Where to find a good salad in Los Gatos?

Greek Salad at Southern Kitchen Los GatosWhere can you find a great salad for lunch or dinner in Los Gatos? Here are some of my favorites (updated from the original 2007 post), though I must add a disclaimer that I have not (yet) tried every restaurant in town. Did I miss one that you love? Please post in the comments below!

Fast salads and salad bars in Los Gatos

Looking for a salad bar? Whole Foods offers a healthy selection. Ambiance, not so much. Another place to browse a salad bar is T-Birds Pizza, where you can get a fast slice of pizza with a small side salad for a very reasonable price. Comfy seats, too (unlike Whole Foods). In east Los Gatos, pizza and a salad bar can be found at Los Gatos Pizza, too – and their pizza is fantastic.

A fast salad in a low key environment can be found at Sweet Pea’s. There the only trouble is that you may be tempted to order quiche, crepes or something else! Also fairly fast with a nice variety of yummy salads is Panera.

The Purple Onion is in two locations in town and features a number of great salads, including the healthy sounding “Spa Salad” (I have never asked how many calories there are – I don’t think I want to know!).

Southern Kitchen (they don’t seem to have a website – here is a link to the page on them over at Yelp) is just incredible for breakfast, but the last time I was there I enjoyed an incredibly good Greek salad. I would go back just to try another one of their salads!

Willow Street lists a very nice variety of delicious salads but also includes a changing menu with seasonal items. In the last few months I have enjoyed a warm brussel sprout salad and a steak and peach salad. There seem to always be between four and six salads available, so it’s easy to return there again and again and not get bored.

Thinking of a taco salad, or a fajita salad? Both Andale’s and also Pedro’s are worth a visit, and if you want more casual, the food at Una Mas is fantastic too (and it’s easy on the budget). How about a Chinese Chicken Salad? Jasmine Chinese Cuisine has 2 to choose from – the original recipe (from prior owners) and their newer one.

If upscale and impressive ambiance is what you’re after, here are some other restaurants which serve delicious salads: Steamer’s Grillhouse, Campo di Bocce, Viva, The Wine Cellar, California Cafe and the Los Gatos Brewing Company.

These are my current favorite places for salads in Los Gatos. What are yours?

Want A Great Bowl of Clam Chowder in Los Gatos? Visit Willow Street – It's Much More Than Pizza!

January 25, 2009

Willow Street Pizza logoOn Friday I enjoyed a late lunch with a real estate colleague and friend of mine at Willow Street Pizza in downtown Los Gatos.  The food is always good but this time I had a bowl of clam chowder and it was the best I’ve had in years.  

With New England Clam Chowder (the “white” one, as opposed to the red, Manhattan Clam Chowder), there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Sometimes the clams are gritty. Frequently the potatoes disintegrate and the whole soup becomes mushy and too thick.  Perhaps most often, there’s excessive cream or fat in the recipe and the chowder is unpleasantly oily.

The bowl of chowder I was served on Friday, though, was a very pleasant surprise. The potatoes and other vegetables were not overcooked. The soup was very tasty and not overly heavy.  And if I’m not mistaken, there were small, delicious dumplings cooked into the recipe too. The combination was unbeatable as the look, texture and taste were all fantastic.

Willow Street does not have a “soup and salad” combination on the menu, but you can do what I did and order a half or side salad plus a bowl of soup and create your own combo. I ordered a Romaine Gorgonzola half salad with cranberries together with the bowl of soup and it was very filling.  A side salad instead of half salad would have been plenty!

If you enjoy clam chowder, look for it at Willow Street (and other restaurants) on Fridays. Very few places will offer it on any other day of the week. (The reason for this tradition has to do with religion and demographics.  Catholics, who constitute about 20% of the population here in Silicon Valley, used to be prohibited by their church from eating meat on Fridays so many “fish specials” used to be featured on that day. That religious rule was changed in the early 1960s after Vatican II, and  today the “no meat on Friday” rule only applies during Lent. Even so, some continue to keep to the older, stricter standards.)

Willow Street does have good pizza, it’s a kid-friendly restaurant, and the salads and soups are really quite delicious. Don’t let the name “Willow Street Pizza” fool you: there’s much more to the menu then just pizza. In fact, you can browse their menu online and see for yourself at http://www.willowstreet.com/LOS_GATOS/Los_Gatos.html

If you have a favorite, local place to enjoy a cup or bowl of clam chowder, please share it in the comments below!