Showing posts with label san jose wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose wine. Show all posts

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Elyse: elevated French Vietnamese cuisine in the heart of Downtown San Jose

Before we talk about about the new Elyse, I have to spend a moment to honor the original. Elyse was the first French Vietnamese restaurant in Downtown San Jose and took residence in the former House of Siam space that old school San Joseans will remember well. The first time I went, I was just happy that a Downtown space that sat vacant for years was finally filled up with a new restaurant. However, I was completely blown away by the cuisine, cocktails, and how romantic the space was. Despite my mission to eat at every restaurant in Downtown San Jose (I'm at 258 so far) I returned several more times and would easily place it in my Top 10 for all Downtown San Jose restaurants.

This was in 2018. Fast forward to the pandemic. During the early 2020s the owner endured multiple hardships including including the passing of her mom, break-ins, property damage, looting, a divorce, and then some. It was an incredibly challenging time, and Elyse closed their doors for an extended period. 

Now, not only is Elyse back... but they have a new location that is bigger and better than ever. This key corner space once belonged to Nemea at the corner of San Fernando and 1st Street. Like House of Siam, it has also been vacant for years. There is a lot of pressure on Elyse to bring something special to this high-traffic part of Downtown--and they delivered.

The space is open and inviting. There is a bar area, main dining room, a cellar-style wine room, a private dining space, and outdoor seating. There are large works of art themed around both France and Vietnam. The lit Eiffel Tower was my favorite.

I was fortunate to sample eight of their dishes. For the appetizers we had caviar blinis, mushroom tartlette (crowd favorite), head-on grilled shrimp, fried Brussel sprouts, mussels, and garlic noodles. I would recommend any of these. The caviar was a nice surprise since I don't remember that on the original menu and I'm not aware of any other restaurant in Downtown San Jose that has that available. As decadent as that was, my favorite app was the mushroom tartlette followed by the giant shrimp skewers with Vietnamese seasonings.

After the appetizers we had two of the mains--a glazed seabass with sauted bok choy and cofit as well as a braised short rib bourguignon with bone-in braised Angus beef short rib and Belgian style fries.

Both were phenomenal. I'm normally a carnivore and prefer steak, but the pan seared glazed seabass was truly outstanding and would likely be my choice. If you're out on a date, it's the perfect opportunity to get two different dishes and share. 

Unfortunately I had to leave the media preview night early to get to our baby at home and did not have a chance to try the desserts. They had a black sesame panna cotta and a Belgian chocolate lava cake, both of which I would have loved to try. I'm planning to head back there this weekend to get those desserts and try more of their dishes. I'm especially looking forward to trying some items that lean more towards the Vietnamese side and a cocktail or two.

In summary, Elyse gets two huge thumbs up. Please give them a try and let us know what you think! Could this be San Jose's next Michelin-recommended restaurant? Petiscos needs some company, and this may be it.

Elyse is located at 96 South 1st Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. Street parking is free after 6pm and pretty easy to get within a couple blocks of the restaurant. You can make reservations here as well as read more reviews (spoiler, they have a well-deserved 4.5/5 stars on Yelp). 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Elyse has a full-blown wine room

Finally, tomorrow I'll have the full write-up for Elyse. There is too much content for one post (not even talking about the fist fight outside during the mayor's interview). One quick item I'll break out for today is that Elyse isn't just a restaurant, they are also a wine merchant.

They have a beautiful room that feels like a wine cellar and can store thousands of bottles of wine. I know they dabbled in making their own products, so it will be interesting to see which bottles are available for purchase.

Since Zanatto's and The Market by Safeway closed, this part of Downtown San Jose has not had a great spot to buy wines. That all changes very soon. You can find Elyse at 96 S. First St. (former Nemea corner space). 


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

New San Jose winery open for tastings 🍷

Yes, you read that correctly. A winery--not a wine bar or wine store--is open in San Jose. Now while we were never Napa, our region has been know to produce some quality grapes. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is actually based in San Jose but most if not all of the wine production is now done elsewhere. Like the orchards and farmland, real estate values make it highly impractical to have wineries in San Jose these days. However, there are still some rebels out there that are going to try.

