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Old 01-15-2013, 03:11 AM
 
248 posts, read 224,306 times
Reputation: 340
Default San Jose gems

I think it's safe to say there is severe uncertainty regarding civic pride (civic appreciation is a better term in my opinion) in good old San Jo. Like in any underrated city however, the citizens know that there are indeed great things in their city and metro yet to be discovered by outsider critics. I think San Jose has been starting to talk about this more, and slowly but surely an identity and sense of urbanity is creeping into the South Bay. So in this thread it would be good to see what you think are some hidden gems in San Jose, or just under appreciated gems in general that may not be so hidden. SJ is full of diverse and great food, wierd dive bars, and recreational opportunities, etc etc....what are your favorites? Here is a list of my personal ones of the top of my head, I will probably leave some out and then remember later, but off the top of my head...

La Villa Delicatessen in Willow Glen: Not hidden by any means, but there is no where in the 408 that is more nostalgic for me personally...My bisnonna used to shop for her groceries back here back in the day. This is a classic italian-american deli, and the best one we have...and howa bout them ravs

The corner of N 1st and Julian for Teske's Germania and Trials Pub: I really like this corner of the city, with the light rail running through the street and St. James Park right there...and not to mention the buildings on this block are amongst the oldest in the city and were spared during all that bs bulldozing they did back in the 80's. Teske's is one of SJ's oldest restaurants and they have a prime back patio for dining and hearty german food and beer list to match. Trials is SJ's best British Pub, because it actually looks and acts like a British Pub.

San Jose Tofu in Japan Town: I am not the person that orders tofu when I go out to eat, and I almost never eat it...but the insanley fresh made stuff from this little hole-in-the-wall is out of control...I go in and for $2 get a fresh block, take it to a bench and pour some soy sauce on it and that's all it needs. Frikkin awesome.

and now i'm going to list and stop being so wordy...

The Bank on Big Basin (yeah yeah it's in saratoga): coziest irish/dive bar in the WHOLE 408

Bacalhau Grille in Little Portugal: authentic and awesome Portuguese/Brazilian caffeteria and market.

Cafe DoCanto in Little Portugal: awesome little old school portuguese caffe' bar that pulls an awesome espresso

Fontanetti's on The Alameda: OLD SCHOOL batting cages

Race Street Fish and Poultry: I don't even have to say anything

Modai on W San Carlos: Best Ethiopian in the city imo

Las Casuelas on Race: best Taqueria on the west side imo (Lengua en salsa roja is killer)

The Usuals on the Alameda: little art and clothing store that focuses on locally made stuff, hipster-ish in a good way.

Barefoot Coffee Roasters on Sunol: HELLA hard to find but it is the roast house for Barefoot, and they have a walk up bar now to get your coffee right in there where they are doing all the roaating and blending...smells awesome, really cool place, coffee snobs paradise

Cahill Park: Really cool hidden urban park

Sand Volleyball courts at Almaden Lake: We have nearly perfect weather in SJ I don't understand how these perfectly located vball courts aren't utilized more often...people dog on Almaden Park but for being right in the middel of SSJ it's a not a bad spot at all.

Huong Lan Sandwich on Tully: of all the banh mi places we have this i can confidently say is THE BEST...it's awesome, and they bake the baguettes right there, and throw in an extra ne for you too

Alright i'm going to stop there, I could go on and on...so what do you guys think?
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:52 AM
 
338 posts, read 308,430 times
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I disagree wholeheartedly that San Jose is full of diverse and great food. I think we're shockingly under-served with the amount of restaurants/food places compared to other cities I've been to. Especially given our enormous population of nearly 1 million people. I've been to Dallas and seemingly everywhere I looked there was a restaurant or food place! It was awesome. Here in the San Jose area, you have to search out places to eat where in many other cities choices are all around you. Don't notice the great food either and never considered San Jose a food town at all. Quite the opposite. But staying on topic; you did a good job of mentioning some of the notable places. Most of which I've never been to but have heard of some through word-of-mouth. La Villa is outstanding. Love their ravioli. Been there many times; always great.

