ARTS & CULTURE
Cinequest Best Film Festival
It’s fim festival season and organizers are making tough decisions about whether the show will go on in whatever way health officials allow, or if 2020 is a wash. Cinequest, one of the biggest, most anticipated film festivals in the region has turned virtual this year, aiming to bring viewers some much-needed fun in mid-October.
Gilroy Garlic Festival Best Local Festival (South County)
Gilroy Garlic Festival consistently ranks among the South Bay’s most cherished festivals, featuring everything from its curiousbut belovedgarlic ice cream, rides and live music. Organizers said they were eager to show Gilroy’s unflagging resiliency following a devastating 2019 shooting that shook the region, but the novel coronavirus pushed the festivities out an extra year. The much-anticipated festival is set to return in 2021.
FOOD & DRINK
David Kinch, Manressa Best Chef
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos
David Kinch started his career in the kitchen at 16, and spent much of his time after that working his way through kitchens across the globe, including in France, Germany, Spain and New York. But Los Gatos-based Manresa, consistently among readers’ favorite restaurants, is the culmination of it all.
Alexander’s Steakhouse Best Steakhouse
Alexander’s has multiple upscale takes on its restaurant style, including a seafood-focused eatery, a bakery and a San Francisco bistro, but the award-winning steakhouse is what stands out most to Metro readers year after year.
Stan’s Donut Shop Best Doughnuts
2628 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
Stan’s has been in the South Bay for more than six decades, and while it is only serving up its famous glazed doughnuts to-go during the pandemic, the shop has stayed busy offering customers a bit of comfort food during a particularly tough time.
La Fondue Best French Restaurant
14550 Big Basin Way, Saratoga
La Fondue dubs itself “a unique restaurant” and with its specialty four-course meals and moody, gold-accented atmosphere, it offers something new for date night. Currently, the French eatery is preparing to reopen once diners can eat inside, but once it opens its doors again, diners would be remiss to skip one of the restaurant’s signature fondues.
Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Co. Best Independent Coffee Shop (West Valley)
101 W Main St, Los Gatos
There’s plenty of places to get coffee in the South bay, but Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Co. offers a little extra something that makes it worthy of returning to over and over. While its crepes and pancakes are currently off the menu during the pandemic, it’s still serving up coffee, tea, cookies and cakes for takeout or sidewalk dining.
GOODS & SERVICES
Good Karma Bikes Best Bike Shop
450 Lincoln Ave STE 15, San Jose
More than just a place to find a bike, Good Karma is a nonprofit that aims to help at-risk kids and foster youth. The shop also offers bicycle maintenance classes and free repair clinics for those looking for tips to keep their ride moving. During the pandemic, the shop is open from noon to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Not Too Shabby Best Antique Shop
1791 Hillsdale Ave, San Jose
Antiquing can be a very personal experience, sorting through which of a stranger’s onetime treasures would add value and which would come home just to add clutter. Not Too Shabby specializes in curating its own brand of shabby chic that customers have come to appreciate.
Crossroads Trading Co. Best Thrift Shop
San Jose & Santa Cruz
Everyone needs to spruce up their wardrobe now and then, and Crossroads Trading Co. has become a go-to place to trade the clothes that no longer, shall we say “spark joy,” for something fresh. Stores in Northern California are open again, mostly by appointment and clothing sales are happening via a new drop-off program.
Trudys Brides Best Bridal Shop
1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Wedding season may have been put on hold, but wedding dresses are not and Trudy’s remains a popular spot for brides-to-be. The longtime South Bay shop defies the old rules of retail: that a ground-floor, corner lot is some of the best real estate one can get. Instead, it continues to flourish on its second-floor digs at Campbell’s Pruneyard Shopping Center.
California K9 Solutions Best Dog Trainer
2123 S 10th St, San Jose
Training a pup comes with a lot of ups and downs. One day they learn to roll over, but the next maybe they chew through the couch cushion. Bay Area residentsincluding Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Currysay the trainers at California K9 Solutions are the best in the biz.
The Wooden Horse Best Toy Shop
796 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos
A new toy now and then can make surviving the pandemic just a little easier for the little ones in our lives. The Wooden Horse has a little bit of everything and offers in-store shopping and curbside pickup.