In Evergreen if you keep following Quimby Road you will eventually fine a vineyard on the hillside called Bella Montagna. The owner, Victor Klee, sold his Vino Vino wine bars to focus on the new winery (I still miss the original San Pedro Square Market Vino Vino).

The land Bella Montagna sits on was once owned by the Mirassou family which were pioneers in the US winemaking industry. The 12-acre property was also once owned by the Bay Area Girl Scouts, who put it up for sale in 2001 after plans to turn it into a retreat didn't materialize. Now it's an actual vineyard and winery, in San Jose, in the year 2023.

Bella Montagna winery is currently making Sauvignon Blanc, Merlots, and an award winning Cabernet Sauvignon which you can buy on their website over here. They also have a wine club and you can schedule weekend tastings by emailing

I should also mention that the vineyard looks gorgeous. Up on a hill it has amazing view of Silicon Valley. Hopefully they will do tastings and events more regularly. For now you have to make a reservation via email. 

Source: The Merc

Monday, August 6, 2018

Endless summer Wine Stroll at Santana Row

One of my favorite Santana Row events is back to close out the Summer. The Endless Summer Wine Stroll takes place on Thursday, August 16 from 6-9PM. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Bill Wilson Center, a local nonprofit organization that provides support to homeless runaway children and adults.

The event features tastings from Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, lite bites, DIY succulent terrariums, store discounts, live music, and perhaps a few surprises. There will also be a silent auction to benefit Bill Wilson Center located in Santana Row Park. Tickets are $40 and are available inside the Santana Row concierge or over here

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Total Wine & More Opens in San Jose

Total Wine & More recently opened on October 12th at the Almaden Ranch Shopping Center. Coinciding with the new opening, Total Wine & More – America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, beer and spirits – will donate 10% of all wine sales generated from the grand opening proceeds to San Jose Museum of Art.

Following the newly opened San Jose location, Total Wine & More will open a location in Pleasanton on October 26th.

Edward Cooper, the Vice President for Public Affairs and Community Relations at Total Wine & More’s, told The San Jose Blog, “Our business plan is centered around supporting the local communities we serve. As we bring our trademark pillars of industry-leading service, selection and price to consumers in San Jose and Pleasanton, we are investing in these communities to demonstrate our deep commitment to these areas.”

In addition to charitable donations, Cooper explains that the two new Total Wine & More stores in San Jose and Pleasanton will generate additional retail sales tax for their respective cities, bring more than 100 new job opportunities to the region, and offer a vast selection of more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers to customers.

Check out Total Wine & More at 5140 Cherry Avenue, San Jose, CA 95118.

-Noe Sacoco Jr

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stroll The Alameda on September 17th

The Shasta / Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association along with the Alameda Business Association host a great wine and beer walk each year. It is a great way to explore the neighborhood while sampling local wines and craft beers, listening/dancing to music, and shopping (Alameda stores typically provide special offers during the event).

The 7th Annual "Stroll The Alameda" event takes place Sunday, September 17th from 2-5pm. Tickets are only $25 per person and include 12 tastings, a souvenir glass, and event map (this goes up to $35 on the day of the event). The stroll will start at the Park Ave. Preschool at 1080 The Alameda.

For more information and tickets, head over here!

Monday, August 7, 2017

San Jose's ADEGA and Michelin announce first Michelin All-Star Event

ADEGA is an amazing Portuguese restaurant that became the first and only Michelin-star restaurant in San Jose last year. It is also one of only two Michelin starred Portuguese restaurants in the United States. This September, ADEGA is hosting a special event involving two special meals prepared by four different Portuguese chefs, all of which have Michelin stars.

  • San Jose’s ADEGA Chefs, David Costa and Jessica Carreira
  • Chef George Mendes of Michelin one-starred Aldea in New York, NY
  • Chef Alexandre Silva of Michelin one-starred Loco in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Chef Pedro Lemos of Michelin one-starred Pedro Lemos in Porto, Portugal

This special event will take place on September 12th and 14th. Each meal will consist of seven courses, each with a carefully selected wine pairing. After the meal, there is also a networking opportunity with the all-star cast of Portuguese chefs. Part part of the proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry - California.

