bay area restaurant reviews


Restaurant Reviews

South Bay Restaurant Reviews

Thursday, December 02, 2004



Dusita


2325 El Camino Real


Santa Clara, CA 95050


408-247-5199




(Thai)




(Review Coming Soon!)
posted by Travis on 12/2/2004   

Monday, November 15, 2004



Tamarine Restaurant & Gallery


546 University Avenue


Palo Alto, CA 94301


www.tamarinerestaurant.com




Downtown Palo Alto is known for its upscale restaurants, and Tamarine leads the pack. What I liked best about Tamarine was the three classes of seating (tables, for those with reservations; the two long tables, for those without reservations who don't mind waiting a bit and dining shoulder to shoulder with strangers; and the bar, on a first come-first serve basis), and the understated service. The wait staff is very attentive and helpful, but not in an obtrusive manner. That made dining there a treat. The quality of the food is excellent. Portions are disproportionately small to the price, but as I said, this is an upscale restaurant.
posted by Travis on 11/15/2004   


Golden Wok


895 Villa Street


Mountain View, CA 94041


650-964-2222




Downtown Mountain View is known for its large assortment of Asian restaurants. The surprising thing about Golden Wok is its size, and decorations. The dining room is very large, and the entire restaurant is fully furnished with an abundance of Chinese restaurant decorations. For those who ate at Fum Lum in Campbell, this looks like an older and not quite so ellegant Fum Lum. Food is prepared quickly, and the quality was very good. Attentive service gets a bonus point.
posted by Travis on 11/15/2004   


Taqueria Los Cunados


196 Ranch Drive


Milpitas, CA 95035




Tucked in a corner of McCarthy Ranch (ironically, right next to a fancier Mexican restaurant), this taqueria is good for a quick Mexican lunch. The food is very filling. Free tortillia chips and salsa, and drink refills (yay!). Quality of food is average for a taqueria.
posted by Travis on 11/15/2004   


The Pasta Market


460 E. El Camino Real


Sunnyvale, CA


(also in Menlo Park and Los Altos)




Located in a strip mall along El Camino Real, the Pasta Market has a nice appearance, and friendly staff, but the pasta was soggy. They take the order at the counter - I ordered spaghetti with meatsauce, and an included side of garlic bread. It took them about 10 minutes to prepare. The garlic bread and cheese spread was very good, and the meat sauce was fine (no identifiable chunks of meat, which is usually nice), but the pasta was soggy. Prices are very reasonable - pasta dishes are around $5, baked dishes in the $6 rance, and pizzas in the $9 range.
posted by Travis on 11/15/2004   

Wednesday, November 10, 2004



Campbell Brewery Bites The Dust


Following in the steps of Stoddards, the Campbell Brewery shut down after only six months of operations in downtown Campbell. The Brewery was started/owned by the same guy who opened up the Stoddards in the same location, before its demise after a few years of bad food and poor service.




So what was the problem? I only ate at the Brewery once in its brief history, but the food was bland, and the service was just as bad. I got my usual brewery fare - a burger with fries - and I could barely finish it. It just was not good. The service was shoddy as well - we had to ask for our check, and my water glass was consistently empty. So sad to see that space empty again (although I hear a different type of restaurant is going in there), but the reason is no mystery. Just like on The Apprentice, if you run a restaurant poorly, you won't survive.
posted by Travis on 11/10/2004   

Friday, November 05, 2004



Kirk's Steakburgers


Bascom Ave


Campbell, CA


(also other locations)




How this place stays in business is beyond me. The tables are filthy, the fries taste horribly frozen, and the burgers are merely average. As they say at Carl's Junior, these are 6 dollar burgers that are indeed $6. Carl's Junior is better. My "medium well" was no different than a "medium" burger, and they took forever to make them. No, I'm sorry, but I can live the rest of my life without ever going back, and that'll be just fine. As for the distinctive clintelle ... well, that should have been my first clue that the dinner was going to be sub-par. Some trailer park is missing some of their inhabitants.
posted by Travis on 11/5/2004   


Kobe Japanese Restaurant


In Mervyn's Plaza


2086 El Camino Real


Santa Clara, CA 95050




Average Japanese restaurant with a susui bar. Nothing particularly fancy or outstanding. Bathroom is a bit unique, using rice paper screens to divide the toilet areas. Not sure if that meets code requirements or not.
posted by Travis on 11/5/2004   

Saturday, October 30, 2004



LuLu Restaurant


816 Folsom Street


San Francisco, CA 94107


415-495-5775


www.restaurantlulu.com




Folsom Street? Yes, Folsom Street, near 5th. And what a nice restaurant! Need a special place to go in the City for dinner? This is it. Wonderful food, and extremely attentive service. But the place is popular, to make reservations. You can usually find street parking (except late on Friday and Saturday evenings), and there is a small lot across the street. Expect to spend around $40/person.
posted by Travis on 10/30/2004   

Wednesday, October 27, 2004



Thai-Thai Restaurant


500 B Lawrence Expressway


Sunnyvale, CA 94083


408-733-2626




The only thing remarkable about this restaurant is the decor. It looks like a 1800's cowboy bar. Other than that, the portions are small, so I don't really see a reason to go to this restaurant. Even for take-out, I wasn't impressed.
posted by Travis on 10/27/2004   

Sunday, October 24, 2004



Janat Indian Cuisine


2211 Tasman Drive


Santa Clara, CA 95054


www.janatindianrestaurant.com




Unassuming restaurant in a strip mall off Tasman. I ate the weekend lunch buffet using an Entertainment Book coupon. The proprieter was very nice, gave me a buy one, get one free buffet ($13 value), and extra Mango Lassie. Food quality was good, considering I was there about 2 hours after normal buffet time. The waiter brought out hot na'an and tandori chicken, and really went the extra mile to make our lunch experience positive.
posted by Travis on 10/24/2004   


Three Seasons


518 Bryant Street


Palo Alto, CA 94301


www.thethreeseasons.com




Wonderful fusion/Asian restaurant tucked in a corner in downtown Palo Alto. The inside is richly decorated - they clearly spent a lot of money on this building. Service is good, portions are moderate but not large for the price. Bar area. Busy in evenings and weekends.
posted by Travis on 10/24/2004   


House of Siam


2nd Street & The Pavilion


San Jose, CA




New location - used to be on Market Street in the Gold Building, now in the Pavilion shopping center facing Second Street. Decor of the new restaurant is much better than the old. The old restaurant was packed, almost clausterphobic. The new retaurant is spread out more, with more open space. About a quarter of the restaurant is reserved for traditional Thai seating - shoes are taken off, and you sit on the floor, with your feet in a well under the table. It's fun, and neat to try. Unfortunately, my dining experience was less than adequate. I was one of only a handfull of tables in the restaurant, but the service was very poor. The waitstaff seemed confused, disorganized, and putting a higher priority on take-out orders than sit-down customers. I had to flag down a waitress to order, and again to get the bill. Finally I had to just take my credit card up to the podium to get the bill. The food was adequate, but not spectacular, and not worth the price, which is on the high end of the Thai food price scale. This restaurant needs to improve its customer service.
posted by Travis on 10/24/2004   

Sunday, October 10, 2004



Joy Luck Palace


Cupertino Village




I had weekend Dim Sum here, and it was one of my better recent dim sum experiences. My table was right next to the kitchen, which is usually not a good thing, but I was at the first table the dim sum waitresses stopped at, so I got fresh food, and plenty of attention. The quality of the food was quite good, and the prices seemed reasonable. I'll have to remember this as a good restaurant for dim sum.
posted by Travis on 10/10/2004   

Friday, October 08, 2004



Tandoori Oven


Pruneyard Shopping Center


Campbell, CA




Tandoori Oven occupies the space that used to be an Uno Mas. Changing a Mexican restaurant into an Indian restaurant took some work, but they seem to have made their own mark on the space next to Barnes and Noble. Reasonable prices, moderate quantities of food, and flavorful taste make this a good Indian restaurant, and one of the few in the Campbell area. They have fast take-out, which is great for people who like Indian food and live near the Pruneyard.
posted by Travis on 10/8/2004   

Thursday, October 07, 2004



Bella Mia Changes Hands


Bella Mia has been sold. In related news, California Cafe at Valley Fair is closed.
posted by Travis on 10/7/2004   

Wednesday, October 06, 2004



Red Robbin


Various locations, including Rivermark Center in Santa Clara.




Red Robbin is a chain burger joint on steroids. A menu packed with every type of burger imaginable. Free refills on most drinks. And a full bar. A very efficient (sometimes overly so) waitstaff is attentive. Food quality is excellent, and the burger meal is a great and filling lunch. If you're not a fan of burgers, avoid going to Red Robbin.
posted by Travis on 10/6/2004   

Sunday, October 03, 2004



Stacks


139 E. Campbell Ave


Campbell, CA




Great breakfast food, with overly generous portions that are reasonably priced and very good quality. Packed on the weekends - expect a 30-40 minute wait for mid-morning lunch. Staff is very attentive - they anticipate your needs very well, and make sure you have a pitcher of water (yay!) on your table. The restaurant is very hectic, with a full crowd waiting in the entry, and staff running around constantly. Food is served fast, and they do like to turn over tables quickly to accommodate the crowd. The quality of the food and attitude of the waitstaff is so good that it must be tried.
posted by Travis on 10/3/2004   

Tuesday, September 28, 2004



Parc Hong Kong Restaurant


1135 N. Lawrence Expwy


Sunnyvale, CA 94089




One of the few Chinese restaurants that I know of in the South Bay that does dim sum for lunch on weekdays. Nothing remarkable about the food, other than the availability of dim sum at noon. They move enough carts around that it's possible to eat dim sum in under an hour. There isn't a lot of variety in food though. Service is above average; prices are average.
posted by Travis on 9/28/2004   

Sunday, September 26, 2004



Amarin Thai Cuisine


156 Castro St


Mountain View, CA 94041


(650) 938-8424




I still don't understand the nearby placement of two Thai restaurants on Castro Street, both called "Amarin." I presume they are somehow related, but I don't know for sure. I have only eaten at the nicer-looking of the two, just south of Pasta?. I have had issues with their dinner service - entrees failed to arrive; appetizers arrived after entrees, etc. I think the problem is that Amarin doesn't do a good job with service when they have a full house. Weekend lunches, when there are few customers there, are great - the service is good, and the food is brought out correctly. Unfortunately I had the Pad Thai, which for $8 was reasonably priced, but tasted bland.
posted by Travis on 9/26/2004   

Saturday, September 25, 2004



Amber India Restaurant


377 Santana Row, #1140


San Jose, CA 95128


408-248-5400




One of the newer restaurants at Santana Row, Amber India is anything but a typical Indian restaurant. The restaurant is very sheek and fancy, and reminds me of upscale restaurants in New York City. The service is superb, although I was a bit uncomfortable when the waiter served the food onto my plate. The food was very flavorful and tasty, although I suspect this restaurant is to Indian food what P.F. Chang's is to Chinese food. Prices are commensurate with the atmosphere - dinner is about $25 per person.
posted by Travis on 9/25/2004   

Saturday, September 18, 2004



Mayflower Seafood Restaurant


McCarthy Ranch


428 Barber Ln


Milpitas, CA 95035




Upscale Chinese restaurant, popular for wedding banquets. The menu is definitely on the pricy side for Chinese restaurants - entrees are in the $13-$17 range, and soup is in the $10 range. The quality is good, but doesn't justify the higher than normal prices.
posted by Travis on 9/18/2004   


Thai Pepper


2000 S. Bascom Ave


Campbell, CA 95008


408-369-9399




Thai Pepper opened up in the old Stuft Pizza location on Bascom Avenue. They had a difficult time turning a pizza joint into a Thai restaurant, but after a few years of operations, they've managed to do a fairly good job. When I first ate there soon after they opened, I thought the service was disorganized, and the food was not very flavorful. Their service has improved a bit, but the food quality still does not compare to Thai Orchid, right down the street. It's just a bit too bland. They also don't do an adequate job of sheiding their west-facing customers from the steting sun in the evening. I'll go to Thai Orchid next time.
posted by Travis on 9/18/2004   

Thursday, September 16, 2004



Bella Luna


233 University Ave


Palo Alto, CA


650-322-1845




Need a nice restaurant to take someone special? This is the place. The service is great, the food couldn't be better, and the building has the character of an old brick warehouse. And dinner won't cost a fortune. Make reservations, especially on a weekend night.
posted by Travis on 9/16/2004   

Wednesday, September 15, 2004



Honba Sushi


1759 Technology Dr.


San Jose, CA 95110


408-392-0087


www.honbasushi.com




If you work in this area, this is a great place to grab lunch. They're busy though, so get there early. This is one of those restaurants that because of its location, 90% of its business is lunch fare. And they have a good, fast system down pat, to ensure they can turn over the tables as quickly as possible but without pushing customers out the door. I had the Chicken Teri Don, which was quite delicious. Lunch entrees are on the large side, and prices are reasonable ($8-$13, with a $13 lunch special combination bento box).
posted by Travis on 9/15/2004   

Sunday, September 12, 2004



Nola


535 Ramona Street


Palo Alto, CA 94301


(650) 328-2722


www.nolas.com




Just off University Ave in downtown Palo Alto, this restaurant is very reminiscent of a New Orleans street restaurant. When the weather is nice (as it usually is here), the patio seating is a real cultural shift from the typical Palo Alto restaurant. The food has a distinct creole flavor. Service is adequate, and prices are reasonable. Very busy in the evenings.
posted by Travis on 9/12/2004   

