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Vegetarian-friendly fine dining in the South Bay?

w
whininggirl Jun 22, 2011 02:48 PM

Hello,

I am originally from the West Valley area of San Jose, but now I live in Seattle. In September, I'll be bringing my boyfriend "home" (although my parents don't even live there anymore) to meet my friends see where I grew up. I'm excited.

It corresponds with our first anniversary so we'd like to go out for a really nice meal. This will be the first time he's traveled since he was 15 so I want it be really special. Money not an object. I know about Manresa and Chez TJ's, both of which sound fab, buuuuut I'm a vegetarian and he's not and I don't want to compromise either of our experiences if I'm paying that much money. Are either of those, or the Plumed Horse, or Baume or any of the other oft-mentioned fine dining establishments vegetarian friendly and willing to not be snooty about it? I see Chowhound lists Chez TJ as having a vegetarian menu - has anyone had it? Is it good?

I say no to Le Papillon, if that's still around even. I had a ridiculously disastrous junior prom date there :)

Also, I don't really need places with tasting menus or are considered super high end dining. I just want the following things:

Something special, with memorable food and an intimate atmosphere (can be quirky if not fancy)
Something "Californian" - which could mean ethnic food, sure. California is a diverse place. But I don't want to go to a straight-up Vietnamese restaurant; would rather have fusion, if that makes sense?
Something with vegetarian options or willing to make me vegetarian food without being jerks about it (and with the food being good!)
Something in Saratoga/Los Gatos/Downtown San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara/Cupertino/Campbell. I guess I'd go up to Mountain View for something super extraordinary (we will have a car), but I want to dine out in my old 'hood.

Am I asking too much?

ETA: Oh heck. Two posts down, crossing with mine, there's the mention of Sent Sovi, which has a vegetarian tasting menu. So that's definitely an option!

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Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Chez TJ
938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

The Plumed Horse
14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070

Le Papillon
410 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

  1. m
    mhuang Jun 22, 2011 04:29 PM

    Chez TJ can do a vegetarian menu or a pescatarian menu on request. Manresa I know can do vegetarian on request as well. However, as most "fine dining" establishments do require the whole table to choose from the same menu option (ala carte, 4-course, or 9 course) so if you order a 4-course option, your boyfriend will need to order the 4 course option as well. You can choose different choices on the menu (him carnivore, and you vegetarian) and that shouldn't be a problem.

    Intimacy-wise, both Chez TJ and Manresa are nice, and both have the feel of Californian fusion cuisine. Couldn't go wrong with either one.

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    Manresa Restaurant
    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

    Chez TJ
    938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

    1. p
      petrelline Jun 22, 2011 06:49 PM

      Manresa will do a combined veg/non-veg meal with no problem, and they do some of the most magnificent vegetarian meals around, thanks to the association with Love Apple Farm. It's nice but not stuffy; we went there for our anniversary this last march and it was just about perfect.

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      Manresa Restaurant
      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

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