metrosantacruz.com
News, music, movies, events & restaurants in Santa Cruz, California from Metro Santa Cruz weekly

News and Features
09.23.09

home | metro silicon valley index | features | silicon valley | best of silicon vally 2009


Phaedra

Photograph by Felipe Buitrago
SCARY GOOD: Our readers like to come for the name and stay for the sweets at Psycho Donuts.

Food & Drink

Reader's Picks


Best New Restaurant

Opa!

1384 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, 408.998.8704; 27 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, 408.399.7417

Opa!'s timing was great. It opened last fall just as a black hole of debt and greed on Wall Street threatened to drag down the rest of the world with it. But little Opa! offered a reasonably priced menu of Greek standards (and those not-so-standard but oh-so-good french fries topped with creamy feta cheese), that hit the spot but went easy on the wallet. Things went so well for Opa! they then opened a second location in Los Gatos. Recession? What recession.

Billy Berk's 99 S. First St., San Jose; 408.292.4300

The Kitchen Table third 142 Castro St., Mountain View; 650.390.9388


Downtown Best New Restaurant

Billy Berk's

99 S. First St. San Jose; 408.292.4300

How could it be that this perfect little eatery has been at the corner of First and San Fernando for only a year? How could the place have fit so easily into the downtown dining scene that it already feels like an old friend? Easy: a cool room, a friendly staff and a menu of comfort food that somehow manages to be inventive.

Mezcal 25 W. San Fernando St., San Jose; 408.283.9595

Maceio Brazilian 72. S. First St., San Jose; 408. 293.1215


Peninsula Best New Restaurant

The Kitchen Table

142 Castro St., Mountain View; 650.390.9388

If you had told me an upscale California-kosher restaurant would win best new restaurant on the peninsula, I would have said, "Get out of here, you messhugge" (that's "crazy" in Yiddish). But it's not so crazy once you sample the restaurant's house-made pastrami, excellent knishes and other kosher creations. There are nontraditional items, too, like the BLT made with lamb bacon and turkey mole meatballs.

Mayfield Bakery and Cafe 29 Alma St., Palo Alto; 650.327.1323

Donato Enoteca 1041 Middlefield Road, Redwood City; 650.701.1000


Best Restaurant Culinary Excellence

Alexander's Steakhouse

10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino; 408.446.2222

It should come as no surprise that when your chef wins the Best Of award (see below), your restaurant wins for culinary excellence. It's like winning Best Director at the Oscars—a Best Picture prize is surely on the way.

TIE

Plumed Horse 14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; 408.867.4711

Le Papillon 410 Saratoga Ave., San Jose; 408.296.3730


Best Chef (other than David Kinch)

Jeffrey Stout, Alexander's Steakhouse

10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino; 408.446.2222

Jeffrey Stout could have just relied on his restaurant's Kobe-style beef to carry the day, but Metro readers love how the chef has redefined the steakhouse concept with an inventive menu East-meets-West that goes beyond steaks and chops to include cutting-edge seafood and vegetable dishes as well.

Guillaume Bienaime, Marche 898 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park; 650.324.9092

Scott Cooper, Le Papillon 410 Saratoga Ave., San Jose; 408.296.3730


Best American

Los Gatos Brewing Co.

130 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.9929

The Los Gatos Brewing Co. has gone beyond the same old brewpub menu to create a satisfying and refined menu of upscale American food. You know the stuff—pan-fried crab cakes, grilled flat iron steak and roasted salmon. There's good beer to match, of course, but also a wide ranging wine list and full bar.

Billy Berk's 99 S. First St. San Jose; 408.292.4300

Flames Coffee Shop Multiple locations, including downtown San Jose


Best Cajun

Poor House Bistro

91 S. Autumn St., San Jose; 408.292.5837

The cuisine and the spirit of the Big Easy can be found right near downtown at Poor House Bistro. All the favorites of Crescent City cooking are down right, from jambalaya and catfish Po' Boys to crawdad pasta and popcorn salad—with beignets for dessert. And there's lots of live blues music on the weekends to aid the digestion.

