Los Gatos Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, Wineries
Recently, my husband and I enjoyed a wedding anniversary dinner at The Catamount restaurant in Old Town. We had been wanting to go for a few months, and it was a good occasion to give it a try. I’ll start by saying that I would go again in a heartbeat, and suggest that if you haven’t been pampered with a meal there, to put it on your “must do” list right away.
Our reservations were for a Friday night at 7pm. Downtown Los Gatos has a reputation for having unbearable traffic in summer, but that was not at all the case in our experience. The parking lot was nearly full, but we snagged a spot just steps from the door of the Catamount. Daytime traffic may well be problematical, but on our warm summer evening it was just fine. Don’t let that keep you away.
I had been inside The Catamount one other time, for a Sereno Group company party, which was at night. That event was packed, and I hadn’t really gotten a feel for the eatery that time, though I do recall that the food was quite tasty. This time, though, it was still daylight, and we got a good view of the restaurant and bar as well as the coastal range outside.
The layout is bright and open, with large windows facing the hills. A wall of glass doors separates one section from the next without losing the view of the tall mountain peak on the east side of town, El Sombroso.
We were surprised that the restaurant was not busy when we arrived. Only a few tables were in use initially. It did fill up a little more during our stay, but it made no sense that it wasn’t packed, given the excellent experience that we had there. I have to wonder if it wasn’t fear of Los Gatos traffic in summer that kept some people away.
Our server and our bus person were both very attentive, and the service could not have been better. A carafe of water was placed on the table, but the server was there to refill our glasses before we needed to reach for it ourselves. The menu items included a number of things I hadn’t seen elsewhere, and our server did a good job of answering our questions.
Jim had an appetizer of Stuffed Mushrooms and a main course of a Prime Rib (a small serving, 2 sizes were available) and french fries with truffle oil. He loved all of it. The mushrooms were small, and sitting in a bowl with beef broth, so were not finger food. (There was no bread on the table. Had there been, it would have been used to sop up the broth that the mushrooms were in.) I took a taste of his prime rib and it was very tender and delicious. I’m not a fan of truffle oil, but he is, and assured me that the fries were wonderful.
I had a Little Gem Cesar Salad followed by the Oven Roasted Scottish Salmon. The salad was not little – it was larger than I could manage. There are many variations on Cesar salad, but I hadn’t had them with whole capers before, and it hit me as too salty. The croutons were not really tasty. I avoided the capers and croutons and did enjoy it otherwise.
The Salmon was incredibly delicious. It was cooked to perfection and had a nice glaze over it. It was sitting in a bed of small vegetables. There were pickled, thinly sliced radishes and cucumbers. Normally I am not a huge radish fan, but I could have eaten those all night. There were also some very sweet, small, and tender corn niblets sprinkled all over, as well as tomatoes, parsley and capers – again. I do like capers, but it was funny to have them in both courses. I would not change a thing with the salmon dish. It was so good that I may be tempted to order it again next time, rather than venture out on the menu. (I don’t know salmon well enough to know one kind from the next, so could not say if it was so good in part because it was Scottish. I was curious about that.)
We each had a glass of wine and both of us enjoyed our selections.
After supper, Jim had a cappuccino and I had a decaf. He could not eat another bite, but I managed, and had soft serve vanilla ice cream with candied pineapple and coconut. Usually I don’t indulge in desserts, but it was worth it.
The bill came in a timely manner, but we were not rushed. From start to finish, it was a great experience at The Catamount, and I look forward to going back again. (Below, a view at twilight as we left the restaurant. The tall peak there is El Sereno.)
Old Town shopping center (formerly the site of the California Cafe)
50 University Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
On Saturday, March 3rd, Southern Kitchen marks an impressive 25 years of service*. This family-owned restaurant has been providing savory and sweet flavors with a touch of the South on E. Main Street for years – if you don’t know them you should!
Southern Kitchen invites you to celebrate with them, with a ribbon cutting and champagne toast from noon to 1pm (details on the Los Gatos Chamber events page). The restaurant’s web page does not have any information on the event, but it is advertised some on their social media pages. Regular hours should still be in effect, so if you can’t make it Saturday at noon, drop by weekdays from 7am to 2pm and weekends from 7am to 3pm for a scrumptious meal.
