Eat Like a Local: Italian Food in San Jose

SAN JOSE

When the craving for Italian cuisine strikes, there’s no stopping it. San Jose is the humble home to a robust Italian food scene worth traveling for, with more to offer than first impressions might give. Many of these eateries have even been in la famiglia for decades. We can relate to those cravings, and compiled this list of not-to-be-missed Italian food stops in San Jose to help you satisfy them. Buon Appetito!

ORIGINAL JOE’S

Established in 1956 by the Rocca Family, Original Joe’s Restaurant in San Jose descended from the first Original Joe’s founded in 1937 in San Francisco. A historic cornerstone of Italian food (and of great eateries in general) in Silicon Valley, Original Joe’s serves up Italian favorites with a South Bay flair.

Its time-honored focus on superior service and authentic dishes makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Options range from classics like linguini with clams, ravioli, and spaghetti to extravagant platters of seafood, lamb chops, steak, and chicken cooked at your preference.

When it comes to hearty Italian comfort food, “OJ’s” as fondly referred to by locals, has got the good stuff. Come check it out! 

ANTIPASTOS DELICATESSEN

Family-owned and operated, this ultra-friendly deli features imported gourmet cheeses, fine meats, fresh fish and traditionally prepared Italian dishes for take-home or sit-down. The ravioli at Antipastos Delicatessen is made completely from scratch and rolled out on a 100 year-old ravioli machine!

Sausage, meatballs, and sauces are also made from scratch and bread for their scrumptious sandwiches is baked daily. Home-cooking like lasagna, eggplant parmesan, roast chicken, baked fish, and pasta is on the menu in addition to specials like prime rib and grilled steaks.

Antipastos also boasts one of the largest micro-brew selections in San Jose and wines from their family winery (DeRose Vineyards) so make sure to enjoy a handcrafted beer or glass of wine along with your meal.

71 SAINT PETER 

This isn’t your generic meatballs and red sauce; talk about decadence! Though it’s not solely Italian food, 71 Saint Peter is still a must-visit when you’re in town and is sure to satisfy any desires for Italian.

Relying on local produce, fowl, fish and meats, this European Grill fuses the culinary genius of France and Italy to create exceptional cuisine from the fresh ingredients of San Jose. Carefully crafted meals, artful presentation, and a fine selection of wine have earned Michelin guide recommendations and ZAGAT ratings with high marks!

The place actually serves as a gateway for budding artists, musicians, and photographers to hone and publicize their talents. If it’s an elegant experience you’re looking for, 71 Saint Peter has undeniably fine dining waiting for you. 

IL FORNAIO

Featuring a sophisticated décor and a menu brimming with all the glories of Italian cuisine, Il Fornaio is an upmarket chain serving exquisite dishes from individualized recipes designed to cater to the community. If you’re there early, try the delicious breakfast pastries with Italian roast coffee. If you’re in later, try the excellent seafood dishes like lobster ravioli or go for a tasty pizza.

A vast selection of wines and cocktails are also available to complement each meal. Elegant glassware, hardwood flooring, an outdoor patio, and artistic wall displays make for an inexorably authentic elegance, and lay the groundwork for a phenomenal dining experience.

BERTUCELLI’S LA VILLA DELICATESSEN

At Bertucelli’s La Villa Delicatessen you can indulge in classic recipes made from fresh ingredients. Handmade ravioli stuffed with meats and cheeses, hearty sandwiches, lobster, chicken, and meatballs are among the options. Mouth-watering treats like tiramisu and cannoli are also offered, so make sure to save room or grab some to go.

Heads-up, it can get really crowded so there are often lines! Don’t worry though, this delightful deli is well worth the wait.

PAESANO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

Quaint and unassuming on the outside, but charming and intimate on the inside, Paesano Ristorante Italiano brings out the best of Little Italy in downtown San Jose. Traditional cuisine is prepared from scratch when you order and lemon trees directly outside the restaurant accent the dishes well. Depending on the weather, indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a cozy family dining experience, a sports bar with a flat screen, or live music, Paesano Ristorante is the place to enjoy these along with great Italian cooking.

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

 

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