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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as online editor. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in journalism. Though my...  (More)

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Silicon Valley Restaurant Week, Oct. 16-23

Uploaded: Oct 15, 2013
Silicon Valley Restaurant Week is similar to other cities' "Dine Out" events you might have heard of. For a week or so, fancy pants restaurants offer fixed lunch/dinner menus at discounted rates. It's a great chance to eat at places you wouldn't normally splurge on.

Various restaurants in the area are participating for the week of Oct. 16 to Oct. 23. Cost ranges from $35 to $45 per person depending on the restaurant.

Though the fixed menu is somewhat frustrating/can be limiting, all restaurants do offer three different choices for each course (appetizer, entrée and dessert). You can view most places' menus online, which I recommend doing before making a reservation so you can make sure there's something on there that you'd like.

Here's a list of local participating restaurants:

Restaurant & Bar, Mountain View
Bushido, Mountain View
Scott's Seafood, Mountain View
Scratch, Mountain View

California Cafe, Palo Alto
Gravity Bistro & Wine Bar, Palo Alto
Il Fornaio, Palo Alto
Quattro, East Palo Alto (in the Four Seasons Hotel)
Reposado, Palo Alto
Siam Orchid Organic Fine Dining, Palo Alto

LB Steak, Menlo Park

Arya, Redwood City
La Viga, Redwood City

There's also a handful of spots in San Jose (Santana Row, downtown), Cupertino and Los Gatos. For a full list, menus and reservations, click here.

Comments

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:27 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Elena, I am curious why you call a fixed menu "frustrating" or "limiting." Keep in mind:

1. The fixed or limited menu format is exactly what enables these restaurants to offer an interesting meal of their specialties at these reduced prices. That is standard in the local "restaurant weeks" that have sprung up in many regions.

2. Fixed menus (more or less) are how local restaurants operate normally, in many parts of the world. At a typical moderate to somewhat upscale-priced neighborhood restaurant in Europe (not the places Americans read about online from afar, in annual academy-award-style hyping of Michelin stars, but rather, the restaurants where most Europeans eat out often), you'll be offered "le menu" or some such phrase, meaning the day's a prix-fixe meal, often a good value, perhaps advertised on a sidewalk chalkboard outside. US restaurants have a history of going overboard at trying to offer long à-la-carte selections, which may impress some customers, but the reality is that kitchens don't make 100 things equally well, and both the skill and the value become more focused, the more the selection is limited. It is the same reason high-end restaurants have done "tasting menus" for many decades (albeit the practice is new to some people and, indeed, I've heard reports of pretentious places that ape the format just to gain cachet; but that is not fundamentally what "tasting menus" are all about).


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:35 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Quattro is in EAST Palo Alto.

La Viga is wonderful.


Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

Max: Thanks for your comment. I should have chosen my words more carefully. What I meant is that I often hear about specific dishes at places that I really want to try, and they don\'t always appear on the fixed menu for these kind of things. But it is the way to do restaurant weeks and it works well.

You make a few really good points; I hope others will read because they really flush out the post! Menus with a lot of options might seem great superficially, but I completely agree that that can also translate into a lack of focus (and thus, a less delicious meal in the end). I appreciate the reminder of what tasting menus are really about and hope others will as well.


Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

Hmmm: Thank you for pointing that out; I've corrected/clarified Quattro's location. I have yet to try La Viga. Any favorite dishes/recommendations?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Oct 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Everything we've had at La Viga was terrific. It depends on if you're there for lunch or dinner, the size of your appetite & how much money you wish to spend.

For inexpensive lunch, I suggest trying whichever of their tacos appeals to you.

-The chips & salsa are great - the salsa is actually creamy.
The ceviche has a deft touch - really nice
-I've had both the lobster bisque & chile poblano soups - sublime.
-My husband likes their fried snapper sandwich & chicken tacos.
-The shrimp empanada is rich & wonderful
-I liked the shrimp tacos the best. While the others are good, they're not outstanding compared to other tacos locally, but the ingredients are higher quality & better sourced.
-The mahi mahi w/plaintain rice
-The caldo de mariscos, a signature dish, is probably the best I've ever had. You can add various condiments to it, too. Deliciously flavored broth.

You might want to try going for an early dinner, given how crowded it gets, or an early or late lunch. And again - their food quality is higher than many other Mexican restaurants, which makes it a favorite of ours.


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