Eat Like a Local in San Jose: 5 no-frills food stops

While San Jose is synonymous with Silicon Valley, its character is far more idiosyncratic. From its rich international heritage, and diverse communities, to its endless pursuit to create spaces that celebrate culinary, visual and performing arts, San Jose has a distinctive local culture. This is the first post in our “San Jose Like a Local” series, meant to inspire you to discover the real spirit of San Jose.

Do you eat to live? Or do you live to eat? Fellow foodies: San Jose’s budding food scene has more to offer you than you might think! This city is a cultural hub that is truly on top of its cuisine and can cater to your taste buds. When you plan your trip to the cradle of Silicon Valley, bite into San Jose’s rich international heritage and experience the city’s culture with a visit to these local restaurants.

By Nikhil Misra



With the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, San Jose is definitely the place to indulge in authentic and local Vietnamese cuisine, venturing away from pho to something you’ve never had before. Bun Bo Hue An Nam offers entirely authentic Vietnamese delicacies made from scratch.

Try the flavorful Bun Bo Hue soup with tasty ox penis (yes, you read that right), or a jackfruit smoothie. The cozy yet elegant atmosphere, prompt service, generous portions, and smiles with every order ensure that their dishes will hit the spot.


For hearty yet fine dining, hand-crafted drinks, and lively pub ambience, head over to Firehouse No.1 Gastropub. The menu is practically overflowing with truly gratifying options like bone marrow gratin, roasted beet tartar, pork-belly sliders, or their ‘angry’ tiger prawns.Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub

Come with family or friends for a casual and tasty experience!


In San Jose you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better breakfast place than Bill’s Café. From classics like Eggs Benedict, country fried potatoes, and sandwiches or salads to specialty creations like bread pudding French toast, Bill’s Café has extensive options for you to choose from.

Schedule a brunch at Bill’s when planning your trip to enjoy daytime dining like a local!


Mexican food is abundant in the Bay Area, and Iguanas in San Jose is some of the best you could find. Their nacho fries, tortas, and delectable orange sauce are definitely something to taco bout but Iguanas is primarily known as home to the Burritozilla; 5 pounds of delicious monstrosity—as seen on Man vs. Food—handcrafted with fresh ingredients for the powerfully hungry.


San Jose is home to one of just three remaining Japantowns in the nation, and this hidden gem is a must-see for visitors interested in Japanese culture and cuisine. Minato’s offers sushi, udon, katsu, and more and is one of many acclaimed restaurants in the area.

Anthony Bourdain filmed at Minato Restaurant for his CNN series, “Parts Unknown”, which promotes under-appreciated culinary goldmines. This delectable secret may not be so secret after Anthony divulges it so get it while it’s hot!

Want to explore San Jose some more? Make a personalized day-by-day itinerary using your interests in budget in moments at!

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