Other places I'd throw in:

Original Joe's restaurant downtown
Jersey's Cheesesteaks in Campbell (one non SJ recommendation. This place has amazing cheesesteaks and the prices are good)
Kirks Steakburgers (burgers are good, nothing special but it's an old school local burger spot)
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:28 AM
 
1,221 posts, read 1,525,737 times
Reputation: 966
I agree that SJ has great food, as good as just about anywhere. San Jose's real strength in this area, in my opinion, is the abundance of inexpensive, high quality ethnic eats, a bunch of which GioLM hit. It's not really strong in the Cheeseburger or Pasta departments. Some of my favorites:

Vietnamese: Pho Y #1, Pho Ha Noi, Ca Mau, Huong Que, Thien Long, all on the East Side. There's also Pho Kim Long in NE SJ and the veggie Tofoo Com Chay just off downtown.

Korean: Cheon Joo Young Yang DolSot, Sui Tofu, Jang Tu, all on El Camino in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale.

India/Pakistan: Taste Buds, Kabob & Curry, and a ton of others everywhere.

Mexican: Monte Alban, just south of downtown. Truly in a class by itself. Order the moles. It's my favorite resto in the US. Also worth mentioning: 5 Spot Chivas Grill, Corona Taqueria, of course the ever reliable La Victoria. There are a ton on Alum Rock but I haven't found a good one over there sadly. If you do please let me know.

Japanese: Gombei & Kaita in J-Town, Hoshi Izakaya in Santa Clara.

Ramen: (Punched out separately from Japanese as there are SO many here) Halu & Santouka, both on Saratoga Ave.

Honduran: Maya Cafe, try their Mondongo, Seafood, or Bacon Shrimp.

The list could go on, but that's enough for now. Also, I'd like to shout out to San Jose's J-Pop & Anime scene. Camera 3 often has anime feature screenings (in fact there's the Studio Ghibli Festival going on right now), and Fanime is still going on strong every.
year. Additionally the organizers of Europe's Japan Expo (one of the world's biggest, with 200k+ attendees in Paris) are setting up Japan Expo USA here at the Santa Clara convention Center this August.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:01 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,325 posts, read 6,059,792 times
Reputation: 4373
Adding to the above:

Italian:
(La Villa was already mentioned)
Chiaramonte's Deli and Sausages - been around forever, hidden at original location at 13th/Jackson

Paradiso Delicatessen & Restaurant - also been around forever, old family house on Auzerais with great sandwiches and hot homemade Italian food, great staff and atmosphere

Chinese:
Taiwan Restaurant in Willow Glen; Hunan Taste on Third, near Hedding; Jade China on Berryessa, near Capitol

Japanese:
Yuki Sushi; Kumako in Japantown

Korean:
Omogari in Japantown

Ethiopean:
Zeni; Gojo; The Lunch Box - place might weird you out, but great food

Mexican:
Mucho's, on Santa Clara St. downtown - owner is a great host, food very good, especially the chicken

Pizza:
Bibo's - just moved to Bird/Minnesota in Willow Glen, known as best NY pizza in area
Pizza Boca Lupo - in San Jose Marketplace, imported a whole wood-fired oven from Italy
DiMaggio's - all about the Stromboli

Smoked meats:
Willow Glen Meats and Smokehouse - very hidden on Delmas, will smoke whatever game you bring in, and have a good selection of their own on hand, along with great sausages, jerky, and sandwiches


Markets:
Zanotto's, Lunardi's; San Jose Flea Market - first and largest flea market in US

Music Stores:
The Starving Musician; Guitar Showcase; Streetlight Records

Live Music Venues:
The Blank Club; Caravan; Johnny V's; JJ's Blues; Poor House Bistro

Hockey:
San Jose Sharks; Logitech Ice

Soccer:
San Jose Earthquakes had the best record in MLS last year, league MVP and top scorer, and Coach of the Year, and are about to start building a new stadium and soccer complex on Coleman

Football:
San Jose St. actually went 10-2 with a bowl game win this past season, and Spartan Stadium finally going to get started on their latest upgrade.

