The Promenade: Strolling Downtown Los Gatos with Live Music this Summer! 7/1 – 8/12, 2021

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: The Promenade Thursdays poster
Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce poster for the Promenade!

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce invites the community to celebrate summer together with free live music all summer!

Thursday Promenades in Downtown Los Gatos

There’s a party in downtown every Thursday Promenade beginning this week! Every Thursday evening, 3pm to 8pm from July 1st to August 12th, the stretch of North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos between Main St and Bachman (that’s from Dolce Spazio to Andalé for the foodies) will transform into “the promenade.” The street will be open to foot traffic, and two stages will bookend the promenade with live musical entertainment!

Bands will begin performances at 4:30pm on the North Stage (Bachman), and at 5:30pm on the South Stage (Main), with entertainment from a different group each week. See the lineup (and any changes) on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce calendar, the Thursday Promenades page linked above, or Camber of Commerce social media pages.

Drivers, plan to reroute around this stretch of N. Santa Cruz Ave on Thursday nights. While there is usually plenty of parking along the old rail line behind the shops, it tends to fill up with festival traffic, so schedule in some extra time for parking. If you’re coming for the event, consider traveling by bike, or using a ridesharing service if you plan on patronizing any of the bars or brewery!

As someone who regularly attends free summer concerts in Los Gatos, which were mostly canceled earlier this year (and the Fiesta de Arts / Wine Walk postponed until September), the Promenade is music to my ears!

So invite your friends to eat, drink, play, and stroll the night away!

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: Thursday Promenades Live Music Schedule 2021
Musical lineup, taken from the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Click to see the original post.

Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Virtual WineFest & Auction 2021The annual CrabFest is postponed until next year, but the Rotary Club of Los Gatos has some new plans for 2021. Save the date for Saturday, January 30th at 5pm!

“Don’t be crabby come ‘wine’ with us.”

That’s the slogan for this year’s fundraiser, also called the Virtual Crab WineFest & Auction! This year’s main event centers around a local wine tasting guided via Zoom by professional winemaker and Los Gatan, Left Bend Wine‘s Gary Robinson. A Wine Tasting Kit for two is provided via curbside pickup 1-2 days prior to the event, which will contain 5 tastings, 1 full size bottle, and gourmet snacks. Live streamed entertainment, including a performance by the San Jose Youth Symphony, 2 door prizes, and a silent auction are served beside this deluxe wine tasting experience. And as always, proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

Registration is now open through the Los Gatos Rotary website. Check the Virtual WineFest & Auction event page for ticket sales, event details and updates, to view the silent auction catalogue, contact the event team, or donate directly to the fundraiser. Each ticket is for a two-person tasting experience at a cost of $150.

The event is also posted on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce event calendar with easy links to save the date on your virtual calendar and view a video promotion for the event.

Restaurants with patio dining in Los Gatos

The Wine Cellar restaurant in Old Town, Los Gatos

In Los Gatos, it may be possible to dine out of doors year round, but it is always a particularly popular option between March and October in the scenic town once referred to as “the gem city of the foothills.” And this year, it might be your only option for a while!

I originally wrote this post back in April of 2019, but barely a year later and it’s more relevant than ever. Restaurants who have had their doors closed since mid-March are finally opening – to the outdoors. Today I want to highlight these establishments for diners and give a nod to a number of the Los Gatos restaurants which offer dining al fresco; we are lucky to have so many choices!

Changes are happening quickly, so this is not a 100% comprehensive directory of Los Gatos eateries that are open with patio dining. Many restaurants not formerly offering patio dining have begun to offer outdoor seating to accommodate guests during the pandemic. Similarly, some establishments that regularly offer patio seating have decided not to offer it at this time. The charts below are mostly thanks to the excellent list provided by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, in addition to a few Google searches, to update my previous list of restaurants.

Some of the restaurants that were on my 2019 list include Forbes Mill Steakhouse and Lexington House. These are all still open offering either pickup, delivery, or both at this time, and they may open for patio dining in the future. Unfortunately, a few restaurants have shuttered their doors for good. Both I Gatti and Chicago Steak & Fish are permanently closed.

Accommodations vary from permanent to temporary outdoor dining and space may be limited. I am not able to confirm all of the locations on these lists, and many have not updated their information online. Last Sunday I drove through Downtown and saw everything from spacious concrete patios dining with colorful shade installations to folding chairs under pop-up canopies. The Chamber of Commerce announced on their Facebook page that the k-rails and parklets are temporary installations to provide outdoor seating and will be replaced with more appealing planter barricades soon.

Remember that California currently requires face masks in all public places, and establishments may have their own rules for diners, so check ahead of time and come prepared.