Friday, September 10, 2004



DiCicco's


2665 El Camino Real


Santa Clara, CA 95051


408-247-6161


www.diciccosonline.com




DiCicco's used to be a quaint place for a nice, homestyle Italian meal. And for dinner, it may still be. But I have to avoid this place for lunch. They used to have a nice lunch menu with small portions of filling Italian food. Now it's a lunch buffet with about 6 treys of food that tastes like week-old Costco food. Sorry, but this gets a pass. Even though the buffet was only $8, it wasn't worth it.
posted by Travis on 9/10/2004   

Thursday, September 09, 2004



Yoyo Sushi


3958 Rivermark Plaza


Santa Clara, CA 95054


408-213-YOYO




Advertised as a "bar and grille", this is a fairly typical Japanese sushi restaurant. Good sushi menu, an enough entrees for those of us who don't really like sushi that much. The waiters were fast to refill the hot tea and water, but slow about bring the check and clearing the dishes. My miso soup was like any other, and the salad was okay. The chicken teryaki was average.
posted by Travis on 9/9/2004   

Wednesday, September 01, 2004



Hangen Szechuan Restaurant


134 Castro St


Mountain View, CA


(650) 964-8881




One of several Chinese restaurants along Castro street. Popular place for lunch, with plenty of room in the downstairs and upstairs dining rooms. Inexpensive lunch special menu. Very attentive staff, water is refilled frequently, and service is always good. Food is average.
posted by Travis on 9/1/2004   

Monday, August 30, 2004



Romano's Macaroni Grill


110 Ranch Dr


Milpitas, CA


(408) 935-9875




Huge open restaurant, with the very noisy kitchen as the centerpiece. The restaurant has a warm and intimate feel, even though there are very few walls dividing up the restaurant. It's a fun place to eat. The food is very Italian, and comes in very large portions, even for lunch dishes. Staff are extremely friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs, although my waitress did a pretty hard sell on drinks and appetizers. Prices are reasonable. Locations throughout the U.S.
posted by Travis on 8/30/2004   

Friday, August 27, 2004



Banana Leaf


182 Ranch Drive


Milpitas, CA


(408) 719-9811


www.bananaleaf-usa.com




Banana Leaf has grown a lot since it first opened several years ago in the sprawling McCarthy Ranch center. From the outside, one might think this restaurant is a typicalChinese restaurant, maybe on the upscale side. Once you go inside, though, all notions of typicality vanish. The cuisine is Malaysian, and the menu is comparable to a mixture of Chinese and Thai. The food is probably the most flavorful I have tasted in any Asian restaurant in the Bay Area in quite a while. It is spicy, filling, and reasonably priced. The coconut rice is a nice difference from the formal white rice. Environment is noisy. The staff used to push to turn over the tables fast at lunch, but they are less pushy now that the restaurant expanded and nearly doubled in size. If you are looking for a nice Asian restaurant with great food, this is the place.
posted by Travis on 8/27/2004   

Thursday, August 26, 2004



Krung Thai


580 N Winchester Blvd


San Jose, CA 95128


(another location on S Winchester, and in Mtn View)




There are three Krung Thai locations in the South Bay, and each has their own distinctive flavor, despite similar menus. The location in Mountain View is the nicest - it's a fancy restaurant, with high quality service. The location on S. Winchester is a hectic restaurant, with waiters running here and there. The location on N. Winchester is in the middle - great quality food, and average service. I recently ate at the N. Winchester restaurant and had the yellow curry chicken, which was absolutely the best yellow curry chicken I have ever eaten. The Mango (?) salad was a bit on the spicy side for me. The basil beef dish was okay, but a tad dry. My only complaint about the service is that my water was not refilled very often.
posted by Travis on 8/26/2004   

Tuesday, August 24, 2004



Shalimar Indian Cuisine


167 W. San Fernando St.


San Jose, CA 95118


408-971-2200


www.shalimarindiancuisine.com




I used to eat at the buffet lunch at Shalimar when I worked in downtown San Jose. The buffet lunch is great - it's presented very nicely in chaffing dishes, not just trays floating in hot water. I recently ate dinner there with a vegetarian, and he was able to find enough vegetarian dishes to his liking. Service is good, although on my most recent visit the hostess was acting very hesitant to even welcome me into the restaurant - odd, considering they could use the business. The place is located in a shady part of downtown, next to the Caravan Lounge and the Greyhound Bus Station. But the inside is decorated very nicely, and it is a great place to dine downtown.
posted by Travis on 8/24/2004   

Saturday, August 21, 2004



Campbell Brewing Company


200 Campbell Ave


Downtown Campbell, CA




A few years ago, downtown Campbell had a revitalization, of sorts. One city block was leveled, and the largest building in downtown Campbell was erected. A two story restaurant for Stoddards, a local brewery/restaurant. The quality of the food was never quite up to par with the first Stoddards restaurant in Sunnyvale, the restaurant was always way too noisy, and the service was below average. The place shut down about 18 months ago. Then came along the Campbell Brewing Company. The new restaurant was opened by Bob Stoddard, who, no big surprise, owns Stoddards. I went to Campbell Brewing Company last night, and was very disappointed. They ran out of menus, so I was given a photocopied menu without explanation. My waiter was horrible - he kept promising "great service" but never delivered. I had to ask for a straw for my iced tea, I had to keep asking for refills, he didn't offer to replentish the bread basket, he never checked to see how the food was, and he messed up on the bill. The biggest complaint about the service was that the waiter was always gone - whenever I needed him, it took several minutes to track him down. And the food quality was not good. It tasted like the old Stoddards Campbell food, and that was only mediocre. My "CBC Cheeseburger" was definitely below average. The flavor was bland, and the fries needed some seasonings other than salt. One of the main complaints about Stoddards was the noise level. There is a roudy bar in the restaurant, and not enough soundproofing. It sounded like nothing had been done about the noise - it was loud, and the place wasn't even packed (despite a line at the door). I'd be hard pressed to return here.
posted by Travis on 8/21/2004   


Won Kee Seafood Restaurant


McCarthy Ranch


(Ranch 99 area)




One of the better mom-and-pop Chinese restaurants in the area. Clean, spacious interior, friendly service, and prompt attention. And the quality of the food is really good - very flavorful, not bland like some Chinese restaurants I've eaten at lately.
posted by Travis on 8/21/2004   

Monday, August 16, 2004



Faz


1108 N Mathilda Ave


Sunnyvale, CA


408-752-8000




Faz is a favorite restaurant/bar of many executives who work in the Sunnyvale/Mountain View area. The restaurant serves a very nice lunch and dinner, and in the evening the bar is fairly busy. My favorite lunch dish is the chicken kabob - delicious juicy morsels of chicken, with rice and vegetables. I'm never able to finish it. Service is excellent.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2004   


Water Street Grille


660 Bridgeway


Sausalito, CA


415-332-8512




One of the nicer restaurants in Sausolito. Diverse menu of Grille fare, with wonderful views of San Francisco and the bay. Service was exceptional, and the food was delicious.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2004   


Munchies


Candies From Around The World


613 Bridgeway


Sausalito, CA


415-331-3863




Everything from Atomic Fireballs to Zots, this store is loaded with candy. Lots of flavors of salt water taffy. Taste all you want! They encourage you to eat samples. Owner, Ray Knoles, runs the counter, and is really nice guy. Definitely stop here if you are in Sausalito.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2004   


Hukilau


230 Jackson Street


San Jose, CA 95112


(408) 279-4888




Good Hawaiian food (especially if you like Spam), in Japantown. Convenient to get too (Taylor exit off of 87), and great service. Desserts are delicious. Decor is a bit tacky, but that's part of the atmosphere.
posted by Travis on 8/16/2004   

Friday, August 13, 2004



Sunny Garden


2455 S. Winchester Blvd


Campbell, CA 95008


408-374-9791




Nondescript Chinese retaurant in the Safeway shopping complex. Family run, they get an A for effort, no question about that. The inside is quite plain, but functional. It's a new restaurant, so I'm sure they will spend more on decorations later. I had the spring rolls, hot and sour soup, chicken in phoenix nest, and prawns with cashew nuts. The food was fairly on the bland side. The chicken had no flavor, but then again, maybe it usually doesn't. Apart from the hot and sour soup, the rest of the food was fairly bland. The hot and sour soup did have a lot of flavor, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll give this restaurant another try in a few months and see how they're doing.
posted by Travis on 8/13/2004   


Sarovar Indian Cuisine


301 S. Abbott Ave


Milpitas, CA


408-942-1116






Buffet for lunch, menu for dinner. Long buffet offers a wide variety of Indian foods. Waiters are prompt to serve and refill water. Nice place to go for lunch. I only wish they would post English descriptions of the buffet dishes.
posted by Travis on 8/13/2004   

Thursday, August 12, 2004



Fontana's Italian


20840 Stevens Creek Blvd


Cupertino, CA


408-725-0188




Classy Italian restaurant near DeAnza Blvd. Menu is a bit heavy on seafood, but there are a few chicken and vegetarian dishes. Dessert (Bocce Ball) is delicious, and enough for three people to share. Service is very good, even on busy evenings. Make reservations, because the place gets packed, and walk-ins usually can't get seated for quite some time. Parking is somewhat difficult in the tight parking lot.
posted by Travis on 8/12/2004   

Monday, August 09, 2004



Grand Fortune Seafood Restaurant


4100 Monterey Road #108


San Jose, CA 95111


408-226-8888




This Chinese restaurant is a bit hidden inside of a shopping center, but once you enter, you are in one of San Jose's better Chinese restaurants. I had dim sum for lunch on a weekend, and the place was bustling with activity. Carts came by my table frequently enough that I had plenty of food to eat, but I didn't have to turn away the same cart twice. I was offered ice water (rare at Chinese restaurants). The service was undoubtedly the best I have had at a family owned restaurant in San Jose. The food tasted fresh, and not overly greasy. They have a large space for traditional wedding dinners, and a private room that can be closed off from the main restaurant for private parties.
posted by Travis on 8/9/2004   

Friday, August 06, 2004



Mezbaan Bar & Indian Cuisine


3939 Rivermark Village


(Montague & Agnew)


Santa Clara, CA 95054


408-845-0064




Mezbaan is located in the Rivermark Safeway shopping complex. From the outside, the restaurant does not look very big, but that is deceptive. A hostess opens the door for you and greets you, and shows you to your table. Inside, there is a bar with a plasma screen TV showing Indian music videos, and plush couches to sit on while waiting for the rest of your party. Tables have impressive linen tableclothes (none of that plastic stuff), and huge sturdy comfortable chairs. They certainly spent a lot of money on furnishings. When I went for dinner there were only three or four other tables occupied, and a handfull of takeout orders. This left plenty of staff standing around to tend to us. Service was very prompt, and my water was always refilled quickly. The mango lasse drink was delicious. I had a chicken entree, lamb curry (tasted a bit funny - probably wouldn't get that again), naan, and rice (they were a bit stingy with the rice), for $40 with tip. Good dining experience, and I would go back.
posted by Travis on 8/6/2004   

Wednesday, August 04, 2004



2 Chez


548-2 Lawrence Expressway


Sunnyvale, CA 94086


408-749-1719




French-Vietnamese cuisine. The menu is mostly Vietnamese cuisine, no different from the many other Vietnamese restaurants in the south bay. But the menu also has some French dishes, reflecting the link between Vietnam and France and the influence of that link on cuisine. The restaurant is nondescript in a business park area. The inside of the restaurant is roomy, with plenty of tables, and a big screen TV that they show sports or news on. Service is very fast, although at lunchtime they aren't always good about bringing water to the table. Lunch entrees $6-$8.
posted by Travis on 8/4/2004   

Friday, July 30, 2004



Yan Can (Can't)


Various Locations


Ranch Dr., Milpitas




Martin Yan's restaurant falls short of expectations. Appetizers are in the $6 range, entrees in the $8-$10 range. But even at reasonable prices, I would avoid going back. This isn't "fusion" food, or even Chinese food. This is Americanized Chinese food. The Hot and Sour Soup had a unique taste that seemed like it came from a can. The lettuce wrap appetizer was good, but doused in so much sauce that all I was really tasting was the flavor of the sauce. The eggplant entree was severely undercooked, and I wasn't able to eat more than a few pieces. The orange chicken was good, but again, how can you screw up deep frying chicken and pouring orange sauce on top? The service was marginal; the waitstaff seemed very new to the job, and my waterglass ran dry. One dish I didn't order was delivered to my table, and another dish I did order was delivered to another table. I'm glad I had this dining experience because I had been curious about Martin Yan's restaurant, but I will probably not go back.
posted by Travis on 7/30/2004   

Tuesday, July 27, 2004



Applebee's Neighborhood Grill


Various locations


84 Ranch Drive


San Jose, CA




Typical American fare. I had the Oriental Chicken Wrap, which was very tasty and filling, although the fries seemed abnormally unhealthy next to the wrap. Food is consistent, and the waitstaff anticipates drink refills.
posted by Travis on 7/27/2004   

Saturday, July 24, 2004



Chez Sovan


2425 S. Bascom Ave


Campbell, CA 95008


408-371-7711




One of the few Cambodian restaurants in the south bay. Very nice decor inside - the family that owns the restaurant really paid a lot of attention to making the restaurant look and feel nice. The wait staff is mostly family, and some hired help, and they generally do a good job, but simple tasks like clearing the table after the meal and refilling the water glass sometimes require prompting. The food is consistently very good, and somewhat similar to Thai food, but with less similarity between dishes. I have dined here about a dozen times, and each time I enjoy the food.
posted by Travis on 7/24/2004   


Old Spaghetti Factory


51 N. San Pedro St.


San Jose, CA




An old time favorite, with consistent food and service. $10 got me the #3 meat-lover's pasta dish - spaghetti in meat sauce, 3 meatballs, and an italian sausage, salad, iced tea, and spamoni ice cream. Such a deal! Glasses were never empty, and service was prompt and reliable. Always a favorite!
posted by Travis on 7/24/2004   

Friday, July 23, 2004



Han Sung BBQ


Order off the menu, or select some raw meat for do-it-yourself grilling at your table. The latter option will leave you smelling like a Korean BBQ, but that's probably part of the fun. I've eaten both ways at this restaurant, and both are good. Two plates of raw meat ($10 each) are enough for two people, plus the kim chee that comes with it.