Southern Kitchen’s website: http://www.southernkitchenlg.com/
*I just hit my 25th anniversary in real estate, too! Apparently 1993 was a very good year for beginnings!
The Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening took place a couple of nights ago and it was both extremely well attended and well received. By 4:45pm, a few dozen fans and friends had gathered near the front door of the brewpub, awaiting the ribbon cutting and the chance to enter Loma for the first time. The owners, Scott Youkilis (image left in blue shirt) and Kevin Youkilis (right side of photo), each held one end of the ribbon, and Barbara Spector, mayor of Los Gatos, cut it with a large, gold, ceremonial pair of scissors. Also shown is the talented BrewMeister, Warren Billups (just behind Scott). Apologies that I do not know the names of the others in this photo.
Inside, Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening was an immediate mob scene! Someone at the reservation podium was asking who had reservations (had I known that was possible, we’d have reserved, but that wasn’t the case so we made a beeline for the bar). I was extremely impressed that the staff handled the hyper rush with speed, skill, and calm. (This wasn’t just any rush: this was the entire place filling up instantaneously!) The staff was amazing.
I wanted to try a flight of beer to get a sampling and to take me out of my comfort zone a little. My better half, despite living in Belgium for four years, is not a beer fan, but there were tons of other offerings and he was very happy with a glass of wine. All of the beer I tried was delicious. Most surprising to me was how mellow the stout was. I’ve been to the Guinness Factory in Dublin, and honestly, this was far better. Kevin Youkilis told me that they use a different process involving nitro which seemed to take out the bite. All four of them were great, but I only finished one – and to my surprise, it was the stout. (Even if you don’t usually like the darkest of beers, give it a try!)
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long enough for a meal, or for me to finish my flight completely, as we had another grand opening to attend at the same time, so after an hour we needed to get going. We did peruse the menu, which was impressive and offered quite a few temptations. Many patrons were eating around us, and the food looked wonderful. Very few breweries around here seem to qualify as a Gastropub, so I’m anxious to try the food next time.
Old brewery location, but not the old brewery
Some Los Gatans may have been expecting a revival of the former brewery on this site, the Los Gatos Brewing Company. That would be a mistake, despite the same physical address. This is a whole new venture, with new owners, new beer, new food, new equipment, new recipes, new talent, new everything. Go to it with an open mind, not expecting to see or taste or experience what was there before.
Loma Brewing Company has been set up with the contemporary and low key warehouse style of decor, which is so popular today. (As with the new Super Duper Burgers and also the new Mooya Burgers, both in Los Gatos, or with the many public markets springing up around the state.) Don’t go expecting the soft, cushy seating of the LGBC. At the bar there are tall metal chairs with backs, and at the tables, metal stools (no backs). I did not notice an acoustics problem, which seems to happen with the warehouse style, so kudos to their designer for addressing that so well. We sat at the bar and it was comfortable in every way. And I appreciated the hooks for purses there, too.
If you love beer, you will love this place.
More photos of the Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening
Loma Brewing Company address, contact info, and locations online
Loma Brewing Company is located at 130 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 tel is (408) 560-9626
Right now, it’s open 5pm to 10pm, but starting sometime in September will also be open for lunch.
Find them online at http://www.lomabrew.com/ and also on Facebook and Twitter.
Prior posting on the Grand Opening:
Join us for our grand opening celebration on Thursday, August 18, starting with a ribbon cutting at 4:45 p.m., followed by our official opening at 5:00 p.m.
We will be open for dinner from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. daily. In September we will extend our hours and begin serving lunch as well as weekday happy hour, in addition to dinner nightly. Stay in the know by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media for the latest Loma updates – @lomabrew.
We look forward to serving you – cheers!
The Youks and Team LBC
I plan to stop by for the Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening and wish them well – hope to see you there!
