restaurant reviews

(Note: I originally wrote this in 2001, before Yelp came on the scene... if only I had the foresight to create that! Rescued from the Internet Archive, reposted for posterity.)

I lack almost any cooking ability aside from making cereal, sandwiches, and spaghetti, and therefore I eat out a lot.  This page is a collection of many of the restaurants in the South Bay / Santa Clara County area, along with my reviews.  Another good source of restaurant reviews is the Metro's Metroactive dining guide.
This data is also available as a Palm OS Address Book

My favorites:
  • American: Elephant Bar; Gordon Biersch
  • Breakfast: Stacks
  • Chinese: House of Orient (cheap and quick); Loon Wah (upscale)
  • Japanese: Kazoo Sushi Boat
  • Indian: Royal Taj; Sue's Indian Cuisine
  • Italian: Bella Mia; Mio Vicino

71 Saint PeterItalian
(408) 971-852371 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Reasonable prices, big portions, romantic environment.

A.P. StumpsAmerican
408-292-9928163 W. Santa Clara St., Downtown San Jose; www.apstumps.com
Review:

Aki's BakeryOther
(408) 287-5404355 Meridian Ave, San Jose; www.akisbakery.com
Review:

Alie's Corner CafeAmerican
408-871-0533360 E. Campbell Ave @ Central, Campbell; www.downtowncampbell.com/alies.html
Review: Serves breakfast and lunch, with a weekend brunch menu. Small cafe style environment, usually busy on Sunday's due to the Campbell Farmer's Market. They do take phone reservations. Food is average quality and reasonably priced. Breakfast menu includes fried rice dishes, which is unique.

Armadillo Willy'sAmerican
408-255-RIBS (SJ)(various locations), San Jose; www.armadillowillys.com
Review: Think greasy trailer park food, and you've got Armadillo Willy's. This is a small chain of restaurants in San Jose. Their food is full of flavor, and their small restaurants are cramped in the evening and weekends.

Arthur's RestaurantOther
408-980-16662875 Lakeside Drive, Santa Clara; www.arthurs-restaurant.com
Review:

Bangkok CuisineThai
408-253-84245235 Prospect Road, Campbell;
Review:

Bella MiaItalian
408-280-199358 S. First Street, Downtown San Jose; www.bellamia.com
Review: Upscale dining in downtown San Jose. The Banana Filo Sundae is unmatched.

Best Taste Chinese RestaurantChinese
408-377-76663756 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell;
Review:

Birk's RestaurantAmerican
(408) 980-64003955 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara; www.birksrestaurant.com
Review: An American grill, rated as one of the best 100 restaurants in Northern California. Dinner entrees are in the $25 range.

Blake's Steakhouse and BarAmerican
(408) 298-922117 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose; www.blakessteakhouse.com
Review:

Blue Sky Chinese RestaurantChinese
(408) 378-04242028 Winchester Blvd., Campbell;
Review:

Buca di BeppoItalian
408 377 77221875 S. Bascom Ave (Pruneyard), Campbell; www.bucadibeppo.com
Review: When they say ""family style"" at Buca di Beppo, they really mean it. The food is served in huge bowls. One order of spaghetti is enough for three people, maybe more! The quality is only average, but if you're feeding a large number of people, you'll get a good value here. The atmosphere is very loud and friendly. Most locations have a long wait on weekend nights.

Buca La Pastaia RestaurantItalian
408/871-31352081 Winchester Blvd, Campbell;
Review: Not to be confused with Buca di Beppo in the Pruneyard, this upscale Italian restaurant is located in an unsuspecting strip mall. Limited hours mean reservations are required.

Cafe NonosAmerican
408-288-67441 N. First Street, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Coffee shop and deli, featuring a variety of coffee drinks, breakfast items, smoothies, hot and cold sandwiches and salads. The sandwiches are made-to-order, and reasonably priced. The hot sandwiches are some of the best in downtown San Jose. The employees who make the sandwiches are the owners, and they have a lot of personality and character.