2644 El Camino Real


Santa Clara, CA 95051


408-246-7799
posted by Travis on 7/23/2004   

Thursday, July 22, 2004



Archived Reviews


Click here for archived reviews.
posted by Travis on 7/22/2004   





Restaurant reviews

archive

Travis A. Wise


Thai-Thai Restaurant

500 B Lawrence Expressway
Sunnyvale, CA 94083
408-733-2626
The only thing remarkable about this restaurant is the decor. It looks like a 1800's cowboy bar. Other than that, the portions are small, so I don't really see a reason to go to this restaurant. Even for take-out, I wasn't impressed.

Janat Indian Cuisine

2211 Tasman Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054
www.janatindianrestaurant.com
Unassuming restaurant in a strip mall off Tasman. I ate the weekend lunch buffet using an Entertainment Book coupon. The proprieter was very nice, gave me a buy one, get one free buffet ($13 value), and extra Mango Lassie. Food quality was good, considering I was there about 2 hours after normal buffet time. The waiter brought out hot na'an and tandori chicken, and really went the extra mile to make our lunch experience positive.

Three Seasons

518 Bryant Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
www.thethreeseasons.com
Wonderful fusion/Asian restaurant tucked in a corner in downtown Palo Alto. The inside is richly decorated - they clearly spent a lot of money on this building. Service is good, portions are moderate but not large for the price. Bar area. Busy in evenings and weekends.

House of Siam

2nd Street & The Pavilion
San Jose, CA
New location - used to be on Market Street in the Gold Building, now in the Pavilion shopping center facing Second Street. Decor of the new restaurant is much better than the old. The old restaurant was packed, almost clausterphobic. The new retaurant is spread out more, with more open space. About a quarter of the restaurant is reserved for traditional Thai seating - shoes are taken off, and you sit on the floor, with your feet in a well under the table. It's fun, and neat to try. Unfortunately, my dining experience was less than adequate. I was one of only a handfull of tables in the restaurant, but the service was very poor. The waitstaff seemed confused, disorganized, and putting a higher priority on take-out orders than sit-down customers. I had to flag down a waitress to order, and again to get the bill. Finally I had to just take my credit card up to the podium to get the bill. The food was adequate, but not spectacular, and not worth the price, which is on the high end of the Thai food price scale. This restaurant needs to improve its customer service.

Joy Luck Palace

Cupertino Village
I had weekend Dim Sum here, and it was one of my better recent dim sum experiences. My table was right next to the kitchen, which is usually not a good thing, but I was at the first table the dim sum waitresses stopped at, so I got fresh food, and plenty of attention. The quality of the food was quite good, and the prices seemed reasonable. I'll have to remember this as a good restaurant for dim sum.

Tandoori Oven

Pruneyard Shopping Center
Campbell, CA
Tandoori Oven occupies the space that used to be an Uno Mas. Changing a Mexican restaurant into an Indian restaurant took some work, but they seem to have made their own mark on the space next to Barnes and Noble. Reasonable prices, moderate quantities of food, and flavorful taste make this a good Indian restaurant, and one of the few in the Campbell area. They have fast take-out, which is great for people who like Indian food and live near the Pruneyard.

Bella Mia Changes Hands

Bella Mia has been sold. In related news, California Cafe at Valley Fair is closed.

Red Robbin

Various locations, including Rivermark Center in Santa Clara.
Red Robbin is a chain burger joint on steroids. A menu packed with every type of burger imaginable. Free refills on most drinks. And a full bar. A very efficient (sometimes overly so) waitstaff is attentive. Food quality is excellent, and the burger meal is a great and filling lunch. If you're not a fan of burgers, avoid going to Red Robbin.

Stacks

139 E. Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA
Great breakfast food, with overly generous portions that are reasonably priced and very good quality. Packed on the weekends - expect a 30-40 minute wait for mid-morning lunch. Staff is very attentive - they anticipate your needs very well, and make sure you have a pitcher of water (yay!) on your table. The restaurant is very hectic, with a full crowd waiting in the entry, and staff running around constantly. Food is served fast, and they do like to turn over tables quickly to accommodate the crowd. The quality of the food and attitude of the waitstaff is so good that it must be tried.

Parc Hong Kong Restaurant

1135 N. Lawrence Expwy
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
One of the few Chinese restaurants that I know of in the South Bay that does dim sum for lunch on weekdays. Nothing remarkable about the food, other than the availability of dim sum at noon. They move enough carts around that it's possible to eat dim sum in under an hour. There isn't a lot of variety in food though. Service is above average; prices are average.

Amarin Thai Cuisine

156 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 938-8424
I still don't understand the nearby placement of two Thai restaurants on Castro Street, both called "Amarin." I presume they are somehow related, but I don't know for sure. I have only eaten at the nicer-looking of the two, just south of Pasta?. I have had issues with their dinner service - entrees failed to arrive; appetizers arrived after entrees, etc. I think the problem is that Amarin doesn't do a good job with service when they have a full house. Weekend lunches, when there are few customers there, are great - the service is good, and the food is brought out correctly. Unfortunately I had the Pad Thai, which for $8 was reasonably priced, but tasted bland.

Amber India Restaurant

377 Santana Row, #1140
San Jose, CA 95128
408-248-5400
One of the newer restaurants at Santana Row, Amber India is anything but a typical Indian restaurant. The restaurant is very sheek and fancy, and reminds me of upscale restaurants in New York City. The service is superb, although I was a bit uncomfortable when the waiter served the food onto my plate. The food was very flavorful and tasty, although I suspect this restaurant is to Indian food what P.F. Chang's is to Chinese food. Prices are commensurate with the atmosphere - dinner is about $25 per person.

Mayflower Seafood Restaurant

McCarthy Ranch
428 Barber Ln
Milpitas, CA 95035
Upscale Chinese restaurant, popular for wedding banquets. The menu is definitely on the pricy side for Chinese restaurants - entrees are in the $13-$17 range, and soup is in the $10 range. The quality is good, but doesn't justify the higher than normal prices.

Thai Pepper

2000 S. Bascom Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
408-369-9399
Thai Pepper opened up in the old Stuft Pizza location on Bascom Avenue. They had a difficult time turning a pizza joint into a Thai restaurant, but after a few years of operations, they've managed to do a fairly good job. When I first ate there soon after they opened, I thought the service was disorganized, and the food was not very flavorful. Their service has improved a bit, but the food quality still does not compare to Thai Orchid, right down the street. It's just a bit too bland. They also don't do an adequate job of sheiding their west-facing customers from the steting sun in the evening. I'll go to Thai Orchid next time.

Bella Luna

233 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA
650-322-1845
Need a nice restaurant to take someone special? This is the place. The service is great, the food couldn't be better, and the building has the character of an old brick warehouse. And dinner won't cost a fortune. Make reservations, especially on a weekend night.

Honba Sushi

1759 Technology Dr.
San Jose, CA 95110
408-392-0087
www.honbasushi.com

If you work in this area, this is a great place to grab lunch. They're busy though, so get there early. This is one of those restaurants that because of its location, 90% of its business is lunch fare. And they have a good, fast system down pat, to ensure they can turn over the tables as quickly as possible but without pushing customers out the door. I had the Chicken Teri Don, which was quite delicious. Lunch entrees are on the large side, and prices are reasonable ($8-$13, with a $13 lunch special combination bento box).

Nola

535 Ramona Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 328-2722
www.nolas.com

Just off University Ave in downtown Palo Alto, this restaurant is very reminiscent of a New Orleans street restaurant. When the weather is nice (as it usually is here), the patio seating is a real cultural shift from the typical Palo Alto restaurant. The food has a distinct creole flavor. Service is adequate, and prices are reasonable. Very busy in the evenings.

DiCicco's

2665 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
408-247-6161
www.diciccosonline.com

DiCicco's used to be a quaint place for a nice, homestyle Italian meal. And for dinner, it may still be. But I have to avoid this place for lunch. They used to have a nice lunch menu with small portions of filling Italian food. Now it's a lunch buffet with about 6 treys of food that tastes like week-old Costco food. Sorry, but this gets a pass. Even though the buffet was only $8, it wasn't worth it.

Yoyo Sushi

3958 Rivermark Plaza
Santa Clara, CA 95054
408-213-YOYO

Advertised as a "bar and grille", this is a fairly typical Japanese sushi restaurant. Good sushi menu, an enough entrees for those of us who don't really like sushi that much. The waiters were fast to refill the hot tea and water, but slow about bring the check and clearing the dishes. My miso soup was like any other, and the salad was okay. The chicken teryaki was average.

Hangen Szechuan Restaurant

134 Castro St
Mountain View, CA
(650) 964-8881

One of several Chinese restaurants along Castro street. Popular place for lunch, with plenty of room in the downstairs and upstairs dining rooms. Inexpensive lunch special menu. Very attentive staff, water is refilled frequently, and service is always good. Food is average.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

110 Ranch Dr
Milpitas, CA
(408) 935-9875

Huge open restaurant, with the very noisy kitchen as the centerpiece. The restaurant has a warm and intimate feel, even though there are very few walls dividing up the restaurant. It's a fun place to eat. The food is very Italian, and comes in very large portions, even for lunch dishes. Staff are extremely friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs, although my waitress did a pretty hard sell on drinks and appetizers. Prices are reasonable. Locations throughout the U.S.

Banana Leaf

182 Ranch Drive
Milpitas, CA
(408) 719-9811
www.bananaleaf-usa.com

Banana Leaf has grown a lot since it first opened several years ago in the sprawling McCarthy Ranch center. From the outside, one might think this restaurant is a typicalChinese restaurant, maybe on the upscale side. Once you go inside, though, all notions of typicality vanish. The cuisine is Malaysian, and the menu is comparable to a mixture of Chinese and Thai. The food is probably the most flavorful I have tasted in any Asian restaurant in the Bay Area in quite a while. It is spicy, filling, and reasonably priced. The coconut rice is a nice difference from the formal white rice. Environment is noisy. The staff used to push to turn over the tables fast at lunch, but they are less pushy now that the restaurant expanded and nearly doubled in size. If you are looking for a nice Asian restaurant with great food, this is the place.

Krung Thai

580 N Winchester Blvd
San Jose, CA 95128
(another location on S Winchester, and in Mtn View)

There are three Krung Thai locations in the South Bay, and each has their own distinctive flavor, despite similar menus. The location in Mountain View is the nicest - it's a fancy restaurant, with high quality service. The location on S. Winchester is a hectic restaurant, with waiters running here and there. The location on N. Winchester is in the middle - great quality food, and average service. I recently ate at the N. Winchester restaurant and had the yellow curry chicken, which was absolutely the best yellow curry chicken I have ever eaten. The Mango (?) salad was a bit on the spicy side for me. The basil beef dish was okay, but a tad dry. My only complaint about the service is that my water was not refilled very often.

Shalimar Indian Cuisine

167 W. San Fernando St.
San Jose, CA 95118
408-971-2200
www.shalimarindiancuisine.com

I used to eat at the buffet lunch at Shalimar when I worked in downtown San Jose. The buffet lunch is great - it's presented very nicely in chaffing dishes, not just trays floating in hot water. I recently ate dinner there with a vegetarian, and he was able to find enough vegetarian dishes to his liking. Service is good, although on my most recent visit the hostess was acting very hesitant to even welcome me into the restaurant - odd, considering they could use the business. The place is located in a shady part of downtown, next to the Caravan Lounge and the Greyhound Bus Station. But the inside is decorated very nicely, and it is a great place to dine downtown.

Campbell Brewing Company

200 Campbell Ave
Downtown Campbell, CA

A few years ago, downtown Campbell had a revitalization, of sorts. One city block was leveled, and the largest building in downtown Campbell was erected. A two story restaurant for Stoddards, a local brewery/restaurant. The quality of the food was never quite up to par with the first Stoddards restaurant in Sunnyvale, the restaurant was always way too noisy, and the service was below average. The place shut down about 18 months ago. Then came along the Campbell Brewing Company. The new restaurant was opened by Bob Stoddard, who, no big surprise, owns Stoddards. I went to Campbell Brewing Company last night, and was very disappointed. They ran out of menus, so I was given a photocopied menu without explanation. My waiter was horrible - he kept promising "great service" but never delivered. I had to ask for a straw for my iced tea, I had to keep asking for refills, he didn't offer to replentish the bread basket, he never checked to see how the food was, and he messed up on the bill. The biggest complaint about the service was that the waiter was always gone - whenever I needed him, it took several minutes to track him down. And the food quality was not good. It tasted like the old Stoddards Campbell food, and that was only mediocre. My "CBC Cheeseburger" was definitely below average. The flavor was bland, and the fries needed some seasonings other than salt. One of the main complaints about Stoddards was the noise level. There is a roudy bar in the restaurant, and not enough soundproofing. It sounded like nothing had been done about the noise - it was loud, and the place wasn't even packed (despite a line at the door). I'd be hard pressed to return here.

