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.
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)
Opa! Authentic Greek Cuisine is a small, local chain of restaurants offering great Greek food at fairly moderate prices. Earlier this month, I took a friend, who’s also in the real estate industry, to lunch at the Los Gatos Opa in downtown to celebrate her birthday. I’d never been to any of the Opa restaurants but heard about them a long time ago, so it was a great excuse to give it a try.
We were there on a busy weekday but found the service to be quite good – both fast and pleasant. The food was excellent – and portions huge! She and I split a salad and even with that, we could not finish it all. I don’t know if the serving size is similar on regular entrees or not. But the taste can’t be beat. Overall, it’s a very good value.
The one issue that I had with Opa is the noise. The acoustics are not good and the sound can be deafening – very unpleasant. This isn’t Opa’s fault – this was also the case when the same location functioned in the past as Pigalle French restaurant and also Vittoria Ristorante Italiano. Loved both of those restaurants too, but the crashing noise kept me from returning after one try each. Opa actually has added some things to the walls and ceilings which I suspect are there to absorb noise. It’s a good effort but for me it’s not enough. I could go back if the restaurant were not so full, but wouldn’t want to be there when it’s packed.
Opa also has locations in Willow Glen and Los Altos (with Walnut Creek opening soon). I want to visit these other two local eateries soon and introduce Jim to their fine food. Additionally, Opa now does take-out. Might be a great idea to simply bring some of that wonderfully authentic Greek food home.