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Back A Yard
Photograph: Courtesy Back A Yard

The 10 best restaurants in San Jose right now

The best restaurants in San Jose are worth a trip to the South Bay for tasty Mexican, Asian and Portuguese fare

Written by
Virginia Miller
Clara Hogan

It might not have its name written in lights for its culinary offerings, but don’t overlook San Jose’s food scene. The capital of Silicon Valley is choc-a-bloc full of diverse and exciting places to eat, from the freshest burrito bowls to authentic Jamaican comfort food. 

San Jose’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Adega, is still going strong too (and remains at the top of our list), but hurry: you’ve only got until December 2023 to try it. Don’t panic though – the team plan to open up a new spot in early January. But whatever your budget, there’s something in San Jose for you. Here are its best restaurants right now. 

🌴 The essential guide to San Jose

This guide was updated by Bay Area-based writer Clara Hogan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Best restaurants in San Jose

Hurry: Adega is closing its doors in December 2023. 

Adega boasts San Jose’s only Michelin star and is only the second Portuguese restaurant in the US to ever receive the honor. Powerhouse chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira have both cooked in Lisbon, and often host Portuguese chefs from other Michelin-starred restaurants in Porto and Lisbon. Besides being the most ambitious, elegant Portuguese restaurant on the West Coast, Adega also boasts a wine cellar of Portuguese rarities that one almost never sees outside the Iberian Peninsula. Though it's closing in December, it has plans to reopen in Petiscos in January 2024, so watch this space. 

Like the city of San Jose itself, the cuisine served at Straits is diverse and eclectic. The food is inspired by the country of Singapore, which often blends flavors from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India. The result is a mouthwatering and vibrant Asian fusion menu from Chef Chris Yeo, served in dishes meant to be shared among the table. Settle into this trendy, contemporary atmosphere restaurant and get ready to experience flavors from around the world. 


Housed in a charming creekside boarding house built in 1848, La Forêt is surrounded by a lush forest on the outskirts of San Jose. In late 2017, the classic restaurant reopened under new ownership. Its retained much of the same staff and old world elegance, with a la carte dishes, $95–$225 tasting menus and hearty dishes like poached lobster tail in lime beurre blanc or rack of lamb in garlic, rosemary and tarragon mustard.


Aqui Cal-Mex was one of the first fast-casual concepts to open up in Silicon Valley, back in 2010. Since then it's opened several locations, including this one in San Jose in 2019. Here, you'll find a smattering of Mexican dishes – from burritos, to bowls, to tacos – with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The location is quite large, with indoor and outdoor space, and a "Swirl Counter" where you can order the restaurant's signature "Industrial Strength Swirls," which are essentially fruit mixtures swirled with the restaurant’s signature margarita.

Back A Yard serves chef Robert Simpson’s authentic Jamaican comfort food. While downing Jamaican Ting (grapefruit soda), fill up on tender curried goat, jerk chicken and sides like plantains, coconut rice and beans and honey-sweet festivals (a Jamaican staple somewhere between a doughnut and cornbread). Daily specials feature Jamaican specialities like escoveitch (grilled whole fish) or saltfish and ackee, Jamaica’s national dish. 


Naschmarkt offers upscale Austrian food from Austrian-born chef Matthias Froeschl. The menu features European classics like wiener schnitzel, Hungarian goulash and kraut rouladen (a cabbage roll filled with beef, pork and smoked bacon in mushroom demiglace). Save room for Salzburger Knockerl, a warm, souffle-like dessert doused in warm berry sauce.

With spongy injera “bread” as the base, scoop up yemisir wot (red lentils in berbere spice mix), kikil kitfo (finely chopped beef in herbed butter sauce and chili powder) or kik alitcha (yellow peas in turmeric, garlic and ginger) at this tasty Ethiopian restaurant. Sip Ethiopian coffee or honey wine, and for the full experience, go for the traditional floor cushion seating.


This is San Jose's fine-dining destination. Chef Scott Cooper worked his way up from dishwasher, holding nearly every position in the industry before eventually becoming executive chef. His international travels are reflected in modern Cal-French dishes like a ragout of Burgundy snails with fennel panna cotta, linguine and prawns in Cognac truffle cream, and braised duck breast with sour cherry, sage and black forbidden rice.

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