One lunch and one dinner in San Jose area - suggestions?
I'm going to be traveling up to San Jose from Los Angeles for one day only. I'll be staying in Mountain View, but I do have a car. What are some places that I should try that I can't really get in LA? It can also be something that is done better in San Jose than in LA. Ethnic food is preferred, but I'm open to anything.
Better than L.A.? Indian food. I just had another fabulous dinner at Kabab & Curry's last night. Very casual* Indo-pak restaurant with great tandoori chicken & lamb. Recently went to their buffet which is good but not nearly as good as a la carte dinner. They only have biriyanis on weekends but tue-thur, it appears they have different dinner specials & my goal now is try one of those next time. Another suggestion for IndoPak if you don't want to drive all the way to Santa Clara is Shan in Sunnyvale. Amber (Mtn. View) is a good upscale option for lunch buffet or dinner ($13 or $14 for buffet). Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale for S.Indian (veg.) food.
*Waiter takes order at table, but we pay at counter.
Shan - (408) 524-5301
In case you feel like a burrito or taco (carnitas) for lunch, original Taqueria La Bamba on Old Middlefield Way. I haven't made it there yet, but it is a CH rec.
Edit: Will you be in Mountain View at lunch time?
It's been a while since I lived in LA, but I remembered so many great, diverse restos there. ceekskat listed some great suggestions, and I second Amber India in Mt. View for a tablecloth dinner and Kabab & Curry in Santa Clara for a formica-top dinner.
An alternative tablecloth suggestion would be Dio Deka for very chic, nouveau upscale Greek (call early for reservations); be sure to order lots of lamb, avoid the moussaka, and save room for the yogurt dessert, which is huge, rich, and fantastic. Some CH's don't like the fact that it's not "authentic" but I've had enough bad authentic Greek to appreciate this place, and you won't find such food in LA.
An alternative formica-top resto would be Aqui in Willow Glen or Campbell. It's cheap, delicious Cal-Mexi-Southwest food, and the specials are so good, innovative, and ever-changing that it took me years to finally order off the regular menu. Last night it was a huge burrito-like chimichanga filled with crab paella.
Dio Deka in Los Gatos is my go-to place whenever I'm in the San Jose area. There is nothing in LA like it that I know of---New York maybe. It's upscale Greek/pan-Mediterranean. Think Anthos in New York. The Branzino is lovely, and be sure to get the Saganaki starter (fried cheese). So good!
Hmm, those would be two excellent meals; however, I'm not sure if you'll be able to do Dio Deka justice after an Indian AYCE. Perhaps if you restrain yourself at lunch:-)
Also, I would recommend Evvia as an alternative to Dio Deka...it is not as spendy, is located in lively downtown Palo Alto & lastly, a little closer to Mtn. View. I recommend their mesquite grilled lamb chops (usually get a half order). I haven't had their roasted fish in a while but that has been good in the past too. Dio Deka was born from Evvia though not the same owners.
fyi...Shan, one of my recs for Indian has a la carte menu at both lunch & dinner.
I second Evvia over Dio Deka. Dio Deka is a pleasant place with excellent lamb chops but it's only marginally Greek. Their taramasalata is gross. It's almost a good thing that they only give you a tiny little scoop, although for the price you could get two jars of a pretty good version at the International Market, just a ways up the road. I'd also add my vote on Amber India, the one in Mtn View (the one in Santana Row doesn't do it for me).
Falafel Drive- In in San Jose is great, if you are into cheap, picnic table atmosphere with great food. Fiesta Del Mar for Mexican in Mountain View, there is one on Shoreline blvd and one Villa st. Best Mole i've ever had. Sneha Indian buffet is great, lots of choices, and mango soft serve is out of this world