Central China RestaurantChinese
(408)374-38401362 S Winchester Blvd @ Payne, Campbell;
Review:

Chacho'sMexican
(408) 293-138718 S. Almaden Ave, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Really great Mexican food, in a poor, somewhat hidden location. Almaden Avenue is basically a large alley behind the 10 Amaden Blvd building. The restaurant is next to an auto body shop, on a street you probably wouldn't want to be on at night. But the quality of the food can't be beat, at least not in downtown San Jose. The service is fast and friendly, and the atmosphere is fun and festive.

Chart HouseOther
115 N. Santa Cruz Av., Los Gatos; www.chart-house.com
Review:

Chevy's Fresh MexMexican
408-241-0158550 S. Winchester Blvd, Suite 500, San Jose; www.chevys.com
Review: This Mexican restaurant chain is a combination of a bar and restaurant, with sports playing on the tv's and fresh tortillas made every 54 seconds on their El Machino. Their fajitas are delicious and served with generous portions for around $14.

China DelightChinese
408-985-96882596 Homestead Road, Cupertino;
Review:

China WokChinese
(408) 280-66889 N Market St, Downtown San Jose;
Review: One of the few Chinese restaurants in downtown San Jose. China Wok is fast and efficient, and the food is what you would expect.

Cold Stone CreameryOther
408-559-1120The Pruneyard, Campbell; www.coldstonecreamery.com
Review: This ice cream store features a large variety of flavers and toppings, but what makes them different is the cold stone on which they prepare the ice cream. Customers select the flavor they want and which toppings they want, and the employees mix the ice cream flavor(s) and the toppings on the stone. It is a very labor-intensive process for the employees, and tips are strongly encouraged (the workers will sing if you tip them). Some of the flavors are novel for an ice cream store, apple pie for example. Prices are a bit high for ice cream, but given the large quantities and labor-intensive preparation, it is quite a treat.

Cucina! Cucina!Italian
(408) 866-9222El Paseo de Saratoga Shopping Center, San Jose, CA; www.cucinacucina.com
Review: An Italian "Cafe" which is frequently busy, loud, and exciting. Tablecloths are a sheet of butcher paper, and each table has crayons for drawing on the table. The standard dinner bread is ok, but the focaccia (flatbread with olives) is a delicious appetizer. The menu consists of soups and salads, wood-fired pizzas ($10), grilled beef and fish, and pastas ($10). Various locations in Washington, Oregon and California.

Dac PhucVietnamese
(408) 297-5517198 W. Santa Clara St., Downtown San Jose;
Review: Typical Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho. Popular for lunch and inexpensive, but the tables and floor aren't very clean, which makes me wonder how clean the kitchen is.

DiCicco'sItalian
408-377-58502509 S. Bascom, Campbell;
Review: Old-style Italian restaurant. Service is usually marginal, and the restaurant is dimly lit. Musicians will occasionally come to the tables and play a song for a tip, which I find disturbing. The portions and quality of the food are both good.

Dos Compadres TaqueriaMexican
(408) 379-9133100 W. Hamilton Ave, Campbell;
Review:

Elephant Bar RestaurantAmerican
499 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell;
Review: Serves mostly American food (sandwiches, salads, some ethic foods) in a fun environment. The restaurant is set up to look like an African safari, with waterfalls, animatronics, and unique ceiling fans. The servers are energetic, and the quality of the food is good. Expect to wait outside or at the bar on weekend evenings.

Erik's Deli CafeAmerican
(408) 371-82821777 S. Bascom Ave (various other locations), Campbell;
Review:

Fanny & AlexandersAmerican
(408) 287-173772 N Almaden Ave , Downtown San Jose; www.fannyalexander.com
Review:

Florentine RestaurantItalian
(408) 243-4040745 S. Winchester at Moorpark (various other locations), San Jose; www.florentine.net
Review: Average-quality pasta with servings that tend to be on the small side. The main attraction to this restaurant is their bread and cheese spread, which is absolutely delicious.

Fontana'sItalian
408-725-018820840 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino;
Review:

Frankie Johnnie & Luigi TooItalian
408-446-96445245 Prospect Road, San Jose;
Review: Italian food, prepared rather quickly and in not-too-generous portions. Nothing really sets this restaurant apart from any other Italian restaurant, except maybe the coupons in the Metro. The pizzas are very good.

