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Aug 23, 2012 04:59 PM

San Jose rec request for 1 week visit please

I live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and will be in San Jose, specifically the Milpitas area, for work next week. I have read some older threads on this area and have a bit of info. Basically what I am looking for is really good food where I can dress casual to semi casual and not specifically high end. American, Mexican, seafood, steak, real deal smoked BBQ, any Asian fare, and Indian would do. I am actually open to anything.

I am staying at the Courtyard Marriott Milpitas and will have a rental car, so driving is not problem even if it's a 20 minute drive. I've only been to San Jose once back in 2003 so I am happy to be back in the area.

Thanks in advance!

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks Robert. The number of places mentioned in those threads are too overwhelming to base a decision on.

      Does anyone have any current reports on these options?

      Mezcal Restaurant
      Minh's Vietnamese Restaurant
      Poor House Bistro
      Smoking Pig BBQ

      1. re: freakerdude

        Smoking Pig is indeed real deal barbecue; the California twist is the nice local wine selection. I last went a few weeks ago after flying into SJC and it was still really good.

        Mezcal has always done well for me in terms of Mexican food, but it's been a year or so since I've gone there. I'm on the other side of the Bay so I'm not up to date on Milpitas area eats.


    2. The PHB is a converted Victorian house, and doesn't offer much for atmosphere, although they do have occasional live music in their side yard area. I enjoy the gumbo and the red beans & rice with a cold beer before a San Jose Sharks game. The corn muffins are also worth a try.

      6 Replies
      1. re: KatoK

        I've only been once but I liked the spicy chicken sandwich and the fries are good too. They have a nice beer selection too. But..,if you are from Florida perhaps you make trips to NOLA and other areas with this type of food in which case I'd skip the Poor House.

        1. re: Bean Counter

          There's no cajun here or nearby and live music would be nice. Mezcal sounds good since it is Oaxacan. A place serving Yucatan regional would be nice. I love mole's, al pastor, and cochinita pibil.

          Thanks everyone for the updates!

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Tu Mero Mole is worthwhile, the SJ location mote than Sunnyvale, but it's not Yucatecan.

            2. re: freakerdude

              If you're here on Friday evening, Smoking Pig has a live blues band that night.


              1. re: freakerdude

                Monte Alban for Oaxacan is a few blocks away from Mezcal and is unbeatable.

          1. Do not miss the Vietnamese food court at the Grand Century mall.

            Darda in Milpitas for Muslim Chinese. Get the cumin lamb, which may not appear in English on the menu:


            Habana Cuba in SJ is the best Cuban food I've had in the area (except for a couple of places that have closed).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Just back from SJ and I definitely would not recommend Habana Cuba to someone from SE FL. And it is not a strong area for Cajun, even compared to FL. Great, great Asian and great Mexican - Mezcal is a very good bet.

              1. re: dcbbq

                Oops, I agree, no reason for someone from southern Florida to bother with Cuban food here.

            2. I was surprised at the minimal amount of restos in the area where I stayed. Where do all of the people that work in the Milpitas area go for lunch? I saw nothing but a few dotted resto strip malls and tons of industrial work areas.

              Here's where I ended up:
              Tasman Rd. @Lafayette strip mall
              Dona Maria Mexican - their new location and the mole enchiladas were very good along with the 2 house sauces green and red. House salsa was better than most I have had.
              Pho Khang- Vietnamese summer rolls were good but the service was very poor and unfriendly. They make you feel not welcome here.
              Sangam Chaat Indian - good Indian buffet with chili chicken being a very good standout and friendly service. We don't have many good Indian restos so this one to me was way above my standard.
              Thai Bistro - friendly service, great iced coffee, and some of the best green curry I have had in most places.

              The last 2 places had completely closed kitchens. I am used to at least a semi open kitchen and it makes you wonder what is back there. It was kind of odd to me where the very basic dining room is very closed off from anything else.

              Royal Orchid Thai on Trimble and First - excellent Thai iced coffee and very friendly service. The thom kha was as good as most and the red curry average.