NOLA Restaurant and Bar 535 Ramona St., Palo Alto; 650.328.2722

Crawdaddy Restaurant 779 Story Road, San Jose; 408.286.2729


Best Seafood Restaurant

Steamer's

31 University Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.CRAB

Steamer's is a classic South Bay seafood house that specializes in briny-fresh entrees with intense flavors. It is a bonus that the location is so beautifully appointed, and the martinis are a cut above.

Fish Market Restaurants 1007 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, 408.269.3474; 3150 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650.493.8862; 3775 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, 408.246.3474

Hawg's 150 S. Second St., San Jose, 408.287.9955; 1700 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell, 4078.379.9555


Best Chinese

Taiwan

1306 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; 408.289.8800

Metro readers' love affair with Taiwan Restaurant continues. Since 1982, the restaurant has been a local favorite for its encyclopedic menu of Chinese-American classics like orange chicken, firecracker chicken and lemon-grass jumbo prawns. Metro readers have named it their favorite Chinese restaurant for almost as long.

Joy Luck Place 10911 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino; 408.255.6988

Mandarin Gourmet 10145 N. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino, 408.725.8168; 420 Ramona St., Palo Alto, 650.328.8898; 5560 Santa Teresa Blvd., San Jose, 408.281.8898


Best Japanese

Kyoto Palace

1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell; 408.377.6456

Silicon Valley is a gold mine of great Japanese food, and for Metro readers Campbell's Kyoto Palace is the ichiban—the best. The 3-decade-old restaurant does it all—sushi, yakitori and teppan-style steaks and seafood. The full bar adds to the appeal. Blowfish 355 Santana Row, San Jose; 408.345.3848

Kazoo

250 Jackson St., San Jose; 408.288.9611


Best Business Lunch

Bella Mia

58 S. First St., San Jose; 408.280.1993

No one would ever call South First Street quiet and serene, but slip into Bella Mia for lunch, and you leave the hubbub behind. Maybe that's why the restaurant is a favorite for downtown dealmakers looking for an elegant, moderate-paced spot for refined Italian dining. And $6.95 lunchtime value meals will make the boss happy, too.

Birk's 3955 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara; 408.980.6400

Grill on the Alley 172 S. Market St., San Jose; 408.294.2244


Best Small Restaurant

71 St. Peter

71 N. San Pedro St., San Jose; 408.971.8523

This cozy bistro just keeps on providing well-made New American recipes that speak with a slight Mediterranean French accent. The lovely little dining room, wedged into its old brick storefront on San Pedro Square, makes for a romantic oasis in the midst of the hum and throb of downtown San Jose.

Nick's on Main 35 E. Main St., Los Gatos; 408.399.6547

James Randall Restaurant 303 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.4441


Best Korean

Korean Palace

2297 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose; 408.947.8600

Silicon Valley is the Bay Area's hot spot for Korean dining. According to Metro readers, San Jose's Korean Palace tops the list. The restaurant offers a grand tour of Korean cuisine—barbecue, noodles, sizzling tofu soups, rice bowls, seafood of all kinds and everything in between.

BBQ Palace Buffet 1092 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale; 408.554.9292

Omogari 154 Jackson St.; San Jose; 408.288.8134


Best Dim Sum

Ming's

1700 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto; 650.856.7700

Ming's has been serving Chinese food on the peninsula since 1956 and its extensive menu of dim sum is one of the top draws. Stop in during lunch and watch as an unending procession of little delicately prepared snacks comes your way. Remember to pace yourself.

ABC Seafood 768 Barber Lane,Milpitas; 408.435.8888

Joy Luck Place 10911 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino; 408.255.6988


Best Mexican

El Burro

1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell; 408.371.5800

El Burro has been building a solid core of fans for decades. They know what they like, Mexican-American–style Mexican food served hot and in satisfyingly large quantities at a reasonable price that makes it possible for an extended family to enjoy a night out.

Aqui Cal-Mex 1145 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, 408.995.0381; 5679 Snell Ave., San Jose, 408.362.3456

Fiesta del Mar Too 735 Villa St., Mountain View; 650.967.3525


Best Indian

Amber India

2290 El Camino Real, Mountain View, 650.968.7511; 600 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View, 650.968.1751; 377 Santana Row #1140, San Jose, 408.248.5400

Cumin and coriander never had it so good. This small chain, with its unexpectedly elegant original location in a Mountain View strip mall, its casual iteration down the street and a swankier uptown version in Santana Row, is known for the best Indian food in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Heady spices, complex sauces and tender meats make for a transcendent culinary experience evocative of all the enchantment the Silk Road can muster.

