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South Bay Area Eats - Need recommendations

Hi Fellow Gourmands

I am on business visit from India in San Jose for some months .After trawling the chowhound and elsewhere I have drawn up a list of restaurants/places to visit

I am filling up a list here based on what I have heard on the board so far , I shall keep updating the list . Will be staying off as much as Indian as possible .Cursory searches in Chinese on the boards havent turned anything yet for me (I must be definitely missing the obvious), and Japanese there is too much to filter down yet ....

My goal is to eat my way through as much American food is possible as well ......


1.Sri Lankan -Kadupul
2.Korean - Kunjip (Any reco for stuff nearer to San Jose?)
3.Vietnamese - Saigon Seafood
4.Isan style Thai (?)
5.Thai Bangkok Sytle (?)
6.Japanese Sushi (There was a wonderful thread on it but couldnt find it , can some one link to it ?)
7.Sushi Sawa - Is it open for outsiders now ?
8.Japanese Ramen (There are many threads need to fill this one up)
9. Mexican - El Gallo Giro
10. Middle East - unresearched

1.In and Out -what else !!


Bistro - Nordstorm Cafe
Village California
Diner - ?
Brew pub - ?
Fine Dining - Manresa
Zuni Cafe
Chez Pannise(Should I ?)
BBQ - Smoking Pig
Boulangerie - Any american style bakeris or french ones which are worth it?

Am I missing more styles?

Random Traveller

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  1. San Jose is a big place. Can you tell us about where we're staying so we can steer you to places closer to where you'll be?

    Your California fine dining choices of Manresa, Saison, Zuni, and Chez Panisse are excellent. Chez Panisse is pretty much where the mothership for California-style, locally-based cuisine that has spread all across the USA. It's definitely worth visiting, though for a drive from San Jose I would be sure to go to the downstairs restaurant, not the upstairs cafe. You might want to also consider Station 1 and Village Pub in Woodside.

    Thai in the South Bay is just OK. Places like Lers Ros in San Francisco are much better than anything here. Thai Spoons in Sunnyvale does do a really nice pad kee mao, though.

    Smokin' Pig is our new barbecue contender in San Jose - I'd love to hear what you think. Hunan Taste is a good Chinese choice in San Jose. There are tons of Chinese places in Cupertino and Milpitas.

    Don't overlook Peruvian food at places like Isabella's in San Jose and Puro Peru in Sunnyvale. And don't miss American pizza at places like Howie's Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto or Gialina in San Francisco.

    Italian food is very influential on California food, and the best Italian places treat California like another region of Italy. Most of the Italian restaurants near San Jose should be avoided, but downtown Palo Alto has two fine places, Vero and Cafe Renzo. San Francisco and the East Bay have lots more, including the amazing La Ciccia in San Francisco for Sardinian food.

    For Middle Eastern food your best nearby bet is Dishdash in Sunnyvale. There's fine Greek food at Athena Grill in Santa Clara, and good Afghan food at Kabul in Sunnyvale.

    More later...


    2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Zuni Cafe
    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Manresa Restaurant
    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

    La Ciccia
    291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Chez Panisse
    1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

    Dishdash Restaurant
    190 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

    Athena Grill
    1505 Space Park Dr, Santa Clara, CA 95054

    Hunan Taste
    998 N 4th St, San Jose, CA 95112

    530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

    Village Pub
    2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062

    Thai Spoons
    909 W El, Camino Real Sunnyvale, CA

    Isabella's Restaurant
    700 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

    2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

    Thai Spoons
    909 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

    Howie's Artisan Pizza
    855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

    Cafe Renzo
    473 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

    Station 1
    2991 Woodside Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

    Puro Peru
    1161 N Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

    Lers Ros
    307 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    4 Replies
    1. re: mdg

      Thank you mdg for your detailed replies .

      Your are right to point out the fact that a pizzeria is missing and I intend to add it . I shall look up your suggestion .

      I walked the Castro Street today and lunched at Scratch ,wasnt blown away but I enjoyed Pliny the Elder .

      I am staying Miltpitas . .

      1. re: green_wyvern

        Hmmm ... this is difficult because despite asking about South Bay places, you seem to be up in SF alot.

        if you are in the East Bay, Turkish Kitchen would be good for Middle Eastern. Across the street from Chez Panisse is Cheseboard, which has good California style pizza and an amazing cheese shop.

        Since you don't really seem to be limited to the immediate area, you might break some of this down in separate posts by cuisine. There are some parts of the bay that are better for certain types of food than others ... like dim sum.

        Also look into farmers markets and the upcoming summer season. Down your way I usually make the trek each June to CJ Olson in Sunnyvale which sells what i consdier the finest cherries, Blenheim apricots and Santa Rosa plum.

        Another good thing would be to subscribe to the SF Bay Area Chow digest which has a half dozen top tips of the week. You can also look through it online


        1. re: green_wyvern

          Mediterranean Wraps on California in Palo Alto is better than anything I've had in the Berkeley/Oakland area. In general, Middle Eastern seems to be strong in PA. Mexican, not so much. There's a thread about Mexican in Redwood City with lots of places I want to try, but haven't yet.

