I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I took that cross-country trek from Michigan to my new home of California.
Over the year, I have discovered some delicious entrees from many restaurants in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area – from Indian-style tacos to apple pie crepes to prime rib Shepherd’s Pie. My focus has been mostly on the San Jose area, and I plan to expand more northbound (San Francisco and beyond) this upcoming year.
Here are my top favorite restaurants that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in Silicon Valley in my first year. These eateries are in no particular order because they are all great in their own way:
Tarragon, 140 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale
I have never been disappointed in the food and service at Tarragon. The cioppino is to die for – jam-packed with fresh mussels, clams and shrimp in a rich tomato sauce, perfect for dipping with the garlic bread.
Seafood-lovers – or just lovers of top-quality food at a reasonable price – should visit Tarragon on downtown Sunnyvale’s Historic Murphy Avenue.
Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food, 1290 Coleman Ave., Santa Clara
I had some of the best Southern cooking that I’ve ever tried at Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food, about two miles away from the Mineta San Jose International Airport.
You can smell the smoked meats and other soul food favorites piping from the restaurant as you drive down Coleman Ave. The fried chicken is tender with perfectly crispy skin, moist and thick cornbread, and collard greens that you can tell have been stewing for hours.
The building is not fancy, resembling an large wooden shack, but it delivers on succulent Southern cooking.
Hobee’s, 800 W. Ahwanee Ave., Sunnyvale
Hobee’s in Sunnyvale is clearly a popular weekend-brunch spot: Most customers have to park at the nearby Motel 6 or on the street, and that place fills up fast, so expect a wait.
However, the wait is worth it just to try the restaurant’s World-Famous Blueberry Coffeecake. This cake is moist, thick and big enough for two people, in my opinion. And that pat of butter on top makes the coffee cake that much more scrumptious.
For those who are watching what they eat, the local restaurant chain is also known for its more health-conscious menu that includes vegetarian options such as the Hobee’s Tofu Scramble.
B Street & Vine, 320 S. B Street, San Mateo
Bruschetta is more than just toasted bread with tomatoes on top. I expanded my bruschetta horizons at San Mateo’s B Street & Vine, a popular wine cafe in the Bay Area.
On a recent visit, my friends and I enjoyed many delicious combinations of ingredients, including the salami with feta and pesto, and the mango, tomato, cilantro and avocado. Bruschetta lovers need to make a trip here.
B Street & Vine also has good half-off wine specials during the week, patio dining and live music.
Jonathan’s Fish & Chips, 840 Willow Road, Menlo Park
When my dad says he is picking up Jonathan’s Fish & Chips on the way home from work, I can’t help but develop a big smile.
Not counting my dad’s recipe, the best fried catfish in the Silicon Valley area can be found at this Menlo Park restaurant.
This modest, mom-and-pop restaurant delivers on Cajun-style, cornmeal-battered fish that comes fresh and hot out of the fryer. The fish is always flaky and lightly seasoned, and the fried okra is cooked in the same delicious way.
I also like the owner, who is always friendly and takes the time to talk to all of her guests. It’s a very welcoming place to eat.
I’m also looking for some food barbecue, Thai and Korean restaurants in the Bay Area, so please leave your suggestions below 🙂