Drinking and Dining in San Jose
Downtown San Jose features an assortment of drinking and dining establishments.
Some of the favorites include Fuel offering varied music and cool vibes
and Agenda, which is well established and hosts some excellent acts. Polyesters
is very crowded and tends to be a meat market for a young, mixed crowd.
The Flying Pig Pub is strictly a bar, but a fun place to relax with an
anything but snobby crowd. Toons is popular with the college gang, which
explains why its crowded every night of the week and South First Billiards
is a fantastic place to go have a beer and play pool in a huge pool room.
Dining in downtown San Jose is a challenge with so many places from which
to choose. Downtown is home to the trendy, pricey establishments like
AP Stumps and Paolos (Italian).
Il Fornaio is a beautiful restaurant with locations throughout California;
one within the Hyatt St. Claire. This is a great place for a business
lunch. The service is outstanding and the food is reliably good. A real
star is Eulipia, although its been a revolving door for different chefs.
Muchos offers awesome South of the border chicken burritos with over 500
hot sauces, and Vung Tau has great Vietnamese food. The E&O Trading
Company is the new kid on the block offering Asian flair. And, for great
Thai food, visit Thepthai Thai Cuisine or House of Siam.
Then theres Spiedo, a very ritzy, refined dining experience. Request a
table along the windowed walls, they offer more intimate seating. Two
other local favorites (especially good for business lunch or dinners in
downtown) include Scotts Seafood and Emiles, voted "One of The Top
100 Restaurants in The U.S." by Conde Nast magazine in 1994.
As for more low-key, casual and less expensive dining options downtown,
visit Armadillo Willys for fabulous barbecue (numerous locations), El
Grullense (Mexican) or Florentines (quick and delicious Italian). Original
Joes is a San Jose institution serving terrific Italian food. Go and see
what we mean. There is a great German restaurant called Teskes Germania
on North Second Street. They offer an outside patio and every German beer
on tap that you can imagine. Here is the place where you can order a leg
of lamb and actually receive an entire leg of lamb on your plate. And
if you are in the mood for Greek cuisine, try The Castle Greek Cafe on
Pagoda (in the Fairmont Hotel) offers a serene, dimly lit, intimate atmosphere
in which to enjoy first-rate Chinese food. If you are a sushi lover (and
to live here, you have to be), try Izakaya, Kazoo
or Niko. They are fabulous and you won't leave hungry. For the French
in all of us, try Rue De Paris, in a word "yum!" Although you
can be sure to find vegetarian options at almost any restaurant in San
Jose, vegetarians swarm to the White Lotus. For carnivores, a great steak
house is The Grill on the Alley located in the Fairmont Hotel).
In the Hotel DeAnza, find two wonderful spots to drink and dine. First,
La Pastaia for Italian cuisine at its best, and second, the Hedley Club
for some of the best martinis in town (among other libations from the
full bar). The ambiance in both establishments are refined with art deco
creating a luxurious and leisurely atmosphere. We promise you won't want
If you're looking for a good place to have breakfast and are not in the
mood for a platter of bacon and eggs, try Akis Bakery on Meridian. Its
one of San Joses favorites. If you don't want to leave your hotel room
they are an assortment of delivery services, including the ever popular
Tony and Albas Pizza (a local favorite). Even the most upscale
restaurants will deliver with a minimum order.
Sport bar enthusiasts won't miss a game at the Britannia Arms Pub or CS
Riffs Bar and Grill. And if you love country and western music, hit the
enormous Saddle Rack for dancing, bull riding (electric), and partying
till the cows come home. If you like truly great local (and national)
rhythm and blues, JJs Lounge is where you want to be. Its a dive of
sorts, but its the place to go when you're hankerin' for the blues.
Willow Glen (an older neighborhood of San Jose) is well known for the
great restaurants on the main drag, Lincoln Avenue. A great California-meets-Mexico-style
eatery is Aqui Cal Mex Grill. They have a very intimate patio with a fountain
and a full tequila bar that locals love. The Willow Street Wood Fired
Pizza is a great place for pizza, salads, and pasta. Another great hole-in-the-wall
restaurant on Lincoln is China Palace. The ambiance is off beat, but the
food is fantastic! They offer a big take-out service.
Two other notable eateries include Waves Smokehouse and Grill serving
the first class Prime Rib every Friday, and if you do nothing else, you
must stop at La Villa Delicatessen in Willow Glen and order the homemade
raviolis. This cramped little family-owned and operated deli serves up
delicious and authentic Italian foods to go. You can dine outside on a
patio furnished with umbrellas and chairs. Its a great casual place for
a quick bite. And finally, the Willow Glen Kosher Market has everything
you'd expect from a memorable delicatessen.
San Jose is a sprawling place where the unofficial city boundaries are
not always well defined. Because the towns and cities seem to melt into
one another, we decided to include some great drinking and dining
establishments just outside the official San Jose city limits.
Come to Los Gatos, a small town with a big sense of community and a lot
of money floating around. Los Gatos borders San Jose to the west against
the Santa Cruz foothills. Its offers a great downtown area with many
places to drink and dine. A local favorite is the Los Gatos Brewing
Company, just about everyone shows up after work every night of the week
for a brew and great food. Another favorite is a small British-style pub
called Carry Nations. For fine American fare, visit The California Cafe
offering everything from ambiance to beautiful views to great food.
Steamers is a big local spot for drinks or dining offering seafood and
California cuisine. The Plumed Horse is a must for anyone visiting the
area for the first time and Pigalle is a French restaurant that
transports you to Paris the minute you step through its doors. And
finally, Valerianos serves wonderful Italian creations in a beautiful
For those of you who love to dance, if you have dinner in Los Gatos,
simply stroll down Santa Cruz Avenue (the main drag downtown) and you
will find one great dancing and live music joint after the other.
The neighboring town of Saratoga is quaint and refined. This is where
all the big money lives. A drive through this suburb is a treat just to
see the many monster homes that fill the hillsides. As might be expected,
there are several very nice restaurants here including Viaggio, an fine
Italian restaurant and bar. Le Mouton Noir is French and pricey and absolutely
wonderful in every regard. La Fondue is the creme de la creme where you
can spend an entire evening just having dinner. Reservations are required
up to three months in advance, so plan this one ahead of time.
Campbell (wedged between San Jose and Los Gatos like a slice of pie) has
a great mall called The Pruneyard. Within its walls you will find great
shopping, great food (Rock Bottom Cafe, Left at Albuquerque) and great
Santa Clara, offers some great eateries, too. You can find most of the
chain restaurants here but one local highlight is Birks (near Paramounts
Great America) serving California cuisine and hosting a fabulously busy