Fresh ChoiceAmerican
408-559-19121654 S Bascom Ave (various locations), Campbell; www.freshchoice.com
Review: All-you-can-eat salad, pasta, soup and dessert bar. Locations all over California, Texas and Washington. Other South Bay locations include Vallco Shopping Center in Cupertino, the Great Mall in Milpitas, 2540 W. El Camino Real in Mountain View, the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Almaden Expressway at Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, Westgate in San Jose, Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, and 1105 W. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale.

FuelAmerican
408-295-737444 Almaden Ave, Downtown San Jose; www.fuel44.com
Review: Cafe by day, night club by night. The restaurant has one large room, featuring a stage, bar, and tables for eating. The lunch menu has a variety of salads and sandwiches, the most popular being the grilled chicken breast with brie cheese.

Fuji SushiJapanese
408-298-385456 W. Santa Clara St., Downtown San Jose;
Review: Average Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. They are usually packed for weekday lunches, but the service is fast and food brought out quickly, so you can get in and out within thirty minutes. The food quality is average, as are the prices.

Fung LumChinese
(408) 377-69551815 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell;
Review: This restaurant is one of several Fung Lum restaurants located around the world. The building is very ornate, and constructed out of materials brought here from Asia especially for the restaurant. Fountains and a pond surround the entryway. The inside of the restaurant is very spacious and decorative. This is a popular spot for Asian weddings and celebrations. Unfortunately the quality of the food is marginal at best, and typical of what you would find at a Chinese take-out restaurant. The attraction to the restaurant is not the food, but rather the atmosphere, and it is well worth a visit.

Giuseppe Italian RestaurantItalian
408/370-770533 S Central Ave, Campbell;
Review: Quality Italian food, in a romantic atmosphere. The portions are on the small side, but all of the food is fresh-made at the restaurant, and of very good quality.

Golden Phoenix Chinese RestaurantChinese
1731 S. Winchester Blvd (@ Latimer), Campbell;
Review:

Gordon Biersch BreweryAmerican
(408) 294-678533 E San Fernando St (various other locations), Downtown San Jose; www.gordonbiersch.com
Review: Best known for their various beers, Gordon Biersch combines a bar and a restaurant for a lively atmosphere. The food is served in generous portions, and the prices make it a good value.

Grill On The AlleyAmerican
408-294-2244172 S. Market Street (Fairmont Hotel), Downtown San Jose; www.thegrill.com
Review: Upscale dining at The Fairmont Hotel. The Grill is designed to replicate a fancy New York style restaurant. The food is very good, but the prices reflect the quality and the atmosphere. My waiter discouraged me from eating the garlic bread, and I should have taken his advice, because it was horrible. The mashed potatoes are a good side dish for any course.

High ThaiThai
408-873-76305210 Prospect Road, Campbell;
Review: This restaurant has moved around quite a bit in the past ten years, from Los Gatos to Saratoga Ave and now this former fast-food restaurant location. The building itself is not very adaptive to a Thai restaurant, and the interior decorations haven't gone very far to help the image. The menu is extensive, and no M.S.G. is used. The food quality is high, but the entrees are very overpriced for the quantity of food you get. The restaurant is usually not very busy, which means the staff has plenty of time to be attentive to you. Given the overpriced food and tacky facility, I have to give this restaurant a "pass."

House of SiamThai
(408) 279-566855 S Market St # 160, Downtown San Jose;
Review: One of only a few Thia restaurants in downtown San Jose, House of Siam is located on the first floor of the "gold building." Parking is scarce in this part of town, but after 6pm and on Sundays street parking is unmetered. The curries are particularly good. The decor is nice.

House of Orient RestaurantChinese
(408) 378-9889851 W. Hamilton Avenue, Campbell;
Review: Average but inexpensive Chinese food for eat-in or take out. Lunch specials every day which include soup and salad.

Il FornaioItalian
408-271-3366302 S. Market Street, Downtown San Jose; www.ilfornaio.com
Review: In the Hyatt Hotel

Kazoo Sushi BoatJapanese
408-871-125010 E Hamilton Ave, Campbell;
Review: Great Japanese food. You can sit at the circular sushi bar, or on chairs. ESPN is on the big-screen TV. Dishes are reasonably priced.

