Answers from Our Experts (1)
San Francisco might have the reputation for culinary greatness, but like the tech companies based in San Jose, the most populous city in the Bay Area buzzes with its own special collection of restaurants. Here’s a list from our Forbes Travel Guide editors on where to eat in San Jose.
1. Manresa. The intimate restaurant in Los Gatos helmed by chef David Kinch focuses on daring French- and northern Spanish-influenced cuisine. Like many Bay Area restaurants, the emphasis is on local ingredients, and many of the ones used here come from an exclusive partnership with a farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The exquisitely presented dishes —duck roasted in salt crust, fig and wild fennel confit; garden beignets with crispy leaves — are served in a cozy dining room, and there’s both a prix fixe menu and a “seasonal and spontaneous” tasting menu.
2. Tamarine Restaurant & Gallery. The millionaires in the valley might be super tight-lipped when it comes to their prototypes but at this contemporary, vegetarian-friendly Vietnamese restaurant in Palo Alto, they’re all about sharing the tasty small plates. Dishes such as Massaman short rib curry and lemongrass sea bass can be paired with five different types of rice, including jasmine, coconut and garlic-fried rice, and specialty cocktails like Tamarine’s “anti-oxidant mojito” with Myers silver rum and fresh berries. Designed by a top design firm, the walls of the perennial hotspot are covered in rich colors and feature current exhibits of Vietnamese art.
3. Emile’s Restaurant. While Silicon Valley has seen its share of start-ups and busts, Emile’s has been a San Jose fixture since 1973. Hand-sculpted brass work and fresh flowers on every table complement the French cuisine. In addition to the a la carte menu, the restaurant offers a tasting menu (with a vegetarian option), as well as a daily three-course prix fixe menu that’s a score at $35. The classic dishes include rack of lamb with a pomegranate sauce and gratin dauphinois, fruits de mer in a puff pastry shell, and rhubarb soufflé for dessert.
4. La Pastaia. Located within the hip downtown Hotel De Anza in San Jose, La Pastaia serves rustic Italian dishes—roasted chicken with polenta and broccoli rabe; pork chop with white bean cassoulet—in a charming dining room with a fireplace, Italian posters and colorful tiled floors. The nice wine list is exclusively Italian and offers tasting pours, wines by the glass and carafes.
5. Palacio Restaurant. Located inside the historic Coggeshall Victorian Mansion in Los Gatos dating back to 1891, this upscale Mexican restaurant features fresh takes on traditional Latin American dishes. Start with a heaping bowl of cilantro mussels before tearing into the seared duck breast with tamarind peanut mole. A special tequila menu with a selection of flights helps you wash it all down.