UPDATE: Sadly, within 10 days of our enjoying a lovely dinner at the Catamount, it suddenly closed. It had been in business a mere 15 months. It was pretty empty the night we were there, which was hard to understand – it was a wonderful restaurant! Below is my original review, done in the 2nd half of July.
Recently, my husband and I enjoyed a wedding anniversary dinner at The Catamount restaurant in Old Town. We had been wanting to go for a few months, and it was a good occasion to give it a try. I’ll start by saying that I would go again in a heartbeat, and suggest that if you haven’t been pampered with a meal there, to put it on your “must do” list right away.
Our reservations were for a Friday night at 7pm. Downtown Los Gatos has a reputation for having unbearable traffic in summer, but that was not at all the case in our experience. The parking lot was nearly full, but we snagged a spot just steps from the door of the Catamount. Daytime traffic may well be problematical, but on our warm summer evening it was just fine. Don’t let that keep you away.
I had been inside The Catamount one other time, for a Sereno Group company party, which was at night. That event was packed, and I hadn’t really gotten a feel for the eatery that time, though I do recall that the food was quite tasty. This time, though, it was still daylight, and we got a good view of the restaurant and bar as well as the coastal range outside.
The layout is bright and open, with large windows facing the hills. A wall of glass doors separates one section from the next without losing the view of the tall mountain peak on the east side of town, El Sombroso.
We were surprised that the restaurant was not busy when we arrived. Only a few tables were in use initially. It did fill up a little more during our stay, but it made no sense that it wasn’t packed, given the excellent experience that we had there. I have to wonder if it wasn’t fear of Los Gatos traffic in summer that kept some people away.
Our server and our bus person were both very attentive, and the service could not have been better. A carafe of water was placed on the table, but the server was there to refill our glasses before we needed to reach for it ourselves. The menu items included a number of things I hadn’t seen elsewhere, and our server did a good job of answering our questions.
Jim had an appetizer of Stuffed Mushrooms and a main course of a Prime Rib (a small serving, 2 sizes were available) and french fries with truffle oil. He loved all of it. The mushrooms were small, and sitting in a bowl with beef broth, so were not finger food. (There was no bread on the table. Had there been, it would have been used to sop up the broth that the mushrooms were in.) I took a taste of his prime rib and it was very tender and delicious. I’m not a fan of truffle oil, but he is, and assured me that the fries were wonderful.
I had a Little Gem Cesar Salad followed by the Oven Roasted Scottish Salmon. The salad was not little – it was larger than I could manage. There are many variations on Cesar salad, but I hadn’t had them with whole capers before, and it hit me as too salty. The croutons were not really tasty. I avoided the capers and croutons and did enjoy it otherwise.
The Salmon was incredibly delicious. It was cooked to perfection and had a nice glaze over it. It was sitting in a bed of small vegetables. There were pickled, thinly sliced radishes and cucumbers. Normally I am not a huge radish fan, but I could have eaten those all night. There were also some very sweet, small, and tender corn niblets sprinkled all over, as well as tomatoes, parsley and capers – again. I do like capers, but it was funny to have them in both courses. I would not change a thing with the salmon dish. It was so good that I may be tempted to order it again next time, rather than venture out on the menu. (I don’t know salmon well enough to know one kind from the next, so could not say if it was so good in part because it was Scottish. I was curious about that.)
We each had a glass of wine and both of us enjoyed our selections.
After supper, Jim had a cappuccino and I had a decaf. He could not eat another bite, but I managed, and had soft serve vanilla ice cream with candied pineapple and coconut. Usually I don’t indulge in desserts, but it was worth it.
The bill came in a timely manner, but we were not rushed. From start to finish, it was a great experience at The Catamount, and I look forward to going back again. (Below, a view at twilight as we left the restaurant. The tall peak there is El Sereno.)
Old Town shopping center (formerly the site of the California Cafe)
50 University Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
On Saturday, March 3rd, Southern Kitchen marks an impressive 25 years of service*. This family-owned restaurant has been providing savory and sweet flavors with a touch of the South on E. Main Street for years – if you don’t know them you should!