The Loma Brewing Company is a new Los Gatos brewery in an old Los Gatos brewery location – it’s on the site of the former Los Gatos Brewing Company at 130 N Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos CA 95030. Keep posted at the LomaBrew.com site: http://www.lomabrew.com/
More info on Loma Brewing Company on this site
Los Gatos is home to a great many restaurants. But your kids may not want to try Romanian or Thai food, or perhaps a great steakhouse won’t be well appreciated by younger teens and younger people. But there are many, many places with simple fare, simple decor and sometimes too other things going on that are truly more kid friendly.
So here is the Mary Pope-Handy list of kid friendly restaurants in Los Gatos. Have I missed one? If so, let me know and I’ll add it.
Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos for Breakfast
Los Gatos Cafe (2 locations) Breakfast place – great food. Downtown is at 340 N Santa Cruz Av., Los Gatos 95030.
East or Uptown is located near the Nob Hill grocery store at 15662 Los Gatos Blvd Los Gatos, CA 95032-2504 (408) 356-0600 http://www.losgatoscafe.com/
Southern Kitchen another great breakfast place – amazing menu. 27 E Main, Los Gatos 95030 http://www.southernkitchenlg.com/
Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos for breakfast and lunch only
Sweet Pea’s – breakfast and lunch (and catering) but not supper – very low key, they also do catering. Crepes (both savory and sweet), salads, sandwiches, quiche. Great prices for downtown Los Gatos. Order at the counter and eat indoors or out. Limited seating and even more limited parking. http://www.sweetpeascrepes.com/
Purple Onion – Open for breakfast and lunch, not dinner – sandwich and salad shop, (never tried them for breakfast) two locations, casual environment with good food. One location is downtown at 26 E Main, the other in northwest LG at Vasona Junction 14107 Winchester Blvd. Good salads. http://purpleonionlg.com/
Kid friendly lunch & dinner spots in Los Gatos
The Diner of Los Gatos 235 Los Gatos Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 354-4886. Great milkshakes, hot dogs served in paper “cars” and a casual ambiance are perfect for kids.
Andale (Mexican) 21 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos. 408 (395)-4244. Features casual fare and a lovely outdoors dining patio and fountain.
Los Gatos Pizza – out on the east end of town at Blossom Hill and Harwood, this pizza and sports bar place has some of the very best pizza I’ve ever had. Plenty of TVs, a sports bar, and great variety of pizza offerings. 14080 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032 http://www.losgatospizza.com/
T-Birds Pizza 444 N Santa Cruz Ave Los Gatos, CA 95030-5313 (408) 395-2525. Low key, good food. Small salad bar, too.
Jasmine Chinese Cuisine 20 S Santa Cruz Ave Ste 204, Los Gatos, CA 95030-6827 http://www.jasminelosgatos.com/
Double D’s Sports Grill 354 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 395-6882 – s of this update, they’ve just had a fire but will be rebuilding, so keep them on your list. http://www.doubleds.com/
Malibu Grill – not actually in Los Gatos, but not far from the east end of town. This is a simple sports bar with loads of TVs. Good food, fair prices. 5735 Camden Avenue, San Jose CA 95124 408-448-7300 http://www.malibugrill.com/
Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos that are beyond casual: burgers and dogs
Classic Burgers – old style burger shack, beyond casual, but great food and at least two dozen different milkshakes offered. 15737 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032 They don’t have a website, but I have blogged about them previously on this site: Classic Burgers of Los Gatos: Best Burgers in Los Gatos
Happy Hound – great hot dogs! a throwback to the 50s and worth the visit. Great prices. 15899 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032. Almost no inside dining. Prepare to eat out doors or take to go.
Kids been extra good? Got a sweet tooth? You are covered in Los Gatos!
Dolce Spazio – a fantastic gelateria in downtown Los Gatos, this has often been voted the best place for dessert in Los Gatos. 221 N Santa Cruz Ave. Some inside dining, some outside dining, or you may just take it to go. Yum! http://www.dolcespazio.com/
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in downtown LG has every kind of candy imaginable (and they are open late). They offer gelato, too. 35 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030. For some reason, on Yelp there are folks reporting it closed but that is not the case, it’s open. http://www.powellsss.com/go/index.cfm/locations/california/los-gatos/contact-hours/
Of course, there are many other eateries in town that may work well, whether it’s a doughnut shop, a pastry shop, a sandwich hut or any other type of establishment. If I’ve missed anything noteworthy, please let me know and it will be added here.
