Philz Coffeehouse has all the trimmings of a classic coffeehouse. Sofas line the area, local artwork on the walls, and those zany hipsters. This is also quite near San Jose State University, so you get a healthy dose of students as well. Fellas don't let your tongue fall to the ground checking out the beautiful senioritas. Oh yeah, the Mocha is damn fine.
During one of my recent trips to Santa Clara, I enjoyed a meal at Mexicali Restaurant. It is a very nice dining location in the middle of a very nice shopping area. It is in close proximity to the movie theatre, so enjoy a full date of dinner and a movie!
I enjoyed the fajitas, but would also recommend anything on the menu!
For years, my friends and I have been fans of King's. Not that it's fancy or anything, but the buffet-style selection and tastiness of the food is hard to beat.
Located in the Alum Rock area of San Jose, King's is a small restaurant that serves good Chinese/Mongolian food. The restaurant also has an open grill, where you can select frozen foods that you want, and then hand it to a man who will cook it up within two minutes. The owners are especially friendly and helpful. It's great to watch them help the customers, as they often switch langauges(from Cantonese to English to Spanish to Hindustani).
This place is a good value and good food.
Favorite Dish: The sweet and sour chicken is excellent, as well as the chow mein and beef selections.
It's a small restaurant that's kind of out of the way. It's closer to 101 than it is to San Jose's Japan town. This place fills up for lunch with a clientele that is mostly Japanese.
Favorite Dish: Chicken Katsu Curry - It's a thick curry soup with udon noodles, vegetables and pieces of katsu (japanese breaded & fried) chicken. It's perfect on a cold day when you're hungry. It's perfect with cold green tea or a big glass of water.
Typical 'dive bar' with true BBQ smoke pit. You first get into the bar where you order while sipping a beer, then when your order is almost ready, you get into the sanctuary of the BBQ dining room.
The menu is short & sweet: steaks, ribs, baby ribs rack, pork shops, chicken, burger etc...with a few salads. Most meat is served with a delicious baked potato with herb butter.
I ordered teh full rack of baby ribs, it was enormous! I managed about 2/3rd and needed a wheelbarrow to go back to my hotel!
All teh locals I spoke too also go there when they want a true American BBQ experience (and actually were surprised I knew the place, there is something to be said for careful internet search). We were the only table of out of towners.
The waitress was really nice & helpful too.
Slightly cheaper at lunch than at dinner.
Favorite Dish: Baby ribs rack. Smoky, tasty, and just enough fat to provide that yummy juiciness.
Unless you are ravenous (or American), just order the half rack or be sure you can stick the doggy bag in your hotel minibar fridge!!!
Dinner for two in May 2010 (2 complimentary salads + 1 half rack + 1 full rack + 4 coronas, incl. tip) = $75
Great outdoor place to eat, nice bar area, great service (bartender was awesome). This place is one of the best restaurant in Santana Row. Definitely recommend when you're in the area. You can tell, because the place is crowded.
It's just a bit expensive, but it's Santana Row.
Favorite Dish: Too many to lists, but the appetizers are great. I think it was the steamed mussels.
I've had my share of sushi's and this one ranks low, for the price. I would rank it ok, only if the price was a little less. Oysters was good, but not premium. It was priced $12, for half a dozen items.
Drinks was expensive, at around $9 a pop. The alcohol that they mix is Sake, so not much kick.
Service was also so-so... We where there on a Sunday, so it shouldn't be too crowded.
This place does have a potential. The overall ambience is great, so nice place to take a date. Just needs improvement on service, price, and food.
Favorite Dish: Oysters, it was ok.
While most Chinese restaurants are kind of iffy on the cleanliness factor, Chef Li is a shining example of what a Chinese restaurant should be. White tablecloths add an elegance to this small place and the orchids that are displayed for sale are truly beautiful and very affordable. Located in a strip mall between Peet's Coffee & Tea and a Coldstone Creamery, there's lots of parking available. The service is very good and the food served quickly and deliciously.