Southern Kitchen invites you to celebrate with them, with a ribbon cutting and champagne toast from noon to 1pm (details on the Los Gatos Chamber events page). The restaurant’s web page does not have any information on the event, but it is advertised some on their social media pages. Regular hours should still be in effect, so if you can’t make it Saturday at noon, drop by weekdays from 7am to 2pm and weekends from 7am to 3pm for a scrumptious meal.
Southern Kitchen’s website: http://www.southernkitchenlg.com/
*I just hit my 25th anniversary in real estate, too! Apparently 1993 was a very good year for beginnings!
UDATE TO ORIGINAL POST READ ABOUT
THE GRAND OPENING HERE:
Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening
The Loma Brewing Company will be opening in Los Gatos (at the location of the former Los Gatos Brewing Company) soon, perhaps even by the end of this month, per their Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/LomaBrew The same site said they’re doing their first brew this weekend – we wish them good luck!
The BrewPub is owned by Kevin Youkilis and his brother, Scott Youkilis. The magazine DRAFT just put out a nice article on them and their venture that’s a good read if you’d like the back story: http://draftmag.com/kevin-scott-youkilis-loma-brewing-los-gatos/
As for the food, a little research turned up great info on both the who and the what of it. In a recent piece, Zagat profiled the 12 most anticipated restaurant openings in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer, and commented on the offerings to come at Loma:
Those beers will range from a light kolsch to seasonal IPAs and make up roughly half of the 14 taps with the other half going to guest beers. The chef is Aubree Arndt who worked for Youkilis at his former San Francisco restaurant Maverick. Beer-appropriate elevated comfort dishes will include flatbreads, smoked chicken wings, and a Loma Burger with aged Wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, and a “super sauce.” Those beers will range from a light kolsch to seasonal IPAs and make up roughly half of the 14 taps with the other half going to guest beers. The chef is Aubree Arndt who worked for Youkilis at his former San Francisco restaurant Maverick. Beer-appropriate elevated comfort dishes will include flatbreads, smoked chicken wings, and a Loma Burger with aged Wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, and a “super sauce.”
Great beer, great food, great ambiance are all anticipated!
We wish them much success with the last details and look forward to their grand opening soon.
http://www.lomabrew.com/ (get on their mailing list here)
130 N Santa Cruz Ave. Los Gatos, CA 95030
PS – Related: previously, it was thought that this new brewpub would be called the Foglight Alehouse, but the name changed. Prior article on this new brewery can be seen here: https://liveinlosgatosblog.com/new-restaurant-foglight-alehouse/
Sad news on the dining front: California Cafe in Old Town, Los Gatos, has announced that it will be closing at the end of July on its Facebook page. No reason was provided for the closure. This fine dining establishment once hosted then-president Bill Clinton. For many Los Gatans, it’s a go-to place for special occasions. This lovely restaurant will be sorely missed – and we wish the proprietors well in whatever venture they next undertake.
Here’s what the restaurant said:
“After 31 years of happily serving the Los Gatos community, we regret to announce the closing of California Cafe at the end of July. Join us tomorrow, July 9, for a special one-day offer featuring 31% off all food and beverage purchases. Check back here for additional farewell offers throughout the month.”
Hurry on down there TODAY, Saturday, July 9th, for a substantial discount. Learn more at the eatery’s FB page:
Hult’s has been mailing out 2 for 1 lunch coupons and a few days ago, my husband and I decided to indulge. The food, service, and environment were all great, so I wanted to give a little plug here.
We went on a Saturday in the very late morning, around 11:45. The restaurant had some patrons but it was early and uncrowded, and we were seated immediately.
The menu is anything but typical, and Jim and I both saw things we’d never heard of before. He ordered the Swedish Classic Pyttipanna, shown in the photo to the right. I will admit that this wasn’t visually appealling to me, as it was mostly shades of brown except for the fried egg on top and some beets on the side, but Jim said that it was delicious and didn’t leave a scrap behind.