Museums:
Tech Museum; Children's Discovery Museum; History Park/Japanese Friendship Gardens at Kelley Park; Computer History Museum

Hardware:
OSH - original San Jose institution, has a place on the property where an old baseball park was (Montgomery/San Carlos), that featured a barnstorming tour with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth; might get a ballpark for the A's built across the street some day
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Pleasanton Ca
798 posts, read 1,143,806 times
Reputation: 524
Man keep it up people. I am always wanting to find little gems in San Jose!
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:19 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,325 posts, read 6,059,792 times
Reputation: 4373
Quote:
Originally Posted by aslowdodge View Post
Man keep it up people. I am always wanting to find little gems in San Jose!
We're still waiting for responses from the "San Jose sucks, there's nowhere to go and nothing to do" crowd. They're lurking...
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:55 PM
 
65 posts, read 111,848 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radical347 View Post
I agree that SJ has great food, as good as just about anywhere. San Jose's real strength in this area, in my opinion, is the abundance of inexpensive, high quality ethnic eats, a bunch of which GioLM hit. It's not really strong in the Cheeseburger or Pasta departments. Some of my favorites:

Vietnamese: Pho Y #1, Pho Ha Noi, Ca Mau, Huong Que, Thien Long, all on the East Side. There's also Pho Kim Long in NE SJ and the veggie Tofoo Com Chay just off downtown.

Korean: Cheon Joo Young Yang DolSot, Sui Tofu, Jang Tu, all on El Camino in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale.

India/Pakistan: Taste Buds, Kabob & Curry, and a ton of others everywhere.

Mexican: Monte Alban, just south of downtown. Truly in a class by itself. Order the moles. It's my favorite resto in the US. Also worth mentioning: 5 Spot Chivas Grill, Corona Taqueria, of course the ever reliable La Victoria. There are a ton on Alum Rock but I haven't found a good one over there sadly. If you do please let me know.

Japanese: Gombei & Kaita in J-Town, Hoshi Izakaya in Santa Clara.

Ramen: (Punched out separately from Japanese as there are SO many here) Halu & Santouka, both on Saratoga Ave.

Honduran: Maya Cafe, try their Mondongo, Seafood, or Bacon Shrimp.

The list could go on, but that's enough for now. Also, I'd like to shout out to San Jose's J-Pop & Anime scene. Camera 3 often has anime feature screenings (in fact there's the Studio Ghibli Festival going on right now), and Fanime is still going on strong every.
year. Additionally the organizers of Europe's Japan Expo (one of the world's biggest, with 200k+ attendees in Paris) are setting up Japan Expo USA here at the Santa Clara convention Center this August.
How are you going to mention Ramen without mentioning Orenchi!? I've tried Totto Ramen and Ippudo in New York City, Daikokuya in Los Angeles, and I must say Orenchi is the best out of all these Ramen places. Orenchi might possibly the best ramen in the United States.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:20 AM
 
Location: San Jose
821 posts, read 1,234,937 times
Reputation: 636
Beer:

Original Gravity Public House
San Jose Craft Beer on Tap | Good Karma Vegan Cafe
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:10 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,325 posts, read 6,059,792 times
Reputation: 4373
Good call (have had a number of employees that have worked/are working in our company that worked at Good Karma)

San Jose has a great homebrew and cheesemaking resources store on Brokaw:
Beerandwinemakers.com
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:59 AM
 
248 posts, read 224,306 times
Reputation: 340
Wine Affairs on the Alameda has a killer beer list too. They have probably the most diverse list I have seen in the South Bay. It's funny I've never had wine there haha
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