As for Country Gourmet, I did not enjoy either the atmosphere or the crappy breakfast I had there. I hear the Sunnyvale CG is much better. Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City is really good if you feel like driving up there. If you like sushi, I'd recommend Masa's on San Antonio or Hanamaru on El Camino @ Bernardo in Sunnyvale. Also second the Cafe Yulong mention.
I didn't realize there were Puebla-style Mexican restaurants in the area. What do you recommend there that best showcases that regional cuisine?
I second the suggestion to wangle an invite to Google. It's not so much that the food is good, as that the whole concept of food service at Google is mindboggling.
I really like Hunan Home's Chinese restaurant on El Camino not too far south of San Antonio Rd. It's technically in Los Altos, but the shops across El Camino from it are in Mountain View.
They have excellent and inexpensive lunch specials and many folks eat lunch alone, there.
I have a few favorites in MV, and many times I've eaten alone and always felt comfortable.
1)Cafe Baklava, on Castro St. is a good Med. restaurant both for lunch and dinner, and the staff is very friendly. Also, it's not too expensive.
2)Don giovanni, also on Castro, is my all time favorite. You can have a nice three-course dinner or just some pasta. I usually get their antipasto plate as my main dish when I'm alone.
3) For a quick lunch, Gyro House is really good too. Portions are big and inexpensive. You can sit down or have it to go.
4)Rose Market, on Castro but on the other side of El Camino, is a middle eastern market but has some pre made food, and great grilled chicken wrapped in flat bread.
4) Also for a quick grab, Books Inc has a cafe which has salads and sandwiches. They are ok.
5)There is a new Hawaian place on Castro but i've never tried it. However, there is another Hawaian restaurant 1 block away from Castro, on one corner. Sorry, I don't remember the name. Maybe someone here knows about it.
Well, nothing else comes to mind right now. Hope all the suggestions help!
In addition to the recommendations already mentioned...
If you like Indian food you have a lot of great choices in the area. Southern Spice has a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes featuring Andhra cuisine. They've recently redecorated (it was pretty cheesy inside before) and the menu is now more helpful in identifying the particularly hot dishes. It's on El Camino just west of San Antonio, next to the Holiday Inn Express. Amber India is a few blocks further east on El Camino; it's really good but more expensive, so I tend to prefer Southern Spice for solo dining. Then there's a whole slew of Southern Indian vegetarian restaurants in nearby Sunnyvale (Saravana Bhavan on Fremont at Mary, Madras Cafe on El Camino at Bernardo, Chaat Paradise on El Camino at Grant) that are very tasty and inexpensive. I don't know anywhere else in the country that has this wealth of great, reasonably priced Indian cuisine as you can find in the South and East Bay.
Estrellita is in Los Altos just across from Mountain View, on San Antonio just south of El Camino. Stick with the daily specials and the Chicken Oaxaca and you'll have some really nice southern Mexican cooking. It's my favorite Mexican restaurant in the area and right in your price range.
Depending on where you are in MV - on Shoreline, there is a Hawaiian place called Da Kitchen that's pretty good (right on Plymouth behind Sports Page Bar that's on Shoreline), and in the same shopping center, there is Ma's Chinese food - they have homemade knife cut noodles and sesame onion bread that's pretty good.
If you do venture onto Castro:
1. Cascal - little pricey, but good tapas
2. Cantankerous Fish - next to Cascal (on Castro/California) - limited menu, but entrees are pretty light, and they have outdoor seating.
3. Spice Islands - not on Castro, but on corner of Villa and Hope St.- it's right across from the post office - decent Malaysian food - I usually like to get the Chow Kuey Teow for lunch.
4. Cafe Yulong - some other people have mentioned it (they are on Dana) - they have homemade dumplings and noodles - I like their Dan Dan noodles (spicy peanut sauce with ground pork)
5. La Bamba and La Costena- mexican burritos - both of these are on Rengstorff and Middlefield - La Costena is in the back of the grocery store (right on the corner across from Arco gas station) and La Bamba is next door- great burritos although I also like the pupusas too.
Hope this helps!
Los Charros used to be my favorite, but it's gone downhill lately. I wouldn't recommend it to an out-of-towner. The last time I went the quesadilla was nuked with tough cheese and awful carne asada. I might even go so far as to suggest people avoid Castro Street in general, unless you're going to Maru Ichi. Just off Castro, Ryowa and Fiesta del Mar are nice, but most everything in the area is mediocre at best.
Just recently I met a group of lady friends at Cascal - it's quite a scene and if you want peace and quiet, this isn't the place for you! That said, I had an outstanding octopus and potato dish that's on their tapas menu... I'd go back just for that.