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Dinner suggestions between SFO and Santa Cruz

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We will be arriving into SFO on a Friday at 5:45pm, it should be 6:30ish after getting bags and car then heading down to Santa Cruz for a couple of days of our trip. We plan on taking 17 down for expediency and then take 1 up the coast to our next stop in Mill Valley. What will traffic be like? Should we eat near the airport, along the way, or in Santa Cruz? We like all sorts of food, especially things we cant get in DC. All suggestions welcome!! Will cross post on California board.

Thanks!!

P.S.I love artichokes, any recs

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  1. Posted this on the CA board before catching this one.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/649889

    1. not alot to go on...there's a thousand restaurants between you and santa cruz at different ethnicities and price ranges...also, what specifically do you not have a lot of in DC?

      depend on how fancy you want to get, some well known nicer spots are:
      some of my favorites are:
      Evvia - greek restaurant in downtown Palo Alto
      Tamarine - vietnamese fusion spot in downtown Palo Alto
      La Bodeguita del Medio - great cuban spot on Cal Avenue in Palo Alto with great mojitos
      Village Pub - in Woodside off the 280
      Zitune - Morrocan in Los Altos
      Amber India - likely the best Indian restaurant in the Peninsula/Silicon Valley
      Kabul - Afghan food in downtown Burlingame
      Straits - Singaporean also in downtown burlingame

      There are some great restaurants in downtown Los Gatos on your way to Santa Cruz:
      - Tapestry, Nick's, Dio Deka

      all of the places above you'll need a reservation

      3 Replies
      1. re: vis

        Thank you for the suggestions! They sound so good

        1. re: vis

          Traffic these days is highly variable. If you have a smartphone, use Google Maps Traffic or 511.org to check the traffic after you arrive, and have a couple of options. Realistically, it'll take you an hour to get out of the airport and get your car, and at 6:45 the traffic is usually reasonable. Which gives you a fair shot anywhere along 101 - your sweet spots will likely be Palo Alto and Mountain View, although Village Pub has the advantage of a 280 location - avoiding 101 entirely. 280 is a newer, wider, more beautiful freeway with only occasional traffic.

          If you don't want to travel in traffic at all, search the board for Millbrea and check out one of the chinese places. Hong Kong Flower Lounge is a safe bet.

          Regarding vis' recommentations:

          I have to disrecommend Straits PA, they're just that good, even though I'm a huge fan of the original location. Kabul is good, but their menu is so limited I find them unamusing even though high quality - it's skewers of meat or nothing. Otherwise it's a solid list.

          I'd add Junoon in Palo Alto.

          And if you like sushi, read this:
          http://www.emeraldlake.com/sushilist....
          My personal favorite is Sushi Sam, because of the atmosphere and the extraordinary whiteboard.

          But really - as stated - there's such a huge range along 101 between the airport and santa cruz, from Michelan 2-star Manressa to 6-table Back-A-Yard. You're going to have to narrow it down.

          Particular strengths are Chinese, Indian, Korean, fancy-modern, Sushi.

          1. re: bbulkow

            i second sushi sam...they get busy though
            there's also a great local sushi spot in mountain view called Sushi Tomi and I really like the new japanese restaurant in Palo Alto called Jin Sho on California Ave...
            another fun vietnames spot in downtown mountain view is Xanh...

        2. Traffic should be fine by then but 280/85/17 will guarantee a breeze of a drive. That said, how much of a detour are you willing to make? Again, fancy or just good food? There are some nice restaurants in Palo Alto but there's traffic into downtown PA & parking will be a struggle for a newcomer adding to time (same with downtown Burlingame I presume). I second the Hong Kong Flower Lounge idea as Millbrae is home to some of the best Chinese in the area. There are some good Indian restaurants (Amber Mtn View, Amber Santana Row for upscale Indian; Hyderabad House, Palo Alto; Shan, Santa Clara -downscale) but nothing immediately off the highway :(

          Some other suggestions: Cafe Artemis in Campbell & Chinjin Eastern House Islamic Chinese with the latter right off 85.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594079

          1. We ended up at Hong Kong Flower Lounge. Had breakfasts at the Seabreeze Cafe. Thanks for recs!