KomatsuJapanese
300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell;
Review: Above average Japanese restaurant. No sushi bar, but floor seating is available. Very traditional Japanese atmosphere - the waitresses dress in kimonos. The sushi is very fresh, and the dinner entrees are generous.

Korea HouseKorean
408-249-08082340 El Camino Real (@ San Tomas Expressway), Santa Clara;
Review:

Krung ThaiThai
408-260-8224642 S. Winchester, San Jose;
Review: Average quality Thai food, served fast, by attentive staff. Pineapple fried rice is very popular.

La FondueOther
(408) 867-333214510 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; www.lafondue.com
Review: Dinner is an event in and of itself. Allow plenty of time to eat, but bring your wallet - dinner averages $30-$40 per person.

La Pastaia RestaurantItalian
408-286-8686233 W. Santa Clara St. (DeAnza Hotel), Downtown San Jose; www.lapastaia.com
Review: The food and service are absolutely excellent. It is a bit noisy, and therefore probably not the most romantic atmosphere, but a great place for a business lunch or dinner. I am a big fan of the fettuccine con pollo (chicken), although on my most recent visits the sauce has been thinner than I would like. The spinach salad with warm goat cheese is also very good. The bread is very tasty, and the staff have always been exceptionally attentive. I strongly recommend the gelato for dessert. If you are looking for a romantic evening dinner, ask the host to seat you on the back patio. For those on the go, there is a caffe just around the corner from the restaurant, which offers a small variety of salads, pizzas and pastas for take-out.

Le BoulangerAmerican
(various), (various); www.leboulanger.com
Review: Locations throughout the South Bay, including Campbell at 1875 S. Bascom Ave (408-369-1820), San Jose at 1390 El Paseo de Saratoga (408-379-8775), Willow Glen at 1351 Lincoln Ave (408-288-7095), and downtown San Jose at 95 S. Market St. (408-286-6780). My favorite sandwich is the turkey and cranberry sandwich. Their portions are small for the price (the average lunch is around $7.50 for a sandwich and a soda), but the taste and quality is very good.

Le PapillonFrench
408.296.3730410 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose;
Review: Quite possibly the South Bay's finest restaurant next to The Plumed Horse. Don't let the French name and cuisine fool you, because this restaurant has a wide variety of delicious food, presented with extravegance. The atmosphere is intimate, and the staff is very attentive but unobtrusive. Appetizers $12, soups & salads $8, entrees $25. Menu has special lobster selection.

Loon WahChinese
408-257-16421146 S. DeAnza Blvd, Cupertino;
Review: Great place for dim sum. They don't push carts around with the dim sum dishes, but rather you order it off of a menu (either Cantonese, Mandarin, or both), and they bring the food out to you. Very popular for dinners and on weekends for dim sum.

Los Gatos Brewing Co.American
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos; www.lgbrewingco.com
Review: Brew-pub with American food. Lively, loud and fun atmosphere. The staff are great, and the prices are reasonable. Almost always a wait.

Lou's VillageAmerican
1465 W. San Carlos St. , San Jose; www.lousvillage.com
Review: This is mainly a seafood restaurant, but they do serve pastas and meat dishes. They also have very large banquet facilities.

Mama Mia'sItalian
408-379-3333200 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell;
Review: Italian food with an Italian atmosphere. The food is fairly good, with a nice selection of apptetizers, soup or salad with every entree, and a variety of entrees. Choose a pasta and add to it one of their eleven sauces, or one of their numerous meat or fish entrees. They also have pizzas. However, I found their dishes to be overpriced for the quality. For two entrees and dessert, I was charged $45 (with tax and tip), which seemed to be too much for what we got. I will say that the staff is very attentive, and very pleasant. Most of the customers seemed to be elderly regulars.

Mandarin Palace RestaurantChinese
408-984-06451271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara;
Review: A quiet and spacious restaurant, with the typical Chinese restaurant menu. Nothing particularly sets this restaurant apart from any other Chinese restaurant in the area.