Favorite Dish: Fried Rice - they have the freshest ingredients in their fried rice. This is what makes us come back again & again. I love their tangerine chicken and their honey walnut shrimp. Their fresh vegetable plates are also outstanding. They recently added a new dessert menu which looks pretty intriguing. We haven't had a chance to try the desserts yet as we always fill up on their food instead which is absolutely delicious.
Casual yet sophisticated with white tablecloths, open view kitchen and soaring ceilings. The service is generally good though very laid back. They have a kids' menu which provides generous portions that taste wonderful. It's a very nice place but not so stuffy that you wouldn't feel comfortable taking the kids. Parking around this restaurant is a little challenging as it's right in downtown San Jose inside the Hotel Sainte Claire near the Basilica & The Fairmont Hotel. You have to go into the hotel and downstairs to get to the bathrooms but there's an added excitement of the ladies' bathroom being haunted that adds a certain zest to the experience. Throughout the year, they highlight a region of Italy and feature specials from this region. They do have an authentic brick oven so the pizza is very thin and delicious. This is a chain so they do have these throughout the United States.
Favorite Dish: Cappellacci di Zucca is one of my favorites. It's fresh ravioli filled with butternut squash. Their bread is amazing. Linguine Mare Chiaro which is basically seafood pasta (clams, mussels, prawns, scallops) in tomato sauce is also yummy. My kids love the chicken tenders and the mac&cheese. Quattro Stagione is a special pizza that's not on the menu but they will make it for you if you ask. It's like a variety pizza with 4 sections of different stuff: asparagus, artichoke hearts, canadian bacon & something else. You can tell what sections I like, huh? hahaha.
They feature different soups and my favorite, when they have it, is their tomato soup... It was so flavorful.
Their desserts are pretty good also. The tiramisu does have a lot of alcohol in it and it is divine.
As you would have guessed by now, if you have seen my other travelpages, that I am a certified Chocoholic. So, it is no surprise that I visit sweet shops whenever I gallivant anywhere. My trip to Cocola is not different.
I visited a couple of College buddies in San Jose, California last April2008 and they brought me to this hip spot. It is called Santana Row. Neat selection of botiques but 2 caught my eye. Cocola and Joseph Schmidt.
We chose the outdoor seating since it was a cool day. We just had lunch so we decided to forego the yummy looking sandwiches, salads and sides. Coffee with pastries suited me just fine. I can never get tired looking at display cabinet featuring rows and rows of tarts, danish, and rolls while mentally calculating how much calorie set back this will enslave me. Hehehe!
Anyway, I ordered a huge mug of Cafe au lait (US$2.45) with some french macaroons. I said huge because it looked like a squat of fat jug when it arrived. They all ordered a selection of pastries that made my mouth water even more.
This restaurant is not particularly cheap but I certainly liked the ambiance...well, maybe the whole santana row appeals to me. :) The tarts I've tasted were acceptable but for that price, I could have bought more and better tasting pastries back in Manila. Anyway, no use comparing since I am here to experience and not to critique. Wink!
French sparling lemonade $2.50
Coke, Diet Coke $1.69
Slice of blackberry mousse $4.30
Slice of Tiramisu $4.40
Tuna Nicoise sandwich with caper salsa $8.90
Favorite Dish: Cafe au lait and the Apple tart
This is a very informal place with excellent, unpretentious seafood dishes, along with typical Mexican menu items. Dia de Pesca is a favorite with San Jose locals. Most of the tables are located outside, in the patio which really isn't more than a converted parking lot. They have it nicely decorated with mosaic tile tables, large umbrellas and potted plants.
Favorite Dish: Seafood cocktails are a specialty here, along with great ceviche.
The seafood quesadillas are really good too.
The seafood is fresh here, and you get a choice of snapper, tilapia, salmon, halibut, prawns etc. with whatever you want to eat: burritos, quesadillas etc.