Finally, I should mention that these restaurants with outdoor seating offer varied selection and pricing, from super casual (Happy Hound, Classic Burgers and Los Gatos Meats are all low key) to much more costly and formal. (And if you want a unique experience, one is at the local nudist resort – Lupin Lodge!) Not every one of these businesses is in downtown Los Gatos either. Links are provided where available so you can check them out yourself.

Did I miss one that should be mentioned? Feel free to email me any updates!

Bon appetit!

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Takeout Food for Shelter in Place

Los Gatos takeout food for shelter in place

Los Gatos is highly regarded for its excellent dine in restaurants. It is not known for food trucks, takeout food, or meals delivered to your home, but during the current Shelter in Place period, it’s a way for consumers to enjoy some of their favorite meals and support local businesses. In some cases, we can buy groceries at these eateries, too.

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce has put together a comprehensive list of Los Gatos restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, and our one fabulous brew pub which feature to-go menu items. Please check it out!

Finally, I have never used a delivery service, but if you cannot get out, you might want to investigate Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats, or Postmates.

Visit the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market!

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is a community treasure and gathering point for the townsfolk. Every Sunday, Los Gatans gather downtown at the Town Plaza Park area for a little shopping, casual munching and entertainment. The outdoors market iss full of organic produce, plants and cut flowers, ready made food, include delicious crepes, and often music or other entertainment. While many Santa Clara County Farmers’ Markets are seasonal or subject to weather conditions, this one is open year round, every Sunday, from 8am to 1pm (though some booths begin to break down around 12:30 or so).

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is located in Downtown Los Gatos at the Town Park Plaza on Main Street & N. Santa Cruz Avenue (Montabello Way & Broadway).  Pets are not allowed in the market, which wraps around the park on the paved roadway, but may be in the park itself.

Over the years, I’ve taken a number of photos of this local gathering spot.  Some are current images and others are 5-10 years old.

Kamakura Japanese Restaurant

Kamakura Sushi & Sake House is better known to locals as Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Los Gatos.  The menu offerings are wider than sushi and sake, though of course they are prominently offered. If you enjoy Japanese food of all kinds, this is a place you’ll be happy to try. I visit there at least a couple of times each year, and would not mind going a lot more often.

 

Kamakura Sushi and Sake House sign - taken at night

 

Located in the heart of downtown Los Gatos, Kamakura is wonderfully situated for those working or just enjoying downtown.  It is a busy eatery at both lunch and dinner, but I have never seen long waits for a table. The service is pleasant and quick, everything is clean, and the food delicious.

We always sit at one of the tables, but there’s also a bar area next to where the chefs are working. That seems to be more filled up in the evenings than in the daytime. Additionally, there’s some upstairs dining, too, which again seems to be used mostly for the dinner crowd. (The restaurant is accessible, with a ramp from the sidewalk into the main dining area.)

 

Kamakura - bar daytime, end of lunch hours

 

One of my favorite menu items at Kamakura is the miso soup. It is consistently outstanding.  I enjoy the bento boxes and the variety they present, with my favorite items there being the California roll (although it’s fake crab, it’s leagues better than what most Japanese restaurants use for imitation crab), tempura, and teriyaki chicken. My family members do order sushi & udon dishes and rave about them.

 

Kamakura Sushi and Saki in Los Gatos - evening

Something to know is that Kamakura does close in the mid-afternoon, so don’t swing by at 3 and hope to be seated! You can find their hours listed on the website link, below.

 

Kamakura Sushi & Saki House
135 N Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030

(408) 395-6650

https://kamakuralosgatos.com/

 

Related reading:

Restaurant Asa in Los Gatos

Willow Street Pizza in Downtown Los Gatos

Café Dio Espresso Bar & Café

Restaurant Asa in Los Gatos

Last week a friend and I met to enjoy lunch at Restaurant Asa, which opened a few months ago. It was the first time there for both of us and we were anxious to give it a try since we’d only heard good things about it. The eatery’s location is super convenient and is a big plus: Asa sits just across from the Los Gatos Lodge, adjacent to the Best Western Inn of Los Gatos – at the corner of Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. This is the same location where Grill 57 was until this summer. There’s no shortage of nearby parking, which cannot always be said of restaurants in town.

 

Restaurant Asa Los Gatos exterior

 

An attractive, inviting patio dining area sits behind the planters in the photo above.

Inside, a waiting area features two comfy couches. A well appointed wine case is to the right and a full bar to the left.  The room is open, clean, quiet (while fairly full), and offers pleasant decor.

 

Restaurant Asa waiting area couches and wine collection

 

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