Won Kee Seafood Restaurant

McCarthy Ranch
(Ranch 99 area)

One of the better mom-and-pop Chinese restaurants in the area. Clean, spacious interior, friendly service, and prompt attention. And the quality of the food is really good - very flavorful, not bland like some Chinese restaurants I've eaten at lately.

Faz

1108 N Mathilda Ave
Sunnyvale, CA
408-752-8000

Faz is a favorite restaurant/bar of many executives who work in the Sunnyvale/Mountain View area. The restaurant serves a very nice lunch and dinner, and in the evening the bar is fairly busy. My favorite lunch dish is the chicken kabob - delicious juicy morsels of chicken, with rice and vegetables. I'm never able to finish it. Service is excellent.

Water Street Grille

660 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA
415-332-8512

One of the nicer restaurants in Sausolito. Diverse menu of Grille fare, with wonderful views of San Francisco and the bay. Service was exceptional, and the food was delicious.

Munchies

Candies From Around The World
613 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA
415-331-3863

Everything from Atomic Fireballs to Zots, this store is loaded with candy. Lots of flavors of salt water taffy. Taste all you want! They encourage you to eat samples. Owner, Ray Knoles, runs the counter, and is really nice guy. Definitely stop here if you are in Sausalito.

Hukilau

230 Jackson Street
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 279-4888

Good Hawaiian food (especially if you like Spam), in Japantown. Convenient to get too (Taylor exit off of 87), and great service. Desserts are delicious. Decor is a bit tacky, but that's part of the atmosphere.

Sunny Garden

2455 S. Winchester Blvd
Campbell, CA 95008
408-374-9791

Nondescript Chinese retaurant in the Safeway shopping complex. Family run, they get an A for effort, no question about that. The inside is quite plain, but functional. It's a new restaurant, so I'm sure they will spend more on decorations later. I had the spring rolls, hot and sour soup, chicken in phoenix nest, and prawns with cashew nuts. The food was fairly on the bland side. The chicken had no flavor, but then again, maybe it usually doesn't. Apart from the hot and sour soup, the rest of the food was fairly bland. The hot and sour soup did have a lot of flavor, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll give this restaurant another try in a few months and see how they're doing.

Sarovar Indian Cuisine

301 S. Abbott Ave
Milpitas, CA
408-942-1116

Buffet for lunch, menu for dinner. Long buffet offers a wide variety of Indian foods. Waiters are prompt to serve and refill water. Nice place to go for lunch. I only wish they would post English descriptions of the buffet dishes.

Fontana's Italian

20840 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA
408-725-0188

Classy Italian restaurant near DeAnza Blvd. Menu is a bit heavy on seafood, but there are a few chicken and vegetarian dishes. Dessert (Bocce Ball) is delicious, and enough for three people to share. Service is very good, even on busy evenings. Make reservations, because the place gets packed, and walk-ins usually can't get seated for quite some time. Parking is somewhat difficult in the tight parking lot.

Grand Fortune Seafood Restaurant

4100 Monterey Road #108
San Jose, CA 95111
408-226-8888

This Chinese restaurant is a bit hidden inside of a shopping center, but once you enter, you are in one of San Jose's better Chinese restaurants. I had dim sum for lunch on a weekend, and the place was bustling with activity. Carts came by my table frequently enough that I had plenty of food to eat, but I didn't have to turn away the same cart twice. I was offered ice water (rare at Chinese restaurants). The service was undoubtedly the best I have had at a family owned restaurant in San Jose. The food tasted fresh, and not overly greasy. They have a large space for traditional wedding dinners, and a private room that can be closed off from the main restaurant for private parties.

Mezbaan Bar & Indian Cuisine

3939 Rivermark Village
(Montague & Agnew)
Santa Clara, CA 95054
408-845-0064

Mezbaan is located in the Rivermark Safeway shopping complex. From the outside, the restaurant does not look very big, but that is deceptive. A hostess opens the door for you and greets you, and shows you to your table. Inside, there is a bar with a plasma screen TV showing Indian music videos, and plush couches to sit on while waiting for the rest of your party. Tables have impressive linen tableclothes (none of that plastic stuff), and huge sturdy comfortable chairs. They certainly spent a lot of money on furnishings. When I went for dinner there were only three or four other tables occupied, and a handfull of takeout orders. This left plenty of staff standing around to tend to us. Service was very prompt, and my water was always refilled quickly. The mango lasse drink was delicious. I had a chicken entree, lamb curry (tasted a bit funny - probably wouldn't get that again), naan, and rice (they were a bit stingy with the rice), for $40 with tip. Good dining experience, and I would go back.

2 Chez

548-2 Lawrence Expressway
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
408-749-1719

French-Vietnamese cuisine. The menu is mostly Vietnamese cuisine, no different from the many other Vietnamese restaurants in the south bay. But the menu also has some French dishes, reflecting the link between Vietnam and France and the influence of that link on cuisine. The restaurant is nondescript in a business park area. The inside of the restaurant is roomy, with plenty of tables, and a big screen TV that they show sports or news on. Service is very fast, although at lunchtime they aren't always good about bringing water to the table. Lunch entrees $6-$8.

Yan Can (Can't)

Various Locations
Ranch Dr., Milpitas

Martin Yan's restaurant falls short of expectations. Appetizers are in the $6 range, entrees in the $8-$10 range. But even at reasonable prices, I would avoid going back. This isn't "fusion" food, or even Chinese food. This is Americanized Chinese food. The Hot and Sour Soup had a unique taste that seemed like it came from a can. The lettuce wrap appetizer was good, but doused in so much sauce that all I was really tasting was the flavor of the sauce. The eggplant entree was severely undercooked, and I wasn't able to eat more than a few pieces. The orange chicken was good, but again, how can you screw up deep frying chicken and pouring orange sauce on top? The service was marginal; the waitstaff seemed very new to the job, and my waterglass ran dry. One dish I didn't order was delivered to my table, and another dish I did order was delivered to another table. I'm glad I had this dining experience because I had been curious about Martin Yan's restaurant, but I will probably not go back.

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill

Various locations
84 Ranch Drive
San Jose, CA

Typical American fare. I had the Oriental Chicken Wrap, which was very tasty and filling, although the fries seemed abnormally unhealthy next to the wrap. Food is consistent, and the waitstaff anticipates drink refills.

Chez Sovan

2425 S. Bascom Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
408-371-7711

One of the few Cambodian restaurants in the south bay. Very nice decor inside - the family that owns the restaurant really paid a lot of attention to making the restaurant look and feel nice. The wait staff is mostly family, and some hired help, and they generally do a good job, but simple tasks like clearing the table after the meal and refilling the water glass sometimes require prompting. The food is consistently very good, and somewhat similar to Thai food, but with less similarity between dishes. I have dined here about a dozen times, and each time I enjoy the food.

Old Spaghetti Factory

51 N. San Pedro St.
San Jose, CA

An old time favorite, with consistent food and service. $10 got me the #3 meat-lover's pasta dish - spaghetti in meat sauce, 3 meatballs, and an italian sausage, salad, iced tea, and spamoni ice cream. Such a deal! Glasses were never empty, and service was prompt and reliable. Always a favorite!

Han Sung BBQ

2644 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
408-246-7799

Order off the menu, or select some raw meat for do-it-yourself grilling at your table. The latter option will leave you smelling like a Korean BBQ, but that's probably part of the fun. I've eaten both ways at this restaurant, and both are good. Two plates of raw meat ($10 each) are enough for two people, plus the kim chee that comes with it.

Three Seasons

518 Bryant Street

Palo Alto, CA 94301

www.thethreeseasons.com



Wonderful fusion/Asian restaurant tucked in a corner in downtown Palo Alto. The inside is richly decorated - they clearly spent a lot of money on this building. Service is good, portions are moderate but not large for the price. Bar area. Busy in evenings and weekends.

House of Siam

2nd Street & The Pavilion

San Jose, CA



New location - used to be on Market Street in the Gold Building, now in the Pavilion shopping center facing Second Street. Decor of the new restaurant is much better than the old. The old restaurant was packed, almost clausterphobic. The new retaurant is spread out more, with more open space. About a quarter of the restaurant is reserved for traditional Thai seating - shoes are taken off, and you sit on the floor, with your feet in a well under the table. It's fun, and neat to try. Unfortunately, my dining experience was less than adequate. I was one of only a handfull of tables in the restaurant, but the service was very poor. The waitstaff seemed confused, disorganized, and putting a higher priority on take-out orders than sit-down customers. I had to flag down a waitress to order, and again to get the bill. Finally I had to just take my credit card up to the podium to get the bill. The food was adequate, but not spectacular, and not worth the price, which is on the high end of the Thai food price scale. This restaurant needs to improve its customer service.

Joy Luck Palace

Cupertino Village



I had weekend Dim Sum here, and it was one of my better recent dim sum experiences. My table was right next to the kitchen, which is usually not a good thing, but I was at the first table the dim sum waitresses stopped at, so I got fresh food, and plenty of attention. The quality of the food was quite good, and the prices seemed reasonable. I'll have to remember this as a good restaurant for dim sum.

Tandoori Oven

Pruneyard Shopping Center

Campbell, CA



Tandoori Oven occupies the space that used to be an Uno Mas. Changing a Mexican restaurant into an Indian restaurant took some work, but they seem to have made their own mark on the space next to Barnes and Noble. Reasonable prices, moderate quantities of food, and flavorful taste make this a good Indian restaurant, and one of the few in the Campbell area. They have fast take-out, which is great for people who like Indian food and live near the Pruneyard.

Bella Mia Changes Hands

Bella Mia has been sold. In related news, California Cafe at Valley Fair is closed.

Red Robbin

Various locations, including Rivermark Center in Santa Clara.



Red Robbin is a chain burger joint on steroids. A menu packed with every type of burger imaginable. Free refills on most drinks. And a full bar. A very efficient (sometimes overly so) waitstaff is attentive. Food quality is excellent, and the burger meal is a great and filling lunch. If you're not a fan of burgers, avoid going to Red Robbin.

Stacks

139 E. Campbell Ave

Campbell, CA



Great breakfast food, with overly generous portions that are reasonably priced and very good quality. Packed on the weekends - expect a 30-40 minute wait for mid-morning lunch. Staff is very attentive - they anticipate your needs very well, and make sure you have a pitcher of water (yay!) on your table. The restaurant is very hectic, with a full crowd waiting in the entry, and staff running around constantly. Food is served fast, and they do like to turn over tables quickly to accommodate the crowd. The quality of the food and attitude of the waitstaff is so good that it must be tried.

Parc Hong Kong Restaurant

1135 N. Lawrence Expwy

Sunnyvale, CA 94089



One of the few Chinese restaurants that I know of in the South Bay that does dim sum for lunch on weekdays. Nothing remarkable about the food, other than the availability of dim sum at noon. They move enough carts around that it's possible to eat dim sum in under an hour. There isn't a lot of variety in food though. Service is above average; prices are average.

Amarin Thai Cuisine

156 Castro St

Mountain View, CA 94041

(650) 938-8424



I still don't understand the nearby placement of two Thai restaurants on Castro Street, both called "Amarin." I presume they are somehow related, but I don't know for sure. I have only eaten at the nicer-looking of the two, just south of Pasta?. I have had issues with their dinner service - entrees failed to arrive; appetizers arrived after entrees, etc. I think the problem is that Amarin doesn't do a good job with service when they have a full house. Weekend lunches, when there are few customers there, are great - the service is good, and the food is brought out correctly. Unfortunately I had the Pad Thai, which for $8 was reasonably priced, but tasted bland.

Amber India Restaurant

377 Santana Row, #1140

San Jose, CA 95128

408-248-5400



One of the newer restaurants at Santana Row, Amber India is anything but a typical Indian restaurant. The restaurant is very sheek and fancy, and reminds me of upscale restaurants in New York City. The service is superb, although I was a bit uncomfortable when the waiter served the food onto my plate. The food was very flavorful and tasty, although I suspect this restaurant is to Indian food what P.F. Chang's is to Chinese food. Prices are commensurate with the atmosphere - dinner is about $25 per person.

Mayflower Seafood Restaurant

McCarthy Ranch

428 Barber Ln

Milpitas, CA 95035



Upscale Chinese restaurant, popular for wedding banquets. The menu is definitely on the pricy side for Chinese restaurants - entrees are in the $13-$17 range, and soup is in the $10 range. The quality is good, but doesn't justify the higher than normal prices.

