Downtown Los Gatos
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:
Experience Los Gatos – Town of Los Gatos summary of changes coming this July – October
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)
Los Gatos has no shortage of summer celebrations! This summer, there have been block parties on the 3rd Thursday of each month, with the last one being tomorrow night. Please check out the Downtown Los Gatos 3rd Thursday Block Parties info page on the Los Gatos Chamber’s website.
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.
More information on the Los Gatos Commons:
Ending the Alberto Way Confusion (article on this site)
Los Gatos Commons, Association
445 Alberto Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
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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.
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:
- Blossom Manor
- Surrey Farms
- Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont (a contiguous group of subdivisions that stretch from Westhill to Harwood Road)
- Heritage Grove
- 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)
- Arroyo Rinconada
- Old Adobe area
- Saratoga Highland
- Rio Rinconada
- English Oaks
- Wedgewood Manor
- 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!
July 24, 2013
A bookstore, Village House of Books, opens soon at 326 Village Lane, ste A Los Gatos. They’d originally been targeting Sunday July 20th 2013, but it’s not quite ready, or wasn’t when we popped over to have a look that afternoon.
After the loss of Borders, and other independent bookstores before that, it is a very welcome change of pace to have a shop with new & used books coming to town. Nothing but enthusiasm and best wishes for great success.
Village House of Books will be located at 326 Village Lane (behind Pedro’s and near Manresa), Los Gatos CA 95030.
Please find more information on the shop’s website
March 21, 2010
The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce has created a nice, nearly 10 minute video showcasing shopping and dining in downtown Los Gatos. I found it today via Facebook and a post from the Discover Los Gatos blog – the link above will take you to the CBS5 website where it’s hosted. For visitors and newcomers to Siicon Valley, it’s a helpful little taste of downtown Los Gatos. (Downtown Los Gatos has spas and salons which are not mentioned, but are abundant – so the area is also great for being pampered.) Enjoy!
July 18, 2007
In the land of urban, Silicon Valley sprawl, there is a plethora of chain stores. They all carry the same clothing as every other outlet belonging to the same brand.
My sixteen year old daughter wants nothing to do with that! A favorite shop of hers is Infiniti Boutique, located on West Main Street in Los Gatos (between University and North Santa Cruz Avenues). Recently we spent some time (and money) there, outfitting my youngest for an upcoming family wedding.
The shop is owned and operated by a mother-daughter team with ecclectic taste that defies pigeon-holing. If there’s a name for the style(s), I don’t know what it is: contemporary, ecclectice, casual, comfortable, imported, distinctive. Whatever it is, it is not run-of-the-mill.
And neither is the service. Janet Hui, the daughter-owner of the shop and her associates spent a great deal of time with us as various alternatives were tried. Janet understood my daughter’s explanation of what she liked (and didn’t) and was able to piece together an outfit acceptable to both mother and daughter for this wedding. She and her salesgals were sensitve to cost and budget too.
Friendly, caring, knowledgeable service at a unique botique that can appeal to a wide variety of clientele. We will be back!
Infiniti Boutique, 120 West Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 Tel 408 399-7071
(This is not a paid endorsement of any kind and simply reflects this blogger’s excellent experience.)