Where to eat in San Jose

By Lucille Howe

Travel writer and frequent San Jose visitor

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January 2018

Enjoying the great outdoors and creating the tech of tomorrow can work up an appetite.Travel writer Lucille Howe rounds up some of the best places to eat in San Jose, California.

The brunch bunch

From 09.00 until 13.00 on weekends, at the Park Station Hashery, you’ll find food to take on your hangover – and win. Try the Park Station Drop: eggs poached in San Marzano tomatoes, aubergine, prawns, rocket, and shaved Parmesan on garlic bread. Check out the gorgeous rose garden-inspired mural on the east side of the building, created by local artists Ben Henderson and Lacey Bryant.

In the know… To really blow off the cobwebs, ask for the Bloody Mary spicy upgrade, which includes Jalapeno-infused vodka and a smoked paprika rim.

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Simple yet stunning

From the Convention Center light rail stop, hop on any northbound rail car for a short trip up North 1st Street to one of only three remaining historical Japantowns in the U.S. Here, you should lunch at Minato. This modest restaurant is a favourite among foodies – including star chef and author Anthony Bourdain – for its authentic sushi, udon and katsu.

In the know… If it’s busy and you’re on the waiting list, you can order while you wait to have your food ready as soon as you’re seated.

At the Park Station Hashery, you’ll find food to take on your hangover – and win

  • Grab a bite at one of the eateries in SoFA Market.

    Thoroughly modern market

    SoFA market was just a pipe dream until 2011, when it became a reality and started to revitalise street life in the area.

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  • Start the day the right way with a handmade pastry at Manresa © Stephanie McKinnie.


    Grab a great breakfast and a cup of coffee or tea at Manresa, open everyday from 07.00 until 15.00.

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  • Check out the colourful street art murals in Japantown.

    Did you know…?

    San Jose’s Japantown is over 125 years old, and one of the last remaining in the USA.

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Best for a date

You want to seem edgy, eclectic, and international? Of course you’re going to take your date to the SoFA Market, an intimate food hall with a range of independent eateries, a neighbourhood cafe, and house bar, located in the heart of the South First Arts District. Order a toasted craft sandwich and, if you like the person you’re with enough, share an ice cream popsicle from Milk and Wood in flavours like Green Tea Kit Kat.

In the know… SoFA Market’s owner, Thang Do, designed the bar here himself and named it Fountainhead after Ayn Rand’s novel. Tell the bartender you’ve done your research and you may get a cheekily large measure.

Nightcap, anyone?

The motto of San Jose’s Paper Planes bar is ‘There are no strangers at this bar, just friends who haven’t met yet.’ After a couple of their craft cocktails, you’ll probably agree. The venue is beloved locally for seasonal punch bowls and signature cocktails like the Chester Copperpot, which includes egg white, lime and brandy. Substantial bar snacks include pumpkin curry and roti.

In the know… To the left of the bar are ten oak ageing barrels, which are slowly transforming their contents of spirits, botanicals and aperitifs into delicious cocktails of the future. Ask to sample what’s ready now.

  • Check out Park Station Hashery’s website before you go to see what events are on. They host regular gatherings, from beer nights to French wine dinners.

    Meet and eat

    Check out Park Station Hashery’s website before you go to see what events are on. They host regular gatherings, from beer nights to French wine dinners.

    Stay at Hotel Paradox

Portuguese please

One of only two Michelin-starred Portuguese restaurants in the US, Adega in the Little Portugal neighbourhood is something special, and perfect for a celebration. The seafood bisque with lobsters and oysters is salty soul food to satisfy the sailor in you.

In the know… Call well ahead if you’re a group to see if you can book the separate dining room and party in privacy. 

Bake it to make it

Chef David Kinch, who is the mastermind behind the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Manresa, has expanded his empire with the welcome addition of a bakery spin-off: Manresa Bread. Think chocolate brioche and handcrafted croissants, and speciality grains that are freshly milled here daily.

In the know… The mouthwatering Breton-style Kouign Amann cake feeds six to eight people and keeps for up to a week.

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