As for me, I wanted to try the Lime Stuffed Pan Roasted Salmon(see photo below). My dish featured asapagus tips, melted leaks (I’d never heard of them served as melted before – it was a delicious leek mush) and trout caviar. Usually I don’t go out of my way to have caviar, but it was quite tasty and also gave the food a very nice splash of color.
It was too early for us to have wine with our meal, but I need to note that the Hult’s wine menu is quite extensive and that alone might be a reason to return.
The service was excellent. The atmosphere was quite pleasant. On the ceiling there were sound absorbing tiles that did a wonderful job of keeping the ambiant noise low. The food could not have been better. Prices were not low, but few places in Los Gatos will be described as affordable – and the quality is certainly there. For cost conscious consumers like me, the coupon was just the ticket to try the restaurant. I’m sure we’ll be back – with or without a coupon.
165 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95030
(locals: where Baker’s Square used to be, and long before that, Sambo’s)
*As always, this review is done only because I enjoyed the establishment. The good folks who run Hult’s did not know that I was going, nor that I would write a favorable review, and no compensation was made or received for this or any other review on this site.
A few days ago, I had the very pleasant experience of dining at Oak and Rye for the first time. It was a gloriously sunny and warm winter day, so my friend and I opted for patio dining, which was ideal.
Oak and Rye is a Los Gatos restaurant well known for offering excellent pizza, but also equally tasty salads. This made a delicious midday pairing. We each enjoyed a Gem Lettuce salad (with cashews, apple shavings, bleu cheese, and croutons), followed by a Young Cheezy pizza, a “white pizza”, which we shared. Both the food and the service were wonderful. As an added bonus, there seemed to be lots going on that afternoon along North Santa Cruz Avenue, providing ample “people watching” opportunities.
I’d go back in a heartbeat. If you haven’t tried Oak and Rye yet, do give it a spin. You won’t be disappointed.
Oak and Rye Pizza
303 North Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos 408 395-4441 http://www.oakandryepizza.com/
Please note: as with all my reviews of eateries, wine bars, businesses, etc., there was no payment or benefit given to me for this online article. It was written in response to my favorable experience at this establishment only. I do not know the owners, managers, employees, or anyone there.
October 21, 2011
Looking for a quick, tasty and affordable lunch in Los Gatos? Shangri-La Chinese Restaurant, located within the King’s Court Shopping Center (Blossom Hill Road and Los Gatos Blvd.), fills the bill perfectly. The lunchtime menu offers a very good value – lots of food for a fair price. Stop in at dinner (or get take out in the evening) and the same items are considerably more pricey.
Food is ordered and paid for upfront at the counter but when your meal is ready they don’t hollar your name or number – instead, an employee brings your food to you. It is packaged as if “to go”, so if you end up with more than you can eat, it’s easy enough to bring the leftovers home.
Seating is both indoors and out. The restaurant enjoys loads of windows, so even on a rainy or cold day this is a cheerful place to be.
What’s best to eat there? It depends on your preferences. I love their General Chicken, Kung Pao and soup in particular. Go with a friend and order different foods – see what you think!
Shangri-La does not appear to have a website of its own (if they have one, I couldn’t find it).
798 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos CA 95032
October 17, 2011
Alright, all you ex-pat Bostonians and lover of things New England, you’ll be happy to know that a little bit of home is coming to you right here in Los Gatos with the recently opened Billy’s Boston Chowder House.
The website is not yet fully up, but you can find a page on this new eatery online with a hint of things to come: http://www.bostonchowderhouse.com/
One look at the menu and I’m ready for a meal out!
Billy’s is located on the site of the former Twenty Nine East Main Cafe (or 2wenty-9ine – perhaps the name was too confusing?), which offered great pizza. Now it looks like fabulous fish offerings (Fridays in Lent sure to be booked!). If they bring in TVs with Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics games they will for sure find a very loyalist crowd of fans who can’t easily get these games, let alone that food, without a prohibitive TV package at home.
Since I just discovered this spot, I’ll admit that I haven’t tried it yet – but it’s on my radar and I intend to give it a spin soon and update this post at that time.
