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Jul 10, 2011 08:51 AM

Second choice to Manresa

We were planning to go to Manresa next month for my birthday. However financial considerations are making us downsize a bit (it's just the two of us - my husband and myself - in our late 50's - and we are new to N. California, having lived in LA for the past three decades).

I wouldn't want to go to Manresa and not have the full tasting menu, so I'm looking for a back up place. We live in Sunnyvale and have been to Alexander's Steakhouse. Let me clarify - we've been to many places, but offhand, that's the only upscale restaurant in this area I think we have dined at. I lean towards vegetarian/Asian/Mexican - my husband is more of a steak / Italian kinda guy.

Any suggestions for a restaurant in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Mountain View, Los Gatos, or Palo Alto where we can have a celebratory dinner for less than $200 and still feel like we had a special experience?

Thanks so much for your advice!


Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Alexander's Steakhouse
10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014

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    1. re: wolfe

      Thanks Wolfe! I never even heard of any of those places - it will be fun to explore.

    2. Station 1 is a little farther up in Woodside, but you can get an absolutely amazing, special dinner for $100 per person or less - we just did that when my father visited from out of town. It's one of the best fine dining values in the Bay Area, and seems perfect given your price point. It's just two towns past Palo Alto and I think it's worth the drive.


      Station 1
      2991 Woodside Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

      4 Replies
      1. re: mdg

        Worth noting that Station 1's chef left recently.

        Station 1
        2991 Woodside Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I think it's a little low on ambiance. Compare to Village Pub, which really does feel special occasion. Whether you get out under $100/pp is a different question - you can look at the online menu and do your math. I'd say it's the most special feeling in this part of the bay, though.

          Village Pub
          2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062

          1. re: bbulkow

            I always see all of you posting so I take your advice seriously. Whether it's whitefish or white chocolate desserts, you know your stuff. I looked at Chez TJ's menu and it just isn't my style, I think. What we might do is take the day off from work, and take the train to San Francisco to eat. I know that opens another can of (non culinary) worms. We've experimented a lot in the city, so we know our way around - I think we might land at Frances this time. Thanks again for your help every time I cry out!

            Chez TJ
            938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            When we ate last I think (but am not sure) it was just after the opening chef left - we read about it in the paper the next day. The sous chef has taken over for now. There certainly was no letdown in the quality of cooking compared to previous visits.

            Indeed the ambience is not as elegant as Village Pub, but it's still celebratory, and the lack of fanciness is one reason why it's such a good value. It's a heck of a lot closer to Manresa in terms of food style than Village Pub. If you are looking at a second choice to Manresa, food-wise, I can't think of any place in San Francisco or the Peninsula that is a better match for that description at this price point. Though of course San Francisco has lots of fabulous restaurants!


        2. Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park is a keeper for a special night out