Thursday, March 17, 2016

Olla Cocina, a contemporary Mexican restaurant and bar will open soon in Downtown San Jose

A new flagship restaurant is coming to Downtown San Jose in late April that will fill a critical 5,900 SQFT void on San Pedro Street. This two-story space was previously occupied by La Pinta, which was a bit mediocre for its location on one of Silicon Valley's most thriving streets when it comes to restaurants and bars.

Olla Cocina is a contemporary Mexican restaurant with regional dishes featuring fresh Californian ingredients. The bar will have a dozen craft beers, wines on tap, along with signature cocktails featuring Mexican staples such as horchata, Jarritos sodas, and aguas frescas.

They are planning to create a festive and casual environment. The restaurant will have capacity for 228 people in the main dining room and 30 people outdoors, making it one of the largest restaurants in Downtown San Jose.

I can't wait to try Olla Cocina along with Sushi Confidential across the street. The San Pedro area is thriving and these two will help elevate the area even more. Please see the full press release below for Olla Cocina. I'll do a full review after the restaurant opens.

Inspired by regional dishes from across Mexico and California’s fresh ingredients, the new restaurant is coming to San Pedro Square

San Jose, CA (March 10, 2016) – An exciting addition to the downtown dining scene, Olla Cocina puts a contemporary spin on traditional dishes from Mexico in a fun and casual environment. Slated to open in late April, the restaurant is located in San Pedro Square in the heart of San Jose’s urban center. Olla is a celebration of all that is Mexican: a strong community, vibrant culture and generous, fresh food along with a little noise and quirkiness.

The restaurant’s Executive Chef is Adan Ornelas, most recently from adjacent restaurant, The Farmers Union, and Dry Creek Grill, both in San Jose. Ornelas worked in tandem with Olla Operating Partner Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma, who oversees the menu.

Olla Cocina introduces innovative takes on regional Mexican food, elevating favorites with fresh, unexpected ingredients and flavor combinations. The menu includes fresh ceviches and a taco bar, as well as traditional dishes such as Carne Asada ($22) and Torta de Cochinita Pibil ($14).

Spotlighting the many regions of Mexico, the menu features small, shareable bites as well as larger entrees for a blended dining experience where the sharing of both is encouraged. Dinner starters include Roasted Chilies served with sea salt and lemon and Frijoles Fritos, featuring Rancho Gordo beans, Oaxaca cheese, jalapeños and totopos (both $7). Small plates include Ceviche Verde with halibut, lime juice marinade, tomatillo and avocado ($14), Vegetable Tamales with peppers, onion, zucchini, black beans, pasilla peppers, salsa verde and queso Oaxaca ($10) and soups such as Posole de Cerdo with pork shoulder, hominy, cabbage oregano, radish, onion, cilantro, chile de árbol ($13). Salads are tossed with surprising ingredients such as chorizo, masa croutons and crispy quinoa.

Larger plates include Tostada de Pollo with chipotle-braised chicken, black bean puree, cotija cheese, avocado, romaine, pico de gallo, spicy crema, cilantro ($15). The menu also features a variety of vegetarian options such as Camote con Mole, a salt-crusted sweet potato, mole sauce, almonds, rajitas of onion and peppers and house-made tortillas ($12).

The full bar will offer 12 local craft beers and 12 wines on tap, bottled Mexican beer, eight featured cocktails including a Margarita, Paloma and Sangria, horchata, Jarritos sodas and aguas frescas.

The dining experience takes place in an environment that’s both casual and special. Designed by restaurateur Doug Washington, interior décor touches include an authentic church pulpit repurposed into the host stand, witty Mexican artwork, beautiful tiles and decorative cinder blocks, intended to represent modern Mexico. A central design element featured in the main dining room and continuing to the outside patio is a ceiling trellis, made of repurposed reclaimed Douglas Fir from the garage across the street from the restaurant. Olla invites guests into a warm space with deft touches such as shoes hanging from the electrical wires that run along the ceiling, garage doors that open onto the front patio and Dia de los Muertos wallpaper. The dining area features walnut dining tables and two big, modern, custom picnic tables for communal diners. Sleek stool legs dipped in bright orange paint add to the festive environment. The eating space has low, dividing walls constructed from patterned concrete cinder blocks and capped with stained wood tops.

The 5,900-square foot Olla Cocina will seat a total of 228 in the main dining room and private dining room and 30 on the outdoor patio.

It’s in a prime location of downtown San Jose, near hotels, the convention center, offices and SAP Center, home rink for the NHL Sharks.

About Olla Cocina
Olla Cocina is a contemporary Mexican restaurant serving food and drinks in a casual, festive environment. The cuisine and bar program draw inspiration from many regions across Mexico and use seasonal California ingredients for a fresh take on traditional favorites. Located at 17 N. San Pedro St. in downtown San Jose’s popular San Pedro Square, Olla is a slice of modern Mexico with a fun and shareable menu of traditional favorites, signature cocktails and local beers and wine on tap. For more information, visit


  1. Brought to you by the same people from Farmers Union... meaning the food will be mediocre at best

  2. Brought to you by the same people from Farmers Union... meaning the food will be mediocre at best