Pizza Antica meets the challenge of being a pizza place in the trendy and upscale Santana Row area of San Jose. I am serious about pizza, and am disappointed more often than pleased when I try a new pizza place. Here I was pleased, and have come back several times.
There are a few things that make this pizza place different than others. First is just the pizza. It is quality, with a good, thin crust and quality ingredients and original options. Our favorite, for example, is the Heirloom Potato, Caramelized Onion and White Truffle Oil pizza, something I never would have imagined before trying it here. It's not your normal pepperoni and olive (which I usually love). Take a look at their menu and you will find other creative pizzas that shouldn't disappoint.
They have a lot of other menu items besides pizza, again with fresh ingredients and creatively thought out. The wine list is good too. Last time I was there I took the waiter's recommendation for a wine I hadn't heard of, but when I tried it I answered the waiter honestly when he asked and told him I didn't really care for it. He offered to bring me something else I recognized and liked, and didn't charge me extra. Good service, I would say to that.
Thea restaurant is located in the popular and competitive Santana Row area, where the food and atmosphere has to be very good quality for an establishment to survive. I've been to this restaurant a few times and think it will become a fixture in the area.
The food is really good. It's generally an eastern Mediterranean type menu, with items you will recognize if you know about Greek and/or Turkish food. But it goes way beyond gyros and kabobs to provide traditional type food with some contemporary twists.
The atmosphere is very original and contemporary, with high ceilings, mosaics and sculptures all around. So you have a rather hip place with quality and tasty food.
The Village California Bistro and Wine Bar is a great little restaurant in Santana Row, with a small bar and sidewalk seating. They have a good menu of "California inspired" cuisine, meaning they take advantage of the many high quality ingredients that are available in northern California. You'll find lots of wine from various California wine growing regions (not just Napa and Sonoma), seafood and meats and cheeses. The menu is creative and you can be sure to find much more than typical chain restaurant food without going over the top with pretentious or super trendy things.
This past week I hosted my Company's first world-wide HR Summit. That left me with the challenge of finding places to take the team for dinners that would be interesting, fun and would have something for every pallet. It had been years since I was last at El Menara, but when colleagues told me about the fun night they had there I jumped on the idea.
El Menara has been in San Jose for quite a number of year. When you walk in the door you know you're in for something different. The front room is a bar with a cool, calm tile fountain. Beyond this foyer room you see lots of red, lots of pillows, low tables and low "couches". Most people sit on the floor, but the low slung couches with lots of pillows are there for people who aren't so good at getting up and down from the floor. The servers have an Ali Baba costume and immediately greet you and ask what you'd like to drink. The house specialty, is a rum and fruity drink that is tasty and will catch up to you fast.
Our party of 13 stretched out in a big corner of the restaurant and immediately got comfy and happy. We had the "Diner Menara". First our server brought a big silver bowl and pitcher and we all held our hand over the bowl while he poured water over them. Hand towels do double duty as napkins and catch alls. At El Menara you eat with your fingers. A big basket of break is passed around and the bread is used to help scoop up the next few courses. The starter was a "salad" that was a mix of eggplant, garlic and something else spicey. Then a pastry filled with ground chicken, almonds and eggs comes out. Next we had chicken tangine, again, grabbing chunks off the roasted chickens with our fingers and sopping up the juices with our bread. The honey roasted lamb and almonds was delicious followed by couscus (and spoons!). Finally we get a chance to wash our hands again and then we enjoyed baklavah and mint tea, poured from high above the tea cups.
Favorite Dish: Somewhere between the chicken and the lamb the belly dancer came. She was very talented and entertaining. Of course she coaxed several of the men in our party up to dance with her, to the delight of their co-workers. The group of women got up enmasse to join in a dance of their own. But our novice attempts to dance should not take away from the dancer's own talents. She did a dance balancing a sword on her head that was very impressive.
This was a great success with my team. I highly recommend this for groups looking for something different.
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