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The 15 Hottest New Restaurants in Silicon Valley, April 2016

Where to eat in California's Silicon Valley

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Today, Eater returns to California's Silicon Valley to focus on 15 newish restaurants that have been garnering some serious buzz. It's been over a year since the last Silicon Valley heatmap and, as like last time around, San Jose resident and food writer Jeffrey Cianci has kindly shared his picks for the hottest dining the region has to offer.

Among his selections, perhaps none had more pre-opening hype than three Michelin-starred Manresa chef David Kinch's foray into casual, New Orleans-inspired fare (The Bywater). Also on the list: plenty of gastropubs, including one taking its menu cues from London street foods (The Oxford), an of-the-moment, fast-casual poke outfit (Poki Bowl), and plenty of places to get a good drink (Dan Gordon's, The Vesper, Taplands). Without further ado, and in geographical order from north to south, the Eater Heatmap to Silicon Valley:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bird Dog

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420 Ramona St
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 656-8180
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An ultra-modern stunner worthy of the trendy San Francisco restaurant scene has found its way down the Peninsula at Bird Dog in Palo Alto. Executive chef and owner Robbie Wilson has previously worked for Nobu Matsuhisa at his restaurant in Aspen as well as for Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. Wilson’s time at both is evident in Bird Dog’s menu of East Asia-meets-California small plates — like wood-grilled avocado with ponzu sauce and dab of fresh wasabi.

2. Dan Gordon's

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640 Emerson St
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 324-1960
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After selling the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant ownership to CraftWorks several years ago, Dan Gordon has returned to the original location of Gordon Biersch to open a new gastropub and brewery. Dan Gordon’s emphasizes barbecue (go for the 12-hour pulled pork sandwich and don't shy away from the potent garlic fries), whiskey (several served on tap), and beer, including both the original lineup of Gordon Biersch beers as well as beers brewed on site.

3. The Oxford

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195 S Murphy Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94088
(408) 245-8500
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The Oxford gastropub serves a menu inspired by the street food of London such as fish and chips and tikka masala alongside a menu of craft cocktails, beers, and wine. Being a proper London cocktail bar, there is a menu of drinks exclusively made with gin. The British inspiration also shines through in the Oxford Mule made with earl grey-infused vodka.

4. Taplands

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1171 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 709-2990
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This small tap room and microbrewery serves a collection of craft beer with an emphasis on California labels such as Almanac Beer Company (San Francisco) and Knee Deep Brewing Company (Auburn). Taplands also sells a collection of bottled beer and serves a small food menu of cheese plates, salads, and paninis.

5. Poorboy's Cajun Kitchen

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2605 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95051
This aptly named Cajun restaurant offers a dozen varieties of po’boy sandwiches as well as a menu of cajun classics such as shellfish boils and fried seafood baskets. Besides the seafood offerings, an order of the pungent and flavorful garlic noodles is a must. Craft beers are available by the bottle or on draft where they are served in mason jars. However, if a mason jar of beer isn’t your speed, the restaurant also has 88-ounce beer bazookas available.
Courtesy of Poorboy's Cajun Kitchen

6. Leichi

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246 Saratoga Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 824-9052
With new ownership, Leichi replaces the Japanese restaurant Hoshi. The small restaurant joins a short list of similar local eateries (such as GocHi in Cupertino) which offer an authentic izakaya experience of Japanese small plates. Keep an eye out for artfully plated dishes showcasing luxurious ingredients like Kobe beef, fresh uni, and handmade soba noodles. Take your pick of beverages from a menu of fine sake and imported Japanese beer.

7. Our House

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185 Park Ave Ste 189
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 372-4135
This small bistro serves breakfast and lunch and prides itself on using only local, organic, and seasonal ingredients free from any GMO’s. The lunch menu features hearty and wholesome sandwiches and salads. For breakfast, Our House offers both light options such as the Greek yogurt parfait as well as the hearty grass-feed skirt steak along cage-free eggs.

8. Roots & Rye

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334 Santana Row Ste 1030
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 429-2909
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At Roots & Rye, modern American comfort food is paired with a craft cocktail menu centered around an impressive collection of artisanal whiskey. In addition to the made-to-order cocktails, Roots & Rye features a rotating menu of barrel-aged cocktails as well as cocktails on tap such as the Old Pal with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and Italian aperitif. The laid-back decor features comfy couches inside and cozy fire pits on the patio, but an open kitchen and a chef's table keeps things sophisticated.

9. The Blue Door Restaurant & Bar

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1502 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 866-4176
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This family-owned restaurant serves a menu of American and Greek comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a modern and elegant setting. Hearty dishes such as the lamb burger and braised short ribs over orzo are paired with a full bar that pours local craft beers and modern cocktails.

