American grill. $$$. What makes Birk's stand out from the rest is a commitment to quality, freshness and hygiene. Experience culinary innovation by concentrating on the specials, or enjoy creative selections from the appetizer menu. Full bar. 3955 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 408.980.6400.
French. $$. Brigitte is French and friendly, and so is her food—prepared with traditional, rich seasonal ingredients, and served with well-matched wine. A small space in a strip mall means an intimate, warm dining experience. Closed Sun-Mon. 351 Saratoga Ave. 408.404.7043.
American. $$. The menu has been modernized but this landmark has not lost its soul. All walks of humanity rub shoulders here, enjoying just about everything that can be baked, fried, broiled or steamed. Full bar. 4565 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA. 408.248.6244.
Korean. $. This is the real deal, the first authentic Korean diner in suitsville, priced to keep patrons coming back for bowls of spicy beef, seafood, pickled vegetables, chili soup and, yes, bean curd in its many permutations. 1484 Halford Ave, Santa Clara, CA. 408.246.1484.
New American Cuisine. $$$$. The handsomest—if most difficult to find—new dining spot in the South Bay is the upscale culinary venture of Bradley Ogden. Polished "seasonal farm fresh American fare" dazzles the tongue, with comforting main courses of wild striped bass and pork loin with pear butter. Put this place on your short list. 2700 Mission College Blvd (in the Santa Clara Marriott complex), Santa Clara, CA. 408.970.6104.
Pho #1 Noodle House
Asian noodle house. $. A good and friendly destination when one's stomach screams for a three-course meal but one's wallet has but $10, Pho boasts an ambitious menu of nearly 100 Vietnamese and Chinese items. 5025 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA. 408.249.1111.
Vietnamese noodle house. $. This diner's pho (beef noodle soup) rates among the top three in the South Bay. Dry rice noodle specials are topped with fresh vegetable, pickled daikon and grilled meats. Casual. Beer. 2450 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA. 408.983.0888.
Japanese $$. A family-friendly ambience prevails here, full of community hubbub, good food, generous portions and super chefs. Yuki keeps it simple, but always interesting with dishes that are well thought out and presented in a manner that is visually appealing, but not overstated or silly. Closed Mon. 1827 Pruneridge Ave, Santa Clara, CA. 408.248.9144.