Tickets for this exclusive experience are $375 per person, which includes food, wine pairing, tax, and service. It is pricey, but is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a meal prepared by so many decorated chefs. You can learn more or make reservations over here.

Update: The September 13th event has been moved to September 14th

Friday, July 7, 2017

San Jose Beer & Wine Tours

It is amazing how many great wineries and breweries we have within a 30 mile radius of San Jose. One of the best ways to experience these places right in our backyard is with a tour led by a knowledgeable designated driver. I just came across Tommy John's which specializes in both wine and beer tours.

The beer tours caught my eye since most of them are located in San Jose proper. Potential tour stops include Hermitage Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewery, Strike Brewing Co. and Warehouse Tap Room, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Rabbits Foot Meadery, Golden State Brewery, Taplands, and JP Das Brew Tasting Room. Each tour features four different stops with multiple tastings at each one, behind-the-scenes tours, a picnic boxed lunch, snacks, refreshments on the bus, and discounts for "souvenirs" to take home and drink later. The epic 5.5 hour tour runs Wednesday through Sunday and costs $139 per person. It isn't cheap, but sounds like a worthy excursion for beer lovers.

Their wine tours are similar four-stop excursions that last 5 to 6.5 hours and feature as many as 23 (!) varietals to try. The wineries are mostly centered around Los Gatos and Santa Cruz, providing scenic drives to compliment the tastings. The wine tours range from $149-189 per person and include the tastings, lunch, and snacks.

For more information and to see all of their tours, head over to the Tommy John's website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fifth Annual Stroll The Alameda - This Sunday

The Shasta / Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association in conjunction with the Alameda Business Association is hosting the fifth annual "Stroll the Alameda event" on August 23rd from 2pm-5pm. Tickets purchased in advanced are $25 per person and includes 12 tastings (take an Uber home). On the day of the event, the cost goes up to $35 per person.

Participating venues include Art Boutiki, Black & Brown, La Dolce Velo, Tee Nee Thai, The Arsenal, Whole Foods, Wine Affairs, The Usuals/SJ Made, and many more. The event starts in front of Crema Coffee (950 The Alameda), where you will get a wine or beer glass and a map of all locations.

For more information, click here. Big thanks to Alex Shoor for sending this in!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Coterie Cellars Winery Coming to the Downtown San Jose Area

Coterie is a small winery that produces distinctive wines from a variety of California vineyards. They make every wine from berry to bottle by hand and it looks like they specialize on Pinot Noirs with some Syrahs, Roussannes and Viogniers complimenting their portfolio. You can find their wines at The Ritz-Carlton, The Fairmont, Vintage Wine Merchants, and some of the best restaurants in Silicon Valley.

Currently they are located in Willow Glen and are renovating a vacant building at 885 West Julian Street to become their new permanent home. The location is about a block away from the new Whole Foods on The Alameda and a few blocks from the SAP Center. Coterie will be open for tastings every week from Thursday through Sunday.

Coterie will also host one-hour tasting classes that cover the wine-making process, aromas, and flavors. Each class includes samples of several wines paired with cheeses. To register for an upcoming class, click here.

While Coterie is not the first tasting room in the area (try Sherman Cellars at 40 Post), it is the first full-blown winery that I have ever heard about in the area. You will be able to see exactly how Coterie makes their wines and do tastings directly from the barrel. This is yet another neat attraction to look forward to in Downtown San Jose Greater Area. Coterie opens up shop in the fall and again will be located at 885 West Julian.

For more information on Coterie Cellars, head over to their website. A big thanks to Jake Smith for sending this in!

UPDATE: Coterie Cellars is technically not in Downtown San Jose, but Shasta/Hanchett Park (The Alameda). Thanks to Alex Shoor for sending in the correction.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

San Pedro Square Market 2nd Annual Wine Pour

The San Pedro Square Market is hosting its 2nd Annual Wine Pour in late June, featuring a both large selection of unique wines and SJ MADE vendors. Pre-sale tickets are available right now! Scroll down for all of the details.

Please Join us for San Pedro Square Market's 2nd Annual Market Wine Pour on June 27th, 2015 featuring Summer Popups by SJMADE!

