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Aug 19, 2009 08:32 PM

San Jose and Monterey

Hello! I will be traveling to California for the Labor Day weekend. I am spending two nights in San Jose and three nights in Monterey and am looking for recommendations in both cities (or reasonably close by). I am open to all kinds of food, although I am espeically fond of Asian. Looking for one nice meal in Monterey area (thinking Passionfish), and probably more casual dining in San Jose. Thanks!

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  1. In San Jose I recommend Vung Tau on East Santa Clara St for great Vietnamese, great service, casual atmosphere. It is highly regarded on chowhound and elsewhere.

    I think that Passionfish is wonderful, and if I had only one fine dining option in Pacific Grove that would be my choice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emi50

      If you are going to do authentic Vietnamese I've always liked Nha Toi better than Vung Tau, is it still open? I've been out of the area for a bit.

      I still stand by my statement (that seems to have been deleted when this thread was split and moved) about Santana Row. It is a fun place with a great assortment of restaurants and is a solid choice if you're not quite sure where you want to eat. It has a few small chains and some good independent restaurants. It has casual and cheap and it has expensive. It is also a great place to hang out and have a drink.

    2. Folks-

      Monterey chow is discussed on the California board and we have split off and moved Lando's reply with Monterey recommendations to the California board:

      Please do continue discussion of San Jose chow here.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Nha Toi is still open and I still go once in a while as a solo diner, but its strengths are the unusual & authentic dishes you don't normally find elsewhere, that are best shared with a group. My favorites are the braised mackerel, raw beef salad, luffa & malabar spinach soup, and anything that comes with the purple fermented shrimp paste dipping sauce. That said, last time I went, their beef pho was a cut above standard: rare beef cut from tenderloin (instead of the usual beef round), fresh wide (soft & slippery) noodles, and a light broth that relies on beef bones over spice (though I detected a bit of msg last time I was there).

          Another up & coming Vietnamese place giving Vung Tau a run for its money is Lemon Grass, just outside Grand Century Mall (an all Asian mall). Actually, just wondering around in GCM will be a treat for you.

          While in the San Jose area, you might want to experience non-Cantonese Chinese, though these are all in the outskirts of San Jose. My favorites, though I haven't been to some of these in a while, are Chinjin Eastern House for Islamic Chinese, South Legend in Milpitas for Sichuan, Hu Chiang Dumpling House in Cupertino for Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), A&J in Cupertino for Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

          Lastly, there's ramen (search for Melanie's ramen rankings). My fave (when I'm in the mood for salty comfort) is Ramen Halu.

          South Legend
          1720 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035

          Ramen Halu
          375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

          Nha Toi Restaurant
          460 E William St, San Jose, CA 95112

          Hu Chiang Dumpling House (moved)
          10877 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

          A & J Restaurant
          10893 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

          Chinjin Eastern House
          1530 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose, CA

          Lemon Grass (formerly Viet Express)
          1143 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95122