Tandoori Oven 150 S. First St., San Jose, 408.292.7222; 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell, 408.559.3885; 133 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, 408.395.1784

Royal Taj 1350 Camden Ave., Campbell; 408.559.6801


Best Ethiopian

Gojo

1261 W. San Carlos St., San Jose; 408.295.9546

Silicon Valley is the Bay Area's hot spot for Ethiopian food and Metro readers named unassuming Gojo as the head of the pack. Doro wat, kifto and gored gored—it's all here.

Zeni 1320 Saratoga Ave., San Jose; 408.615.8282

Café Rehoboth 655 N. Sixth St., San Jose; 408.947.1717


Best Cuban

Habana Cuba

238 Race St., San Jose; 408.998.CUBA

It was hardly a contest. Habana Cuba ran away with the Best Of voting in this category. The two-level restaurant clearly channels the best of authentic Caribbean cuisine with a friendly embracing atmosphere.

Los Cubanos 22 N. Almaden Ave., San Jose; 408.279.0134

La Bodequita del Medio 463 S. California Ave., Palo Alto; 650.326.7762


Best French

Twist Café and Bistro

247 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell; 408.370.2467

Maybe it's a sign of the times. Metro readers' pick for best French restaurant wasn't a fancy place with tuxedoed waiters, but Twist Café and Bistro, two side-by-side restaurants that showcase French food with a decidedly casual, neighborhood approach. But the lack of pretense doesn't mean the food isn't spot-on. Because it is.

Le Papillon 410 Saratoga Ave., San Jose; 408.296.3730

Left Bank 377 Santana Row #1100, San Jose, 408.984.3500; 635 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park; 650.473.6543


Best Italian Fine Dining

Il Fornaio

520 Cowper St., Palo Alto, 650.853.3888; 302 S. Market St., San Jose, 408.271.3366

The heart of every Il Fornaio, literally and figuratively, is the oven. In addition to offering superb Italian cuisine, Il Fornaio is justifiably proud of its breads (hence the name, "the baker"). Once they're ready, the big brick oven is put to other uses—roasting vegetables and meats, putting a finish on pasta dishes. The result is the best Italian food in the valley, expertly served in elegant surroundings.

Aldo's Ristorante & Bar 14109 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos; 408.374.1808

A Bellagio 33 S. Central Ave., Campbell; 408.370.7705


Best Moderately Priced Italian

Giorgio's Italian Food & Pizza

1445 Foxworthy Ave., San Jose; 408.264.5781

Giorgio's understands the principles of the family hearth where food and comfort are paramount. The restaurant provides simple Italian cooking with Southern Italian leanings full of robust flavors and tangy tomato sauces.

Frankie Johnny & Luigi Too 5245 Prospect Road, San Jose; 408.446.9644

Fontana's Italian 20840 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino; 408.725.0188


Best Mediterranean

DishDash

190 S. Murphy St., Sunnyvale; 408.774.1889

DishDash goes well beyond the falafels, hummus and kebabs that dominate the menus of most Middle Eastern restaurants. The lamb dishes are especially flavorful. Tabsi combines seasoned cubes of ground lamb and beef in a rich, viscous sauce of eggplant, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes enlivened with curry and the unique, salty-sour flavor of dried lime. Dishdash also has a well-chosen wine list.

Cascal 400 Castro St., Mountain View; 650.940.9500

Thea Mediterranean 3090 Olsen Dr., San Jose; 408.260.1444


Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Falafel's Drive-in

2301 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose; 408.294.7886

For some of us here in the valley, Falafel's Drive-in was our introduction to the exotic goodness that is Middle Eastern food. And despite its humble drive-in ambience, the food is in fact fantastic. The falafel itself—a deep-fried spiced chickpea ball—is speckled green with fresh parsley, and will ruin you for lesser versions. The hummus and babaghanouj are both creamy and flavorful, and the gyro is as good as any.

