Drinks & food worth knowing in San Jose

With the help of a few friends, I’ve gathered some links to places worth checking out during WWDC and beyond. Add comments with good stuff I’ve missed! [Update: Thanks to Brendan McKenna for making a Foursquare list version of this post.]


  • Haberdasher (subterranean speakeasy) [Update: They were closed when I went last night; call ahead if interested]
  • San Pedro Square (food, music, outdoor seating)
  • Mezcal (Oaxacan cooking, killer moles & mezcal)
  • Hapa’s Brewery (about 5 min by car from downtown; drinks, art, & cornholing)
  • Santana Row (yes, it’s effectively a goddamn mall, but there are ~20 restaurants, many of them really good; 15 min by car)


Haberdasher (speakeasy; reservations recommended if you want your own table; very small snacks, no meals)
43 W. San Salvador San José, CA 95113

5 Points – Craft Cocktail Bar (good drinks, small snacks)
169 w Santa Clara St

AFK Gamer Lounge – (sort of a sports bar but with video games on the TVs instead of sports)
163 W Santa Clara St

Paper Plane – (craft bar, decent food and dessert)
2 S. First St. San Jose, CA, 95113

Original Gravity – (craft beer, sausage, and duck-fat fries)
66 S 1st Street

ISO Beers (tons of beers on tap, nice outdoor patio)
75 E Santa Clara St

Cafe Stritch (live jazz, food and drinks)
374 S 1st st

Drinks (non-alcoholic)
Boba Bar (good boba, and pretty good lunch)
310 S 3rd St, San Jose, CA 95112

Social Policy (coffee shop with fancier pastries and breakfasts)
200 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

San Pedro Square (lots of great fancy-pants little restaurants & options for drinks under two big roofs, with lots of outdoor seating & often live music)
87 N San Pedro

Poor House (New Orleans-inspired food like po’ boys, near the Shark Tank aka SAP Center)
91 S Autumn St

Mezcal (Oaxacan cooking, great moles & mezcal)

The Loft (two levels, solid food/chow)
90 S 2nd St

SOFA Market (like a mini San Pedro Square, the best ice cream bars in downtown)
387 S 1st street

The Farmers Union (Nice sit-down restaurant near San Pedro Square)
151 W Santa Clara St

La Victoria Taqueria (worthwhile arterial destruction with a splash of orange sauce)
131 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113

Hom Korean Kitchen (good for lunch)
76 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113

Original Joe’s (a downtown institution; Italian food)
301 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113


[Special thanks to Dev Davis & Phil Fernandez]


25 thoughts on “Drinks & food worth knowing in San Jose

  1. Good Karma is much better than a vegan restaurant is supposed to be. This carnivore eats there on every SJ trip. Also good craft beer selection.

    1. +1, Good Karma has a great selection of food, beer, and other drinks

      I recommend trying the jackfruit tacos

  2. Su’s Mongolian BBQ is an excellent Mongolian place. It looks shabby, but it’s by far the best Mongolian food in the area.

    Kong Tofu & BBQ has the best Korean soft tofu stew in the area. Highly recommended.

    Little Dipper Shabu Shabu is the best Hot Pot around. It’s a bit far but well worth the drive.

  3. They look a bit rundown these days, but I’d add La Lune Sucree (Paseo San Antonio, next to the Philz) as they have the best pastries around.

  4. Zona Rosa in San Jose, close to downtown is great “upscale” Mexican food. Highly recommended.

  5. I think Paper Plane is decent, but worth mentioning because it can handle large groups pretty well (teams/meetups, etc.)

  6. The Address for paper planes is different to what they post on their website.

    According to tham, and foursquare, the address is: 72 S 1st St (at Post St), San Jose, CA

    On the topic of foursquare, I would wonder why a list like this would not be created there. I get the openness of the web, and have built webpages of lists since 1995, but foursquare is so well made for this purpose, until Apple Maps let’s us create a list of great places.

    I’ve compiled this list into a foursquare list, hope you like it, and that some people get use out of it:


    1. Great, thanks! I’ll add a link to the doc. It was just a matter of my not having time/knowhow to set up a list.

  7. Highly recommend Back A Yard near San Pedro Square. Best Caribbean food you’ll ever have. Try the jerk pork and ox tail special.

    Also worth checking out: Falafel Drive In near Santana Row and Nick’s Next Door in Los Gatos

  8. Wasn’t really expecting much when we ate Tac-Oh! near SOFA Market back in December. Name is bad. Didn’t love the decor, branding, etc. Almost wrote it off based on that, but it was convenient they had a table, and we were in a hurry. So we gave it a try.

    Glad we did. The food was quite good. Service was also friendly. Would definitely eat there again.

  9. It looks like Haberdasher is having a “staff retreat” this weekend that runs through Tuesday, and they’ll be open again on Wednesday.

  10. If you are visiting the mothership, Mandarin Gourmet in Cupertino. Walking distance from One Infinite Loop

  11. One of my favorites is Orchard City Kitchen (OCK) in Campbell. It is a 15-20 minute drive from downtown SJ and it’s fantastic. Small creative plates, great decor and atmosphere. Not affiliated with them just happen to have an office nearby…

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