Thai Pepper

2000 S. Bascom Ave

Campbell, CA 95008

408-369-9399



Thai Pepper opened up in the old Stuft Pizza location on Bascom Avenue. They had a difficult time turning a pizza joint into a Thai restaurant, but after a few years of operations, they've managed to do a fairly good job. When I first ate there soon after they opened, I thought the service was disorganized, and the food was not very flavorful. Their service has improved a bit, but the food quality still does not compare to Thai Orchid, right down the street. It's just a bit too bland. They also don't do an adequate job of sheiding their west-facing customers from the steting sun in the evening. I'll go to Thai Orchid next time.

Bella Luna

233 University Ave

Palo Alto, CA

650-322-1845



Need a nice restaurant to take someone special? This is the place. The service is great, the food couldn't be better, and the building has the character of an old brick warehouse. And dinner won't cost a fortune. Make reservations, especially on a weekend night.

Honba Sushi

1759 Technology Dr.

San Jose, CA 95110

408-392-0087

www.honbasushi.com



If you work in this area, this is a great place to grab lunch. They're busy though, so get there early. This is one of those restaurants that because of its location, 90% of its business is lunch fare. And they have a good, fast system down pat, to ensure they can turn over the tables as quickly as possible but without pushing customers out the door. I had the Chicken Teri Don, which was quite delicious. Lunch entrees are on the large side, and prices are reasonable ($8-$13, with a $13 lunch special combination bento box).

Nola

535 Ramona Street

Palo Alto, CA 94301

(650) 328-2722

www.nolas.com



Just off University Ave in downtown Palo Alto, this restaurant is very reminiscent of a New Orleans street restaurant. When the weather is nice (as it usually is here), the patio seating is a real cultural shift from the typical Palo Alto restaurant. The food has a distinct creole flavor. Service is adequate, and prices are reasonable. Very busy in the evenings.

DiCicco's

2665 El Camino Real

Santa Clara, CA 95051

408-247-6161

www.diciccosonline.com



DiCicco's used to be a quaint place for a nice, homestyle Italian meal. And for dinner, it may still be. But I have to avoid this place for lunch. They used to have a nice lunch menu with small portions of filling Italian food. Now it's a lunch buffet with about 6 treys of food that tastes like week-old Costco food. Sorry, but this gets a pass. Even though the buffet was only $8, it wasn't worth it.

Yoyo Sushi

3958 Rivermark Plaza

Santa Clara, CA 95054

408-213-YOYO



Advertised as a "bar and grille", this is a fairly typical Japanese sushi restaurant. Good sushi menu, an enough entrees for those of us who don't really like sushi that much. The waiters were fast to refill the hot tea and water, but slow about bring the check and clearing the dishes. My miso soup was like any other, and the salad was okay. The chicken teryaki was average.

Hangen Szechuan Restaurant

134 Castro St

Mountain View, CA

(650) 964-8881



One of several Chinese restaurants along Castro street. Popular place for lunch, with plenty of room in the downstairs and upstairs dining rooms. Inexpensive lunch special menu. Very attentive staff, water is refilled frequently, and service is always good. Food is average.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

110 Ranch Dr

Milpitas, CA

(408) 935-9875



Huge open restaurant, with the very noisy kitchen as the centerpiece. The restaurant has a warm and intimate feel, even though there are very few walls dividing up the restaurant. It's a fun place to eat. The food is very Italian, and comes in very large portions, even for lunch dishes. Staff are extremely friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs, although my waitress did a pretty hard sell on drinks and appetizers. Prices are reasonable. Locations throughout the U.S.

Banana Leaf

182 Ranch Drive

Milpitas, CA

(408) 719-9811

www.bananaleaf-usa.com



Banana Leaf has grown a lot since it first opened several years ago in the sprawling McCarthy Ranch center. From the outside, one might think this restaurant is a typicalChinese restaurant, maybe on the upscale side. Once you go inside, though, all notions of typicality vanish. The cuisine is Malaysian, and the menu is comparable to a mixture of Chinese and Thai. The food is probably the most flavorful I have tasted in any Asian restaurant in the Bay Area in quite a while. It is spicy, filling, and reasonably priced. The coconut rice is a nice difference from the formal white rice. Environment is noisy. The staff used to push to turn over the tables fast at lunch, but they are less pushy now that the restaurant expanded and nearly doubled in size. If you are looking for a nice Asian restaurant with great food, this is the place.

Krung Thai

580 N Winchester Blvd

San Jose, CA 95128

(another location on S Winchester, and in Mtn View)



There are three Krung Thai locations in the South Bay, and each has their own distinctive flavor, despite similar menus. The location in Mountain View is the nicest - it's a fancy restaurant, with high quality service. The location on S. Winchester is a hectic restaurant, with waiters running here and there. The location on N. Winchester is in the middle - great quality food, and average service. I recently ate at the N. Winchester restaurant and had the yellow curry chicken, which was absolutely the best yellow curry chicken I have ever eaten. The Mango (?) salad was a bit on the spicy side for me. The basil beef dish was okay, but a tad dry. My only complaint about the service is that my water was not refilled very often.

Shalimar Indian Cuisine

167 W. San Fernando St.

San Jose, CA 95118

408-971-2200

www.shalimarindiancuisine.com



I used to eat at the buffet lunch at Shalimar when I worked in downtown San Jose. The buffet lunch is great - it's presented very nicely in chaffing dishes, not just trays floating in hot water. I recently ate dinner there with a vegetarian, and he was able to find enough vegetarian dishes to his liking. Service is good, although on my most recent visit the hostess was acting very hesitant to even welcome me into the restaurant - odd, considering they could use the business. The place is located in a shady part of downtown, next to the Caravan Lounge and the Greyhound Bus Station. But the inside is decorated very nicely, and it is a great place to dine downtown.

Campbell Brewing Company

200 Campbell Ave

Downtown Campbell, CA



A few years ago, downtown Campbell had a revitalization, of sorts. One city block was leveled, and the largest building in downtown Campbell was erected. A two story restaurant for Stoddards, a local brewery/restaurant. The quality of the food was never quite up to par with the first Stoddards restaurant in Sunnyvale, the restaurant was always way too noisy, and the service was below average. The place shut down about 18 months ago. Then came along the Campbell Brewing Company. The new restaurant was opened by Bob Stoddard, who, no big surprise, owns Stoddards. I went to Campbell Brewing Company last night, and was very disappointed. They ran out of menus, so I was given a photocopied menu without explanation. My waiter was horrible - he kept promising "great service" but never delivered. I had to ask for a straw for my iced tea, I had to keep asking for refills, he didn't offer to replentish the bread basket, he never checked to see how the food was, and he messed up on the bill. The biggest complaint about the service was that the waiter was always gone - whenever I needed him, it took several minutes to track him down. And the food quality was not good. It tasted like the old Stoddards Campbell food, and that was only mediocre. My "CBC Cheeseburger" was definitely below average. The flavor was bland, and the fries needed some seasonings other than salt. One of the main complaints about Stoddards was the noise level. There is a roudy bar in the restaurant, and not enough soundproofing. It sounded like nothing had been done about the noise - it was loud, and the place wasn't even packed (despite a line at the door). I'd be hard pressed to return here.

Won Kee Seafood Restaurant

McCarthy Ranch

(Ranch 99 area)



One of the better mom-and-pop Chinese restaurants in the area. Clean, spacious interior, friendly service, and prompt attention. And the quality of the food is really good - very flavorful, not bland like some Chinese restaurants I've eaten at lately.

Faz

1108 N Mathilda Ave

Sunnyvale, CA

408-752-8000



Faz is a favorite restaurant/bar of many executives who work in the Sunnyvale/Mountain View area. The restaurant serves a very nice lunch and dinner, and in the evening the bar is fairly busy. My favorite lunch dish is the chicken kabob - delicious juicy morsels of chicken, with rice and vegetables. I'm never able to finish it. Service is excellent.

Water Street Grille

660 Bridgeway

Sausalito, CA

415-332-8512



One of the nicer restaurants in Sausolito. Diverse menu of Grille fare, with wonderful views of San Francisco and the bay. Service was exceptional, and the food was delicious.

Munchies

Candies From Around The World

613 Bridgeway

Sausalito, CA

415-331-3863



Everything from Atomic Fireballs to Zots, this store is loaded with candy. Lots of flavors of salt water taffy. Taste all you want! They encourage you to eat samples. Owner, Ray Knoles, runs the counter, and is really nice guy. Definitely stop here if you are in Sausalito.

Hukilau

230 Jackson Street

San Jose, CA 95112

(408) 279-4888



Good Hawaiian food (especially if you like Spam), in Japantown. Convenient to get too (Taylor exit off of 87), and great service. Desserts are delicious. Decor is a bit tacky, but that's part of the atmosphere.

Sunny Garden

2455 S. Winchester Blvd

Campbell, CA 95008

408-374-9791



Nondescript Chinese retaurant in the Safeway shopping complex. Family run, they get an A for effort, no question about that. The inside is quite plain, but functional. It's a new restaurant, so I'm sure they will spend more on decorations later. I had the spring rolls, hot and sour soup, chicken in phoenix nest, and prawns with cashew nuts. The food was fairly on the bland side. The chicken had no flavor, but then again, maybe it usually doesn't. Apart from the hot and sour soup, the rest of the food was fairly bland. The hot and sour soup did have a lot of flavor, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll give this restaurant another try in a few months and see how they're doing.

Sarovar Indian Cuisine

301 S. Abbott Ave

Milpitas, CA

408-942-1116




Buffet for lunch, menu for dinner. Long buffet offers a wide variety of Indian foods. Waiters are prompt to serve and refill water. Nice place to go for lunch. I only wish they would post English descriptions of the buffet dishes.

Fontana's Italian

20840 Stevens Creek Blvd

Cupertino, CA

408-725-0188



Classy Italian restaurant near DeAnza Blvd. Menu is a bit heavy on seafood, but there are a few chicken and vegetarian dishes. Dessert (Bocce Ball) is delicious, and enough for three people to share. Service is very good, even on busy evenings. Make reservations, because the place gets packed, and walk-ins usually can't get seated for quite some time. Parking is somewhat difficult in the tight parking lot.

Grand Fortune Seafood Restaurant

4100 Monterey Road #108

San Jose, CA 95111

408-226-8888



This Chinese restaurant is a bit hidden inside of a shopping center, but once you enter, you are in one of San Jose's better Chinese restaurants. I had dim sum for lunch on a weekend, and the place was bustling with activity. Carts came by my table frequently enough that I had plenty of food to eat, but I didn't have to turn away the same cart twice. I was offered ice water (rare at Chinese restaurants). The service was undoubtedly the best I have had at a family owned restaurant in San Jose. The food tasted fresh, and not overly greasy. They have a large space for traditional wedding dinners, and a private room that can be closed off from the main restaurant for private parties.

Mezbaan Bar & Indian Cuisine

3939 Rivermark Village

(Montague & Agnew)

Santa Clara, CA 95054

408-845-0064



Mezbaan is located in the Rivermark Safeway shopping complex. From the outside, the restaurant does not look very big, but that is deceptive. A hostess opens the door for you and greets you, and shows you to your table. Inside, there is a bar with a plasma screen TV showing Indian music videos, and plush couches to sit on while waiting for the rest of your party. Tables have impressive linen tableclothes (none of that plastic stuff), and huge sturdy comfortable chairs. They certainly spent a lot of money on furnishings. When I went for dinner there were only three or four other tables occupied, and a handfull of takeout orders. This left plenty of staff standing around to tend to us. Service was very prompt, and my water was always refilled quickly. The mango lasse drink was delicious. I had a chicken entree, lamb curry (tasted a bit funny - probably wouldn't get that again), naan, and rice (they were a bit stingy with the rice), for $40 with tip. Good dining experience, and I would go back.

2 Chez

548-2 Lawrence Expressway

Sunnyvale, CA 94086

408-749-1719



French-Vietnamese cuisine. The menu is mostly Vietnamese cuisine, no different from the many other Vietnamese restaurants in the south bay. But the menu also has some French dishes, reflecting the link between Vietnam and France and the influence of that link on cuisine. The restaurant is nondescript in a business park area. The inside of the restaurant is roomy, with plenty of tables, and a big screen TV that they show sports or news on. Service is very fast, although at lunchtime they aren't always good about bringing water to the table. Lunch entrees $6-$8.

Yan Can (Can't)

Various Locations

Ranch Dr., Milpitas



Martin Yan's restaurant falls short of expectations. Appetizers are in the $6 range, entrees in the $8-$10 range. But even at reasonable prices, I would avoid going back. This isn't "fusion" food, or even Chinese food. This is Americanized Chinese food. The Hot and Sour Soup had a unique taste that seemed like it came from a can. The lettuce wrap appetizer was good, but doused in so much sauce that all I was really tasting was the flavor of the sauce. The eggplant entree was severely undercooked, and I wasn't able to eat more than a few pieces. The orange chicken was good, but again, how can you screw up deep frying chicken and pouring orange sauce on top? The service was marginal; the waitstaff seemed very new to the job, and my waterglass ran dry. One dish I didn't order was delivered to my table, and another dish I did order was delivered to another table. I'm glad I had this dining experience because I had been curious about Martin Yan's restaurant, but I will probably not go back.

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill

Various locations

84 Ranch Drive

San Jose, CA
Typical American fare. I had the Oriental Chicken Wrap, which was very tasty and filling, although the fries seemed abnormally unhealthy next to the wrap. Food is consistent, and the waitstaff anticipates drink refills.

