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3-night business trip to Santa Clara/San Jose - suggestions please?

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I will be in San Jose and Santa Clara for 3 nights starting tomorrow night - getting in to SJC at 9PM.

I am looking for hole in the wall places and especially for tomorrow night considering my late arrival to town. Almost all cuisines are welcome so please feel free to recommend - I will be dining with a client so if the ambiance is decent that would be a big plus but not too overbearing or expensive either. one other recommendation that would be great is if there are South Indian restaurants that open for breakfast - i love that food and my flight out on friday morning is late enough that I could certainly swing by if there is a place.

oh and I need dinner recommendations only. our host will make the lunch decisions for me but if there are "cant miss lunch here" places please do tell. I will have a car and will be staying @ the Fairfield Inn on North First St in San Jose. Thanks a lot.

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  1. For downtown San Jose, I can provide the following link. There's also Menara for Moroccan, Reheboth for Ethiopian, and for business dinners, Birk's & Parcel 104 in Santa Clara. These are Chow recs.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509381

    I do however, have a surefire rec for your S.Indian breakfast. Komala Vilas in Sunnyvale. Their standout dishes are pongal and uppuma (no matter how much you like dosas - which are just okay here). If you want Indian food for dinner, please let me know as there are several w/n 10 to 20 min. drive.

    http://www.komalavilas.com/

    1. I'm trying to think of something for your first night, since that's the toughest - open late, not too far, hole-in wall, but good. There's not much choices near the airport or your hotel - among the non-chains, looks like they mostly close at 9 pm or earlier. Though I havent' been, Menara Moroccan sounds delightful, if you can get there by 10 pm.

      One other alternative I can think of is Fantazia for thai, also open until 10 pm. Weird name but solid food, and they'll do thai-spicy if you want it. I've only gone once and I used a certificate from restaurant.com which made it great for the price paid.

      A bit further but still close by, downtown SJ has more late night (up to midnight) options:

      A hugely popular one is La Victoria for takeout burritos/tacos & their famous orange sauce. Iguana's, another taqueria/burrito joint that's open late, has even better orange sauce.

      An old (historic) standby for comfort italian-american is Original Joe's, which often gets recs but I've never been.

      Then you start getting to the hotel restaurants and restaurant-lounges, which I don't think meets your hole-in-wall standard.

      -----
      La Victoria Taqueria
      140 W San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95113

      Menara
      41 E Gish Rd, San Jose, CA 95112

      Original Joe's Restaurant
      301 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

      Fantazia
      1100 N 1st St Ste B, San Jose, CA 95112

      Iguanas Taqueria
      330 S 3rd St, A San Jose, CA

      1. I would definitely do Zeni for Ethiopian food in West San Jose. I've never had better Ethiopian food anywhere so I think it's a must if you're in the Bay Area.

        I'd agree with Parcel 104 for dinner. Birk's would work, too. If you're serious about the casual client meal thing, Zeni could work. Rehoboth would not.

        South Indian food wise, here are some of my favorite places. I don't know when they open. These are in order from best to worst in my opinion but all have good food.
        Tirupathi Bhimas - Milpitas
        Dosa Place - Santa Clara
        Udupi Palace - Sunnyvale (don't do the buffet!)
        Saravan Bhavan - Sunnyvale
        Dasaprakash - Santa Clara (pricier and nicer ambiance)

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
        Ethiopian in San Jose - Zeni: Come Come for the Gored Gored, Stay Stay for the Firfir

        1. Forgot about your "cant miss lunch here" request. Just a couple of miles south on 880 @ Stevens Creek is a very popular little falafel place. Always enjoy their falafel sandwiches and salads. Don't recommend their gyro, not the usual off the spit kind.

          http://www.falafelsdrivein.com/home.html

          1. Athena Grill sounds like the type of place you're looking for, with very nice Greek cuisine in a nice but informal setting - in a Silicon Valley industrial park! It's pretty close to you as well. Zafran is also nearby with great Pakistani food.

            The better South Indian places tend to be a bit closer to Sunnyvale rather than closer to SJC. Madras Cafe has awesome dosas and just started opening for breakfast at 8:30. But that type of round-trip is probably pretty risky before a flight out of SJC.

            -----
            Madras Cafe
            1177 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

            Athena Grill
            1505 Space Park Dr, Santa Clara, CA 95054

            Zafran Restaurant
            1855 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: mdg

              Ah, good to know about breakfast at Madras Cafe.

              1. re: mdg

                I've never been to Zafran but have wondered about if it's any good. How's their lunch buffet and how much is it?

                1. re: katya

                  I don't know; I avoid buffets. Please try it out and let us know what you think! The menu items at dinner are good to excellent, including some awesome biryanis.

                  Michael

              2. I am from Santa Clara and a culinary student so let me give you some advice. If you want to impress a client
                La Papillon in San Jose of Saratoga ave. A big price tag but the food is over the top.