Marie Callender'sAmerican
408-243-9018780 S. Winchester Blvd. (various other locations), San Jose; www.mcpies.com
Review: A small chain of restaurants which grew out of Marie's pie shops many decades ago. Their food is basically of upscale Denny's quality. Staff usually consists of high school kids who aren't very attentive to detail. I found their burgers to be delicious. Of course, they are best known for their pies, which go like hotcakes around the holidays. Don't eat dinner here without having a slice of pie, otherwise, you've missed the main attraction.

Max's RestaurantAmerican
1620 Saratoga Ave (Westgate - various other locations), Campbell; www.maxsworld.com
Review: Good quality food, but the restaurant is always so busy that the staff have trouble being attentive.

Mimi's CafeAmerican
1200 El Paseo de Saratoga, Campbell; www.mimiscafe.com
Review: No-frills food in a very well-decorated restaurant.

Ming'sChinese
650-856-77001700 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto; www.mings.com
Review: Upscale Chinese dining. Good for weddings and banquets.

Mio VicinoItalian
408-378-0335384 E. Campbell Ave. (various other locations), Campbell; www.miovicino.com
Review: Intimate (i.e. small) setting, expensive but large portions. Good quality food. Also at: 1140-8 Lincoln Ave. 408.286.6027 and 1290 Benton St, Santa Clara, 408.241.9414.

Museum CafeAmerican
(408) 993-0765110 South Market Street , Downtown San Jose; http://www.sjmusart.org/general.html
Review: The Museum Cafe is located inside the San Jose Museum of Art. The indoor seating area is spacious, and well decorated with art; there is also an outdoor seating area in the Fairmont Plaza. They offer gourmet sandwiches, such as Prosciutto with three-tomato relish, Asian-beef, Cajun turkey, and teriyaki tofu, as well as housemade soups, fresh salads, tantalizing desserts, and a wide selection of beverages, including coffee. Good place for lunch, plus museum admission is free.

Old Spaghetti FactoryItalian
(408) 288-748851 N San Pedro St, Downtown San Jose; www.osf.com
Review: My choice restaurant for lunches, and possibly my all-around favorite restaurant. Spaghetti Factory is a nationwide chain. Their lunch menu prices are very reasonable at no more than $6 for most entrees, which include a salad. Dinner portions are larger, with a salad, drink, and dessert, for around $8. The menu offers a variety of pastas, some with meat, some without.

Outback SteakhouseAmerican
408-371-53841887 S. Bascom Ave (the Pruneyard), Campbell; www.outbacksteakhouse.com
Review:

Palace B.B.Q. BuffetKorean
408-554-92921092 E. El Camino Real #1, Santa Clara;
Review: All you can eat buffet. Korean food, which you cook at your table.

Palermo PizzaItalian
408.374.1800915 S. San Tomas Aquino Rd., Campbell;
Review: No-frills pizzaria with delicious pizza (including personal size), huge sandwiches, pastas and salads.

Paolo'sItalian
408-294-2558333 W. San Carlos St. , San Jose;
Review:

Peggy Sue's RestaurantAmerican
408-298-675029 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Peggy Sue's is a 50's style diner. They advertise the "best hamburger in the world," but the burger fails to live up to expectations. The burger patties are overly greasy and the texture is not very pleasing. The shakes are absolutely delicious.

PeppermillAmerican
DeAnza Blvd., Cupertino; www.thepeppermill.com
Review: The environment reminds me of a Nevada casino.

Pho SaigonVietnamese
408-244-2528828 S. Winchester, Campbell; www.pho-saigon.com
Review: Excellent sit-down Vietnamese restaurant, with delicious pho noodle soup and rice entrees. The staff is inattentive, but the portions are large and prices reasonable. The grass jelly and tapioca in coconut milk drink is delicious.

Pho Thanh LongVietnamese
408-983-08882450 El Camino Real (at San Tomas Expressway), Santa Clara;
Review: Vietnamese noodle house with a wide variety of noodle soups and rice plates. Open 7 days a week, 9am to 9pm.

Plumed HorseOther
(408) 867-471114555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; www.plumedhorse.com
Review: Very fancy and elegant dining in Saratoga. They also host weddings and banquets. Most entrees are in the $30 range. This restaurant has frequently been referred to as Silicon Valley's finest.

