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Staying in San Jose, need food

I'm staying for a week in San Jose, or Milpitas rather, though I'm assuming that they are relatively close to each other. Can anyone give me some suggestions for good meals around those areas? I like all foods, any ethnic, low brow, gourmet, etc, price doesn't really matter since my company is paying for it, but I don't need to eat lobster and foie gras ever night. I though I heard that there is a little Japan in the area, if so, any sushi, ramen, soba, recs? Thanks.

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  1. You might also want to post this on the SF bay area thread.

    Milpitas borders SJ to the north.

    Milpitas has a lot of good chinese and asian food. Mayflower for dim sum. Vietnamese and SE asian foods in general. Most of the dives in the chinese strip malls are worth a try. Some are really good, most are at least fun to try.

    Los Gatos borders SJ to the south along I-880 which turns into Hwy 17.

    Manresa in Los Gatos is one of the top few restaurants in the Bay area. Second only to The French Laundry according to Michelin. About a 20 minute drive from Milpitas.

    Also worth a try in LG are Tapestry, Aldo's for Italian, Forbes Mill for Steak, James Randall gets some nice mentions here, although I don't recomment it my self. Dio Deka for greek (sorta) food.

    I like Japantown for the atmosphere. You can walk there from much of the downtown area. Sushi Masa is a reliable standby for the area. If you like sushi though, I actually recommend Kitsho in Cupertino. About 15 minutes from Milp.

    there is a Hawaiian place called Gombei in Japantown that I always love. Very friendly, and the food is great for the cheap eats section.

    The next town north of Milp is Fremont which has the largest Afgani population in the world outside of the country. Many excellent choices for afgani, although I rely on friends and don't know any specific names. I will try to talk to them and find out. when are you coming?

    3 Replies
    1. re: lgphil

      thanks! I'll be there mid august, should be a good trip, food wise

      1. re: lgphil

        Gombei is actually a Japanese place, but there is a Hawaiian place in J-town. Gombei is very good, but you need to remember to take cash. They don't take credit cards.

        1. re: Judith

          As well as make a reservation, as for whatever reason they're absolutely busy every night!

      2. lgphil's absolutely right - posting this on the SF board will result in a LOT more replies than you'll get on this board. If you have wheels how far do you want to travel or, rather, how long do you want to spend behind the wheel? Looks like you're from the DC area. At the wrong time of day odds are that traffic here will be just as maddening as home for you.

        1. As you can see by this search of the Places database, Milpitas is heavy on Asian and Indian. The South Bay has quite a few South Indian restaurants.

          Searching on "san jose" will start bringing up some Mexican, Vietnamese and mid-scale restaurants.

          I have El Tule on my list to try.

          Don't know if there is a lot of Portugese food where you are from, but there is a "Little Portugual' section in San Jose with Sousa's an old-school Azorean Portuguese restuarant.

          More upscale restaurants are downtown SJ or Santana Row ... but Santana Row is kind of a chain wonderland.

          Depending on what cuisine you want you can do searches like
          "san jose" Japanese

          Sumiya is on my to-try list

          "Silicon Valley" Japanese

          "Silicon Valley" Korean

          "South Bay" American

          Etc ... whatever cuisine, city or area you might be interested in.

          1. San Jose is known by my Vietnamese friends to have the best Vietnamese food in the Bay Area. I don't get to San Jose so don't have specific recommendations. I've sure others here have recs for Vietnamese places in San Jose.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mick Ruthven

              SJ has a big Vietnamese community, best area for it is Story Rd near Hwy 101.

              If the original poster is staying in Milpitas, 90% chance it's going to be the bunch of hotels between McCarthy Ranch and Milpitas Square. Lot's of dining options in the area (I work and live in the area).

              Darda for Chinese Muslim food
              Banana Leaf for Malaysian food
              Maruichi for Ramen (there is another branch in Mountain View)
              Pho Kim Long for Pho

              I had a bad experience at Straits Restaurant at Santana Row. Bad, cold food. Chaotic service. Overpriced.

