purplegemdowntownsanjoseDowntown Gems

Downtown Gems are tips for the best places to go in the neighborhood, as recommended by business and property owners, downtown employees, our Facebook fans and SJDA staff.

These are the places that provide us with total pleasure and enjoyment, put us in the moment, fit perfectly into our lifestyles, and fill our senses


Click here if you’d like to recommend one-of-a-kind, only-in-downtown-San Jose Downtown Gems.

Number on map
name
address
description
type
1 Billy Berk's Restaurant99 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113"Our staff goes twice a month because they have a good happy hour and will accommodate larger groups -- sometimes we have up to 20 people. We also like the outdoor patio and food-wise their chicken wings and corn bread." - Tiffany Rogers, Level StudiosRestaurant
2Camera 12 Cinemas201 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113"Great selection of films; theaters have a cozy feel. They are comfortable and unique." - Jun Kim, Cell Towns Verizon WirelessEntertainment
3 Cafe Too!10 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113"I personally love inside the SJMoA a great for lunch surrounded by all those creative pieces." - Courtney Smith, PureMatterCafe
4 Freshly Baked Eatery152 N 3rd St #101, San Jose, CA 95112"They do a good job, are nice, serve great sandwiches and I love their fresh bread." - Henry Coca, Hank Coca_ Downtown FurnitureRestaurant
5Good Karma restaurant37 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113If you are a meat-eater (as I am) you should go in anyway as the food is all very very good and a nice change of pace. You are not going to believe the vegan chicken is real chicken, but you will get a taste treat. Run by very nice and decent folks, too. - Dan Vado, SLG Publishing and SLG Art BoutikiRestaurant
6San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art560 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113"They have the excellent SJSU MFA Graduate Exhibition currently on view." - Barbara HoriuchiEntertainment
7KALEID Gallery88 S 4th St, San Jose, CA 95112"Two dollar Tuesday's at Kaleid's. Chance to see some good local art talent, and buy it cheap." - Scott DalgleishEntertainment
8Los Cubanos22 N Almaden Ave, San Jose, CA 95110"I love Los Cubanos best Cuban food around. Family owned, great service and a total gem." - Elizabeth GloverRestaurant
9SmokeEaters29 S 3rd St, San Jose, CA 95113"They have great wings." - Jeff HansenRestaurant
10Dakao sandwiches98 E San Salvador St, San Jose, CA 95112"Tasty and fresh sandwiches that come with a spicy sauce that's out of this world and at a price that cannot be beat. It's an experience right out of Southeast Asia." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
11 Fairmont Hotel lobby lounge170 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113"High tea on weekends is fun." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
12Mexico Bakery87 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, 95113"The tortas are handsdown the best in the Bay." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
13 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and the San Jose State University campus1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192"Both are interesting and great places to walk. The library is huge on the inside, and the campus is beautiful." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffEntertainment
14Muchos!72 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95112"The regular chicken burrito cooked over oak with lots of garlic included and owner Nestor Daniel's sauces are phenomenal." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
15The Hedley Lounge(inside Hotel De Anza)233 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113"One of the best rooms in San Jose (restored from art deco era), with live jazz Thurs - Sat. (and on 1st and 3rd Wed's), and great cocktails to boot." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffBar
16Trials Pub 265 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113"Authentic British pub with great beer selection on draft (even draft cider) and solid food, not your regular pub fare, hearty British influenced specials and vegetarian options too. Intimate atmosphere - no TVs - real dartboard, and popular trivia nights on Mondays at 8pm (but get there by 7:30pm to get a seat)." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffBar
17Teske's Germania255 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95110"Family owned and run authentic German restaurant/bar, always changing 'specials of the day' offer unique, German-inspired dishes apart from the usual California fare. They have a great selection of German and European beers on tap and a great patio - with live music during Oktoberfest." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
18Mezcal25 W San Fernando St, San Jose, CA 95113"Traditional Oaxacan cuisine in an upscale, yet comfortable atmosphere, complete with indigenous Mexican motifs. Special touch that the manager Adolfo Gomez is usually there to greet you and the recipes are from Chef Dona Libo's grandmother _straight from Oaxaco, Mexico (they are known for their moles). They also offer Tequila and Mezcal tastings and have of the best patios in San Jose _ the feel of a European plaza _ and sometimes music programmed in the summer." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
19Angelou's Mexican Grill 21 N 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113"Great for casual dining or to go lunch and they even have their late night permit so this is the best food for Fri. and Sat. late nights. Healthy and unique authentic Mexican food made and served by the owners who work the grill and register. Their Taco de Pappa (fried potato with all the best toppings) is one of the best finds in town and locals rave about their daily specials like Green Pork Pozole and Cream of Poblana soup - plus they are veggie friendly and offer a 'Taco Tuesdays' special that will fill you up for under $7." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffRestaurant
20Caffe Frascati315 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113"The quality of coffee, drink and light food offerings are indicative of the owner's experiences in Europe. All the way down to the atmosphere - as well as the unique programming of entertainment (Opera singers, open mic nights, live bands, poetry readings, films). This is always a reliable place to stop if you are looking to escape (or even plug into free WIFI and work)." - San Jose Downtown Association StaffCafe