Chez Sovan

2425 S. Bascom Ave

Campbell, CA 95008

408-371-7711



One of the few Cambodian restaurants in the south bay. Very nice decor inside - the family that owns the restaurant really paid a lot of attention to making the restaurant look and feel nice. The wait staff is mostly family, and some hired help, and they generally do a good job, but simple tasks like clearing the table after the meal and refilling the water glass sometimes require prompting. The food is consistently very good, and somewhat similar to Thai food, but with less similarity between dishes. I have dined here about a dozen times, and each time I enjoy the food.

Old Spaghetti Factory

51 N. San Pedro St.

San Jose, CA



An old time favorite, with consistent food and service. $10 got me the #3 meat-lover's pasta dish - spaghetti in meat sauce, 3 meatballs, and an italian sausage, salad, iced tea, and spamoni ice cream. Such a deal! Glasses were never empty, and service was prompt and reliable. Always a favorite!

Han Sung BBQ

2644 El Camino Real

Santa Clara, CA 95051

408-246-7799
Order off the menu, or select some raw meat for do-it-yourself grilling at your table. The latter option will leave you smelling like a Korean BBQ, but that's probably part of the fun. I've eaten both ways at this restaurant, and both are good. Two plates of raw meat ($10 each) are enough for two people, plus the kim chee that comes with it.

71 Saint Peter

71 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose
(408) 971-8523
Upscale Italian restaurant with reasonable prices, big portions, and a romantic environment.

A.P. Stumps

163 W. Santa Clara Street, Downtown San Jose
www.apstumps.com
(408) 292-9928
A.P. Stumps has a very good reputation for fine dining, but I am hard pressed to give it a good review. I have eaten both dinner and lunch at A.P. Stumps several times, and I have not been impressed with the food. Most recently I had lunch there, and ordered a pasta chicken dish, which came out resembling more like a brothy soup with a large chunk of chicken in it. On another visit I had the chicken breast entree, and it was very good - much better than my brothy soup of pasta chicken. The desserts are delicious, however.

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant

1299 Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara
(408) 249-2001
Mexican
This is a restaurant that tries really hard, but doesn't quite make it. Then they drip cheese over everything, in hopes of improving the fare. Nope, still not there. Chevy's Fresh Mex is my gold standard for Mexican restaurants, so I was hoping for a similar experience at Acapulco's. But we were not off to a good start when the waiter forgot our buffalo wings appetizer. I ordered my favorite, a chicken fajita platter. The luke-warm chicken and barely-grilled vegetables were brought out on a "sizzling" pan that didn't look like it had sizzled for at least 10 minutes. The pan was placed atop a candle, ostensively to keep it warm. Time to get a bigger candle. The rice, refried beans (no choice) drizzled with cheese, tomatoes and guacamole were on a separate dish, accompanied by the largest spoon (more like a mini-shovel) I had ever seen. Four warm tortillas accompanied the meal. The food was edible, but it was certainly not the dining experience I get at Chevy's, for pretty much the same price. Service was acceptable, although I always had to ask for my water to be refilled. I should have just gone to Chevy's.

Afghani House

1103 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
(408) 248-5087
Afghani
Delicious Afghani food (fairly similar to Indian), in a nice setting. Large portions. Most entrees served with large heapings of rice. Kabobs are very good. Good service.

Aki's Bakery

355 Meridian Ave, San Jose
(408) 287-5404
www.akisbakery.com
Other
Bakery renowned for its delicious cakes. Preorder early, especially around holidays.

Alie's Corner Cafe

360 E. Campbell Ave @ Central, Campbell
(408) 871-0533
www.downtowncampbell.com/alies.html
American
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. Unique breakfast menu includes fried rice dishes.

Aqui's

1145 Lincoln Ave, Willow Glen
408-995-0381
Mexican
Slightly upscale and hip Cal-Mex grill and bar. The grill is in back, where you line up and order like a taqueria. But the ambiance and decor is more like a traditional sit-down restaurant. Entrees are large, and reasonably priced around $7-$10. The menu has a variety of Mexican dishes. Free self-serve drink refills, and a salsa bar.

Armadillo Willy's

(various locations), San Jose
www.armadillowillys.com
408-252-RIBS (Cupertino)
American
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. Small restaurants are cramped in the evening and weekends.

Banana Leaf

McCarthy Ranch 182 Ranch Drive, Milpitas
www.bananaleaf-usa.com
(408) 719-9811
New Asian
Banana Leaf is an unassuming restaurant tucked away in the sprawling McCarthy Ranch center. From the outside, one might think this restaurant is a typical Chinese restaurant, maybe on the upscale side. Once you go inside, though, all notions of typicality vanish. The cuisine is Malaysian, and the menu is comparable to a mixture of Chinese and Thai. The food is probably the most flavorful I have tasted in any Asian restaurant in the Bay Area. It is spicy, filling, and reasonably priced. The coconut rice is a nice difference from the normal white rice. Environment is noisy at dinner, and the staff pushes to turn over the tables fast at lunch. If you are looking for a nice Asian restaurant with great food, this is the place.

Bella Luna Ristorante Italiano

233 University Ave, Palo Alto
(650) 322-1846
Italian
A freshly decorated interior sets the mood for a fine dining experience. The staff is very attentive, and the food and ambiance make you feel like you are dining in Europe, not on University Avenue. The pasta and chicken dishes are delicious, and moderately priced for an upscale restaurant. Nice romantic environment.

Bella Mia

58 S. First Street, Downtown San Jose
www.bellamia.com
(408) 280-1993
Italian
Upscale dining in downtown San Jose. Good for business lunches and dinners,
and romantic dinners before a show.

Bella Saratoga

www.saratoga-ca.com/bella/
(408) 741-5115
Italian
This restaurant, the precursor to Bella Mia, is located in an old Victorian
house in downtown Saratoga. The restaurant serves large portions of
homemade pastas, salads, fish dishes, pizzas, and desserts. Dining areas
downstairs and upstairs. Food quality is superb, and service is top
notch.

Best Taste Chinese Restaurant

3756 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell
(408) 377-7666
Chinese
Chinese take-out restaurant.

Birk's Restaurant

3955 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara
www.birksrestaurant.com
(408) 980-6400
American
An American grill, rated as one of the best 100 restaurants in Northern
California. Dinner entrees are in the $25 range.

Black Angus

380 S. Kiely Blvd, San Jose (various other locations)
(408) 261-6900
American
Steaks, with all the fixin's. Generous portions, and very friendly staff who
are eager to serve you.

Blue Sky Chinese Restaurant

2028 Winchester Blvd., Campbell
(408) 378-0424
Chinese
Moderate quality, better for take-out than dining in.

Buca

2081 Winchester Blvd, Campbell
(408) 871-3135
Italian
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. The atmosphere is cozy and personal inside, and the
host moves from table to table making meal suggestions and making sure
everything is okay with the meal. The food is excellent, and the menu rotates
every 3 months (with the seasons). "This place is so good!" --
Travis' Mom.

Buca di Beppo

1875 S. Bascom Ave (Pruneyard), Campbell (various other locations)
(408) 377-7722
www.bucadibeppo.com
Italian
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.

Cafe Nonos

1 N. First Street, Downtown San Jose
American
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 Restaurant

1362 S Winchester Blvd @ Payne, Campbell
(408) 374-3840
Chinese
Non-descript Chinese restaurant. Probably better for take-out than
dining in.

Chacho's

18 S. Almaden Ave, Downtown San Jose
(408) 293-1387
Mexican
Really great Mexican food, in a poor, somewhat hidden location. Almaden Avenue
is a large alley behind the 10 Almaden 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.

Chevy's Fresh Mex

550 S. Winchester Blvd, Suite 500 (various other locations), San Jose
(408) 241-0158
www.chevys.com
Mexican
This Mexican restaurant chain is a combination of a bar and restaurant, with
sports playing on the TV's and fresh, delicious tortillas made every 54
seconds on their El Machino. Their fajitas are delicious and served sizzling
with generous portions and all the fixings for around $14. They will gladly
bring you more chips and more tortillas for your meal.

Chez Sovan

2425 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell
(408) 371-7711
Cambodian
Family owned Cambodian restaurant with great service, delicious flavors, and a
very attractive decor. Other location at 923 Old Oakland Road in San Jose
(408-287-7619).

China Wok

9 N Market St, Downtown San Jose
(408) 280-6688
Chinese
One of the few Chinese restaurants in the business district of downtown San
Jose. China Wok is fast and efficient, and the food is what you would expect.

Citizen Cake

399 Grove Street, San Francisco
(415) 861-2228
www.citizencake.com
American
Patisserie and restaurant bar. Small kitchen and small dining area means that
reservations are required. Small menu, but delicious entrees that are
reasonably priced for San Francisco ($17-19 for most entrees). But the real
reason to come to this establishment is the desserts. Cakes, pastries, ice
cream concoctions, and numerous other delicacies that are irresistible.

Cold Stone Creamery

The Pruneyard, Campbell (various other locations)
www.coldstonecreamery.com
Other
This ice cream store features a large variety of flavors 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!

El Paseo de Saratoga Shopping Center, San Jose, CA
(408) 866-9222
www.cucinacucina.com
Italian
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 Phuc

198 W. Santa Clara Street, Downtown San Jose
Vietnamese
Typical Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho (Vietnamese soup). Popular
for lunch and inexpensive, but the tables and floor aren't very clean, which
makes me wonder how clean the kitchen is.

DiCicco's

2509 S. Bascom, Campbell
Italian
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.

Dish Dash

190 S. Murphy Street, Mountain View
(408) 774-1889
Small restaurant/cafe serving Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian
dishes located on busy Murphy Street in Mountain view. Nice and cozy
atmosphere, and flavorful dishes. The lamb and vegetarian dishes are
especially good. Romantic evening environment.

Don Giovanni

235 Castro Street, Mountain View
Italian
We started with bruschetta and lightly-fried calamari, both
of which were very good. The bruschetta was not overly toasted, and the
calamari was lightly fried. I had the chicken parmesan, which had a bit too
much cheese on top, but I was able to scrape some off just fine. The selection
of potatoes on the side left something to be desired, but the chicken was
large enough to fill me up. Chocolate gelato for dessert, which was very
creamy and delicious. Nice atmosphere with brightly painted walls. Staff is
very attentive and provided refills quickly.

Dos Compadres Taqueria

100 W. Hamilton Ave, Campbell
Mexican
Good quality Mexican food, reasonable prices.

El Burro Restaurant

The Pruneyard, Campbell
Mexican
Lively and loud atmosphere, and huge portions for a good price. This
restaurant has been a Pruneyard institution for years. They do good business,
and the food and service is great.

El Grullense Drive Thru

1380 W. Campbell Ave, Campbell
Mexican
I don't know what "El Grullense" means in English, but I'm guessing
"bad food." This is quite possibly the worst Mexican food I've ever
had. The restaurant is located on Campbell Avenue about two miles west of
downtown Campbell, in a converted Weinerschnitzel drive-thru restaurant. They
did a nice job remodeling the building, but the food and service were
horrible. My chicken burrito was dripping with grease, and the minced pieces
of chicken were hard, stale, and sometimes questionably crunchy. To top it
off, they don't have refills on sodas, and their employees were amazingly
slow. Avoid this restaurant.

Elephant Bar Restaurant

499 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell (various other locations)
408 871 8401
American
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 for a table outside or at
the bar on weekend evenings.

Faz

1108 N Mathilda Ave
(408) 752-8008
Bar / American
Fine dining, good for company lunches or fancy dinners. High class place.
Generous portions - try the kabobs, which are served on a heap of rice.

Florentine Restaurant

745 S. Winchester at Moorpark (various other locations), San Jose
www.florentine.net
Italian
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's

20840 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino
Italian
Fine Italian dining, in a nice warm atmosphere. The restaurant can be a bit
loud, but the food is delicious, portions are generous, and the staff is
great. Good place to go before a show at the Flint Center.
Reservations strongly suggested.

Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too

5245 Prospect Road, San Jose
Italian
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 Choice

1654 S Bascom Ave (various other locations), Campbell
www.freshchoice.com
American
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.

Fu Lam Mum

246 Castro Street, Mountain View
Chinese
Average quality Chinese food, located in the heart of Mountain View along
Castro Street at Villa. The service leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Fuji Sushi

56 W. Santa Clara Street, Downtown San Jose
Japanese
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.

Furu-Sato

1651 West Campbell Ave, Campbell
www.furu-sato.com
Japanese
Modern Japanese restaurant with tatami rooms and a sushi bar, and of course
sit down dining. Generous portions, very nice decorations, plenty of staff,
yet my water glass was left empty repeatedly.

Gelato Classico

Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Italian
Italian Ice Cream. Variety of flavors, including candy bars, oreo cookies,
etc. Friendly people, and romantic evening setting.

Giuseppe Italian Restaurant

33 S Central Ave, Campbell
Italian
Good 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.

Gordon Biersch Brewery

33 E San Fernando St (various other locations), Downtown San Jose
www.gordonbiersch.com
American
Best known for their 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.

Green Papaya

137 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
(408) 395-9115
Vietnamese
Upscale Vietnamese restaurant perfect for a romantic dinner in Los
Gatos. Menu features good selection of food, prepared well, and serviced
in a unique way. Great environment. Close to Gelato Classico for
dessert.

Grill On The Alley

172 S. Market Street (Fairmont Hotel), Downtown San Jose
www.thegrill.com
American
Upscale dining at The Fairmont Hotel. The Grill is designed to replicate a
fancy New York style restaurant. The food is very good, and 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. Good for business
lunch or dinner, but the atmosphere is too formal for a romantic dinner.

