While 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.
A couple of days ago, my husband, Jim, and I enjoyed outside dining at North Restaurant, a downtown Los Gatos eatery offering seasonal Vietnamese food. It was our first visit there. The meals and service could not have been better, so I wanted to give them a shout out here on the Live in Los Gatos blog.
We arrived at North a little before 12 noon and wanted a table away from other diners and the sidewalk. It wasn’t too crowded and we were seated in a corner by ourselves. A nice surprise was noting plexiglass between our table and one nearby. The parklet was also covered, which was helpful with the summer sun.
Superb service at North Restaurant
Our server was masked, which we appreciated, and came quickly to take our order. We didn’t have to wait long for the food after ordering. Throughout our meal, he would look in our direction to see if we might need anything, and did step over to ask directly if all was ok and if he could get us anything. We never felt rushed, but he was around. When we paid our bill it was the same – he didn’t waste any time, but never made us feel like we needed to hurry. Kudos on the service, it was an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. (He probably told us his name, and we forget it, unfortunately!)
North Restaurant menu offerings
The offerings were diverse and tempting! One item that I’ll return to have next time is the crab spring rolls, which was advertised as including “Rice Paper, Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Mango, Rice Vermicelli, Green Leaf Lettuce, Mint, Soy Vinaigrette”. So often, restaurants offer crab dishes but actually serve fake crab – but this is Dungeness!
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!
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).
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