Sample different wines while strolling through booths filled with unique creations made by San Jose artists. We will be closing down St. John street in order to provide a large selection of unique wines and vendors. Event is free to all ages.

If you are interested in sampling our wines, tasting tickets are $40 pre-sale and include a souvenir glass, $10 gift card to be used at participating San Pedro Square Market restaurants, and 5 drink tickets for 3-oz pours of your favorite wines. Additional drink tickets will be available for purchase at the event. Tickets will be $50 day of event if we don't sellout first, so get your tickets early!

Wine Tasting begins at 1pm, check-in starting at 12pm. Come early and stay late to enjoy the SJMADE Vendor Faire from 12pm-7pm.

We hope to see you there!


Confirmed Wines:
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut
Condes de Albarei Albarino
Pata Negra Verdejo
Pata Negra Rioja
Conde de Valdemar Riojo
Belle Ambiance Chardonnay
Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon
Massimo Sauvignon Blanc
Irony Pinot Noir
Handcraft Petite Sirah
Buena Vista Chardonnay
Buena Vista Cabernet
Buena Vista Merlot
Buena Vista Zinfandel
Buena Vista Pinot Noir
Clos Lachance Chardonnay
Clos Lachance Sauvignon Blanc
Clos Lachance Cabernet
Clos Lachance Zinfandel
Clos Lachance Meritage

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fourth Annual “Stroll The Alameda” Wine & Beer Stroll

This Sunday come sample local wines and craft brews along the Alameda while checking out 17 different businesses participating in the 4th Annual "Stroll the Alameda." In addition to great drinks, you'll have music, painting, and other activities. Tickets are only $25 in advance and include a souvenir glass. As usual, the details are below.

Hat-tip to our friend Alex Shoor for sending this in (and congrats on joining the Shasta / Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association board).

When: Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 2pm to 5pm

What: The Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association (S/HPNA) and Alameda Business Association (ABA) will co-host the fourth annual Stroll The Alameda Wine & Beer Stroll. Local businesses along The Alameda are paired with a local winery or local kraft brewery. Participants in the Stroll will receive a souvenir glass and a map for participating business along a condensed stretch of The Alameda in San Jose between Hester and Atlas.

Where: Browse 17 business locations along The Alameda while tasting some of the best beer and wine the local area has to offer. For a complete and updated listing of participating businesses, visit

Tickets: The Stroll the Alameda Wine & Beer Stroll tickets are $25 in advance or $35 on the day of the event. Tickets include a souvenir glass and wine and/or beer tastings. Advance tickets are available at Day of event tickets can be purchased at the check-in booth in front of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Enjoy many activities for all ages during the event. The lawn at Westminster will serve as the central entertainment hub with a band playing on the steps, live painting, face painting, as well as many other activities. Bring the family, a blanket, and enjoy a lovely day along The Alameda. Additionally, several businesses will feature music at their location. Use #strollthealameda to share your event photos!

For more information: or

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wine Walk - Japantown San Jose

Another monthly San Jose event kicked off last weekend. Every 2nd Saturday, you'll be able to do a wine crawl in Japantown featuring 15-20 different wineries! More info below, or click here to buy tickets for future wine walks.



Join us every 2nd Saturday of the month in Japantown, San Jose where retailers and restaurants open their doors for fun seekers & wine enthusiasts alike from 2pm to 5pm.

Every month, Wine Walk Japantown will have 15 to 20 different wineries, with two local wineries exclusively featured. A portion of the proceeds benefit a different local non-profit every month and the Japantown Business Association. Hosted by Jack's Bar & Lounge.

MISSION Wine Walk Japantown aims to provide a great monthly event for the community and neighborhood, bring new and additional foot traffic and business to the area, and help support local non-profits and wineries.

RSVP your tickets here! Tickets can also be can be purchased by visiting Jack's Bar or any of the participating businesses.

Print out your tickets and redeem the day of the event for a signature wine glass and 15 to 20 one ounce tasting pours (depending on the number of participating businesses).

Additional wine and drinks can be purchased during the event at locations that already sell drinks during normal business hours and at the end of the event at Jack's Bar during and after the raffle. Every participant receives one entry in the raffle. Must be present to win.