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Peninsula/South Bay restaurants that would satisfy budget-minded foodies?

dukefuji22 Apr 18, 2009 11:25 AM

Can anyone suggest a restaurant(s) between Burlingame and San Jose that would make some out-of-town foodies happy (and when I say "happy", I mean REALLY happy)? They're looking to spend about $50 per person (including dessert) and are open to pretty much any type of cuisine. Thanks in advance for the suggestions...

  1. c
    Claudette Apr 23, 2009 09:30 AM

    Red Crane in Cupertino - stylish, delicious, nouveau Japanese
    Aqui in Campbell - casual, fun, great Southwestern food
    Amber India in Mt. View - outstanding lunch buffet (lots of great Indian places, but this is my fave)

    Amber India Restaurant
    2290 El Camino Real Suite 9, Mountain View, CA 94040

    The Red Crane
    7335 Bollinger Rd, Cupertino, CA

    Aqui Cal-Mex Grill
    201 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008

    1. k
      katya Apr 21, 2009 04:15 PM

      Budget-minded foodies for $50/person? Seems like an oxymoron.

      I'd go with New Kapadokia (I eat there cheaply for $12 but if you get an entree, some mezes (a must!), and baklava it could be $30/person) or Zeni ($15/person). Shalizaar is another option. (I have long posts about all these restaurants and what to order on Chowhound).

      Dinner weekend night Indian buffet at Turmeric (especially since Indian food is something the Bay Area does so well)? Patxi's for Chicago style pizza?

      I'm not a huge fan of Kabul. It's fine, but I prefer Helmand in SF or De Afghanan Kabob House (Fremont, Berkeley, SF).

      Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant
      1320 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

      Turmeric Restaurant
      141 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

      300 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002

      New Kapadokia Restaurant
      2399 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063

      Patxi's Chicago Pizza
      441 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      1. Shane Greenwood Apr 19, 2009 06:37 AM

        Pretty broad request, so here are some broad recommendations in terms of geo and cuisine:

        Refuge in San Carlos would work well. Lots of positive reviews on CH. House made pastrami, excellent belgian beers, good wine list. Might be the most CH-worthy spot on the Peninsula.

        Joy restaurant in Foster City has some of the best Chinese in the area. Also reviewed at length on other threads. Very good for the budget.

        Iberia in Menlo Park. This is good for Spanish tapas in the bar. Very cool space with lounge seating, patio and fireplace. Not worth dining in the main dining room. But the bar area for tapas and wine is good. Service is spotty because they take a casual, European approach and tip is included, so they come off as aloof, but they are nice and the food is good.

        La Bodeguita Del Medio in Palo Alto does the best Cuban food in the area. They keep it pretty authentic and have a few outdoor tables when it's nice out.

        Gochi in Cupertino is Japanese tapas and gets a lot of love from the people in the area.

        Iberia Restaurant
        1026 Alma St, Menlo Park, CA 94025

        Joy Restaurant
        1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

        La Bodeguita Del Medio
        463 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

        Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas
        19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

        The Refuge
        963 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

        3 Replies
        1. re: Shane Greenwood
          dukefuji22 Apr 20, 2009 10:58 AM

          Heard good things about Iberia as well. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

          1. re: Shane Greenwood
            newhart06 Apr 22, 2009 10:15 PM

            What do you like at La Bodeguita? I wonder if I've been ordering wrong there. Thank you!

            1. re: newhart06
              bbulkow Apr 23, 2009 09:42 AM

              I highly recommend the mastitas - the slow cooked pork, first thing on the entree section. It's actually the only thing I like on their menu - the rest of it tastes watered down. Kind of like their drinks. I've settled on ordering a dark rum manhattan as my drink there, also doesn't come out watered down.

          2. j
            jsaimd Apr 18, 2009 11:54 AM

            ambiance? type of food?

            6 Replies
            1. re: jsaimd
              dukefuji22 Apr 18, 2009 12:00 PM

              They're open to any type of cuisine. In terms of ambiance, I'm not looking for anything "romantic" per se, but I do want to be able to hear my own conversation during dinner w/o resorting to shouting across the table. Hope this helps.

              1. re: dukefuji22
                ML8000 Apr 18, 2009 12:17 PM

                Where are they from? It's pointless sending someone from LA to a Mexican restaurant, etc.

                That said, how about Afghani food? Kabul in Sunnyvale or Kabul Afghan Cuisine in San Carlos. Despite similar names and being on El Camino, they're not related and about 20 miles apart.

                Kabul Afghan Cuisine
                135 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070

                Kabul Afghan Cuisine
                833 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

                1. re: ML8000
                  dukefuji22 Apr 18, 2009 03:58 PM

                  Haven't tried either of those places you mentioned, but worth considering. Thanks.

                  1. re: ML8000
                    bbulkow Apr 18, 2009 11:51 PM

                    I personally find San Carlos Kabul unsatisfying. As tasty as the slab of meat and rice is, and they have very tasty slab of meat, there's not much to it, and little variety on the menu - except the pumpkin side dish, which is danged good.

                    And I agree this is an unsatisfiable request. "make foodies happy for less than $50" could mean anything. Happiness is relative and personal. Dukefuji22, if you want a decent rec, you'll have to come up with some greater details.

                    Example: will they be thrilled by a kind of food they haven't had before, even if it isn't great? How about Little Sheep Hot Pot? Rare in most parts of the world. But if they've had good Hot Pot in Beijing, it'll be a yawner.

                    Finally - the usual issue with price is whether to include alcohol and tip.

                    Second finally - look, if you're so crazy about a good impression, why not expand the territory to include SF?

                    1. re: bbulkow
                      dukefuji22 Apr 20, 2009 10:57 AM

                      1) Price does include alcohol. Yeah, probably unrealistic, but thought I would ask the question anyways.
                      2) Didn't include SF simply because of scheduling issues.

                      1. re: dukefuji22
                        bbulkow Apr 20, 2009 12:12 PM

                        I'm sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear.

                        Price is only one part of the equation. You've given no information about what these people might like ("open to any type of cuisine" says almost nothing). Where are they from? What kind of places and things do they rave about?

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