Kabul Market 2626 Union Ave., San Jose; 408.559.6175

DishDash 190 S. Murphy St., Sunnyvale; 408.774.1889


Best High-end Greek

Dio Deka

210 E. Main St., Los Gatos; 408.354.7700

It's a fact. The grilled lamb chops at Dio Deka are the best in Silicon Valley. It's also a fact that Dio Deka has become the top Greek restaurant in the South Bay, too. With its good looks, a convivial, good times atmosphere and great food, it's easy to see why Metro readers named it the best high-end Greek restaurant.

Thea 3090 Olsen Dr., San Jose; 408.260.1444

Evvia Estiatorio 420 Emerson St., Palo Alto; 650.326.0983


Best Moderately Priced Greek Restaurant

Opa!

1384 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, 408.998.8704; 27 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, 408.399.7417

Seems like there's always a party at Opa!, where laughter and the tinkling of glasses spill out onto the street from a packed house on a nightly basis. This is health food, Hellenic style: an abundance of fresh salads and shamelessly garlicky dips jostle with an array of tender souvlaki dishes on the menu. Goopy moussaka need not apply. A baklava-centric dessert menu makes resistance futile.

Yiassoo 10660 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino; 408.253.5544

Athena Grill 1505 Space Park Dr., Santa Clara; 408.567.9144


Best Thai

Krung Thai

580 N. Winchester Blvd., San Jose; 408.248.3435

Here one can find Thai cuisine at its best—an exquisite exhibition of authentic Thai cookery bursting with flavors and spices.

House of Siam 150 S. First St., San Jose; 4082953397

Thai Pepper 1045 Monroe St., Santa Clara; 408.984.1931


Best Malaysian

Banana Leaf

182 Ranch Dr., Milpitas; 408.719.9811

The dishes are full of color and flavor, aroma and spice, with masterful sauces. The intriguing mixes of hot and cold have seduced away many lovers of Thai and Vietnamese food. Indian and Chinese influences are also evident in just about everything on the menu.

E&O Trading 90 S. First St., San Jose; 408.938.4100

Layang Layang 1480 S. De Anza Blvd., San Jose; 408.777.8897


Best Pho

Pho Y #1

1660 E. Capitol Expwy., San Jose; 408.274.1769

Silicon Valley is awash in pho. We've got the beef noodle soup by the bucketful, but Pho Y #1 rises to the top for its distinctive, satisfying take on Vietnam's signature meal in a bowl. Available with a choice of thin sliced meats, tripe or meatballs in a aromatic, savory broth, there's sure to be a combination just for you.

Pho 54 2874 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose; 408.729.6633

Pho Hoa Multiple locations


Best Taqueria

La Victoria

131 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408.993.8230

Would La Vic be Metro readers' favorite taqueria without the bewitching but mysterious orange sauce? My guess is yes. La Vic has been satisfying downtown denizens, starving students and plain ol' hungry people for years with its menu of cheap but good taqueria standards.

Taqueria La Bamba 2058 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View; 650.965.2755

Burrito Factory 2055 Camden Ave., San Jose; 408.369.8564


Best Tapas/Small Plates

Consuelo's Santana Row

377 Santana Row, San Jose; 408.260.7082

Spain doesn't have a lock on tapas. Mexico boasts a number of great small-plate dishes that go well beyond tacos and nachos, and Santana Row's Consuelo is the place to taste what this great cuisine has to offer.

Cascal 400 Castro St., Mountain View; 650.940.9500

Cin Cin 368 Village Lane, Los Gatos; 408.354.8006


Best Steakhouse

Alexander's Steakhouse

10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino; 408.446.2222

Alexander's Steakhouse has been embraced by vegetarians, carnivores and fish lovers alike thanks to the imaginative culinary skills of chef Jeffrey Stout. Providing refined cuisine in a stylish setting with an Asian flair serves as the foundation of a restaurant that defies easy categorization and continues to innovate. So we praised Alexander's—and so our readers have concurred.

Forbes Mill Steakhouse 206 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.6434

Morton's Steakhouse 177 Park Ave., San Jose; 408.947.7000


Best Breakfast

Bill's

1115 Willow St., San Jose; 408.294.1125

Here's why Bill's wins best breakfast: the kitchen gives you what you always wanted for breakfast but never dared to order. The SBC omelette has bacon, spinach and American cheese—not Swiss, not cheddar, American. Chicken fried steak with eggs is an option, not a punch line. There are Cookies 'n' Cream–flavored pancakes and french toast made from bread pudding. It's what breakfast would be if your inner child were in charge.

