An Insider's View of Some Favorite
Places to Eat and Drink in The Capital of Silicon Valley
Remember when Dionne Warwick sang the top hit, "Do You Know The Way to
San Jose?" Sally has always known the way. She was born and reared in
San Jose, when it was known as the heart of one of the country's top
agricultural areas. In the 1950s and 60s it produced award-winning
Apricots, Prunes, Grapes, Broccoli and Almaden Vineyards, site of one of
California's oldest (and the nation's top) wineries, Almaden Winery.
As a girl, Sally said she loved the fragrance of fruits in the air,
generously provided by local canneries, long before this rich
agricultural mecca gave way to becoming the heart of Silicon Valley. Now
San Jose is officially recognized as the largest city in Northern
But one thing that has remained consistent through the years, is the
area's heritage of fine entertainers and fantastic restaurants. The
successful singer said she used to eat with some of San Jose's national
hit-making bands like Count Five ("Psychotic Reaction"), Syndicate of
Sound ("Little Girl"), the Doobie Brothers ("Listen to the Music") and a
couple of San Jose State's funniest Future Famous Fellows, The Smother's
Brothers. What better person to ask about Top 10 Restaurants in this
still amazing and ever changing city of diversity.
Even though there are a lot of good eats around here, we proudly present
Sally's Sizzling Selections:
1. BLUE ROCK BARBECUE, 3001 Meridian Ave. "Hickory Smoked Tennessee Pulled Pork. Most items are made from scratch,
like their must-have Lemon Bars. You'll never find two nicer,
harder-working owner/hosts than Owen and Marie. San Jose Mercury News
Readers voted it "Best Barbecue in Silicon Valley."
2. ORIGINAL JOE'S, 301 S. First St., since 1956 "Don't be surprised if you see San Jose Sharks, San Jose State's Head
Football Coach, Hollywood Celebrities and the nation's political leaders
munching here. This is definitely a Power Place to dine in an elegant
San Francisco-type atmosphere. The Meat Loaf and Hamburgers are to die
3. LA FORET, 21747 Bertram Road (about 13 miles South of Downtown San
Jose) "In 1848, a boarding house was built for the hardworking miners here.
The building became one of the earliest two-story hotels in the state
and was turned into a restaurant. Now World Class French Dining is
celebrated in this beautiful rustic setting by a creek in an area known
as New Almaden. It's recognized as one of the top French restaurants in
the United States. My favorite is Rack of Lamb roasted and grilled with
rosemary and tarragon mustard. It's definitely worth the effort to find
this unique location, near the Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Before
you eat, why not stop at the nearby newly renovated Casa Grande Mansion
and Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum (open Fridays, Saturdays and
Sundays). These mines produced more mineral wealth than any other mines
in California. Also, near the restaurant and park, you'll see a
wonderful monument (near the bridge) to famous local boy, Pat Tillman,
the NFL Football Star turned Army Ranger. The water in the creek where
Pat played was once used for the World Famous Almaden Vichy Water
(although some locals warn not to drink it now). You can hike and bike
several trails in the park, some with incredible views of the Bay Area."
4. JOHN'S XLNT FOODS, 1238 Lincoln Ave. "Artichoke Chicken Breast. The Greek owners have provided superb food
for decades in this Willow Glen area eatery. Try the Greek soup!"
5. GIORGIOS, 1445 Foxworthy Ave. "A longtime favorite Italian restaurant, where I saw San Francisco's
Famous Forty Niner Quaterback Joe Montana eating. I like their Salmon
Delight (spinach salad, topped with grilled Salmon and much more)."
6. GOMBEI, 193 E. Jackson St. "I think it's the best Japanese restaurant in the city and it's often
packed. Chicken Teriyaki is my favorite."
7. COUNTRY INN CAFE, 6484 Camden Ave. "Love their Banana Pecan or Walnut Waffles."
8. McCormick & Schmick's, 170 S. Market St. "Try the Rainbow Trout from Clear Springs, Idaho. Yummy!"
9. PIZZA MY HEART, 864 Blossom Hill Road. "Watsonville Apple Pizza. This place won 'Best Gourmet Pizza' in the
West Coast Pizza Competition."
10. BOLD KNIGHT, 840 N. First St. "Fettuccine Alfredo. This has been a favorite restaurant for many people
over the years."