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Kamakura Japanese Restaurant

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.

Patio dining at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in the Covid era

Jim Handy enjoying his udon at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Los Gatos on Dec 12th. Earlier this week Jim and I enjoyed lunch in the parklet out front at Kamakura. I’m adding comments about our December visit to an older article (below) from pre-Covid days.

We were the first patrons at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant that day, and we asked if we could sit outdoors with the heater on, and the hostess quickly said yes and got us seated there. (Not so long ago I was at another Los Gatos eatery for lunch with clients and I had phoned ahead to see if they would be willing to turn the heaters on for us – it was equally frigid that day – and they said they didn’t know if they had any propane! And those heaters did not get used.)

The metal chairs were initially a little icy (so next time I might bring a sweater to sit on!) but it didn’t take long to be comfortable. The tables are spaced apart at a good distance. That’s not something we see everywhere and we really valued it.

Sometimes when guests are seated outdoors they can be overlooked by the staff. That did not happen in the least. The service was extremely attentive. As always, the food was delicious and hot. Our server and the hostess both brought us refills of our hot tea many times. We were there on a particularly chilly day, December 12, and the hot tea was wonderful to enjoy.

Of special note: many restaurants with crab dishes use a cheaper imitation crab, but Kamakura boasts “real crab” on their menu.

 

2022-12-12 12.01.28 Patio heater at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Los Gatos

Our hostess was also great with the heater when it glitched. At one point it turned off and she quickly moved us to another table (and later was able to get the first heater working.)

The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. It felt like a very Covid-safe setting. The food was memorably good. On a scale of 1 to 10, it warrants at least an 11.

Indoor dining at Kamakura Japanese Restaurant

(Older info and photos are below.)
Kamakura Sushi and Sake House sign - taken at night

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Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Club Virtual WineFest & Auction 2022While the annual CrabFest is postponed another year, the Rotary Club of Los Gatos is continuing a new tradition with their 2nd annual Virtual WineFest & Auction! Save the date for Saturday, January 29th at 5pm!

This year’s event centers around gourmet bites and Argentinian wines (or try the non-alcoholic selection) guided by sommelier Joe Chiodo. Tickets include a Wine Tasting Kit for 2 with curbside pick-up from Rootstock Wine Bar prior to the event. Evening entertainment includes a live performance by Lavender Fields.

And as always, the main event is the charity auction! Proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations, and this year the “Raise the Paddle” auction item benefits Los Gatos House of Hope, West Valley Community Services, and Peninsula Food Runners to help fight hunger and food insecurity locally.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

For ticket sales, event details and updates, contact the event team, or donate directly check the Los Gatos Rotary website and Virtual WineFest & Auction event page. Each ticket is for a 2-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.

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.

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.