A chicken sandwich from Scratch Cookery in San Jose.
Scratch Cookery is the go-to spot for Nashville hot chicken sandwiches in the South Bay. Photo courtesy of Visit San Jose.

San Jose is a city filled with stories, but which stories do our destination sales and marketing teams tell to best drive visitor dollars into our city? It’s important these stories promise and deliver on something that is unique, differentiate us from other California destinations and illuminate who we are.

While there are many great stories in San Jose, perhaps the most delicious one we tell is through our culinary offerings. Is there a better way to showcase how truly global our city is?

We work with great partners to differentiate and share our offerings, and Visit California is one of our greatest. Two articles written by Visit California, in partnership with Visit San Jose, explore San Jose through our food. One highlights our incredible markets. Don’t want to cook? Another article challenges foodies to explore San Jose restaurants.

Anthony Bourdain said the best advice for getting to know a place is to head straight for the town’s central food market because you really get a sense of “what a culture loves most dear.” San Jose is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S. and one of the best ways to experience what we hold dear is to explore our many international flavors.

Craving world travel? Enjoy this sample from SanJose.org blogs and dine your way around the globe in a weeklong progressive foodie itinerary through San Jose. Bon Appetite!

Monday: Latin America & The Caribbean

Back A Yard Caribbean Grill


Best jerk chicken in town, also order Jamaican patties, salad “yard” bowls and don’t skip the sweet potato pie or key lime pie.

Mariscos Costa Alegre


Founded by the Hernandez-Barón family who emigrated from Mexico, María de Guadalupe Barón, Marco Hernandez and their son operate all locations, specializing in the traditional seafood of Mexico.

Maya’s Cafe


Located in an unassuming strip mall, this is a favorite for locals. Don’t miss its famous specialty, the pollo frito platter with rice, plantains and a side of beans.



Mezcal boasts one of the most distinctive dining rooms in San Jose and proudly serves authentic Oaxacan regional cuisine using family recipes passed on through generations.

Taurinus Brazilian Steakhouse


This spot’s famous dishes include the beef sirloin entree and passion fruit mouse. Also order a can of Guarana soda, made from the exotic fruit from the Amazon rainforest.

Tuesday: United Kingdom & Ireland

Britannia Arms

United Kingdom

What locals call “The Brit” is San Jose’s premier neighborhood British Pub. Enjoy the authentic pub menu including its popular corned beef and cabbage or fish and chips.

O’Flaherty’s Pub


The absolute best in real Irish hospitality and atmosphere, the pub serves perfectly poured Guinness, an extensive Irish and Scotch whiskey selection and an outstanding 38 beers on tap.

Wednesday: The Mediterranean, Middle East & Africa

Falafel’s Drive-In

Middle East

Perhaps you’ve seen Falafel’s Drive-In on the Food Network Show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Stop in for a classic falafel pita sandwich and the famous banana shake.

LeYou Ethiopian


LeYou is an eco-friendly and contemporary Ethiopian restaurant run by chef and co-owner Aida Taye. LeYou offers a lighter and flavorful approach to Ethiopian cuisine.

Thursday: Southeast Asia

Famous Lao Papaya Restaurant


This family-owned restaurant offers its famous Lao sausages in both entrees and frozen packages.

Pho Ha Noi San Jose


You can’t be in San Jose without trying pho from Little Saigon. Each Vietnamese restaurant caters to the flavors reflective of the different regions of Vietnam. At Pho Ha Noi in Vietnam Town Plaza in Little Saigon, it’s delicious Northern Vietnam-style noodle soups.



Singaporean modern classics are served in this trendy restaurant and bar. Favorites include the coconut fried rice and laksa noodle soup.

Friday: Continental Europe

Le Papillon


Le Papillon Restaurant is a culinary gem known for its exquisite French cuisine and elegant ambiance.

Paesano Ristorante Italiano


Located in the heart of Little Italy, local favorites include fritto di calamari, fresh pasta dishes like the pappardelle alexandra and cannoli for dessert.



Petiscos is a new casual restaurant by Michelin-star Adega focusing on small plates for the table to share. Don’t miss the duck rice or the wine list.

Teske’s Germania Restaurant & Beer Garden


Local family-owned and run restaurant offering up authentic German cuisine. Try the baked pork shank, the sausage combo and apple strudel.

Saturday: East Asia

Danbi Korean


From the savory bulgogi to the perfectly crispy kimchi pancakes, every bite at Danbi delights the taste buds and keeps us coming back.

Din Tai Fung


This famous Taiwanese dumpling house is a foodie favorite.



This place is the real deal. The menu brims with teriyaki, udon, tempura, curries, donburi and sashimi.

Q Pot Korean BBQ & Hot Pot


Turn mealtime into an interactive activity.

Sushi Confidential


Sushi Confidential combines high quality sushi and other Asian influenced foods, within a fun and energetic atmosphere.

Sunday: American

Jackie’s Place

Specializing in soul food, Jackie’s Place offers fried chicken and catfish or shrimp and grits along with black eyed peas and hush puppies. Save room for pecan or sweet potato pie or a red velvet cupcake.

Scratch Cookery

Scratch Cookery is the go-to spot for Nashville hot chicken sandwiches in the South Bay.

The Table

The Table commits to delivering delicious food that highlights the quality of the ingredients sourced free of over manipulation.

Limiting entries due to space was challenging. We’re blessed with so many dining options. Please add your favorites in the comments and tag us with recommendations on social media, #sanjoseeats to keep the #sanjoselove going. Remember sanjose.org and visitcalifornia.com are here to help too.

San José Spotlight columnist John LaFortune is the president and CEO of Team San Jose, the nonprofit parent company of Visit San Jose, the city’s official destination marketing organization. Team San Jose also manages the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and entertainment venues including the California Theatre, the Center for Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater and San Jose Civic. Contact John at [email protected].

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