Whether it’s for making an impression on a first date or a night out with friends, concertgoers typically like to have a meal before the show. With world class entertainers making regular appearances at major South Bay venues such as the SAP Center, Shoreline Amphitheatre and the Mountain Winery, neighboring restaurants are sure to be filled with people gearing up to see one of their favorite performers. From inexpensive bites to pricier meals, the South Bay has a wide range of restaurants to satisfy everyone, particularly for those making that first lasting impression. The following are five of the best places to eat in the South Bay before the show.
4119 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
The food at this award-winning Japanese restaurant is so good that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan had Fuki Sushi served at their wedding reception last year. Not long after the Zuckerbergs tied the knot, the famous couple made a proposal to the owners of Fuki Sushi to open a second restaurant at Facebook headquarters in nearby Menlo Park. In business for 35 years and now with a second restaurant at Facebook, the original family-owned sushi restaurant on El Camino Real is located less than four miles from the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. Despite its higher profile, the menu remains moderately priced, with traditional Japanese dishes served, like tempura, chicken teriyaki, vegetable sukiyaki, sashimi and futo maki sushi.
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The Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Road
Saratoga, CA 95070
The South Bay’s most sophisticated entertainment venue is also the magnificent setting for world-class dining and panoramic views of Silicon Valley. Located within the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains above the upscale town of Saratoga, the Mountain Winery has a handful of dining options, most notably the Chateau Deck, in addition to the Winery Deck, Japanese cuisine in the historic Winery Building and quality food booths. The Chateau Deck, part of the former home of California wine pioneer Paul Masson, offers delicious choices for a three-course dinner, including sushi-grade Ahi tuna, bricked lemon herb chicken, portobellini mushrooms filled with roasted vegetables and chocolate mousse torte. Recent world-class entertainers who have appeared at the Mountain Winery include Gladys Knight, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, the Moody Blues and the Pretenders.
Old Wagon Saloon and Grill
73 N. San Pedro St.
San Jose, CA 95110
Located in San Pedro Square within the oldest neighborhood of San Jose, Old Wagon Saloon is a favorite local hangout not far from the SAP Center, formerly known as the HP Pavilion and home to NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The saloon’s menu is filled with tasty treats like fried tamales, southwest chicken quesadillas, smoked pulled pork and portabello mushroom sandwiches. Happy hours are held daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. In addition to the Old Wagon Saloon, there are plenty of other outstanding dining establishments along San Pedro Street and at the San Pedro Square Market.
301 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Long considered a San Jose institution, Original Joe’s, with its long line of counter stools and small booths, may not impress at first glance. But this historic downtown restaurant is an excellent choice for inexpensive to moderately priced quality food. Following the enormous success of the “original” Original Joe’s, founded in 1937 in San Francisco, the downtown San Jose spinoff opened 20 years later. Certified angus steaks, veal parmigiana, veal scaloppini and pasta al olio are among the outstanding entrees on the menu, in addition to an excellent assortment of fine beers and wines. Original Joe’s San Jose is within minutes from the San Jose Civic Auditorium, the Center for Performing Arts and the Event Center at San Jose State, with the SAP Center just one mile away.
91 S. Autumn St.
San Jose, CA 95110
For a taste of New Orleans before attending a concert or Sharks game at the SAP Center, Poor House Bistro is the place to be. About a five-minute walk from San Jose’s largest music and entertainment venue, the bistro is always a lively spot for Cajun food lovers desiring a bite to eat before a show. Featuring the “greatest hits of New Orleans dining,” among the tasty dishes from the menu are traditional favorites like jambalaya, red beans and rice, seafood gumbo and its namesake po’boy sandwiches.
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