Ravioli's RestaurantItalian
(408) 287-8194185 Park Ave # 189, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Also located on Prospect Road in San Jose (408-253-5232). Fast Italian food. Adequate lunch portions in the $4 range, with optional salad in the $5 range. Garlic breadsticks are delicious.

RingerHutJapanese
408-554-08771072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose;
Review: This is one of the few Japanese restaurants I have been to where I haven't seen any Asian people working there. The dishes are of average quality. I personally like the curry chicken over rice, and the potstickers, which they are well known for. They also specialize in Champon Noodles, a derrivative of ramen, and they are the only place on the west coast that serves this type of noodle. There is usually a wait on weekends, especially for lunch.

Rock Bottom BreweryOther
408 377 07071875 S. Bascom Ave (Pruneyard), Campbell; www.rockbottom.com
Review:

Royal TajIndian
408-559-68011350 Camden Ave, Campbell;
Review: A small intimate Indian restaurant conveniently located near Highway 17. The quality of the food is very good, both eat-in and take-out. The staff always seem inattentive.

Rue de ParisFrench
408-298-070419 N. Market St., Downtown San Jose; www.portclub.com
Review:

Sam Kee Chinese RestaurantChinese
408-737-99761696 S Wolfe Rd, Cupertino/Sunnyvale;
Review: Located at the intersection of Wolfe and Homestead, diagonal from the Ranch 99 Market. This restaurant is on the high-end scale of Chinese restaurants. The dining room is very large, with plenty of round tables for large parties. The quality of the food is superb, and each dinner ends with a bean curd dessert. Parking is limited, and the restaurant is packed on Sunday mornings. No waiting most weekday dinners. Pass on the beaf stew clay pot - it is under cooked.

Sara ThaiThai
1317 S. Winchester Blvd. @ Payne, Campbell;
Review: This is a relatively new Thai restaurant in the Safeway shopping center. The food here is very delicious, particularly the pad thai. The entrees are large enough for two people to share.

Scott'sSeafood
(408) 971-1700185 Park Ave, Downtown San Jose;
Review:

Shark & RoseSeafood
(408) 287-696969 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose;
Review:

ShebeleEthiopian
408.378.3131422 E. Campbell Ave. , Campbell;
Review: Be prepared to eat with your hands at this traditional Ethiopian restaurant. Spicy meats, vegetable stews, and sour injera pancakes to eat with. Located in downtown Campbell.

SnehaIndian
408-736-27201214 Apollo Way @ Lawrence Expwy, Santa Clara; www.indolink.com/SFO/sneha.html
Review: This Indian restaurant features a reasonably priced lunch and dinner buffet seven days a week, but also has a full menu. They keep plenty of food in the steam trays, and the quality is good for a buffet. Seating capacity for 100. The staff is attentive, and each table has a full pitcher of water, so there is no trouble getting your glass refilled.

Spiedo RistoranteItalian
408-971-6096151 W. Santa Clara Ave, Downtown San Jose; www.spiedo.com
Review: The ambiance of this restaurant is refreshingly open and airy, but I have never been impressed with the quality of the food. The portions seem smaller than normal, and the sauces taste bland. The desserts are delicious.

SpoonsAmerican
408-559-74001555 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell;
Review: California grill serving up ribs, burgers and tacos. Live atmosphere with friendly staff, quality food, and busy in the evening and weekends.

StacksAmerican
408-376-3516139 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell;
Review: Great breakfast food, with generous portions that are reasonably priced. Packed on the weekends.

Steamer's Grillhouse RestaurantAmerican
31 University Ave, Los Gatos;
Review:

Sue's Indian CuisineIndian
(650) 969-1112216 Castro Street (between Villa and Dana), Mountain View; www.waiter.com/sues/
Review: This restaurant sets the standard for Indian food. The portions are generous and tasty, with just the right amount of spices. The walls of the restaurant are covered in artwork by Sue, which is interesting to look at while you wait for your food. Reasonably priced.