Hangen Szechuan Restaurant

134 Castro St, Mountain View
(650) 964-8881
Chinese
Located on the north end of Castro Street. Good lunch menu.

Hardy's Bavaria

111 W. Evelyn Ave, Sunnyvale
German
An authentic German restaurant. Appears to be family run, definitely run by
Germans, serving up very generous portions. Meals come with soup and salad.
Very friendly staff, flavorful food.

Hawaiian Pacific Grill

151 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Hawaiian
One of the few Hawaiian restaurants in San Jose. This cafe-style eatery has
barely enough seating for eight people, but the food is delicious. A few
Chinese food entrees (i.e. lemon fried chicken), but mostly Hawaiian roasted
pig dishes. Entrees come with pasta or green salad. Free refills on drinks.
The interior is reminiscent of a restaurant in Hawaii, and the cozy seating
area is intimate. Staff takes very good care of the customers. There is
parking in back of the restaurant.

High Thai

5210 Prospect Road, Campbell
Thai
This restaurant has moved around quite a bit in the past ten years, from Los
Gatos to Saratoga Ave and now at the current location in a former fast food
franchise. The building itself is not very adaptive to a Thai restaurant, and
the interior decorations haven't helped the image very much. The menu is
extensive, and no M.S.G. is used to prepare the food. 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 gives the staff plenty of time
to be attentive to the customers. Given the overpriced food and tacky
facility, I have to give this restaurant a "pass."

Hobee's

(various locations)
www.hobees.com
American
Generous portions, healthy food, reasonable prices. You might feel like you've
entered an IHOP or a Carrow's when you enter the restaurant, but when you look
at the menu, you'll see the California influence. Most of the dishes are on
the healthier side, but they do serve burgers, omelets, etc. They have
locations throughout the Bay Area and in San Luis Obispo.

Hometown Buffet

(various locations)
www.buffet.com
American
Think Fresh Choice without the salad, and with a lot of greasy food. This is
midwestern cooking, buffet style. And all the dessert you can eat. This is not
a place you go if you are on a diet.

The House

1230 Grant Street (North Beach), San Francisco
www.thehse.com
(415) 986-8612
Fusion
Small intimate restaurant in North Beach, modern decor, and very attentive
staff. They remember repeat customers, and really enjoy their work. The
environment is modernly decorated and very well lit, probably a bit too bright
for dinner. I shared the asparagus with roasted sesame
dressing salad, a delicious flavorful dish, and for an entree had the
sesame soy glazed atlantic salmon. I usually don't order fish dishes,
but the salmon was absolutely delicious, and the sesame soy glaze made it even
better. For dessert I had the special of the day, a vanilla pudding with
fruit on top. That was okay, but not excellent. Reservations
necessary.

House of Siam

55 S Market St # 160, Downtown San Jose
Thai
One of only a few Thai 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 authentic looking.

House of Orient Restaurant

851W.HamiltonAvenue, Campbell
Chinese
Average but inexpensive Chinese food for eat-in or take out. Lunch specials
every day which include soup and salad.

Il Fornaio

302 S. Market Street (Hyatt Hotel), Downtown San Jose (various other
locations)
www.ilfornaio.com
Italian
Upscale Italian restaurant - one of the nicest in the Bay Area. If you
are looking for a nice restaurant to take a date for dinner or a client for
lunch, this is it.Delicious entrees and desserts make it impossible to
go wrong here.

Kan Zaman

274 University Ave, Palo Alto
650-328-5245
Menu includes Mediterranean food, including pastas, meats, and kebabs served
with generous portions of rice and vegetables. All entrees include
lentil soup or salad, and pita bread with refills. Sodas are not
refillable. Very attentive staff refills water quickly.
Weekend-night dinners include live belly dancers at set times.

Kazoo Sushi Boat

10 E Hamilton Ave, Campbell
Japanese
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.

Komatsu

300 Orchard City Dr, Campbell
408-379-3000
Japanese
Above average Japanese restaurant. Very traditional Japanese atmosphere - the
waitresses dress in kimonos. The sushi is very fresh, and the dinner entrees
are generous.

Korea House

2340 El Camino Real (@ San Tomas Expressway), Santa Clara
Korean
One of many Korean restaurants along El Camino.

Krung Thai

642 S. Winchester and 559 (580?) N. Winchester Blvd, San Jose
Thai
Good quality Thai food, served fast, by attentive staff. Pineapple fried rice
is very popular. Very busy on weekend evenings.

La Fondue

14510 Big Basin Way, Saratoga
www.lafondue.com
Other
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 Restaurant

233 W. Santa Clara Street (DeAnza Hotel), Downtown San Jose
www.lapastaia.com
Italian
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 and the weather is nice, ask the host to seat you on the back
patio. For those on the go at lunch, there is a caf� just around the corner
from the restaurant that offers a small variety of salads, pizzas and pastas
for take-out.

Le Boulanger

(various locations)
www.leboulanger.com
American
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
Street (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 Papillon

410 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose
French
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 extravagance. The atmosphere is
intimate, and the staff is very attentive but unobtrusive. Appetizers $12,
soups & salads $8, entrees $25. Menu has special lobster selection.

Lion & Compass

1023 N Fairoaks Ave, Sunnyvale
(408) 745-1260
American
This hidden restaurant is where the deals in Silicon Valley go down.
Lunch and dinner are filled with a who's-who of Silicon Valley
dealmakers. There is a library eating area for those wanting a more
intimate and private dining experience. The menu has a broad range
selection of dishes from a hamburger to salmon. Lunch entrees in the
$10-$20 range. Attentive service.

Loon Wah

1146 S. DeAnza Blvd, Cupertino
Chinese
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 as it is ready. Very popular for dinners and on
weekends for dim sum.

Los Gatos Brewing Co.

130 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
www.lgbrewingco.com
408 395 9929
American
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 Village

1465 W. San Carlos Street , San Jose
www.lousvillage.com
American
This is mainly a seafood restaurant, but they do serve pastas and meat dishes.
They also have very large banquet facilities. I am not a fan of the
atmosphere, but it is a popular restaurant and worth trying at least once.

Mama Mia's

200 E. Hamilton Ave, Campbell
Italian
Italian food with an Italian atmosphere. The food is fairly good, with a nice
selection of appetizers, 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. Atmosphere is average.

Mandarin Palace Restaurant

1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
Chinese
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.

Mangiare

182 Old County Road, Brisbane; 400 Oyster Point, South San Francisco
415-467-7852
American
Breakfast and lunch cafe. Line up to place your order from a selection
of pastries, bagels, eggs, omelets, sandwiches, salads, and larger entrees,
and then pick your own seat while you wait for the food. Tables are a
bit on the dirty side and not wiped down frequently enough, but the quality of
the food is very good.

Marie Callender's

(various locations)
www.mcpies.com
American
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 Restaurant

1620 Saratoga Ave (Westgate - various other locations), Campbell
www.maxsworld.com
408-379-8886
American
Good quality food and generous portions, but the restaurant is often very busy
such that the staff has trouble being attentive to diners. Max's also
operates Max's Cafe in various locations, including San Francisco, with a
similar menu to the restaurant but in a cute diner atmosphere. Desserts
are delicious and should not be passed over.

Mimi's Cafe

1200 El Paseo de Saratoga, Campbell
www.mimiscafe.com
408 378 0778
American
No-frills food in a very well-decorated restaurant.

Ming's

1700 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto
www.mings.com
Chinese
Upscale Chinese dining. Good for weddings and banquets.

Mio Vicino

384 E. Campbell Ave. (various other locations), Campbell
www.miovicino.com
Italian
Intimate setting, serving 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 Cafe

110 South Market Street , Downtown San Jose
http://www.sjmusart.org/general.html
American
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 homemade soups, fresh salads, tantalizing desserts,
and a wide selection of beverages, including coffee. Good place for lunch,
plus museum admission is free.

Old Spaghetti Factory

51 N San Pedro St, Downtown San Jose
www.osf.com
Italian
My choice restaurant for lunches, and possibly my all-around favorite
"cheap" pasta 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.

Olive Garden

(various) 940 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose
www.olivegarden.com
Italian
Chain of Italian restaurants. Their trademark is huge servings, family-style
salad with every meal, and warm breadsticks. On Friday and Saturday nights,
the wait can be up to an hour-and-a-half. The service is not exceptional, and
the quality of the food is not outstanding either, but the menu offers a wide
variety of dishes. The ambiance is very upbeat and the customers are usually
on the young side.

P.F. Chang's

390 W. El Camino Real (@ Mathilda), Sunnyvale
www.pfchangs.com
Chinese Bistro
Great decorations, wonderful service, but scores low in the authenticity
department. P.F. Changs is an expanding chain of new-age restaurants in major
cities. Dishes are high on flavor, low on grease, and average on presentation.
Restaurant decor follows a low-light, high-ceiling, dark color approach that
works to create a cozy environment for dinner. The restaurants are usually
packed to the gills on weekends, hence the optional valet parking. Great
restaurant especially for taking people to an impressive dinner, but they
could focus some more attention on making the food more authentic tasting.

Palace B.B.Q. Buffet

1092 E. El Camino Real #1, Santa Clara
Korean
All you can eat buffet. Korean food, which select from a buffet and cook at
your table.

Palermo Pizza

915 S. San Tomas Aquino Rd., Campbell
Italian
No-frills pizzeria with delicious pizza (including personal size), huge
sandwiches, pastas and salads.

Parcel 104

2700 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara (408) 970-6104
American
Located in the Santa Clara Marriott hotel. Upper class restaurant with
buffet breakfast, and good quality lunches and dinners. Very attentive
staff. Good for business breakfasts, lunches, or dinners.

Passage to India

1991 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View
www.passagetoindia.net
Indian
Upscale Indian restaurant; attentive staff; nice environment. Serves Northern
Indian food, a bit on the spicy side. Lunch and dinner buffet, with Indian
dishes complimented with some Chinese dishes. The food was surprisingly high
quality for a buffet - probably the highest quality Indian buffet food I've
had in the county. Good selection of food.

Pasta?

160 Castro Street, Mountain View and 326 University Ave, Palo Alto
650-938-4147
Italian
Good pasta and good sandwiches. Chicken sandwich is very good, and
my favorite for lunch. I have also heard good reviews of their dinner
entrees. Generous portions.

Pasta Pomodoro

(various locations)
www.pastapomodoro.com
Italian
Good place for lunch or dinner. Menu has a small selection of sandwiches,
pastas, and quick lunch specials. The grilled chicken sandwich with garden
salad is delicious, as is the spinach salad (they will add chicken breast).
Locations throughout the Bay Area.

Peggy Sue's Restaurant

29 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose
American
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.

Pho Thanh Long

2450 El Camino Real (at San Tomas Expressway), Santa Clara
Vietnamese
Vietnamese noodle house with a wide variety of noodle soups and rice plates.
Open 7 days a week, 9am to 9pm.

Plumed Horse

14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga
www.plumedhorse.com
Other
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. President Clinton dined
here during one of his visits to the area.

Ravioli's Restaurant

185 Park Ave # 189, Downtown San Jose
Italian
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.

RingerHut

1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
Japanese
This is one of the few Japanese restaurants I have been to where I have rarely
seen any Japanese people working there. The dishes are of average quality. I
personally like the curry chicken over rice (which has unfortunately been
taken off the menu), and the potstickers, which they are well known for. They
specialize in Champon Noodles, a derivative of ramen, and they are the only
place on the west coast that serves this type of noodle. The chicken teriyaki
is often dry, and more like chicken jerky. There is usually a wait on
weekends, especially for lunch.

Rock Bottom Brewery

1875 S. Bascom Ave (Pruneyard), Campbell
www.rockbottom.com
Other
Bar atmosphere, best known for their home-brewed beers and selection of
outside beers. The food is marginal at best. Their strength is clearly in
their beer, not their food.

Rojoz Wraps

18562 Prospect Rd, Campbell
American
Delicious wraps (think Mediterranean burrito), very reasonably priced (around
$5). My favorites are the Thai Chicken wrap and the Indian wrap.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

110 Ranch Drive, Milpitas
www.macaronigrill.com
Italian
Huge open restaurant, with the kitchen as the centerpiece. Warm and intimate,
even though there are very few walls dividing up the restaurant. It's a fun
place to eat. The food is very Italian, and comes in very large portions.
Prices are reasonable. Locations throughout the U.S.

Royal Taj

1350 Camden Ave, Campbell
Indian
A small intimate Indian restaurant conveniently located near Highway 17. The
quality of the food is very good, both for eat-in and take-out. The staff
always seem a bit inattentive.

Sam Kee Chinese Restaurant

1696 S Wolfe Rd, Cupertino/Sunnyvale
Chinese
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. Parking is limited, and the restaurant is
packed on Sunday mornings. No waiting most weekday dinners. Pass on the beef
stew clay pot - it is undercooked. Red bean dessert always served after
meal.

Sarovar Indian Cuisine

544 Lawrence Expressway, Sunnyvale
www.sarovar.com
Indian
Lunch and dinner buffet-style restaurant. Decent selection of high quality
food. The selection is not quite as diverse as Sneeha, and the taste seems to
be from a different part of India, but the food seems fresher. Lunch buffet is
served on weekends as well as weekdays.

