The Silicon Valley is noted for being just a couple hours outside of Los Angeles. San Jose is a great city with just enough people to where it’s like you’re living in Los Angeles, but few enough people to where you know you’re not. The dining opportunities in San Jose are endless, but these are my personal picks and ratings of the 10 BEST dining experiences in 2009.
My Top Ten
Bijan , 441 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA (408)972-4526, www.bijanbakery.com
Three Flames Restaurant, 1547 Meridian Ave, San Jose, CA (408)269-3133, www.3flamesrestaurant.com
Citronelle Restaurant, 826 Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA (408)244-2528
Aqui Cal-Mex Grill , 1145 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA (408)995-0381, www.aquicalmex.com
Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, 436 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, CA (408)227-5502, www.angelositalianrestaurant.com
Bogey’s Pizza, 5039 Almaden Expy, San Jose, CA (408)264-3971, www.bogeyspizzeria.com
Wiltz Cajun Kitchen, 354 N White Rd, San Jose, CA (408)251-2728
The Garden City, 360 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA (408)244-3333, www.gardencitycasino.com
Emile’s Swiss Affair, 545 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA, www.emilesrestaurant.com/about/index.php
Gombei, 193 Jackson St, San Jose, CA (408)279-4311, www.japantownsanjose.org/rest7.html
Bijanis a bakery and cafe with many wonderful treats to choose from. They have some of the best moist cakes and oversized cookies. It is absolutely delectable. My personal favorite is their tiramisu. They also have great coffee and expression for those of you who enjoy it. It is well worth the money spent which is usually $5-$10 per person depending on what drink, pastrie, or sweet you get. I think it mainly draws in customer because of their bright neon lighting and decorations like you’re in little Italy. This place will definitely cure your sweet tooth the minute you bite into their food.
Three Flames Restaurantis a typical classy restaurant with entrees ranging average from $15-$20. The dining area is very warm and cozy and the food is great. What draws customers the most is the fact that there’s the dining area and a nightlife / club area in the restaurant once you pass through the lobby. It is perfect for either a nice family dinner or a romantic night out for you and your sweetheart. It has been around for a long time because of the atmosphere and the food. One of my personal favorite dishes would be the Mexican Shrimp Salad or the Gilroy Steak entrees. They are absolutely wonderful!
The Citronelle Restaurantis mainly known for its gourmet Vietnamese meals. The atmosphere is filled with sultry soul voices throughout the entire meal. It is a beautiful setting and even better food and service. It is more of a classy setting without neon lights for your favorite beers. It is a warm and peaceful atmosphere which keeps all types of customers coming back for more regardless of their average $10-$20 entree prices. All of their seafood platter and my personal favorite Mango Chicken are completely noteable here and worth the prices. The ambience of this restaurant keeps everyone coming back.
Aqui Cal-Mex Grillis a wonderful experience for any of your dining desires. The inside is filled with unique art pieces which leave you feeling warm. The colors they used are very warm for the entire restaurant. There is an all season patio where you can also eat equipped with gas heat lamps to keep you warm while you’re dining on those cool nights. This restaurant specializes in southwestern and latin american food leaving you craving for more the next time you go out. The owners made the restaurant how they would like to go out somewhere to dine. The service and chefs are excellent with a variety of things on the menus that you’ve never even imagined being made. My favorite meal here is the Pork Chile Verde. This restaurant is very affordable with cafeteria-style ordering with entrees and complete meals ranging from $5-$10 per person. The quick and affordable service and dining keep customers coming back every time.
Angelo’s Italian Restaurantis a great atmosphere for family nights out and romantic nights for two. This is nice low budget restaurant with very reasonable prices on wines and entrees. The average meal ranges between $5-$10. One of my favorite meals here is their Italian Hoagie Cold Sandwich and the Shrimp Scampi entree. They are both under $10 here and come with plenty of sides to fill you up. The thing that keeps customers coming back the most would be the charm that this hole in the wall has all on its own.
Bogey’s Pizza serves some of the best pizzas in this Silicon Valley area. It is absolutely delicious. I love how it has the atmosphere of the old pizza parlor being owned and operated by a family. Being raised on the southern east coast, I know good pizza when I have it. I’ve virtually grown up around it my whole life. This pizza actually lives up to my standards. Their pizzas range from $15-$30 depending on the size and the toppings. It is great for families, large groups and parties with a small bar. My favorite pizzas they offer would be the BBQ Chicken or the Garlic Chicken Combo which also has bacon on it! Other than that they serve calzones and salads. I will admit the Big Jack’s Choice which has plenty of meats and vegetables in it. They are reasonably priced using fresh toppings daily which keep customers coming back for more.
The Wiltz Cajun Kitchenis one of my favorite restaurants around. Being raised in the south put me around cajun food ever since I was still in diapers. Especially living in Miami for years really helped that also having a best friend who I visited in New Orleans on a bi-monthly basis. It has some of the best creole and cajun food around which helped me feel somewhat at home when I visited this restaurant. They are affordable and everyone tends to love them. The average entree ranges from $5-$10. One of my personal favorites would be their shrimp gumbo, fried catfish, and jumbalaya. This restaurant definitely brings you back to the south the second you step inside and begin enjoying your dining experience with them.
The Garden City Restaurantis located in the Garden City Casino. This restaurant also looks very festive and alive from the moment you walk in until the second you leave. The tables are nicely decorated and the service is great. This restaurant usually appeals to those more wealthy as the entrees are more expensive ranging on average from $20-$30 per person for the meal itself. It is a great restaurant for going out to splurge or have a great night because of the casino being attached to the restaurant itself. Their Prime Rib entree is definitely the best and largest thing they have to dine on here. It is cooked to perfection and will leave you past your satisfaction. This is what keep customers coming back for more.
Emile’s Swiss Affair is definitely a great dining experience known for their old world French, Swiss and Italian classics. Their entrees typically range from $20-$30 leaving you plenty to get full on-site and still have some left to make you full again once you get home. Their wine list is incredible and is priced pretty budget-friendly. This is true fine dining and is perfect for romantic nights out with your sweetheart. My personal favorite three course meal special I enjoy eating here would be the Spinach Salad, followed by the Chicken Picatta, and ending with the Chocolate Decadence with Raspberry Sauce. It is completely worth the $35 you pay as you can eat and get full and have plenty to take home from your three course meal.
Gombeiis considered to be a great gourmet Japanese dining place. It is reknowned for their impeccable service and excellent authenticity of the meal and dining experience. The food is here is really good causing a lot of lunch and dinner rushes. They have everything for dining or you can get it takeout. This is a preferred japanese restaurant in the area because of its quality. My personal favorite would be their Teriyaki Chicken and Beef. They are amazing.
Next time you are planning to go out for a dining experience in the Silicon Valley, make sure you keep the BEST OF 2009 in mind!