Thai StyleThai
408-289-1604Stevens Creek @ Bascom, San Jose;
Review: There is hardly ever anyone at this restaurant, so I'm not sure how they stay in business. The food is average - nothing distinguishes it from any other Thai restaurant. The staff is very friendly.

Thep ThaiThai
408-292-751523 N. Market Street, Downtown San Jose;
Review: The atmosphere of this Thai restaurant is unmatched in the San Jose area. They clearly spent a lot of effort on the decoration and ambiance. There is a all-you-can-eat lunch buffet which rotates entrees weekly, or you can order off the menu. The dinner menu is reasonably priced, especially for a downtown restaurant. It was a treat to have rice served in individual "rice cozies" instead of the typical aluminum pot. My water glass was never empty, which I consider a good measure of staff attentiveness.

Three Peppers Multi CuisineAmerican
408-871-71711461 W. Campbell Ave, Campbell;
Review: What immediately catches your eye about this restaurant is their "multi cuisine" combination of American, Mexican and Indian foods. I like all three, so I was tempted. Unfortunately, the menu doesn't quite live up to the expectations. Most of the menu items are basically the same as a Baker's Square or upscale Denny's. Breakfast dishes are in the $8 range. The lunch and dinner menu features the typical sandwiches one would expect. The Indian cuisine consists of kebab dishes, and the Mexican cuisine consists of burritos, enchiladas, tortas, and quesadillas. There are some upscale dinner plates, including a $15 steak and $11 fajitas. I had the clubhouse sandwich, which is a typical club sandwich. The fry's were on the soggy side.

Tied HouseAmerican
408-295-273965 N. San Pedro St., Downtown San Jose; www.tiedhouse.com
Review: American food and drinks in San Pedro Square. Also locations in Mountain View (954 Villa Street, 650-965-2739) and Alameda. Indoor and outdoor dining with sports on TV all the time. Popular bar (microbrewery) in the evenings. Delicious mutli-flavored bread that is warm and soft. The Tied House Burger and the wild game burger are usually very good, but some of the other entrees can be dry. I found the marinated chicken pesto sandwich to be extremely dry, particularly compared to Fuel's version.

Togo'sAmerican
408-286-9394(various locations), Downtown San Jose; www.togos.com
Review:

TomatinaItalian
3127 Mission College Road, Santa Clara;
Review: Just outside the AMC Mercado theaters, this Italian restaurant serves delicious pizza and acceptable pasta in a friendly environment. Parking is nearly impossible on weekend evenings due to the theaters.

Tsing TaoChinese
408-379-5167104 San Tomas Aquino, Campbell;
Review: Better than average Chinese food, whether you eat-in or take-out.

Vegetarian HouseOther
408-292-3798520 E Santa Clara St, San Jose; godsdirectcontact.com/vegetarian/vh.html
Review: This restaurant is weird. It seems to essentially be a front for a non-mainstream religion. All of the employees are members of the religion. They do not push the religion on the customers - the purpose of the restaurant is to make money for the religion, not to win converts. But if you walk from the main dining room to the bathrooms, you will go through a gallery area, where they sell videos, and sometimes display pictures and dresses belonging to the head of the religion, Suma Ching Hai. The dining room has the largest big-screen TV I have ever seen. It is always off, so I assume they only use it for religious meetings. The food is all vegetarian - the restaurant serves no meat nor alcohol. The menu has items like "pork chops" and "sweet and sour chicken," all of which is made from soy products and gluten. Some of the dishes really do have the consistency and taste of the meat they represent; others don't feel or taste at all like what they are supposed to be. But on whole, the food is tasty, healthy, and reasonably priced. Portions are generous.

Willow Street PizzaAmerican
408-971-7080 (Willow St)(various locations), San Jose; www.willowstreet.com
Review: Locations at 20 S. Santa Cruz Avenue in Los Gatos, 1072 Willow Street in San Jose, 1554 Saratoga Avenue @ Graves in San Jose, and 812 Fourth Street in San Rafael.

Yeung's Sung Yuan Chinese RestaurantChinese
408-971-2020183 Park Ave, Downtown San Jose;
Review: Average quality Chinese food, served quickly, by attentive staff. A good place for an informal business lunch.



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