Go: Silicon Valley Restos

At the risk of sounding like a snob, I'm going to share a conviction: it's foolish to eat at chain American cafeterias like Olive Garden, Chili's, and Applebee's when you could spend the same amount of money (or less) and eat something yummy and unique.

My family dined at Olive Garden last week and I was reminded what a scam it is. I ordered Chicken Parmigiana from their "Cucina Classica" selections, thinking this would be a safe bet. My expectations were fair for a $16.99 entrée: simple, hearty, and good (not great). What they served me tasted like rubbery frozen filets warmed up and topped with mozzarella. I was reminded yet again that these types of dining institutions are unhealthy, undelicious money pits.

In Silicon Valley, where all cultures of the world collide, it's a veritable crime to spend our money at Olive Garden when we have myriad culinary expeditions right at our finger tips.

Listed below are four of my favorite places to dine in Silicon Valley. Please share your favorite Silicon Valley restos with us in the comments below.

  • Korean: So Gong Dong Tofu House - 4127 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, (650) 424-8805. I recommend bibimbob and BBQ beef.
  • Persian: Rose International Market - 14445 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, (408) 867-1666. I recommend chicken thigh kabob, lamb kabob, shirazi salad, must o khiar (yogurt sauce to eat with kabobs), and ghormeh sabzi (a beef stew).
  • Japanese: Sushi Heaven, 12108 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Saratoga, (408) 777-8774. I like their special rolls—anything with lots of raw salmon (tastes like butter).
  • Thai: Teenee Thai - 1423 The Alameda, San Jose, (408) 947-7927. They serve Belgian beer on tap to complement the curry dishes, it's quite a delightful pairing.
Olive Garden