Southern Kitchen 3378 Monterey Hwy., San Jose; 408.225.4381

Stacks Multiple locations


Best Barbecue

Blue Rock BBQ

3001 Meridian Ave., San Jose; 408.978.2583

The best barbecue restaurants specialize in one kind of regional 'cue—Texan, St. Louis, North Carolina, etc. But newcomer Blue Rock BBQ takes a more inclusive approach and serves several varieties. There's a Tennessean pulled pork sandwich, Alabama smoked chicken and even a Cuban sandwich.

Sam's BBQ 1110 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose; 408.297.9151

Andy's BBQ 2367 El Camino Real, Santa Clara; 408.249.8158


Best Hawaiian

Hukilau

642 Ramona St., Palo Alto, 650.329.9533; 230 Jackson St., San Jose, 408.279.4888

Hawaiian food combines elements of Chinese, Korean, American, Portuguese and native island food culture. It's a satisfying mix that all comes together at Hukilau.

Hawaiian Barbecue 612 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas; 408.263.4200

Hawaiian Drive Inn Multiple locations; www.hawaiiandriveinn.com


Best Asian Fusion

E&O Trading Company

96 S. First St., San Jose; 408.938.4100

The chic setting brought us in, but the flavors have kept us coming back all these years. From a base of mostly organic, local produce, the kitchen whips up the regional cuisine of a better world. Each dish is inspired by one of the cuisines of the Far East and accented with flavors from a neighboring region—like the Korean-inspired barbecue beef paired with Southeast Asian mint papaya salad—making for flavor fireworks that somehow always harmonize.

Straits 333 Santana Row #1100, San Jose; 408.246.6320

Tamarine 546 University Ave., Palo Alto; 650.325.8500


Best Asian Vegetarian

Blue Mango

4996 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose, 408.248.7191; 635 Coleman Ave., San Jose, 408.885.9222

Blue Mango isn't strictly a vegetarian restaurant, but that didn't stop Metro readers from singling out the Thai eatery for its meatless dishes like Panang curry, peanut tofu and padthai.

Happy Bamboo 1711 Branham Lane, San Jose; 408.694.0740

Good Karma Cafe 37 S. First St., San Jose; 208.294.2694


Best Vietnamese

Vung Tau

535 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose, 408.288.9055; 1750 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas, 408.934.9327

Few areas can match the quantity and quality of Silicon Valley's Vietnamese restaurants and Vung Tau tops the list, and that's no small feat. The vast menu offers an excellent tour of what is surely one of the world's great cuisines.

Khanh's Garden 335 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose; 408.241.4940

19 Market 19 N. Market St., San Jose; 409.280.6111


Best Indian Vegetarian

Chaat Paradise

165 E El Camino Real, Mountain View; 650.965.1111

Going without meat can feel like doing without, but not at Chaat Paradise. The restaurant has become a destination for Silicon Valley vegetarians and those who just like good food. The chaat menu offers a great introduction into the world of Indian snacks and the rest menu dives deep into the vast repertoire of Indian vegetarian dishes.

Dasaprakash 2636 Homestead Road, Santa Clara; 408.246.8292

Madras Café 1177 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale; 408.737.2323


Best Vegetarian Overall

Falafel Drive-in

2301 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose; 408.294.7886

It looks a lot like a burger joint. But a majority of the items on the award-winning menu of this San Jose institution (see above) are vegetarian. These guys know how to make a chickpea sing.

Good Karma Cafe 37 S. First St., San Jose; 208.294.2694

Vegetarian House 520 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408.292.3798


Best Restaurant Patio

Aqui Willow Glen

1145 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; 408.995.0381

On warm summer nights, locals flock to this cozy patio with its tiled fountain and twinkly lights to sip margaritas and nosh on Mexican comfort food. When the weather turns cooler the party continues, thanks to the miracle of heat lamps, making it possible to believe we're in our own private Acapulco right here in the heart of Willow Glen.