10. The Vesper

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394 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
The Vesper is a new cocktail lounge in downtown Campbell from local chef and restaurateur Jim Stump (The Table, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Stumpy's Burgers, Fries & Dogs). Craft cocktails and an eclectic menu of spiffy small plates — like chicken liver tartine, roasted brussels sprouts, and a poke bowl with shiitake and enoki mushrooms — are served in a cozy and romantic setting.

11. Poki Bowl

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4750 Almaden Expy
San Jose, CA 95118
(530) 430-7654
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The poke explosion has hit Silicon Valley. Poki Bowl offers customizable poke bowls — start with either rice bowl or salad — featuring spicy tuna, salmon, yellowtail, octopus, or shrimp. Despite being in the corner of a large shopping mall, Poki Bowl is already enjoying lunch and dinner crowds who have been turned on to the poke trend.

12. Bell Tower Cafe

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20490 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd
Saratoga, CA 95070
(408) 741-1104
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This neighborhood cafe operates in what was a once a church built in the late 1800s. Recently the concept has been changed from a European café to a menu of traditional American breakfast, lunch, and baked goods. The welcomed shakeup has grown the already popular neighborhood bistro into a new South Bay brunch destination. Bell Tower uses locally grown ingredients, prepares their baked goods daily as well as makes their potato chips in house.

13. Relish Gastro Lounge

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14583 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070
(408) 867-3110
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Sent Sovi chef and owner Josiah Sloane has converted the former fine dining restaurant — a storied space originally opened by David Kinch — to a gastropub with a menu of gourmet small plates such as buffalo carpaccio and deviled eggs topped with caviar. For drinks, Relish offers an extensive menu of craft beers and wine.

14. The Bywater

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526 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 560-9639
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The Bywater is three-Michelin-star chef David Kinch’s edible homage to New Orleans. The concise menu features po’boys, gumbo, and classic New Orleans cocktails such as the Hurricane and Sazerac. Being just down the street from Manresa, don’t be surprised if Kinch stops by to check in at Bywater. He has even been seen delivering dishes to customer’s tables.

15. Black Sheep Brasserie

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1202 Lincoln Ave
San Jose, CA 95125
(408) 816-7251
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Black Sheep Brasserie is a new bistro from Stephen Shelton and Jimmy Marino, co-founders of the Lexington House in Los Gatos. The duo has infused their passion for craft cocktails into the bar program at Black Sheep, while Lexington House chef Philippe Brennan has tapped Jeff Fitzgerald of Dio Deka to head the kitchen. The menu features new American twists on classic French dishes such as duck a l’orange with farro and confit hash.

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1. Bird Dog

420 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301
An ultra-modern stunner worthy of the trendy San Francisco restaurant scene has found its way down the Peninsula at Bird Dog in Palo Alto. Executive chef and owner Robbie Wilson has previously worked for Nobu Matsuhisa at his restaurant in Aspen as well as for Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. Wilson’s time at both is evident in Bird Dog’s menu of East Asia-meets-California small plates — like wood-grilled avocado with ponzu sauce and dab of fresh wasabi.
420 Ramona St
Palo Alto, CA 94301

2. Dan Gordon's

640 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301
After selling the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant ownership to CraftWorks several years ago, Dan Gordon has returned to the original location of Gordon Biersch to open a new gastropub and brewery. Dan Gordon’s emphasizes barbecue (go for the 12-hour pulled pork sandwich and don't shy away from the potent garlic fries), whiskey (several served on tap), and beer, including both the original lineup of Gordon Biersch beers as well as beers brewed on site.
640 Emerson St
Palo Alto, CA 94301

3. The Oxford

195 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94088
The Oxford gastropub serves a menu inspired by the street food of London such as fish and chips and tikka masala alongside a menu of craft cocktails, beers, and wine. Being a proper London cocktail bar, there is a menu of drinks exclusively made with gin. The British inspiration also shines through in the Oxford Mule made with earl grey-infused vodka.
195 S Murphy Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94088

4. Taplands

1171 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95050
This small tap room and microbrewery serves a collection of craft beer with an emphasis on California labels such as Almanac Beer Company (San Francisco) and Knee Deep Brewing Company (Auburn). Taplands also sells a collection of bottled beer and serves a small food menu of cheese plates, salads, and paninis.
1171 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95050

5. Poorboy's Cajun Kitchen

2605 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051
Courtesy of Poorboy's Cajun Kitchen
This aptly named Cajun restaurant offers a dozen varieties of po’boy sandwiches as well as a menu of cajun classics such as shellfish boils and fried seafood baskets. Besides the seafood offerings, an order of the pungent and flavorful garlic noodles is a must. Craft beers are available by the bottle or on draft where they are served in mason jars. However, if a mason jar of beer isn’t your speed, the restaurant also has 88-ounce beer bazookas available.
2605 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95051

