UPDATE: Sadly, within 10 days of our enjoying a lovely dinner at the Catamount, it suddenly closed. It had been in business a mere 15 months. It was pretty empty the night we were there, which was hard to understand – it was a wonderful restaurant! Below is my original review, done in the 2nd half of July.
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
The Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk will take place on Saturday, April 21st 2018 from 1:30 to 5:30pm. Stroll through downtown Los Gatos and enjoy wine tasting, free music, shopping, and the ambiance of our Gem City. Sponsored by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, this popular event is $45 in advance (available to the first 300 ticket purchases) and $50 general admission online, plus processing fee. If there are tickets remaining they will go up for sale on the day of the event for $55 at the door, so get your tickets today!
For more details and info on how to register, please see the Los Gatos Chamber’s website. Cheers!
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:
The Los Gatos Fall Wine Walk takes place this weekend, Saturday Sept 19th, from 1:30 to 5:30pm in the downtown. Tickets are $50 in advance ($55 at the event, but it appears to usually sell out). Loads of info on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce’s website – check before going to see if tickets are still available:
This Los Gatos real estate article was originally written in 2007 but updated in late August 2015. Some of the photos are from the original post, and some from this last week. – mph
One of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Los Gatos is the Edelen District, also called the University District. Originally a vineyard just north of the town’s school (where Old Town stands today), this residential neighborhood runs alongside the Los Gatos Creek to University Avenue or North Santa Cruz. Streets include University Avenue (south of Highway 9), Miles, Miller, and Edelen Avenues. (For more information on the location, please visit the town of Los Gatos’ statement on the Edelen District,ordinance 2168 on the University/Edelen District.).
This officially designated historic area also once included homes downhill (off Miles), along the banks of the Los Gatos Creek. But frequent flooding made that untenable. Now the lower area, by the edge of the Los Gatos Creek, is home to the town’s recycling center, truckyard and carlot as well as the parks department’s building (Department of Parks and Public Works). And it houses the relocated Maria’s Berry Farm buildings too (formerly near Highway 17 and Lark Avenue and moved when Highway 85 was constructed in the early 90’s).
Filled with beautiful Victorian homes, many built in the late 1800s, the Edelen District boasts an incredible proximity to downtown Los Gatos (as does the Almond Grove, but this area is even closer “in”). The streets are tree-lined and delightful looking, and most owners clearly prize their distinctive and historically important homes and have restored and maintained them lovingly. This is a highly prized bunch of Los Gatos real estate!
For visitors to the Edelen District, parking is a pain. Most of the area is permit parking only, 24 hours a day. And it makes sense. These residences were constructed largely without garages in mind. The folks who live there need to park at home without competing for space with visitors to Old Town or other downtown draws. To further protect this area from undesired traffic, Miller Avenue is closed to automobile traffic where it intersects with Edelen. Shoppers are therefore not tempted to park illicitly.
There are countless architectural treasures in this area, but let’s have a peek at just a couple so you can get a flavor of the neighborhood. (Thanks in advance to the fabulous book, Los Gatos Observed by Alastair Dallas and to the Town of Los Gatos for its Hooked on History Project, sponsored by the Los Gatos Library and History Museum)
The home I photographed this week at the upper right is at 129 Edelen Avenue. It’s a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian and was built in 1892. Because of the large bushes and trees, it is difficult to get a clear view of the home today from one photographable angle. The “Hooked on History” project of Los Gatos has a wonderful photo on its site, though, and it provides a better view of the house (if in black and white).
Directly across the street is another gorgeous house, located at 130 Edelen Avenue. It was built in 1886 and has been the setting for a movie and a television show. It, too, is a gracious Queen Ann Victorian with lots of splendid detailing. This was the winter residence of John Miles, a founder and developer of this district.
My suggestion for seeing this historic neighborhood is to park at the public lot behind the newer section of Old Town, stroll down University Avenue to Miller and walk down the street to Edelen. Cars cannot pass through the intersection, but pedestrians can. Enjoy a leisurely walk up the tree lined street and then turn back toward University on Miles Avenue.
Bring your camera!
Photo slideshow of Edelen Avenue historic homes
Homes for sale in the Edelen or University Historic neighborhood in Los Gatos
Below please view any homes for sale in this historic Los Gatos neighborhood by map or by list view through the link. Continue reading
There have been a whole lot of changes over at Old Town in Los Gatos during the last decade or two. Some shops moved in, others moved away, some folded entirely due to the prolonged recession or simply the way some businesses have to compete today.
Borders was a casualty and I think everyone in town still misses it. Steamer’s used to have a free standing building in what is now part of the parking lot, but moved across the street to the ‘new’ part of Old Town that was built in recent years. The Wine Cellar added patio dining. Chico’s moved from one side to the other recently.
Before the most massive remodeling in 1996, Old Town had a tremendous number of wonderful topiary plants. It was a great fit with The Wooden Horse, which was located at this former school campus, back then. It was a more kitschy, less upscale place – but quite honestly, I preferred it that way.
There’s a great article on the changes at Old Town – if you’re interested, have a look:
The shopping center’s website is here: http://www.shopsatoldtowncenter.com/
Never been? Old Town is located on University Avenue (near Main) in Los Gatos.