San Jose’s vibrant dining scene is one of the Bay Area’s best-kept secrets. In recent years, dozens of excellent restaurants, breweries, and wine bars have opened their doors in the so-called Capital of Silicon Valley.
San Jose serves up exceptionally elevated dining experiences. In 2018, Adega became the first restaurant in the city’s history to receive a Michelin star—one of only two Portuguese dining spots in the country to ever receive that honor. Three different prix fixe menus (splurge for the seven-course tasting menu) are offered daily at the family-owned establishment. Celebrity chef Michael Mina, a Michelin-star winner in his own right, works his magic at Arcadia, a steakhouse that’s a popular spot before or after shows at the nearby San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
Think of a global cuisine and you’re almost sure to find it in San Jose. Enjoy a kaleidoscope of authentic international flavors, including traditional Ethiopian fare at Zeni Restaurant and homemade tarmosalata at Nemea Greek Taverna. With more Vietnamese residents than any city outside of Vietnam, San Jose is a hotspot for pho, bahn-mi, and banh xeo—all of which can be found at Grand Century Mall in Little Saigon. If American-style meat and potatoes is what you’re after, head to Harry’s Hofbrau for an old-fashioned buffet paired with specialty craft beers.
Downtown San Jose’s lively, open-late food hall, San Pedro Square Market, is a great place for a casual hang or a grab-and-go meal. How about a bowl of Nepali steamed dumplings from Urban Momo? A glass of wine from local vintners at Vino Vino? Check out Treatbot, the ice cream trike from the future, serving up karaoke and local ice cream flavors like the “408” (caramel ice cream, fudge, and Oreos). No sense goes un-served in the public market’s three halls: Keep your nose peeled for the aroma of roasted coffee beans and wood-fired pizza, while enjoying live entertainment and local artwork.
On sunny days (which are the norm here), take your food out to a table or bench in the adjacent plaza, bordered by the Peralta Adobe (the city’s oldest building; guided tours are offered throughout the year).
Alongside its outstanding eats, San José is making a name for itself in the craft brew scene as well. Following the Silicon Valley creed of “iterate, iterate, iterate,” Hermitage Brewing brews three or four beers almost every single day. Strike Brewing Company marries a sports bar feel (pretzels and ping pong) with upscale Belgian-style beers. At local favorite Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, you can sip carefully crafted lagers alongside the best vegan food in the South Bay. Enjoy!