6. Leichi

246 Saratoga Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050
With new ownership, Leichi replaces the Japanese restaurant Hoshi. The small restaurant joins a short list of similar local eateries (such as GocHi in Cupertino) which offer an authentic izakaya experience of Japanese small plates. Keep an eye out for artfully plated dishes showcasing luxurious ingredients like Kobe beef, fresh uni, and handmade soba noodles. Take your pick of beverages from a menu of fine sake and imported Japanese beer.
246 Saratoga Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95050

7. Our House

185 Park Ave Ste 189, San Jose, CA 95113
This small bistro serves breakfast and lunch and prides itself on using only local, organic, and seasonal ingredients free from any GMO’s. The lunch menu features hearty and wholesome sandwiches and salads. For breakfast, Our House offers both light options such as the Greek yogurt parfait as well as the hearty grass-feed skirt steak along cage-free eggs.
185 Park Ave Ste 189
San Jose, CA 95113

8. Roots & Rye

334 Santana Row Ste 1030, San Jose, CA 95128
At Roots & Rye, modern American comfort food is paired with a craft cocktail menu centered around an impressive collection of artisanal whiskey. In addition to the made-to-order cocktails, Roots & Rye features a rotating menu of barrel-aged cocktails as well as cocktails on tap such as the Old Pal with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and Italian aperitif. The laid-back decor features comfy couches inside and cozy fire pits on the patio, but an open kitchen and a chef's table keeps things sophisticated.
334 Santana Row Ste 1030
San Jose, CA 95128

9. The Blue Door Restaurant & Bar

1502 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
This family-owned restaurant serves a menu of American and Greek comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a modern and elegant setting. Hearty dishes such as the lamb burger and braised short ribs over orzo are paired with a full bar that pours local craft beers and modern cocktails.
1502 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129

10. The Vesper

394 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008
The Vesper is a new cocktail lounge in downtown Campbell from local chef and restaurateur Jim Stump (The Table, Los Gatos Brewing Company, Stumpy's Burgers, Fries & Dogs). Craft cocktails and an eclectic menu of spiffy small plates — like chicken liver tartine, roasted brussels sprouts, and a poke bowl with shiitake and enoki mushrooms — are served in a cozy and romantic setting.
394 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008

11. Poki Bowl

4750 Almaden Expy, San Jose, CA 95118
The poke explosion has hit Silicon Valley. Poki Bowl offers customizable poke bowls — start with either rice bowl or salad — featuring spicy tuna, salmon, yellowtail, octopus, or shrimp. Despite being in the corner of a large shopping mall, Poki Bowl is already enjoying lunch and dinner crowds who have been turned on to the poke trend.
4750 Almaden Expy
San Jose, CA 95118

12. Bell Tower Cafe

20490 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070
This neighborhood cafe operates in what was a once a church built in the late 1800s. Recently the concept has been changed from a European café to a menu of traditional American breakfast, lunch, and baked goods. The welcomed shakeup has grown the already popular neighborhood bistro into a new South Bay brunch destination. Bell Tower uses locally grown ingredients, prepares their baked goods daily as well as makes their potato chips in house.
20490 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd
Saratoga, CA 95070

13. Relish Gastro Lounge

14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070
Sent Sovi chef and owner Josiah Sloane has converted the former fine dining restaurant — a storied space originally opened by David Kinch — to a gastropub with a menu of gourmet small plates such as buffalo carpaccio and deviled eggs topped with caviar. For drinks, Relish offers an extensive menu of craft beers and wine.
14583 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070

14. The Bywater

526 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95030
The Bywater is three-Michelin-star chef David Kinch’s edible homage to New Orleans. The concise menu features po’boys, gumbo, and classic New Orleans cocktails such as the Hurricane and Sazerac. Being just down the street from Manresa, don’t be surprised if Kinch stops by to check in at Bywater. He has even been seen delivering dishes to customer’s tables.
526 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030

15. Black Sheep Brasserie

1202 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA 95125
Black Sheep Brasserie is a new bistro from Stephen Shelton and Jimmy Marino, co-founders of the Lexington House in Los Gatos. The duo has infused their passion for craft cocktails into the bar program at Black Sheep, while Lexington House chef Philippe Brennan has tapped Jeff Fitzgerald of Dio Deka to head the kitchen. The menu features new American twists on classic French dishes such as duck a l’orange with farro and confit hash.
1202 Lincoln Ave
San Jose, CA 95125

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