Satsuma

705 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View
Japanese
This Japanese restaurant specializes in sushi rolls. They have about thirty
nigiri sushi rolls to choose from, thirty-five makimono rolls, twelve
vegetable rolls, and five different te-maki rolls. They even have an
all-you-can-eat roll special on Friday nights (limited selection of rolls).
Apart from sushi, they have the typical variety of combination dinners and
entrees. Food quality is excellent, as is the service and ambiance.

Scott's

185 Park Ave, Downtown San Jose
Seafood
Seafood restaurant, also has chicken and steak dishes. Loud atmosphere,
service not always consistent.

Shalimar Indian Cuisine

167 W. San Fernando Street, Downtown San Jose
Indian
Indian restaurant located next to Subway. This isn't the greatest part of
town, but this restaurant took an old Indian carpet store and turned it into a
very nice restaurant. The walls are painted with nice designs, and the tables
have clean linen tablecloths (none of that plastic covering either). They have
a lunch buffet which features very fresh food, including a great fruit salad.
The buffet is very reasonably priced.

Shebele

422 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell
Ethiopian
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.

Sneha

1214 Apollo Way @ Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara
www.indolink.com/SFO/sneha.html
Indian
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.

Spice Islands Cafe

210 Hope St (at Villa), Mountain View
650-961-0628
Malaysian
This restaurant reminds me of my grandparent's basement, because of the
big concrete blocks that form the north wall. Spice Islands serves food
from Southeast Asia - Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. What sets the
restaurant apart though is the presentation. It is closer to a Straits
style presentation, with uniquely shaped plates and serving bowls. The
staff is attentive to refilling water, and they don't push beverages even
though there is a large bar in the restaurant (rarely used, from what I have
seen). Appetizers $6, entrees $10-$13, lunch specials $7-$8.

Spiedo Ristorante

151 W. Santa Clara Ave, Downtown San Jose
www.spiedo.com
Italian
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.

Spoons

1555 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell
American
California grill serving up ribs, burgers and tacos. Live atmosphere with
friendly staff, quality food, and busy in the evening and weekends.

Stacks

139 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell
American
Great breakfast food, with generous portions that are reasonably priced and
very good quality. Packed on the weekends. Staff is very attentive, if not a
bit pushy - they like to turn the tables around quickly (i.e. 30-40 minutes on
weekends). The restaurant is very hectic, with a full crowd waiting in the
entry, and staff running around constantly. This is not a place to have a slow
paced breakfast, but the quality of the food is so good that you should try
it.

Stoddard's Brewhouse & Eatery

111 S. Murphy Avenue in Sunnyvale
www.stoddardsbrew.com
American
This restaurant serves up a wide selection of their own beers and other beers.
The food consists of a selection of traditional entrees and sandwiches, as
well as some creative international dishes. The food is very high quality, and
the staff are very attentive. In March 2003 I ate at the new Stoddard's in
Campbell. The food took forever to come out - they served one of our dishes to
someone else, so we had to wait for them to re-cook one dish. I think it was
my friend's, because mine seemed kind of stale. The service wasn't very good
either. I'll chalk it up to being a new restaurant and still working out the
kinks. The place was pretty full though - they're getting a lot of customers.
I returned to the Campbell Stoddard's in late March 2002, and had a very good
dining experience. It seems that they worked out all the start-up bugs. We
were seated quickly despite being a weekend night, and the waitress was very
attentive. The Campbell Stoddards was closed in summer of 2003.

Straits Restaurant

3295 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 3300 Geary Blvd, San Francisco; Santana
Row, San Jose
Asian Fusion
Upscale Asian fusion food, with a very ornate presentation. Food is
served family style, and portions are generally large. Atmosphere is
usually busy, somewhat loud, and rushed. Fairly attentive
wait-staff. Good place to take your friends who are visiting from out of
town, but I wouldn't take a date here - it's too busy and rushed. Three
locations, each with different decor.

Stratta Grill & Bar

71 E. San Fernando, Downtown San Jose
American/Italian
Nice place for dinner or drinks before a Sharks game. The menu varies from
steak to chicken to pasta. Most entrees in the $18-$20 range, appetizers
around $8. The staff takes very good care of repeat customers.

Sue's Indian Cuisine

216 Castro Street (between Villa and Dana), Mountain View
www.waiter.com/sues/
Indian
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. You will probably be seated by Sue
herself.

Sushi O Sushi

2789 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
www.sushiosushi.com
408-241-1677
Japanese
High quality sushi and rice plates at very reasonable prices. Crisp, clean decor, and good service.

Taste of New Orleans

655 N. Sixth Street, Downtown San Jose
(408) 275-8877
Creole
Located in Japantown, this restaurant was opened in spring of 2002 by husband
and wife owners who are from New Orleans. They offer Kool-Aid and Lemonade
(and sodas) to drink for $1. All dishes come with cornbread. I had the fried
chicken dinner, with jambalaya and potato salad. The fried chicken was
delicious, the jambalaya was so-so (I should have ordered the dirty rice), and
the potato salad tasted like delicious deviled eggs with potatoes. The Creole
bread pudding was a delicious dessert. This isn't a real fancy restaurant -
eating there reminds you of eating on picnic tables inside the back hall of a
church. But that adds to the New Orleans ambiance. Be prepared to be patient -
the kitchen takes a long time to cook food, so don't go there if you're in a
hurry.

Thai Basil

101 S. Murphy Ave; 210 Town & Country Village, Sunnyvale
www.thaibasil.com
Thai
I have eaten at the Town & Country Village location, and the entrees were
quite good. I had a chopped beef with pepper dish, and a duck dish that was
quite good. Unfortunately, the soup was very bad - basically chopped
vegetables and chicken in a broth, presented very poorly. Overall, it's a good
dining experience, but substitute an appetizers for the soup.

Thai Orchid

866 E. Campbell Ave, Campbell
Thai
This Thai restaurant opened in 2002, in a renovated house (formerly Togo's)
across from the Pruneyard. This Thai restaurant is distinctively good because
its portions are quite generous, and the curries are very thick. Noodle
dishes are delicious.

Thai Pepper

2000 S. Bascom Ave, Campbell
Thai
Average Thai restaurant, in the old Stuft Pizza location. Frankly, I've had
better. Portions were only medium size, but tasty. There are other Thai
restaurants I would go to before I would return here. Also located in Santa
Clara in the Franklin Mall, and in Sunnyvale on Fremont Ave.

Thai Style

Stevens Creek @ Bascom, San Jose
Thai
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 Thai

23 N. Market Street, Downtown San Jose
Thai
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.

Tied House

65 N. San Pedro Street, Downtown San Jose
www.tiedhouse.com
American
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 multi-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.

Todai

10123 N Wolfe Rd # 2001, Cupertino (various other locations)
408 996 3444
Japanese (buffet)
Thirteen dollars gets you access to the largest Japanese buffet I've seen
in a long time. Cold foods, including plenty of sushi, on one side, hot
foods on the other, with a dessert bar. Free drink refills, an attentive
staff, and a free meal on your birthday make this restaurant a great place to
fill up. Various locations, including Eastridge mall, and this address
in Valco.

Tomatina

3127 Mission College Road, Santa Clara
408 654 9000
Italian
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 crowds at the theaters.

Tsing Tao

104 San Tomas Aquino, Campbell
Chinese
Better than average Chinese food, whether you eat-in or take-out.

Tumerik

141 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale
www.tumerik.com
408-617-9100
Indian
Bar and dining room downstairs; lunch buffet upstairs. The buffet was
very good, presented very nicely, with a nice array of foods to choose from.

Vaso Azzurro

108 Castro Street, Mountain View
www.vasoazzurro.com
650-940-1717
Italian French
Castro Street is probably best known for its casual restaurants, but Vaso
Azzurro is one of the surprises. The unassuming exterior and $12 entrees
underestimate the superior service (my water glass never went dry!), upscale
atmosphere, and very delicious flavors of food. I had the chicken breast
with linguini, prepared with herbs and olive oil. Very delicious meal.

Vegetarian House

520 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
godsdirectcontact.com/vegetarian/vh.html
This restaurant is 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.

Village Cafe

378 Santana Row, San Jose
(408) 248-9091
Outdoor or indoor seating, cozy atmosphere, long bar. Not a large
selection on the menu, but the entrees are diverse. I had the Angus
Burger which was good, although it tasted overly beefy, and the fries were a
bit too oily. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Santana Row
mainly because of the atmosphere.

Willow Street Pizza

(various locations), San Jose
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. Unmatched quality of wood-fired pizza. Wide variety of
choices.

Xiao Loong

250 West Portal Ave

San Francisco, CA



Their website needs some work, but don't let that stop you from trying out this restaurant. It's very small, probably no more than 12 tables, and plenty of wait staff (I think I counted 5) to keep the tea pots and water glasses filled. Servings were large, and prepared very quickly. Most entrees in the $10 range. Food wasn't too greasy, and had a very nice taste. - Sunday, March 27, 2005

California Cafe

50 University Ave

Los Gatos, CA



Very nice decor, friendly staff. Fruit flies flying all around my table. Food was good for the price, but not exceptional. - Friday, March 25, 2005

Tamarine Restaurant & Gallery

546 University Avenue

Palo Alto, CA 94301

www.tamarinerestaurant.com



Downtown Palo Alto is known for its upscale restaurants, and Tamarine leads the pack. What I liked best about Tamarine was the three classes of seating (tables, for those with reservations; the two long tables, for those without reservations who don't mind waiting a bit and dining shoulder to shoulder with strangers; and the bar, on a first come-first serve basis), and the understated service. The wait staff is very attentive and helpful, but not in an obtrusive manner. That made dining there a treat. The quality of the food is excellent. Portions are disproportionately small to the price, but as I said, this is an upscale restaurant. - Monday, November 15, 2004

Golden Wok

895 Villa Street

Mountain View, CA 94041

650-964-2222



Downtown Mountain View is known for its large assortment of Asian restaurants. The surprising thing about Golden Wok is its size, and decorations. The dining room is very large, and the entire restaurant is fully furnished with an abundance of Chinese restaurant decorations. For those who ate at Fum Lum in Campbell, this looks like an older and not quite so ellegant Fum Lum. Food is prepared quickly, and the quality was very good. Attentive service gets a bonus point. - Monday, November 15, 2004

Taqueria Los Cunados

196 Ranch Drive

Milpitas, CA 95035



Tucked in a corner of McCarthy Ranch (ironically, right next to a fancier Mexican restaurant), this taqueria is good for a quick Mexican lunch. The food is very filling. Free tortillia chips and salsa, and drink refills (yay!). Quality of food is average for a taqueria. - Monday, November 15, 2004

The Pasta Market

460 E. El Camino Real

Sunnyvale, CA

(also in Menlo Park and Los Altos)



Located in a strip mall along El Camino Real, the Pasta Market has a nice appearance, and friendly staff, but the pasta was soggy. They take the order at the counter - I ordered spaghetti with meatsauce, and an included side of garlic bread. It took them about 10 minutes to prepare. The garlic bread and cheese spread was very good, and the meat sauce was fine (no identifiable chunks of meat, which is usually nice), but the pasta was soggy. Prices are very reasonable - pasta dishes are around $5, baked dishes in the $6 rance, and pizzas in the $9 range. - Monday, November 15, 2004

Campbell Brewery Bites The Dust

Following in the steps of Stoddards, the Campbell Brewery shut down after only six months of operations in downtown Campbell. The Brewery was started/owned by the same guy who opened up the Stoddards in the same location, before its demise after a few years of bad food and poor service.



So what was the problem? I only ate at the Brewery once in its brief history, but the food was bland, and the service was just as bad. I got my usual brewery fare - a burger with fries - and I could barely finish it. It just was not good. The service was shoddy as well - we had to ask for our check, and my water glass was consistently empty. So sad to see that space empty again (although I hear a different type of restaurant is going in there), but the reason is no mystery. Just like on The Apprentice, if you run a restaurant poorly, you won't survive. - Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Kirk's Steakburgers

Bascom Ave

Campbell, CA

(also other locations)



How this place stays in business is beyond me. The tables are filthy, the fries taste horribly frozen, and the burgers are merely average. As they say at Carl's Junior, these are 6 dollar burgers that are indeed $6. Carl's Junior is better. My "medium well" was no different than a "medium" burger, and they took forever to make them. No, I'm sorry, but I can live the rest of my life without ever going back, and that'll be just fine. As for the distinctive clintelle ... well, that should have been my first clue that the dinner was going to be sub-par. Some trailer park is missing some of their inhabitants. - Friday, November 05, 2004

Kobe Japanese Restaurant

In Mervyn's Plaza

2086 El Camino Real

Santa Clara, CA 95050



Average Japanese restaurant with a susui bar. Nothing particularly fancy or outstanding. Bathroom is a bit unique, using rice paper screens to divide the toilet areas. Not sure if that meets code requirements or not. - Friday, November 05, 2004

LuLu Restaurant

816 Folsom Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

415-495-5775

www.restaurantlulu.com



Folsom Street? Yes, Folsom Street, near 5th. And what a nice restaurant! Need a special place to go in the City for dinner? This is it. Wonderful food, and extremely attentive service. But the place is popular, to make reservations. You can usually find street parking (except late on Friday and Saturday evenings), and there is a small lot across the street. Expect to spend around $40/person. - Saturday, October 30, 2004

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