Recommendations for Dinner in San Jose- 8 people
If you want to go to Downtown SJ - I had a really pleasant dinner at La Pastaia last night. Solid pastas, entrees and awesome desserts. They have an inhouse pastry chef who's equal or even better than some top SF restaurants.
I second Morrocco's! It's fun, lively and you get a-lot of food! They have all you can eat family style dinner for $30pp... and their Sangria is super addicting.
I would skip Arcadia. it's just not one of Mina's strong restaurants (and it's always pretty empty).
Other hidden gems would be Nazca for Peruvian,
233 West Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Paolos in downtown SJ is upscale Italian - classy.
Moroccos, also in downtown, might be suitable since you say it's an adventurous group. It's a modest setting but serious Moroccan food and they really aim to please.
They often have live music, too.
And there's Michael Mina's Arcadia (upscale steak etc) in the downtown Marriott.
For business meetings, I've always brought people to The Loft. it's American food, decently done, with a nice atmosphere. Plus, it's right downtown and most people can find something they like there. I'd definitely recommend getting a reservation for a group of 8.
If you're feeling like Japanese, Kubota in Japantown (just north of downtown proper) is good for a large group (make a reservation). It's another regular place I've gone for business dinners.
If you're willing to leave San Jose, there's Dio Deka down in Los Gatos. I usually get the rack of lamb and I've never had a bad experience with the service.
As bbulkow mentioned, Santana Row has good looks and atmosphere, but the food is really only decent there, and there's quite a bit of choice there. Pizza Antica isn't so bad, and Straits Cafe is super popular as well.
355 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
334 Santana Row # 1065, San Jose, CA
210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030
593 N 5th St, San Jose, CA
Loft Bar and Bistro
90 S. 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113
333 Santana Row # 1100, San Jose, CA
The Loft is a good choice in downtown, I've been there several times and enjoyed it each time. Dio Deka is a wonderful place. If you don't like lamb, the mesquite roasted fishes are outstanding. Dio Deka is more formal and a little on the quiet and stuffy side, but pleasantly so. And, man, the food is good.
Well, it depends where you're coming from. If you come from anyplace with good Greek restaurants, like New York or Chicago or Detroit, skip Dio Deka (especially since it's far from the location you specified). Although perhaps it's gotten better since the original chef left.
Santana Row is essentially a very nice outdoor mall. They've made a point of attracting a few decent restaurants, which are long on style but only moderate in terms of food. It's a good bet for a "nice meal" in that it's clean and shiny. What's there is branches of local mini-chains, like Left Bank and Straight's. I loved Straight's in SF, but the other branches are pale imitations.
"sales professionals" might like it.
San Jose is known for Vietnamese food. Outside the downtown, like in Sunnyvale, Indian is very strong, and there are chinese and japanese standouts. Fine dining has some strong points, but primarily outside of the downtown. For example, the very amazing Manresa is a 17 minute drive (in clear traffic) from downtown - but it's easy to drop $300/pp.
It'll help if you give some indication of the kind of food your group will like, exactly where you're coming from, how much you want to spend, and how you'd like to balance food vs atmosphere.
The board hasn't been very active with San Jose residents recently, and I don't venture too far south of Rte 273 myself. Hopefully someone who eats in that area more frequently will respond.