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NY'er heading to Santa Clara-a few q's

scottybooj Mar 23, 2008 11:02 PM

Hey CHs...have to be at the Santa Clara CC later this week(thurs-sat) and have a few requests.

I will have a car and don't mind travelling a little for din-din...just no traffic PLEASE. lol...i heard that's impossible.

1)who's got the beer that is a must have around there?
2) would mexican or asian be the cuisine d'choice for the area?
3) what's a great lunch spot near the convention center in S.Clara?
4) I have a 10pm red-eye back to NYC from SFO. Where should I eat nearby that is really worth eating? cuisine is non-important except for italian. remember, i'm from ny.

thanks alot!!! check out the Thai House in Smithtown if you're ever on Long Island and if you love sake bars, check out Kasadela on the LES.


  1. jenshanks Mar 24, 2008 12:25 PM

    If you are flying out of San Jose, I'd suggest heading over to Restaurant James Randall in Los Gatos. Its only about a 20 minute cab ride from there to the airport (and at 9pm you'll be traffic free). It's a small place - family run - but beautiful, fresh local food, prix fixe menu and exceptional wine pairing. No liquor. Call and ask for Brenda (owner). Actually this Tuesday they are hosting their March Winemaker dinner with Tony Craig (known for his Pinot Noir). This is NOT an ad - but a favorite restaurant found by a recent NYC transplant. - Jennifer

    1. c
      Concetta Mar 24, 2008 02:27 PM

      Check out Castro Street in downtown Mountain View. Fiesta del Mar Too has really good Mexican (and margaritas!). There's Amarin for Thai and Xanh for Vietnamese with a twist. Tied House makes their own beer. Haven't been there in a while - their food is meh. I also see there's an Amarin on Great America Pkwy in Santa Clara!

      Fiesta Del Mar Too
      735 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

      Xanh Restaurant
      110 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

      Amarin Thai Cuisine
      174 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

      Amarin Thai Cuisine
      4300 Great America Pkwy Ste 180, Santa Clara, CA 95054

      1. c
        ceekskat Mar 24, 2008 02:38 PM

        Traffic shouldn't be a problem on the 101 after 7:00 p.m. (I think!). Also, Santa Clara is probably known for Korean & Indian more than anything else. Many on El Camino. You would just take the main street which the convention center is on & drive South about 4 or 5 miles. Afraid I am not familiar with Korean so you could search CH or yelp.

        Indian: Mayuri, Kabab 'n curry, Shan (Stevens Creek @ Lawrence) in Santa Clara & Udupi Palace & Turmeric in neighboring Sunnyvale.


        House of Falafel on Lawrence Expwy not far from CC (cheap, not bad) as well as bunch Indian & others (nothing to write home about). There's also Chelokababi & Dish Dash in Sunnyvale. Love, love, tiny little Falafel Drive In in San Jose.

        Highly recommended for burritos & carnitas is Taqueria La Bamba @

        2058 Old Middlefield Way
        Mountain View, CA 94043
        (650) 965-2755 (original, great hole in the wall, seating?


        Another branch at 152 Castro St. Mountain View (650) 965-4753. New location w/ full bar JUST opened. Check yelp reviews for this.

        Flying out of SFO, I strongly recommend you eat Chinese in Millbrae. Hong Kong Flower Lounge is a common CH rec.


        Hope this helps.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ceekskat
          Concetta Mar 24, 2008 02:51 PM

          La Bamba on Castro: same block as Xanh.

          1. re: Concetta
            ML8000 Mar 26, 2008 08:12 PM

            A definite 2nd on La Bamba...get the carnitas. For old school Cal-Mex, La Fiesta on VIlla, near downtown is very good. Kabul in Sunnyvale for Afghan.

            For Chinese, near SFO there's several places, Koi Palace, The Kitchen, Fook Yuen, Hong Kong Flower Lounge. If you can manage a weekday lunch it would be least crowded. Dinner at one of these places before your flight out might work. Koi Palace is the best...but it's on the expensive side.

          2. re: ceekskat
            scottybooj Mar 26, 2008 07:19 PM


            1. re: ceekskat
              scottybooj Mar 26, 2008 07:26 PM

              thank you

            2. m
              mdg Mar 24, 2008 03:42 PM

              Castro St. in Mountain View and El Camino in Santa Clara are both good recommendations for restaurant neighborhoods near you. My favorite place is Santa Clara is a wonderful Bangladeshi restaurant called Cafe Dhaka on El Camino. Service can be spacy but the food is wonderful.

              Cafe Dhaka
              3284 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

              14 Replies
              1. re: mdg
                scottybooj Mar 26, 2008 07:17 PM

                thanks everyone! i'm flying in to san fran at 10:30 am on thursday. is traffic that bad? damn, even NY's traffic is done by then.

                i will check some of these places out...also looking for a nice b-day place for thurs/fri night

                1. re: scottybooj
                  Claudette Mar 27, 2008 09:40 AM

                  Traffic won't be that bad by 10:30; plus, this is Spring Break week for several schools, so many people are gone on vacation (I can find parking at the office even at 9am this week!).

                  For a nice B'day place on Thurs/Fri, try to get into Dio Deka - fabulous neo-Greek food, great service and atmosphere. Pricey, crowed, and loud, but you won't be disappointed if you order the lamb meatballs, lamb chops, and dessert. Just don't order the moussaka.

                  Alternative upscale choices that might be able to seat you at the last moment: La Pastaia (dntn SJ), Parcel 104 (1 blk from the SCCC, in the Marriott), R James Randall (per earlier post).

                  Check Open Table. Happy B'day!

                  1. re: scottybooj
                    ceekskat Mar 27, 2008 11:17 AM

                    What are you looking for in price/food/atmosphere?

