Los Gatos Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, Wineries
Today my husband and I enjoyed an early lunch at Taba Taba Chinese Bistro in Los Gatos. It’s situated at the former location for Jasmine’s Chinese in the Lyndon Plaza complex at S. Santa Cruz and W. Main, where they opened last November.
Taba Taba’s menu is quite extensive, both for the regular dishes and for the lunch specials, with about 3 dozen mid-day options provided. There seemed to be something for everyone: vegetarian meals, light meals, seafood and shellfish, as well as meat dishes.
The food was amazingly good from start to finish. We each ordered rice plate lunch specials (and shared). Jim had the eggplant with Kung Pao sauce and I tried the fish filet with black bean sauce. We each received some hot and sour soup first, and it was delicious! They were not too hot, which is always a worry when I see the little hot pepper symbol next to a menu item. The flavors could not be beat. We requested hot tea and our server was great about making sure we had enough and that it was still warm.
The ambiance is fine, not overdone, not bare bones. It was chilly when we got there, which was early at 11:45 or so, and I needed to wear my light coat to be comfortable. (I suspect that when it fills up, it may be too warm, hence the cool temperature?) The grasscloth wallpapered walls and also the ceiling have been painted a light green, which brightens the place up over the darker colors that were there previously. Artwork of various kinds adorns the walls. There are two comfy booths and mostly tables with cushioned chairs.
Our server’s attentiveness was noteworthy, but we were even more surprised when the owner, Ming, stopped by to see if everything was ok. She was so warm and friendly! We had noticed throughout our time there how many people coming in seemed to be regulars, and that there was great affection between the staff, and Ming, with the customers.
Food prices were not bad for downtown Los Gatos. With our lunch plates and tea, the pre-tip total was around $26.
We both want to go back and bring our adult kids. Next time, I’d like to taste some of the meat dishes, and especially the Chinese chicken salad. On a scale of 1 – 5 stars, Taba Taba gets at least a 6 or 7 in my book.
Parking was easy at 11:45 on this rainy Friday morning – we snagged a spot on the street just steps from the restaurant! Lyndon Plaza does offer Valet Parking, so if you come later, don’t let the parking situation keep you away. On a Friday, it’s nearly always a good idea to aim for an early lunch to make parking easy (if possible).
Taba Taba Chinese Bistro
20 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos in Lyndon Plaza (Taba Taba faces West Main Street)
Looking for a casual, quick meal spot offering “fresh Mex” food? You might try Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant at Kings Court Shopping Center in Los Gatos. My husband and I ate there today, and we’ll go back.
Tucked back in the corner of the shopping center, Doña Maria has a modest appearance outside. Inside, it’s not too big, but is clean, newer feeling, and very comfortable. The restaurant has counter service for take out, but you will be seated to order if dining in. There are booths along the walls (comfortable ones!) with tables in the middle of the eatery.
The Doña Maria menu can be seen online; there’s a nice mix of a la carte meal items as well as the far larger platters. Meals feature breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Food prices are pretty good for anything in Los Gatos! My husband had a Sope ($5.65) while I opted for the more expensive Taco Salad ($9.25) and a Diet Coke (too expensive at $3.25). The back page of the menu showed prices for wine and beer, and I noted that wine is $7.25 per glass, also a little pricey for a restaurant that is quasi fast food. The entrees and a la carte food items, though, are well priced in my experience.
Doña Maria’s menu covers a lot of bases with burritos, salads & tostadaas, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, tamales, and many other popular favorites. It’s kind of incredible how much food is offered for a restaurant of this size.
The service was great in terms of ordering and amazingly fast in terms of the time between when we ordered and when the food came to our table. We were both impressed by that! Less good was the time it took to get the check. The bill was brought to us on a tray, which usually means that the server will return to take the credit card. But after a long wait, we took the bill to the cash register – we gave up on waiting. (By this time, it was after 1 pm and the restaurant was not busy at all compared to 20 minutes prior.) Not sure what happened there.
The food itself was pretty good. My husband’s Sope was delicious and my Taco Salad was fine, though not great. There were some hot sauces on the table, and they were tasty, but a better fit for me was the salsa that had come with our chips. This restaurant, unlike Chipotle across the street or Una Mas a half mile away, does not have a salsa bar. I don’t think there’s room for one, but it would be great if they offered that at some point.
Doña Maria has two locations that aren’t too far apart:
790 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032, tel (408) 356-5677 (King’s Court Shopping Center at Blossom Hill and Los Gatos Blvd) and 2 miles away at 3974 S Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95124, tel (408) 559-1768. (For non locals: Bascom is the same road at Los Gatos Blvd. Both of them used to be known as Los Gatos – San Jose Road way back when.)
Grill 57 is a newer restaurant in Los Gatos which offers good food,
easy parking, reasonable prices, and a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Twice this last year I’ve had the opportunity to dine there, and both times the food and service were excellent.
Offerings at Grill 57
The Grill 57 menu is mostly American food but also diverse – something for everyone, with a variety of salads, old favorites (pasta, burgers, pizza, grilled salmon, steak, soups, and sandwiches of all kinds) and appetizers (Buffalo wings, crab cakes, soup). There are vegetarian options as well.
Do you have special dietary restrictions? This restaurant includes the manager and chef’s contact info on the menu page, so you can reach out and verify before you sit down to eat. Talk about customer service oriented!
Prices are not bad by Los Gatos standards. If you want just a cup of soup, it will cost $4, or $8 for a bowl. Pizza is about $12, sandwiches around $14 – $16. Salads range from $10 to $22. If you want the Steel Roasted Mary’s Chicken or the Grilled King Salmon, it will run $25 as of today, in December 2018.
The bar is nice looking and open to the restaurant. I was there at lunch and did not try out anything from there, but the website states that it provides a “full bar with traditional cocktails, boutique wines, local draft beers”.
Last summer, as I was showing nearby condos to some clients, I noticed a banner on the Grill 57 building advertising live music. As of this writing, I don’t see anything coming up on their events page, but check back – that is a second reason to visit.
Where is Grill 57?
Located just off Highway 17 at the intersection of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road and Alberto Way, Grill 57 is closer to many east Los Gatos neighborhoods than restaurants in nearby downtown. And since there’s plenty of parking, you won’t need to factor in much time for hunting for a place to stash your car – it is easy to get in and out.
I should add that Grill 57 is adjacent to the Best Western Inn of Los Gatos. While I’ve not stayed there myself, relatives of mine have, and it received a good rating from them. My cousins tell me that the restaurant provided the breakfast, and it was wonderful.
57 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
There hours, currently, span lunch and dinner weekdays, and supper / evenings on weekends. Please check the restaurant’s website, though, as those operating hours may change.
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
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.) 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: https://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.