              Banana Leaf Restaurant
              182 Ranch Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

              Pho Kim Long
              2082 N Capitol Ave, San Jose, CA 95132

              Darda Seafood Restaurant
              296 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA 95035

              Maruichi Restaurant
              530 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035

            2. LGPhil and I agree on the LG recommendations - but I recommend James Randall whereas he does not. Other possible place for Downtown or Santana Row in San Jose would be:
              Arcadia (downtown) which is a Michael Minna restaurant. I've only been here once and thoroughly enjoyed my experience but I know that it gets mixed reviews from others.
              Paragon (downtown) located in the hotel Montgomery the food is great but the atmosphere is a bit trendy and I found it to be very noisy so just be aware.
              Loft Bar & Bistro (downtown) is pretty good. Not my favorite place to go but others rave about it and if you're looking for not so high end, it is better than some other options in downtown SJ.
              Amber India (Santana Row). They have other restaurants in Mountain View and SF. I've always been pleased with my meal here and if you're looking for good Indian, it is consistent from what I've experienced.
              Places I'd say to avoid:
              Blowfish Sushi in Santana Row. Others rave about it but I've never had a good meal here and for the cost it isn't worth the attitude you get from your server and host.
              Straights (Santana Row). I used to eat at the original on in SF. I've tried a couple of their other restaurants and found they aren't even close to the original. Always been disappointed.
              Enjoy your trip.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sflegs


                Arcadia Restaurant
                100 W San Carlos St., San Jose, CA 95113

                Amber India
                377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

                Blowfish Sushi To Die For
                355 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

                Paragon Restaurant & Bar
                211 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

                Loft Bar and Bistro
                90 S. 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113

                Straits Cafe
                333 Santana Row # 1100, San Jose, CA

                1. re: sflegs

                  I was probably a little harsh in my wording about James Randall. It's not that I don't like it, or feel the need to warn people away, it's just that when I am looking at places to go in that price range, I always choose somewhere else.

                2. thanks for all the advice! I'm really looking foward to my trip now. I will definitely make a detailed itinerary beforehand, but now I have lots to choose from.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: coolblursn

                    One other thing to check out that is an only in San Jose kind of restaurant is Henry's Hi-Life. It's been there since 1960 and it hasn't changed much as the downtown has changed around it.
                    You take a number and review the menu on the board. When the host calls your number, you place your order - steaks, chicken and ribs with prime rib on Fri and Sat, sides (I prefer the baked potato), and salad. They take down your name and when your table is ready they will call you in to be seated. Your salad will be right there and your food is closely behind it. It is a unique experience and I actually like the food for what it is - just down and dirty bbq. Nothing fancy but fun with a group before an event at the HP pavillion such as a Shark's game which obviously you aren't going to do off season.

                    1. re: sflegs


                      Henry's Hi-Life
                      301 W Saint John St, San Jose, CA 95110

                  2. So I am definitely going to Ramen Halu, though if anyone can tell me how it compares to Maruichi, that would be great. I am considering Paragon for Friday night, because it seems like a fun and tipsy way to end the week, but I am curious about Teske's Germania, anyone have any recent updates on that restaurant? Also, are there any bars with really good beer lists, like obscene, pages-long menus of microbrews on draft or bottle? Thanks.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: coolblursn

                      Paragon is a chain that I haven't read a lot good. If you like Applebee's and such, a more upscale version.

                      There is a recent positive post about Teske's on this place record link

                      1. re: rworange

                        bleh, like applebee's? do others concur? I actually think I'm going to Manresa, treat myself. It was a long, internal struggle, but I can't resist. I hope it's worth it. Is it really comparable to the French Laundry?

                        1. re: coolblursn

                          I wouldn't realy call it comparable. They do different styles and so which one you like better is very subjective. The Michelin report I refered to earlier had TFL as the only 3 star resto in the bay area. 5 two stars. The text accomanying the release indicated they rated Manresa number 2.

                          My guess, just an impression from reading the boards is that chowhound would vote TFL number 1, with Manresa number 2, and Cyrus number 3 nipping at their heels. Both Manresa and Cyrus have vocal followings which feel they are better than TFL, but my impression is that they are still in the minority.

                          I personally love Manresa and totally feel like it's worth it, but it's also local to me, so I get more chances to try it. That could color my impressions.

                    2. In downtown SJ, try Capers Loft, Original Joe's, or Bella Mia.