              Consuelo Mexican at Santana Row - Someone suggested I visit this area and it was real nice even though touristy. My ceviche (served with a trio of really good salsas and chips), chili relleno, estofado de calabacitas, and flan were great. Service at the bar was not good and had to ask for several items like silverware.

              Even though I stayed near the Great Mall, I didn't visit the food court. I'm not a food court kind of person and wanted a place with service where I could relax. I drove by Smoking Pig but decided against it and the same for Mezcal on my way to the airport. Parking looked problematic for me at Mezcal since I was unfamiliar with the area. I wasn't sure if it was safe to be out walking at dark and saw no police presence.

              6 Replies
                1. re: freakerdude

                  "Where do all of the people that work in the Milpitas area go for lunch?"

                  The bigger companies have in-house cafeterias. The smaller business parks have basic little sandwich shops tucked away. The corporate culture is such that most people take as little time as possible for lunch. Lots of people also bring their own food from home.

                  1. re: pamf

                    In house cafeterias make sense. Although I love to eat out, I never do for lunch since I bring my food to work each day. It's mainly for economical reasons and the fact mentioned above about taking as little time possible for lunch.

                    The lunch places I mentioned on Tasman in Alviso were close to where I worked. Aside from the Great Mall, there was nothing much near my hotel that I knew of. One thing there are a lot of are any type of asian, mexican, and indian cuisine. American restos are basically non existent with the exception of fast food from what I saw.

                    Melanie, I will take note of those locations if I return. Thanks everyone.

                  2. re: freakerdude

                    Based on your choices, you seem to have missed the big restaurant clusters on Barber Lane in Milpitas Square and Ulferts Square malls, just north of Tasman. Too bad, as these offer some of the best eating in the area. Lauriston's links must have pointed to some of them.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      There are gems in the shopping malls, and the Milpitas cluster has some nice choices, such as the indian place in the center.

                    2. re: freakerdude

                      You drove by Smoking Pig??? You missed some very good barbecue, then. The trappings are sketchy, but the food is excellent. They ask you if you want your brisket lean or "wet" (fatty). How awesome is that? (Get the wet.)

                      Glad you found some ok places, though.

                    3. Here's an addition to this thread for the Fremont area. Since we ate ethnic every day for lunch at Tasman/Lafeyette strip mall mentioned above we wanted some good ole American for dinner.

                      Spin A Yarn Steakhouse - slightly outdated interior but the filets are really good. Oysters Rockefeller were good but the dungeness crab cakes were awesome!

                      Massimo's Italian - good food but I wasn't so sure the cheese ravioli in pesto cream I had were homemade. Jumbo prawn cocktail and crab & artichoke dip were hits and the mudd pie was good. The service was terrible since he hardly ever checked back with us and just walked on by ignoring us. I had to actually stop him several times. The waiter wasn't happy to split our bill as requested. We usually let waiters know in advance but most say it's not problem to split later.

                      Not hits:
                      BJ's Brewery - I had some really good ribs at the San Fran airport location but the Fremont location failed. They were overcooked and not tender at all. Even the chili was not as good, so I wondered why the difference between the two locations. Fried artichokes were good and the chocolate chip pizookie completed our glutton fest. This is an awesome looking place inside but below average food on this visit.

                      Market Broiler - the best service out of all of the places but some of the most average seafood I have ever had. Yes, it is just one step up from Red Lobster, but I live in south Florida so I get awesome fresh seafood.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: freakerdude

                        Thanks for mentioning Spin-a-Yarn, haven't heard anything about it for ages.

                        When it's mentioned, the same breath should include the other hyphenated restaurant, By-Th-Bucket in Santa Clara.

                        1. re: freakerdude

                          Sorry I saw this thread too late to recommend Banana Leaf. Regarding BJ's: the one in Cupertino is terrible (but I had to go because my hubby loved their beer) but the one in Tucson is excellent - one wouldn't think they were the same chain!