The 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
One of my favorite go-to eateries for lunch or dinner in Los Gatos is Willow Street Pizza. This casual, kid-friendly restaurant offers both indoor and patio dining, has a nicely varied menu, delicious food, good service, and decent prices for the heart of Los Gatos. It also enjoys an ideal location directly across the street from the Town Plaza Park.
The dining area is large and provides large windows, comfortable booths as well as tables and chairs. Kids may find the TV a helpful distraction, and there is a children’s menu (though I’m not seeing it online). The room has good acoustics, so most of the time, even if the restaurant is full, the sound level is not bad. Restrooms are shared with other tenants at Lyndon Plaza, and you must go outside to access them (small warning: they can be cold in winter).
Patio dining is fun even if nothing else is going on. Should the weather get a little nippy, there are heat lamps.
In summer, many sponsors host Jazz on the Plazz on Wednesday evenings in the Town Plaza Park across the street. Smart diners arrive early enough to snag an outside table and enjoy their meal with live music.
On Sundays a year round farmer’s market takes places on the interior streets that line the park, Montebello Road and Broadway. It’s a great time to people watch, and the vantage from the patio dining area is hard to beat.
Willow Street Pizza menu
At Willow Street, pizza is king and there are many different types of pizza available. The menu is much broader, though, with some more typical dinner entrees (salmon and chicken), salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts. There’s also a coffee and tea service, soft drinks, craft beers, and a full bar.
While it’s most famous for its pizza, which is delicious, my favorite food there tends to be the salads, especially the warm Brussels Sprouts salad and some of the seasonal salads (in summer I’ve sometimes had steak salad with peaches or other fruits). They do mix it up a bit throughout the year.
I should mention that they also do take out, but I cannot comment on that as I haven’t tried it.
Willow Street Pizza can be found in Lyndon Plaza, once the site of the Lyndon Hotel. It’s at the southeast corner of West Main Street and South Santa Cruz Avenue, directly across from the Town Park Plaza. The address is 20 South Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos.
Parking is sometimes challenging in downtown Los Gatos, but there is valet parking on site and a public parking lot just across the street on West Main (behind Mountain Charlie’s). Additionally, there’s the Montebello parking lot which can be accessed from Montebello Road at Broadway (look for a driveway next to the post office).
Situated along Main Street and adjacent to Los Gatos High School, Café Dio (connected with Dio Deka across the street and within the Hotel Los Gatos) is ideally placed for those wanting to grab a quick coffee, breakfast, or simple lunch. The menu is not extensive, but there’s a little something for just about everyone available. Most of all, Café Dio is a good place to pop in if all you want is something to drink and something modest to nibble on.
Parking can be a major headache in downtown Los Gatos, but on weekdays, I’ve found that parking is not hard unless visiting when school is starting or ending.
Menu items include a good assortment of beverages (coffee, tea, espresso drinks, water, soft drinks) plus pastries, oatmeal, wraps, Greek salad, one sandwich offering, pizza, and things like chips.
An outdoor area makes this a fun place to people-watch, and a very dog-friendly place, too.
Dio Deka, the full restaurant within the Hotel Los Gatos, is not open for breakfast or lunch, so having Cafe Dio just across the street makes a lot of sense. It’s low key and easy for guests, but just as easy for Los Gatos High School students.
Got a little time? Swing by Café Dio and enjoy the friendly, casual ambiance and a cup of your favorite beverage.
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)