Monday, March 25, 2013

Downtown San Jose Restaurant List Updates! (Q1 2013 Edition)

I have done the latest round of updates to the Downtown San Jose Restaurants database and I think Downtown is just about hit the critical mass needed to really be seen as a restaurant destination similar to Willow Glen, Santana Row, or Downtown Palo Alto / Mountain View / Campbell. The number of new restaurants is not only up, but the quality of these new venues is outstanding. We are up to a grand total of 242 eateries, the latest record for Downtown San Jose.

This is our second quarter with no bad news, no significant closures. The restaurants that have lasted through the last major downturn are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and are here to stay. The one closure worth mentioning is Chevy's in the San Jose Market Center (this was the worst Chevy's I have been to in my life) and it is being replaced with a BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse.

Now the good news, and you might want to grab some coffee because it is a long list:
  • Cafe Stritch - Meet the new SoFA anchor venue. The menu is inexpensive, casual, and delicious, they have a great bar, live music will be coming 3-5 times per week, they are building an art gallery on the second floor, oh and they have the coolest outdoor seating in Downtown San Jose. Half a dozen other improvements are coming over the next few weeks. Have to check it out during South First Fridays.
  • Nemea Greek Taverna - Just got to try this out last night. Nemea is located at 1st and San Fernando, one of our "key corners." The ambiance looks incredible, it has the most polished interior Downtown right now. The fare is on the higher-end side and everything I had was fantastic. In fact it puts Thea to shame in Santana Row and is pretty close to Dio Deka in Los Gatos. They will be featuring live Greek music every Friday and also have a great outdoor dining space. I was a big fan of E&O, but this surpasses it in every way. 4.5 stars on Yelp!
  • Vyne - Great new wine bar and bistro! Hip, chic atmosphere, great happy hour, and a great food menu. They are the only place Downtown I can think of that has a caviar plate. Also 4.5 stars on Yelp.
  • K zzang - Welcome to Downtown San Jose's first and only Korean restaurant (that I can remember at least). I had to add a new Genre for this one. Have not been here yet, but the menu looks great (Bulgogi, Bibimbaps, etc.). This is located a few spaces down from Nemea.
  • Amir Restaurant - The former Morocco's space has a new tenant! Amir is a casual mediterranean restaurant with geneous portions and reasonable prices. It is locally owned and has a stellar 4.5 Yelp rating (are you noticing the trend here?).
  • Grub Shack - Yet another great restaurant. This one is on 93 E. Santa Clara Street and the food is a mix of Hawaiian, Chinese, and Japanese food. 4.5 starts on Yelp with over 100 reviews.
  • San Pedro Square Market Updates
    • Chocatoo - Great new dessert and coffee shop inside of the Lusardi building (Blush, Treatbot, Phonomenal). Wide selection, knowledgeable staff, 
    • Market Beer Company - replacing Polkadotz Mini Gourmet Cupcakes. Will feature a huge assortment of craft beers for visitors: over 300 refrigerated craft brews (either bomber 22-oz bottles or 750-ml bottles) as well as 5-10 beers on tap.
    • B2 Coffee - they have moved to their permanent spot in the corner of the "garage" area. They now have way more space, their own bathrooms, and new seating options.
    • Garage Bar - a brand new bar that they are opening at night time in the same "garage" area where B2 Coffee is located.
    • Konjoe Burger Bar (Coming Soon) - Handmade, contemporary, Asian-American burgers using freshly ground patties and exotic ingredients. 
    • Bray Butcher Block & Bistro (Coming Soon) - This is for all of those that have been complaining that there is no traditional Market in the Market. Bray will bring a full selection of deli meats, fish, steaks, house-made sausages, and BBQ dishes.
  • Other Places Coming Soon
    • Orchestria Palm Court - Now this is going to be interesting. Palm Court is a cafe opening behind the Stage Theater in a 1910 brick structure and will feature music from the early part of the last century played on mechanical music machines. The menu will be healthy European cuisine prepared in old-fashioned ways. You will also find fountain drinks with natural fresh-squeezed fruit juices.
    • The Farmer's Union - A new two-story Ale House/Sports Bar at San Pedro and Santa Clara Street with 60 beers on tap and the largest TV screen in Silicon Valley. It will be decorated with items from San Jose's history and serve traditional American fare. Tremendous potential with this restaurant and it sits on a key corner.
    • The Blackbird Tavern - My most highly anticipated restaurant opening in the queue right now. If anyone can turn around the corner lot that hosted Zing, Asquew Grill, and Ruffled Feathers Eatery... it's these guys from the Naglee Park Garage. Similar to the Original Gravity House, this can be a game changer. Expect an outstanding beer selection, tapas, live music, and a laid back atmosphere right in the middle of Downtown San Jose (across the street from where the Muji flagship Japanese retail store will go and next to Camera 12 and the Fairmont)
    • Cafe Eden - Supposed to be coming to 2 N. First but cannot find any additional info.
    • Chromatic Coffee - They bought the building at 19 N 2nd St and will be moving their roasting facilities there and open a cafe.
    • ISO: Beers - New craft beer shop and lounge on Santa Clara that should compliment places like Original Gravity and Good Karma quite nicely.
    • Ike's Place - One of the best sandwich chains ever, coming to the SJSU area around summer time.