Wine Cellar 50 University Ave., Los Gatos; 408.354.4808

Billy Berk's 90 S. First St., San Jose; 408.292.4300


Best Local Coffeehouse

Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company

101 W. Main St., Los Gatos; 408.354.3263

It's hard to imagine Los Gatos without this place. Among the many reasons: 27 years in business as one of the first companies to pioneer specialty coffees. The central location itself is more than picturesque, a fine old brick building following the downward curve of a hill. The cafe is really on three levels: (1.) a cafe Americano and ice cream bar on the lower level—glad to see coffee served in mugs instead in flimsy paper cups or in pint glasses with cardboard gaskets; (2.) the clublike main cafe with mirrors, ceiling fans and sturdy marble tables is roomy and yet intimate, and cool on blistering days; (3.) up a few steps is a gourmet section where whole beans are sold, and a deli/charcuterie makes everything from Black Forest ham to gourmet pain de mie and cheese sandwiches.

Barefoot Coffee Roasters 5237 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara; 408.248.4500

Orchard Valley Coffee 349 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell


Best Bakery

Icing on the Cake

50 W. Main St., Los Gatos; 408.354.2464

Los Gatos' Icing of the Cake evokes memories of home-baked treats made in Mom's kitchen. Owner Lynn Magnoli has been working confectionery wonders for nearly a quarter-century and winning a lot of Best Bakery balloting along the way. We dare you to leave without an armful of tasty calories.

Dick's Bakery 1593 Meridian Ave., San Jose; 408.269.5212

Sugar Butter Flour 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell; 408.371.5485

Tied with

Aki's Bakery 355 Meridian Ave., San Jose; 408.287.5404


Best Desserts

Icing on the Cake

50 W. Main St., Los Gatos; 408.354.2464

Obviously, Icing on the Cake satisfies a lot of sweet tooths (see above).

Psycho Donuts 2006 S. Winchester Blvd., Campbell; 408.378.4540

Fleur de Cocoa 39 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408354.3574


Best Donuts

Psycho Donuts

2006 S. Winchester Blvd., Campbell; 408.378.4540

Break down the name, and it's easy to see what's behind Psycho Donuts' success. The first part is what turns heads, gets the buzz and sets the tone. But it's the second part that really matters. The zany shtick is fun, but when it comes down to it, these are great donuts. The twisted minds behind this shop are always experimenting, pushing ahead with new toppings and creations. Will anything ever top the apricot fritter or the green tea/dark chocolate topped variety? Maybe not, but delicious new candidates are being added all the time. Best donuts? Of course. For one-of-a-kind frosted cake treats, there is nothing like going psycho.

Stan's Donut Shop 2628 Homestead Road, Santa Clara; 408.296.5982

Manley's Donut Shop Multiple locations


Best Pizza, Regional Chain

Pizza My Heart

Locations throughout the valley

Flexible, foldable, greasy slabs of delicious: this is Pizza My Heart's stock in trade. Whether it's a spicy slice of piping hot pepperoni you crave or one of the award-winning gourmet pies with combinations like apple, bacon and Gorgonzola, they've got you covered, and you can get a monster fresh salad too so you can respect yourself in the morning.

Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizzas 1072 Willow St., San Jose; 408.971.7080; and other locations

Amici's East Coast Pizzeria Multiple locations; www.amicis.com


Best Pizza Independent

A Slice of New York

3443 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose; 408.247.5423

Here's the truth about New York pizza, and trust us, we know what we're talking about, OK? The truth is, there's nothing to it. California pizza is decorated with zany combinations and sauces—whatever. New York pizza is good dough, good cheese and good sauce. Period. Some pepperoni, some sausage, some mushrooms, fine. You want fancy pizza? Go somewhere else. You want real pizza? This is the place.

Triple Seven Pizzeria 18572 Prospect Road, Saratoga; 408.777.7731

High Five Pizza Co. 171 Branham Lane, San Jose; 408.629.6800


Best Burger

Mojo Burger

6041 Snell Ave., San Jose, 408.281.1345; 1411 Bird Ave., San Jose, 408.924.0595; 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell, 408.626.9321

Owner Peter Favre has struck an interesting balance with Mojo Burger, which has expanded to a mini–Mojo empire of three South Bay locations. He's upped the burger experience without getting snobby about it. Retaining the simplicity and accessibility of the classic burger joint, he's improved the quality of the burgers, fries, chicken, etc. And there's always gallons of Frank's Red Hot sauce around, which, while not the first thing you might thing to douse a double in, is actually kind of addictive.

