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Restaurants in Santa Clara

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I am going to a conference in Santa Clara in May. Can anyone recommend some decent restaurants within a reasonable distance from the conference center? I should have access to a car. I eat all kinds of cuisine but don't have an unlimited expense account. Thank you for saving me from going to chain restaurants with my co-workers.

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  1. A chowhound board favorite Chinese Style restaurant in the area is Parc Hong Kong. From the convention center, North on 101 (towards San Francisco), exit Lawrence Expressway North (right on Lawrence from 101). Turn left at the first light (?), look for a Shell Gas Station. Parc Hong Kong is in the shopping center "behind" the gas station.

    I like Birks, a couple of blocks from the CC, but the last time I recommended Birks, noise was mentioned. Birks is meat/seafood

    One exit north of Lawrence is Fair Oaks: Lion and Compass. Exit Fair Oaks north (turn right on Fair Oaks from 101), L&C is on the left side, just past the first light. Turn left at that first light. L&C is "California Cuisine".

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      L&C is a bit pricey and over-wrought, but okay if you're on an expensive account.

    2. Tomatina in the Mercado Shopping Center. Mexicali Grill there is not bad if you can't get into Tomatinas.

      1. Tomatina in the Mercado Shopping Center. Mexicali Grill there is not bad if you can't get into Tomatinas.

        1. a

          Parc Hong Kong's a regular favorite of mine; Alan gave you correct directions. Below are some other tips.

          After eating my way through all the pho (vietnamese noodle soup) places in Santa Clara, the best one IMHO is 5-10 minutes from the convention center. It's Pho Binh, on 1247 Persian Drive. From the convention center's parking garage, go South on Great America and immediately turn Right onto Tasman, then turn right on Lawrence (a big divided road). Then at the first light, turn Left onto Persian. Follow the road curving to the right and enter a small parking lot on your right. It's really just a pho house (though I like their goi cuon too). Pho is sloshed out of a big pot into bowls and slapped down within 5 minutes of your order, but dang is it good pho.

          At Mexicali Grill, the sweet corn tamales (on the appetizer page) are REALLY good, the enchiladas w/ mole rojo is good, as is the Chile Colorado; most of the burritos & other standards are about the same as your average Chain-Mex.

          At the strip of restaurants on Great America & Mission Blvd., Amarin Thai has been praised by some and "ehh" by others.

          If you take Tasman east from the convention center for half or 3/4 mile, right after Lafayette Ave, there's a small strip mall on your left where Castle Greek has good basic greek food (but nothing to rave about if you've had really good greek).

          1 Reply
          1. re: aliceringeratyahoodotcom

            As this thread has been bumped two years later, might as well update. Parc Hong Kong has morphed into Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Harbor.

          2. Anyplace in the SCCC area that would be convivial for a casual post-convention get-together?

            I thought of Tied House in MV but that's a bit of a schlep.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Maybe head over to one of the drinking establishments along Murphy in Sunnyvale? Reputedly the largest consumption of guinness in the bay area on those blocks.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Castro Street in Mt. View is only a 15-min drive from Santa Clara, and it has some great casual places, new and old: we had a great dinner last night at Cascal's; there's a new Indian Chinese place that's not bad, and Zucca is nice, too. Neto is fun for dessert. On our list to try is stylish Xanh (Vietnamese) and Cafe Baklava (lots of eggplant and lamb).

            2. I second Birk's but haven't been in years to confirm. They used to make an amazing smoked prime rib that I loved.

              Do you have a rental car? Palo Alto is a short drive and has loads of great options.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lisaf

                Some people don't have cars.

                Is the bar at Birk's suitable for a casual get-together? Not too noisy?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  The bar's pretty noisy, and very crowded after work. We ate there a month ago, and the food's not as good as in years past.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I always thought Birk's was really noisy and crowded, especially the bar on Thursday/Friday nights. However, a caveat is that I plain hate this place; I've just had way too many horrible expense account dinners here - the steaks are OK but everything else,such as sides, are really sub-par, in my opinion.

                    Parcel 104 has a nice bar but is quite pricey and a bit more upscale. Good raw bar. In the Marriott hotel, pretty close the the SCCC.

                    Faultline Brewery has decent beer and not-so-good food, but works for a group if they aren't foodies :-) Oakmead Parkway, off Lawrence Expressway.

                    Super casual would be St. John's Bar & Grill, on Lawrence Expressway. Burgers and beer kind of place.

                2. China Stix on El Camino one of the bay areas best.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: othervoice

                    Be warned: the wonton soup looks and smells like dishwater, and the place is filthy.