UDATE TO ORIGINAL POST READ ABOUT
THE GRAND OPENING HERE:
Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening
The Loma Brewing Company will be opening in Los Gatos (at the location of the former Los Gatos Brewing Company) soon, perhaps even by the end of this month, per their Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/LomaBrew The same site said they’re doing their first brew this weekend – we wish them good luck!
The BrewPub is owned by Kevin Youkilis and his brother, Scott Youkilis. The magazine DRAFT just put out a nice article on them and their venture that’s a good read if you’d like the back story: http://draftmag.com/kevin-scott-youkilis-loma-brewing-los-gatos/
As for the food, a little research turned up great info on both the who and the what of it. In a recent piece, Zagat profiled the 12 most anticipated restaurant openings in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer, and commented on the offerings to come at Loma:
Those beers will range from a light kolsch to seasonal IPAs and make up roughly half of the 14 taps with the other half going to guest beers. The chef is Aubree Arndt who worked for Youkilis at his former San Francisco restaurant Maverick. Beer-appropriate elevated comfort dishes will include flatbreads, smoked chicken wings, and a Loma Burger with aged Wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, and a “super sauce.” Those beers will range from a light kolsch to seasonal IPAs and make up roughly half of the 14 taps with the other half going to guest beers. The chef is Aubree Arndt who worked for Youkilis at his former San Francisco restaurant Maverick. Beer-appropriate elevated comfort dishes will include flatbreads, smoked chicken wings, and a Loma Burger with aged Wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, and a “super sauce.”
Great beer, great food, great ambiance are all anticipated!
We wish them much success with the last details and look forward to their grand opening soon.
http://www.lomabrew.com/ (get on their mailing list here)
130 N Santa Cruz Ave. Los Gatos, CA 95030
PS – Related: previously, it was thought that this new brewpub would be called the Foglight Alehouse, but the name changed. Prior article on this new brewery can be seen here: http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/new-restaurant-foglight-alehouse/
Sad news on the dining front: California Cafe in Old Town, Los Gatos, has announced that it will be closing at the end of July on its Facebook page. No reason was provided for the closure. This fine dining establishment once hosted then-president Bill Clinton. For many Los Gatans, it’s a go-to place for special occasions. This lovely restaurant will be sorely missed – and we wish the proprietors well in whatever venture they next undertake.
Here’s what the restaurant said:
“After 31 years of happily serving the Los Gatos community, we regret to announce the closing of California Cafe at the end of July. Join us tomorrow, July 9, for a special one-day offer featuring 31% off all food and beverage purchases. Check back here for additional farewell offers throughout the month.”
Hurry on down there TODAY, Saturday, July 9th, for a substantial discount. Learn more at the eatery’s FB page:
Hult’s has been mailing out 2 for 1 lunch coupons and a few days ago, my husband and I decided to indulge. The food, service, and environment were all great, so I wanted to give a little plug here.
We went on a Saturday in the very late morning, around 11:45. The restaurant had some patrons but it was early and uncrowded, and we were seated immediately.
The menu is anything but typical, and Jim and I both saw things we’d never heard of before. He ordered the Swedish Classic Pyttipanna, shown in the photo to the right. I will admit that this wasn’t visually appealling to me, as it was mostly shades of brown except for the fried egg on top and some beets on the side, but Jim said that it was delicious and didn’t leave a scrap behind.
As for me, I wanted to try the Lime Stuffed Pan Roasted Salmon(see photo below). My dish featured asapagus tips, melted leaks (I’d never heard of them served as melted before – it was a delicious leek mush) and trout caviar. Usually I don’t go out of my way to have caviar, but it was quite tasty and also gave the food a very nice splash of color.
It was too early for us to have wine with our meal, but I need to note that the Hult’s wine menu is quite extensive and that alone might be a reason to return.
The service was excellent. The atmosphere was quite pleasant. On the ceiling there were sound absorbing tiles that did a wonderful job of keeping the ambiant noise low. The food could not have been better. Prices were not low, but few places in Los Gatos will be described as affordable – and the quality is certainly there. For cost conscious consumers like me, the coupon was just the ticket to try the restaurant. I’m sure we’ll be back – with or without a coupon.