As for the latest status update on my mission to eat at every single restaurant in Downtown San Jose... I'm at 218 out of 242, or 90%. So many new restaurants opened up I am actually a bit behind last quarter!

Below is the changelog from the Downtown San Jose Restaurants Database:
  • 12/16/2012 Updated hours and contact info for La Lune Sucree
  • 12/16/2012 Taza on Santa Clara street closed
  • 12/31/2012 Added ISO: Beers
  • 1/13/2013 Repaced Uncle Bernie's Fish & Chips with The City Fish
  • 1/21/2013 Added Nemea Greek Taverna, which replaces E&O Trading Company
  • 3/16/2013 Replaced Eulipia with Cafe Stritch
  • 3/24/2013 Expanded Cafe Stritch's Hours (Sun-Tues 7:00am-10pm, Wed-Sat 7:00am-12am)
  • 3/24/2013 Updated the information for Nemea Greek Taverna (4.5 yelp score)
  • 3/24/2013 Added the Vyne Bistro wine bar to the list on Paseo de San Antonio
  • 3/24/2013 Added K zzang, Downtown's first Korean restaurant that I can remember
  • 3/24/2013 Replaced Chevy's at the San Jose Market Center with BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
  • 3/24/2013 Added outdoor seating for Chacho's
  • 3/24/2013 Added Chocatoo which is in the San Pedro Square Market
  • 3/24/2013 Added Konjoe Burger Bar in the San Pedro Square Market
  • 3/24/2013 Added Spiedo and Agave Viejo to the Closed Restaurants List (these are old)
  • 3/24/2013 Added The Farmer's Union at 151 W. Santa Clara Street
  • 3/24/2013 Added Amir Restaurant at 86 N Market (former Morocco's Space)
  • 3/24/2013 Added outdoor dining to Grub Shack
If you haven't bookmarked it yet, here's the link to the spreadsheet! There is also a permanent link over to the right entitled Downtown San Jose Restaurants.


  1. I know a lot of folks also complain about to many bars downtown, but I think the Farmers Union could also be a game changer. Downtowns answer to Yard House! And in a REAL historic building to boot. Can't wait!
    Josh, where exactly will Bray Butcher be at in the Market?
    Last item on game changers: call me an eternal optimist, but WHEN MLB announces that the A's can relocate to downtown San Jose, all of these existing and new establishments will benefit like never before. The announcement should also get a few more high-rises going downtown, but that's another topic for another thread...

    1. Bray will be somewhere in the Lusardi building (Treatbot, Blush, Phonomenal)

  2. It's in the old veggie box location.

    1. Nope, the Market Beer Company took over the old Veggie Box location.The layout will be like this:

      Ay Dios Mio-Phonomenal-Konjoe-Bray-Showroom


      BTW, The Farmer's Union updated their site and looks like it will be opening in May.

  3. You forgot to include Ike's Place in the coming soon list.

    1. You're right, I did. I wish I knew what the location would be, love the Santa Clara one.

    2. Ike's is coming to 2nd & Santa Clara!

  4. Pauly's Famous Franks N Fries (from the people behind Iguana's) opened up a new location in DTSJ (312 S 3rd St).

  5. It's really an attractive and well described post regarding Downtown San Jose Restaurant List Updates.I appreciate your posted topic and wonderful photo.Thanks for sharing such an interesting post.

  6. Cafe Eden's website is They should be opening in April. Fresh Mediterranean cuisine on the corner of 1st street and Santa Clara. Their menu is already online. Should be a great restaurant!