Kirk's Steakburgers 75 Town & Country, Palo Alto, 650.326.6159; 2388 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell. 408.371.3565; 2605 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, 408.241.5475

In-N-Out Multiple locations


Best Ice Cream/Gelato

Dolce Spazio

221 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.1335

Unlike some purveyors of cold dairy desserts, this beloved gelateria in the middle of downtown Los Gatos doesn't overwhelm patrons with endless choices. There are usually about a dozen flavors, all time-tested and consistently high-quality, served in single, double or triple scoops. Some slices of cake to choose from. Espresso if you want it. That's it. And for this simple, confident exercise in gustatory delight, people line up out the door on a regular basis.

Penguin Froyo 30 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408.280.0808

Gelayo Gusto 856 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View; 650.939.1333


Best Burrito

La Victoria

131 E Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408.993.8230

Having won the readers' hearts, stomachs and votes as Best Taqueria, is it any wonder that La Victoria also wins for Best Burrito?

Taqueria la Bamba 2058 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View; 650.965.2755

Burrito Factory Multiple locations; www.burritofactoryinc.com


Best Sushi

Blowfish Sushi to Die For

355 Santana Row, San Jose; 408.345.3848

Metro readers know what they like when it comes to raw fish. They want big and brash rolls, exotic appetizers and fat slabs of sashimi backed by flowing sake bombs. What Metro readers want is Blowfish Sushi to Die For, neo-Tokyo sushi bar and restaurant that continues to pack them in.

Michi Sushi 2220 Winchester Blvd., Campbell; 408.378.8000

YUKI Sushi 1140 Lincoln Ave., San Jose, 408.287.9854; 1827 Pruneridge Ave., Santa Clara, 408.248.9144


Best Deli/Sandwich Shop

Erik's DeliCafe

Locations throughout the valley

The three food groups for cubicle dwellers are soups, salads and sandwiches, and Erik's does them all exceedingly well. From its original Scotts Valley store this franchise has spread to many locations throughout the Bay Area by trading on the promise of fresh, healthy comfort food prepared quickly and served in a comfortable environment that's more restaurant than fast food. It's a winning proposition.

Zanotto's/ 38 S. Second St., San Jose; 408.977.1333

La Villa Delicatessen 1319 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; 408.295.7851


Best Late-Night Eats

Original Joe's

301 S. First St., San Jose; 408.292.7030

The Rocca family opened the original Original Joe's in San Francisco in 1937. In 1956, they brought the formula to its current location, opening what was then the first big-city restaurant in the South Bay. And now, as fate would have it, one of the coolest places in downtown San Jose is also the only place to get a real meal after midnight. Featuring a huge menu of huge dishes, it's one more reason to party late downtown

La Victoria 131 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408.993.8230

Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too

5245 Prospect Road, San Jose; 408.446.9644


Best Microbrewery Food

Gordon Biersch

33 E. San Fernando St., San Jose; 408.294.6785

Does it even matter who else competes in this category? Microbrewery = Gordon Biersch for a sizable chunk of the South Bay populace. And one of the things people have always liked about the GB experience is being able to sit and enjoy their beers with a good meal. The menu is straightforward enough, from apps and salads to pizza and sandwiches, all the way up to pastas and steak. Always fresh, and one more reason Best of Silicon Valley voters always want to know what's on tap here.

Los Gatos Brewing Co. 130 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.9929

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell; 408.377.0707


Best Dining Value

Sonoma Chicken

Multiple locations

Our readers have clearly identified where they go for a good all-round meal that satisfies their appetite and their budget. And, of course, it's the kind of place where kids are welcome too, and the menu appeals to all ages.

Aqui Cal-Mex Multiple locations

Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza 1072 Willow St., San Jose; 408.971.7080; and other locations


Best Caterer

Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme

795 S. Second St., San Jose; 800.798.8388

Cooking dinner for 20, 30 or 50 people can be a daunting challenge. Instead of spending days in the kitchen, Metro readers believe that hiring the talented cooks at Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme is a much better idea.

Catered Too 12 S. First St., San Jose; 408.995.3445

A Catered Affair 3255 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara; 408.727.6480


Send a letter to the editor about this story.