The heart of high-tech Silicon Valley possesses some killer pho, sweet Middle Eastern treats, precisely one Michelin-starred restaurant, and French-influenced fare. Say “bonjour, bro” to these fantastic restaurants next time you find your way to San Jose.
This relaxed yet upscale eatery is San Jose’s first and only Michelin-starred restaurant. “Adega” means wine cellar in Portuguese, so you know the authentic fare will be complemented by some great vino from the Iberian Peninsula. Powerhouse chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira take a modern approach to classic dishes using seasonal ingredients to create simple, yet elegant food. The rustic restaurant opened in 2015, serving a selection of salted cod and meat dishes. Enjoy a three-course prixe fix menu of starters, entrees, and dessert, or go for the seven-course chef’s tasting menu. For an additional fee, the tasting menu can be paired with rarities from ADEGA’s adega of more than 500 of the best Portuguese wines.
Chef-restaurateur Don Durante’s elevated brasserie offers high-end dining in a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of downtown Willow Glen. Seasonal ingredients give Black Sheep’s French fare a creative Californian flair, like the duck liver mousse hors d’oeuvre, which is served with poached and pickled pears and toasted brioche. The bar program is on point, with an eclectic selection of French varietals, craft beers, and quality cocktails. Order a classic old fashioned, or a more inventive house concoction, like the Japanese whisky-based beverage, A Postcard from Japan.
"Feeling awful? Have a falafel” is the motto at this unassuming drive-in down the street from Santana Row. A San Jose institution, Falafel’s has been serving the community since 1966. While the famous fried chickpea balls (with extra hot sauce!) are the star of the Meditteranean menu, the take-out joint also serves authentic gyros, hummus, a fava bean dip called “foul,” tabbouleh, baba-ghannouj, pita chips, salads, and kababs alongside classic drive-in finds, like cheeseburgers, onion rings, and a bodacious banana milkshake. The wait can be ridiculous during peak times, so it’s best to go at an off-hour.
This deli is so old school they don’t even have a website. But when the food’s this good, they can do what they want—including only opening for lunch on weekdays and only accepting cash. No matter what, there’s always a line for Freshly Baked’s hot and cold sandwiches, like the prosciutto and provolone, salami and Swiss, or pastrami—all served on housemade bread.
For a sophisticated evening of old-world elegance (sure to impress a date) head to the French countryside...or the outskirts of San Jose. Surrounded by a lush forest, La Forêt is located in a charming historic creekside boarding house that was built in 1848. In 2017, the restaurant re-opened under new ownership, but the French-meets-Californian menu still applies impeccable French techniques to top-quality local ingredients. Order hearty dishes like poached lobster tail in lime beurre blanc or roasted rack of lamb in tarragon mustard a la carte, or treat yourself to a five- to seven-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.
San Jose is home to the largest population of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam, and San Jo’s favorite pho can be found at this chain restaurant. Established in 1983, Pho Hoa Noodle Soup was the first Vietnamese franchise in the US, and has since become the world’s largest pho chain. The flagship store is located on Tully Road, but there is another on the Eastside on Mckee Road and a couple of Santa Clara locations as well, on El Camino Real and Mission College Blvd. It goes without saying, but you should definitely go with the pho.
This family-run bakery is Silicon Valley’s destination for Middle Eastern sweets, pita bread, and mezza (small dishes). The authentic, traditional menu features falafel, baba ghanoush, and hummus, alongside sweet offerings of baklava, maamool (shortbread pastries), and knefeh (sweet and savory pastries). Sultan Bakery doesn’t use preservatives. Everything is baked fresh daily using the best quality ingredients. Its motto is "Make it now, eat it now". Don’t mind if we do.
When you picture classic Californian cuisine, it’s probably pretty close to this New American neighborhood eatery in Willow Glen. Local, seasonal dishes flow out of the open kitchen at this unpretentious rustic-chic restaurant. Share the roasted bone marrow to start before moving on to a meal of braised beef cheeks, or elevated takes on classics like fried chicken, burgers, or pasta bolognese. During happy hour, you can get the signature Table Burger with a draft beer and a shot for $16, which is a couple bucks less than the burger costs at dinner. The Table’s bar menu is nothing to sneeze at. Its 15-page “beverage book” offers hand-crafted libations created with seasonal ingredients, an abbreviated but eclectic beer list, and wine available on tap in addition to by the glass or bottle. There’s even some reserve pours you can get by the ounce, ranging from five bucks for a one-ounce pour of Italian Sangiovese, to a $75 six-ounce pour of a Sonoma Bordeaux blend. The Table also serves mouth-watering brunch daily, including bottomless mimosas!