        2. re: mdg

          This has probably been discussed to death ,but where should I go first Baume or Manresa ?

          Manresa Restaurant
          320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        3. Muslim Chinese. Darda in Milpitas and a couple of other places in that area.


          1. How about Persian? I have had good meals at Negeen in Campbell http://negeenrestaurant.com/in_loc.html and I really like the different rices at Arya in Cupertino http://www.aryarestaurant.com/ and for a deli like experience of Persian food: Rose International in Saratoga Village.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Tumkers

              Hi Tumkers , thanks for the reco ,shall check them out ....

              1. re: Tumkers

                I did visit Dish Dash , I would say nice rather than mindblowing ....

                I had lamb with spinach ,although their zatar olive oil combo is good,the pitas wherent that fresh tasting

                1. re: green_wyvern

                  Dish Dash is nice, no one said it will be mindblowing. You are in for a big disappointment if you consider all our recs to be such : )

                  Falafel Drive-In, San Jose - Casual lunch place with picnic tables.

                  Zeni Ethiopian, San Jose - really enjoyed the veg. combo; not so much the lamb dish (I am a big fan of lamb). Service can be slow.

                  Palo Alto - as mentioned previously, do give Howie's Pizza a try. Also, my single favorite item in PA is probably the chocolate yogurt at upscale Fraiche. I take all out-of-town visitors here.

                  Italian in SF - Perbacco. Contemporary, lively with very good food as well as service.

                  Zuni - only been once (didn't have chicken) & felt it was overpriced. Looks like many posters feel the roast chicken is the way to go. My two cents.

                  Bakery - Tartine in SF. Also, be sure to visit Ferry Bldg in SF.

                  p.s. hopefully you have a car & thanks for reporting back!

                  1. re: ceekskat

                    Sure ceekskat .....I understand the mindblowing part :)

                    Will be in Palo Alto today , so hope to go around some stuff mentioned here .........

                    Aside from that I did visit Darda Seafood in Milpitas and it was really worth it , the lamb dishes are indeed very well made .

                    Darda Seafood Restaurant
                    296 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA 95035

                    1. re: ceekskat

                      Yesterday was in Palo Alto ...

                      Had dinner at the french bistro shokolat . Shortribs where a let down but all the vegetarian dishes ordered hit home like a pumpkin risotto and goat cheese ravioli . Probably their pasta is sublime ?

                      In desserts , the creme fraiche sorbet was nice (Better than the lemon pie it was served with )

                      Went to fraiche as well . Understandably the chocolate yoghurt was wonderful .

                      644 Emerson St Ste 110, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                      516 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

                2. Thanks to all replies ....

                  I went today to Smoking Pig BBQ unfortunately their ribs and chicken wasnt ready yet ...

                  Since my dining companion doesnt eat red meat , we had to leave ..Shall be back for more

                  Smoking Pig BBQ
                  1144 N 4th St, San Jose, CA 95112

                  1. Visited Banana Leaf today . The Roti Parrota was really good although the curry could use some more heat .

                    Planning to work my way up the menu here ...

                    Banana Leaf Restaurant
                    182 Ranch Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

                    1. for south bay, depends on your restrictions
                      if in palo alto, try birch st cafe
                      if in menlo park, try mitsunobu
                      if in cupertino, try gochi
                      ramen -- orenchi
                      sushi -- well, usually go to sushi tomi or kitsho
                      mexican -- los gemelos
                      korean -- jang su jang all around but there are specifics for certain dishes
                      vietnamese -- vung tau all around but there are specifics for certain dishes
                      kalbi at secret garden
                      thai -- too bad you have to go to sf, ler ros is the best
                      isabellas, as mentioned, is good
                      persian then trek over to shalizaar
                      i'd go to manresa over baume unless you're into foams

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ankimo

                        highly second the los gemelos rec. love that place and going there for lunch today.

                        for korean, i'd also add tong soon garden, which services korean / chinese. Get the spicy seafood noodle soup, the ja jiang noodles and an order of chicken wings.

                        On castro, fu lam mam is serviceable dimsum. not in a class with yank sing or koi palace, but better than most places.

                        if you want neopolitan pizza and don't want to trek to SFthere is a place in mountain view on el camino real. i think its called pizza napoletana or something.

                        in palo alto, i enjoy oren's hummus place and sancho's tacqueria (for the fish tacos especially).

                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                          Thanks a lot for multiple recommendations , will be scheduling multiple visits to SF ......

                          Visited Smoking Pig BBQ today .... The hot links are hot ....

                          The dishes I enjoyed best surprisingly turned out to be their sides ...Cornbread baked in muffin pan was moist and memorable and so was their mac n cheese with smoked meat in it

                          Smoking Pig BBQ
                          1144 N 4th St, San Jose, CA 95112

                      2. Visited SFO over the week end .Ferry Building and Market are understandably good .

                        Roli Roti ,Acme Bread ,Cowgirl Creamery ....

