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Aug 17, 2012 05:00 PM

Needed: Business dinner for 4: downtown SJ

I'm hosting a business dinner next week, and we chose Chaya in SF --- but the venue moved to SJ downtown. I don't really want to make them drive out to Santana Row, something right downtown near the convention center & hotels is first choice

I am, frankly, clueless about the business options down there.

The guests are east coast, and I know nothing about them - other than that they work for a large and established firm. So typical business parameters: wide enough menu, does everything pretty well, small enough tables to talk, not too formal, not too casual. Arcadia would be overkill I think.

Thoughts on:
71 Saint Peter
McCormick & Schmicts
The grill on the alley
19 Market
The Loft
La Pastaia
Il Fornaio

? others ?

Thanks a ton --- I'm surprised I can't answer this myself.... but I don't go to San Jose to eat at places like this ....

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    1. La Pastaia is a good choice. The food is decent and the atmosphere is appropriate for a business dinner, although looking at your comments, it might be a touch to formal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        +1 Safe place for unknown clients and tastes.

      2. Mezcal is the place I go downtown pre-opera. The Oaxacan / Mexican menu gives it more local flavor for east coast visitors than many of the others on your list. McCormick & Schmick's is good for a national chain. I haven't been to most of the others.


        1. The food scene in downtown SJ is seriously bad. Of all the places you mentioned, I can only half-heartedly recommend The Grill. I haven't been to Mescal, The Loft nor Myth but all the other places you've mentioned have seriously gone downhill. You may want to check out Arcadia which is actually not as much of an overkill compared to The Grill.

          Perhaps a lot more informal but something the east-coasters may find fun and interesting is Cuban food, either Los Cubanos or Havana Cuba which is not in downtown proper but pretty close. Now I'm not wholly endorsing them either but for the price, I'd pick one of them. These are not modern Cuban places meaning the food is solid but not that exciting. But at least they're semi-fun places.

          If you want to go for a semi sure thing, there's always Morton's. At least you can count on the consistency. And if you know someone who's a member of the Silicon Valley Capital Club then go there, not really for the food which would be equivalent to McCormick & Schmidt's but at least there's a good view from 17th story above (I've only been there for lunch).

          1 Reply
          1. re: KathyM

            Havana Cuba isn't acceptable for a business trip.
            Thanks for the other thoughts - although I'm not sure how we're going to deal with it ---

          2. I think any on your list would work fine, really. My preferences for what you describe would be The Loft or Il Fornaio.

            2 Replies
            1. re: emi50

              My husband and I don't care for Il Fornaio's food, but at least we can carry on a business conversation w/o shouting. Arcadia and Parcel 104 are better if you have the budget.

              1. re: Claudette

                I also think that Arcadia would be perfect if budget allows.