Got any feedback? Please share it here.
Meanwhile, Go Pats!
July 21, 2011
One of my favorite places to eat in downtown Los Gatos has been Jasmine Chinese – the food was both good and affordable.
Recently the restaurant changed hands, and soon after (in June 2011), was remodeled. A few days ago, my daughter and I stopped in for lunch to see what was new. We noted a few changes. The general layout is exactly the same. The carpet looks new, I believe the booths also are new. The walls no longer sport art for sale. But the biggest difference that I could see was in the menu.
Lunch specials used to be offered beginning at $7.25 each but now the lowest priced items for lunch are at $8.25 (almost 15% increase in pricing). The much loved Chinese chicken salad is still offered (“Jasmine shredded chicken salad”), but “chicken salad” is also offered – we didn’t try that so I’m not sure if it’s better or not. The Jasmine shredded chicken salad is as good as ever, though. I have a sweet tooth so did order the tangerine chicken dish – and it was excellent.
There continue to be many nice vegetarian offerings and now there’s a “healthy and light” section on the menu, too. The website seems to emphasize healthier food items and no MSG.
For some reason, the new owners have also changed the website (from JasmineChinese.com to www.JasmineChineseLosGatos.com).
We wish the new owners much success with Jasmine.
Original post below
September 17, 2008
Los Gatos is not known for “affordable dining”, but here and there we find hidden gems with good food and very reasonable prices. That’s the case with Jasmine Chinese in downtown Los Gatos, a modest restaurant in an upscale part of town.
Lunch at Jasmine Chinese is a very good deal if you keep to the specials menu. For $7.25, you can enjoy one of the house lunch combination dishes, such as sweet & sour pork, plus soup, rice and hot tea, of course. If that’s too much for for a midday meal, there are smaller lunch specials for $6.25, including a heaping plate of Chinese Chicken Salad, a dish of almond chicken and rice or several other selections. Dinners are more expensive, but still very affordable by downtown Los Gatos standards.
Variety is abundant here, so Jasmine is a great place to bring children, vegetarians, those with special diet constraints, folks preferring mild or spicy food and even picky eaters. I have eaten there dozens of times, mostly at lunch but also for dinner, and have found the staff to be consistently conscientious about “food issues” and special needs. Service is uniformly good and the staff very pleasant.
My own favorite menu items include the eggrolls, the chinese chicken salad, tangerine chicken, hot & sour soup, any of the kung pao dishes and any of the eggplant dishes.
Like many Chinese restaurants, Jasmine will prepare food “to go” as well.
This restaurant can be a little difficult to find for some people, but it’s actually in a great, central location. It is in the Lyndon Shopping Center (which is where the old Lyndon Hotel used to stand and where famous people like Charlie Chaplain and John Steinbeck used to drop in for a drink). That building is a bit of a maze, but Jasmine is on the outside, facing Main Street, just in from the corner of Main and Santa Cruz Avenues. There’s free valet parking, and also a public lot off Main Street that backs up to Mountain Charlie’s and St. Mary’s School, so it should always be possible to park.
Jasmine Chinese Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner weekdays, and open for dinner on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see their website, http://www.jasminechinese.com/.
20 South Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
May 16, 2011
May 2011 Update:
This old Carl’s (and before it, Carousel Restaurant) building will be the office for the local AAA or CSAA branch, which currently is at 101 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos (the interesection of Blossom Hill Road and University Avenue).
So the next question is this: what will the “old” CSAA building become next?
Los Gatos Boulevard has no shortage of restaurants where hamburgers can be found. Even so, I was sad to visit Carl’s Jr in Los Gatos today and to find a sign on the door stating that it’s closed and advising patrons to visit another store in San Jose.
What happened? Was it a victim of the long economic hardship? This restaurant did not have thoroughly glowing reviews on Yelp (and admittedly, you’ll find a much better burger at Classic Burgers up the street). It was the only place around with an indoor play area for children, though, and I remember visiting Carl’s a number of times on rainy days when our kids were small and needed to run off some steam. So I have fond memories of the place – and I’m sorry to see it go.