                    Dio Deka is very expensive & their signature lamb chops was less than stellar during my first visit this past December. Castro street in Mountain View or downtown Palo Alto would be my recs for birthday dinners (not so familiar with downtown San Jose).

                    Amber Mountain View, Junnoon & Mantra in Palo Alto for Indian (in order of my preference). Latter two are modern, upscale restaurants with good cocktails.

                    Xanh's - Vietnamese as mentioned above.
                    Zucca - Mediterranean on Castro Street.
                    Cascal - tapas/small plates style - casual, fun, festive. Good Sangrias. Food is okay.
                    Tamarine - upscale vietnamese in Palo Alto; highly recommended on the board - may be difficult to get res. but they do take walk ins at extended bar.
                    Evvia - upscale Greek (lamb chops are still good:-) in Palo Alto- again res. issue

                    1. re: ceekskat
                      mdg Mar 27, 2008 01:51 PM

                      Recommending a Greek place in Silicon Valley to someone from New York is questionable. I like Evvia and dislike Dio Deka and their taste-free lamb. But I wouldn't send a New Yorker to either place as they would probably come across as Molyvos wannabes. (Although we did take my Greek relatives from Long Island to the much-less-fancy Athena Grill in Santa Clara and they enjoyed it a lot.)

                      Upscale Indian is a much better bet in this area - I also would recommend the Amber / Mantra / Junoon trio, listed in my order of preference. Cal/Moroccan at Zitune in Los Altos would also be great and probably different than what you can get at home, but it's further from 101 than the others and the drive would have more traffic.


                      1. re: mdg
                        daveena Mar 27, 2008 04:20 PM

                        Upscale Indian is better in NY as well, and agree that Greek is better in NY in general (although I have not been to Athena Grill, which sounds excellent).

                        Of the places mentioned so far, that I've been to the past year, I would strongly recommend Tamarine and Koi Palace.

                        1. re: mdg
                          scottybooj Mar 27, 2008 04:53 PM

                          thanks...yeah, i have really good greek at home...don't need to be disappointed here.

                          Cal/Moroccan sounds good..haven't had moroccan since Spain 2 years ago.

                          I don't mind driving, especially at night...someone mentioned Santana Row....what is this place?

                          1. re: scottybooj
                            ceekskat Mar 27, 2008 06:25 PM

                            Santana Row is a residential living/dining/retail complex. Stores from Border's Books to Gucci are located there. It is a vibrant, people watching place on weekends (perhaps weeknights too but I've never been). Built to resemble something from Europe with cobblestone streets, colorful condos, etc. However, the food is okay, no "chow finds" or destination restaurants here. Really difficult to recommend something considering you are from NY.

                            Perhaps an exotic cocktail and a roti parata w/ chicken satay at the VERY CROWDED bar at Strait's Cafe, a Singaporean restaurant. There's also Sino, a contemporary Chinese restaurant (same owner as Straits). Left Bank, French. Amber, Indian. Tanglewood, upscale New American, skip it. The Counter - burger restaurant with many choices ($6.95 per). Mixed reviews but I like their basic. If I had to pick one, I'd recommend Pizza Antica for the wood fired pizza and contemporary layout with tiny bar but again, you're from New York...


                            1. re: ceekskat
                              daveena Mar 27, 2008 06:42 PM

                              Pizza Antica does have some good Cali-style pizzas - I particularly liked the pear and Mt. Tam cheese one, and the potato pizza - if forced to eat at Santana Row, I'd choose Pizza Antica first, followed by Amber, then Straits (it's the worst of the Straits branches I've tried).

                              1. re: daveena
                                ceekskat Mar 27, 2008 06:53 PM

                                Perhaps you haven't been to the Palo Alto location:-) The only entree I like at Straits is the salmon cooked in banana leaf. They used to have a nice lamb biriyani but it is not there anymore. May be one their newer lamb dishes is good.

                                At Pizza Antica, I like the "Sweet Red Pepper, Kalamata Olive and Roasted Fennel" pizza.

                                1. re: ceekskat
                                  daveena Mar 27, 2008 06:57 PM

                                  Good God, there's one that's even worse? You're right, I haven't been to the one in Palo Alto, LOL. The Burlingame branch has a very good murtabak, actually the best I've had in the Bay Area. Strangely enough, Chris Yeo's recipe for sticky rice with sausage and mushrooms is excellent and I make as often as my metabolism will allow, but I've never seen it on the menu.

                                  1. re: ceekskat
                                    Judith Mar 27, 2008 07:16 PM

                                    In general, I think up and downscale Indian food is better here than in New York, and Amber is really a fine choice, except the one in Santana Row isn't nearly as good IMO as the one in Mountain View.

                              2. re: scottybooj
                                mdg Mar 27, 2008 07:23 PM

                                Let me put in the link for Zitune. Couscous-stuffed squab and the lamb shank tagine are particularly awesome, but it's really hard to go wrong, and the wine-by-the-glass selection is excellent as well. It's reservable on OpenTable.


                                Restaurant Zitune
                                325 Main St, Los Altos, CA 94022

                                1. re: mdg
                                  scottybooj Mar 28, 2008 12:35 PM

                                  thanks...i got them to go to Xanh. Kobe roll was ok, catfish clay pot was tough, but shaking beef and the ahi were good.

                                2. re: scottybooj
                                  Judith Mar 28, 2008 04:52 PM

                                  Santana Row is a packaged attempt to replicate Soho. Kind of like a Disney animated short version of an actual urban neighborhood, except it has to play by shopping mall rules, so nothing stays open all night, all businesses are chains, and there are no bums or anything that would in any way rattle anyone's suburban sensibilities.

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