165 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95030
(locals: where Baker’s Square used to be, and long before that, Sambo’s)
*As always, this review is done only because I enjoyed the establishment. The good folks who run Hult’s did not know that I was going, nor that I would write a favorable review, and no compensation was made or received for this or any other review on this site.
Los Gatos Fire Department History
Fire was a major danger in Los Gatos in the 1800s. Buildings were made of wood, including sidewalks (think boardwalk), and most appliances – light, heat, cooking – still used an open flame. Fire was a greater, more present danger than local wildlife (cougars and grizzlies). In its early years, the town relied on bucket brigades, finally graduating to two volunteer Hose Companies and a Hook and Ladder Company in around 1886. The Cold Spring Water Company of Los Gatos filed to incorporate in December 1890 with the stated purpose to “introduce water for domestic and fire purposes into the town of Los Gatos.”. In 1888 the town passed an ordinance to provide for the organization of a dedicated Fire Department, and perhaps just in time. A major cartridge fire in July of 1891 leveled many of the town’s businesses, and saw the shift of the business district from the east bank to the west bank of the Los Gatos Creek – and it has remained so to this day.
While many major fires destroyed homes, stores, hotels, and even an opera house, the worst is often said to be the 1901 fire.
Restaurant newsflash – the Los Gatos Brewing Company is closing, and in its place will be Foglight Alehouse, owned and operated by noted San Francisco chef Scott Youkilis and his brother, a retired major league baseball player, Kevin Youkilis. Apparently they’ve been interested in opening up an alehouse here in Los Gatos for awhile, as Kevin and his family live in nearby Monte Sereno. We wish them every success and can’t wait to check it out!
For more info, please see these two articles in today’s Silicon Valley Business Journal:
UPDATE – NAME CHANGE!
The brewpub’s name is now the Loma Brewing Company. More info on the new brewery can be seen here on this blog:
Where can you find a great salad for lunch or dinner in Los Gatos? Here are some of my favorites (updated from the original 2007 post), though I must add a disclaimer that I have not (yet) tried every restaurant in town. Did I miss one that you love? Please post in the comments below!
Fast salads and salad bars in Los Gatos
Looking for a salad bar? Whole Foods offers a healthy selection. Ambiance, not so much. Another place to browse a salad bar is T-Birds Pizza, where you can get a fast slice of pizza with a small side salad for a very reasonable price. Comfy seats, too (unlike Whole Foods). In east Los Gatos, pizza and a salad bar can be found at Los Gatos Pizza, too – and their pizza is fantastic.
A fast salad in a low key environment can be found at Sweet Pea’s. There the only trouble is that you may be tempted to order quiche, crepes or something else! Also fairly fast with a nice variety of yummy salads is Panera.
The Purple Onion is in two locations in town and features a number of great salads, including the healthy sounding “Spa Salad” (I have never asked how many calories there are – I don’t think I want to know!).
Southern Kitchen (they don’t seem to have a website – here is a link to the page on them over at Yelp) is just incredible for breakfast, but the last time I was there I enjoyed an incredibly good Greek salad. I would go back just to try another one of their salads!
Willow Street lists a very nice variety of delicious salads but also includes a changing menu with seasonal items. In the last few months I have enjoyed a warm brussel sprout salad and a steak and peach salad. There seem to always be between four and six salads available, so it’s easy to return there again and again and not get bored.
Thinking of a taco salad, or a fajita salad? Both Andale’s and also Pedro’s are worth a visit, and if you want more casual, the food at Una Mas is fantastic too (and it’s easy on the budget). How about a Chinese Chicken Salad? Jasmine Chinese Cuisine has 2 to choose from – the original recipe (from prior owners) and their newer one.
If upscale and impressive ambiance is what you’re after, here are some other restaurants which serve delicious salads: Steamer’s Grillhouse, Campo di Bocce, Viva, The Wine Cellar, California Cafe and the Los Gatos Brewing Company.
These are my current favorite places for salads in Los Gatos. What are yours?