.Best of Silicon Valley Dining Scene

Chez TJ’s George Aviet

EDITOR’S PICKS

 

Best Restaurant to Spot a Rising Star Chef

Chez TJ

938 Villa St., Mountain View. Owner George Aviet has a knack for picking rising star chefs. Former and current chefs hold a total of eight Michelin stars. Current chef Joey Elenterio continues the tradition of modern deliciousness.

 

Best Communal Dining Experience

Hay Market

1185 Lincoln Ave., San Jose. Tables for two are great, but there’s something about bumping elbows with your fellow man (and woman) that instills a sense of bonhomie and appetite—provided the food and company are good. Willow Glen’s Hay Market provides both. A good beer and wine list helps grease the wheels of socialization, too.

 

Best Three-table Restaurant

Indo Cafe

14443 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. The Indo Cafe is really more of a kitchen than a restaurant. The three communal tables barely fit in the tiny space. But that just makes eating there like eating in the kitchen of your Indonesian grandmother.

 

Best Counter Experience

Little Chef Counter

87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose. Newcomer Little Chef Counter offers haute cuisine made from fresh and local ingredients served counterside. It’s a great fit for San Pedro Square Market.

 

Best Food Truck

MoGo BBQ

www.mogobbq.com. Silicon Valley was slow to get on the food-wagon bandwagon. But now there are scores of meals on wheels rolling through the region. One of the first food trucks to establish a presence in the South Bay was MoGo BBQ, and Metro readers have astutely rewarded the Korean-Mexi truck with top honors for its reasonably priced tacos, sliders and topping-rich hot dogs.

Bill’s Beer-steamed Hot Dogs billdogs.com

Bigg Shrimp’n biggshrimpn.com

 

Best Steakhouse

Alexander’s

10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino. While Alexander’s is pricey, it’s hard to compete with a place that dry ages its own beef and serves several grades of Kobe beef, American beef and Australian beef.

Henry’s Hi-Life 301 W. St. John St., San Jose

Forbes Mill Steakhouse 206 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos

 

Best Romantic Restaurant

La Fondue

14550 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. Melted cheese and bits of meat don’t sound that sexy, but when you dim the lights, add a bottle of wine and explore the bubbling dips and molten cheese with long skewers and even fingers, fondue can become a downright romantic experience. Just ask Metro readers. The name La Fondue is a veritable tunnel of love year after year.

Wine Cellar 50 University Ave., Los Gatos

Manresa 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos

 

Best Microbrewery

Gordon Biersch

357 E. Taylor St., San Jose; 33 E. San Fernando St., San Jose; 640 Emerson St., Palo Alto. Now that everyone and their mother seems to be brewing beer, there are countless microbrewers looking to tap out Gordon Biersch as the king of Bay Area beer. But GB has inspired fierce loyalty, especially here in the South Bay.

Rock Bottom Brewery 1875 S. Bascom Ave. # 740, Campbell

Los Gatos Brewing Company 1306 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 163 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose

 

Best Microbrewery Food

Gordon Biersch

33 E. San Fernando St., San Jose; 640 Emerson St., Palo Alto. In a happy two-fer, Gordon Biersch’s reputation for brewpub cuisine is every bit as heady as it superlative beers.

Rock Bottom Brewery 1875 S. Bascom Ave., #740, Campbell

Los Gatos Brewing Company 13 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 163 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose

 

Best Comeback Restaurant

The Cats Restaurant and Tavern

17533 Santa Cruz Highway, Los Gatos. The Cats is a Silicon Valley institution. Or at least it was until the Highway 17 roadhouse closed its doors. But the Cats opened anew on New Year’s Eve, and the parking lot is full once again with diners looking to sample the barbecue dishes and soak up some of the historic ambience.

 

READER’S PICKS

 

Best New Restaurant

Pacific Catch

1875 S. Bascom Ave., Ste 550, Campbell. A restaurant group with three Bay Area locations recently opened a fourth in the Pruneyard in Campbell for South Bay diners. The new location quickly hooked Metro readers with its big flavors of pan-Pacific seafood, including a full selection of sushi, fish and chips and island tacos.

Hay Market
1185 Lincoln Ave., San Jose

Pizza Bocca Lupo
87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

 

Best Restaurant (Culinary Excellence)

Alexander’s Steakhouse

10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino. The voting was very close, but Alexander’s edged out Manresa and Il Fornaio for all-round culinary superiority this year; a title it won last year as well. The Cupertino steakhouse serves more than fancy cuts of meat: it’s become a destination restaurant.
Manresa 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos http://www.sanjose.com/manresa-a5141

Il Fornaio
302 S. Market St., San Jose; 520 Cowper St., Palo Alto

 

Best Chef (other than David Kinch, of course)

Nick Difu Nick’s on Main

35 E. Main St., Los Gatos. The eponymous Nick of Los Gatos’ Nick’s on Main is as comfortable in the kitchen as he is walking through the dining room greeting his admiring customers.

People like his boldly flavored comfort food; and they like him.

Scott Cooper, Le Papillon
410 Saratoga Ave., San Jose

Jeffrey Stout, Alexander’s
10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino

 

Best Cajun Restaurant

Poor House Bistro

91 S. Autumn St., San Jose. Poor House has got it all: an indoor-outdoor space located within walking distance of HP Pavilion, live blues bands most every night and a big menu of Cajun and Creole classics, from blackened chicken to mellifluous muffaletta.
Nola 535 Ramona St., Palo Alto [needs sanjose.com business listing]

The Boiling Crab 1631 E. Capitol Expwy., #101, San Jose; at the Plant, 71 Curtner Ave., Ste. #20, San Jose

 

Best Seafood Restaurant

Fish Market

3150 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 3775 El Camino Real, Santa Clara; 1007 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose. The Fish Market succeeds because long ago it figured out that fresh fish, simple but delicious preparation and good service are a winning combination. Metro readers agree.

The Boiling Crab 1631 E. Capitol Expwy., #101, San Jose; at the Plant, 71 Curtner Ave., Ste. #20, San Jose

Race Street Fish Market
253 Race St., San Jose

 

Best Small Restaurant

Poor House Bistro

91 S. Autumn St., San Jose. As if winning for Best Cajun Restaurant wasn’t enough. It’s easy to see why. The restaurant feels more like an old house tucked into an urban industrial neighborhood.

Nick’s on Main
35 E. Main St., Los Gatos

71 Saint Peter
71 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

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