                        Also had good margerhita at Tony's Pizza Napoletana ..

                        Mountain view farmers market served up some nice and simple galettes .

                        Have Manresa coming up this week end .

                        Acme Bread
                        1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                        Manresa Restaurant
                        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                        Cowgirl Creamery
                        1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        Roli Roti
                        , Hayward, CA

                        Tony's Pizza Napoletana
                        1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                        1. Had dinner at en ,santa clara yesterday .. The monk fish liver was sublime ....

                          3450 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: green_wyvern

                            Thanks for continuing to post! How was manresa for you?

                            It's hard, writing about the south bay here. There are so, so, so many restaurants. I've never neard of En. You've probably never heard of Aachi Aappakadai, where I ate saturday or the chat / ice cream place right behind it. I wouldn't have either, but I've been trying to canvas the indian food in sunnyvale in a systematic fashion.

                            I have to take a friend to Sumika soon, we ate at a yakitori place in tokyo, and I said los altos is better - now I have to prove it. There are, simply, way too many undiscovered good eats in the south bay.

                            1. re: bbulkow

                              Manresa was a hit ..4 hours and a wonderful experience ....

                              Ferry Building food seem to be never ending ....

                              Kimchi juice at Happy Girls .....

                              Also had cupcakes at Sprinkles in Palo Alto

                              Visited Akane in Los Altos ...

                              Visited So Gong in Milpitas

                              Yet to try Banh Mi ..any recommendations on that regard ?

                              Milpitas So Gong Dong Tofu
                              231 W Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035

                              1. re: green_wyvern

                                Visited Mezcal in San Jose Downtown .Place looks beautiful ,exposed brick et all ..But food wasnt something to remember ..Salmon was fishy ...The moles(my first experience with them so I may be wrong all together) where weak and muted ...
                                I didnt like the chicken either ....

                                Mezcal Restaurant
                                25 W San Fernando, San Jose, CA 95113

                                1. re: green_wyvern

                                  Milpitas is not exactly a Sushi hot bed ..But went to a newly opened place called Sushi Kai yesterday . Comparatively pricy but food is well made with less of gimmicky rolls . Had the chirashi -saba was a standout to me .

                                  Worthwhile visit if you are in the area

                          2. Here are some places not mentioned yet that I like and are South Bay-proximate.


                            A&J (Cupertino Village): northern Chinese. Beef buns, fried pork chops, beef noodle soup

                            Joy Luck Palace (Cupertino Village): dim sum

                            Mama Chen (Santa Clara): Taiwanese

                            Chinjin Eastern House: (San Jose): Islamic Chinese. Great homemade knife-shaved noodles. Also: cumin lamb, sesame bread, pan-fried beef dumpling

                            Shanghai Garden (Cupertino): fish in wine sauce; sheng jian bao; stir-fried rice cakes

                            South Legend (Milpitas): Sichuan. A bit further is Da Sichuan in Palo Alto, which I think is better.

                            Michelle's Pancake House (Cupertino): haven't tried yet, but northern Chinese. Long lines, at least on the weekend.

                            Tong Dumpling Pot (SJ): dumplings and green onion pancake. Watch the Chinese ladies make it look easy.


                            Pho Ha Noi (SJ): pho ga (make sure to get the house-made wide noodles)

                            Pho Y1 (SJ): pho bo

                            Bun Bo Hue An Nam (SJ): bun bo hue

                            Still have to do some serious exploration of the Grand Century Mall


                            Sushi: I like Kitsho (Cupertino) a lot for the white board. But only sit at the sushi bar (which is a general rule for me no matter where, and definitely applies here IMO).

                            Dan Izakaya (SJ) is probably my favorite izakaya right now.

                            Gombei (SJ): cooked Japanese dishes like curry plates, tonkatsu, etc.

                            Sumika (Los Altos): already mentioned

                            Ramen: Orenchi is my favorite right now but the wait can be intolerable. Santouka is great if you don't care about setting (toroniku is my favorite to order). Halu Ramen has many admirers and I like it well enough as well.


                            I like Bakery Mexico (SJ) for their tortas. Only bettered by this one stand near UNAM in Mexico City.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bouncepass

                              Nice List -
                              if orenchi is toO packed, try the guys in Mountain View on Alma.

                              1. re: bouncepass

                                Thank you !

                                I have long since returned ...But I did tend to eat a lot at Maruichi ,Miltpitas . It isnt generally on many peoples list but the absence of lines and a quiet place to eat with nice depth to broth had me visit them a number of times

                                I did goto Grand Sichuan but finding no one and the owners sitting down to their meal I stumbled on Sushi Kai which had re-opened under different owners .

                                Sushi Kai is probably my best find - no rolls under weird names their chirashi was a stand out with excellent saba that I returned back ..

                                1. re: green_wyvern

                                  Good chowhounding, thanks for your faithful reporting from the front.

                              2. If anyone has a good recommendation for a bakery that serves sublime croissant in the south bay area I am all ears ....

                                Despite my prowling I am yet to come upon one ....and more than $100 poorer ...