This summer, the town of Los Gatos will begin a one-way pilot program along N Santa Cruz Avenue, in the south bound direction, between Bachman Avenue and Elm Street. The trial will run from July through October and will also include the addition of a southbound bike lane, angled parking on the east side of the street, and 7 parklets. Parklets are spaces carved out of the roadway for people to gather and dine, along the lines of a sidewalk cafe. To learn more about what’s coming, please see all the details on the town’s website:
When I first heard about this program, I wondered if it was intended to address the problem with beach traffic. The FAQ page, though, states that “This project provides an opportunity to envision a future downtown with wider sidewalks (demonstrated by parklets) which leads to areas for sidewalk dining and casual gathering. Combined with other placemaking efforts, the goal is to provide for a vibrant downtown.” The downtown businesses do suffer each summer when traffic makes the area difficult to access, so perhaps this will be helpful to bring more cyclists and pedestrians into the beautiful downtown area (and perhaps the foot traffic will discourage cut-through motorists?).
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)
The Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 40 years old as of this writing in 2018. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.
Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.
Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.
Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!
What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?
The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two bedroom homes have HOA dues of $532 at the moment.
What senior services are included?
This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance.
Positives and Negatives
Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, and being among other seniors. While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.
Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.
TheLos 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.
In June 2015, my husband, his brother, and neice enjoyed a flight in a small private plane that took them from Livermore to Santa Cruz and then over downtown Los Gatos. They’ve shared their images with me to share with you – hope you enjoy them! (Not your typical Los Gatos real estate view!!)
Los Gatos is very spread out, and includes a strange shape, weaving in and out with county pockets, San Jose, Campbell, and Saratoga. Often, one hears of “Downtown Los Gatos”, “East Los Gatos”, and at times also “West Los Gatos” and much more infrequently, “North Los Gatos”. It should be noted that not every home or street fits into a neat category of what part of town is being discussed. Even so, the question of broad categories arises with the basic question being “where are these places?”
East Los Gatos is generally the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though many Los Gatans refer to it as east of Highway 17. (Some folks may consider it as relating to school boundaries.) Some of the neighborhoods found in east Los Gatos include these:
Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont (a contiguous group of subdivisions that stretch from Westhill to Harwood Road)
Santa Rosa Heights and Aztec Ridge
Shannon Valley Ranch
Homes along Shannon and Kennedy out to Hicks
Alta Vista area
Loma Vista, El Gato Terrace, and Rancho El Padre neighborhood of Los Gatos-Almaden Road
Vista del Monte
West Los Gatos is the part of town closest to Quito and Pollard Roads. Some of the neighborhoods include:
Rinconada Hills (gated community)
Old Adobe area
Cameo Park West (LG mailing address, but actually in Campbell)
North Los Gatos is the area close to but north of Lark Avenue. Did you know that the Town of Los Gatos used to have a public school there? It was sold years ago – that land is now part of the lovely JCC.
Downtown Los Gatos usually designated a few areas – those included are the Downtown Historic Districts, the Civic Center, and areas close to North Santa Cruz Avenue between Highway 9 and Blossom Hill Road. As with everything, this is unofficial! Major roads in this part of town are North Santa Cruz Avenue, University Avenue, Main Street, and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, also known as Highway 9.
The Downtown Historic Districts are lovely!
Broadway Historic District
Fairview Plaza Historic District
Downtown Historic District
Almond Grove Historic District
Glenridge – not designated as an historic district, but many historic homes may be found there
The Civic Center area
Civic Center area (hills behind also) – Alpine Avenue, Foster Road, Jackson Street, Central Avenue, Oak Hill Way and nearby areas up in the hills behind Main
Areas close to Forbes Mill and Los Gatos High
Possibly also the Loma Alta area (and likely also Blackberry Hill and Aztec Ridge, though they are anything but close to downtown)
Not all areas or neighborhoods of Los Gatos are named or labeled
There are many other areas without specific names. Real estate agents tend to dub them by local landmarks (such as “Vasona Park area”) or major roads or hill names (“Jones Road area” or “Blackberry Hill” area). Sometimes there’s a small compound that’s not quite big enough to be called a neighborhood, like Creffield Heights in the San Benito (road area) section of town, which we could probably label as “Central Los Gatos” if we wanted to create a new way of describing some areas of town!