Singaporean cuisine claims a diverse culinary genealogy. With influences from China, Malay, and India, it's no wonder Shiok! Singapore Kitchen's menu boasts dishes ranging from beef samosas and chicken satay to Singapore pepper crab and vermicelli noodles tossed with curry. This history and tradition is embodied by the restaurant’s name: exclamations of the Singaporean term “shiok!” can often be heard ringing around the table at the conclusion of an enjoyable meal.
After ten hours of slow-cooking, the barbecue ribs at Joe’s American Bar & Grill land on tables tender and ready to fall of the bone. Served with fresh-made coleslaw, these ribs are the centerpiece of a menu overflowing with upscale comfort food. Chefs cut potatoes by hand to accompany bacon cheeseburgers topped with aged cheddar and bread-and-butter pickles made in-house rather than flown in by a talking stork. Grilled pizzas are made fresh to order and never frozen, and hefty sandwiches and hand-cut steaks stack plates with sustenance. On the weekends, brunch dishes come out of hibernation to sate guests with made-to-order omelets and specialties such as eggs benedict and prime-rib hash. Diners enjoy the fresh air on the outdoor patio or cluster around the bar to keep track of sports scores or find out who really got married on Days of Our Lives.
From the lofted ceiling, an elegant, oversized chandelier illuminates understated cream-colored walls and aromatic Tuscan cuisine crafted from fresh local produce. A recently updated menu orbits around handcrafted pastas and vegetarian options such as cheese ravioli embellished with mushrooms, artichokes, and bell peppers ($13.95). Lighter-than-air gnocchi ($13.95) threaten to shake off pesto and a dainty drop of cream to float off and join cloud circuses. Grilled tomatoes and basmati rice rush at each other in a jousting match over the honor of a saffron-and-lemon-marinated leg of lamb ($19.95), and the chef delicately sautés a salmon fillet in cold-pressed virgin olive oil before leaving it balanced atop an amalgamation of veggies still clutching farewell gifts from scarecrows ($19.95).
A baby-blue "Bienvenidos" greets customers as they step into the warm yellows and oranges of El Sinaloense Mexican Restaurant. Vibrant portraits of south-of-the-border feasts and beaches embellish the sun-toned walls, between which the waitstaff frequently refills each table's bottomless bowl of housemade salsa. Diners chase chips with seafood specialties born on the shores of Sinaloa, such as the topolobampo, a fillet of grilled fish crowned with clams, prawns, and octopus. A more traditional Mexican plate, the Molcajete stars jalapeños, onions, and cheese next to chicken and shrimp simmered with nopales.
Since 1984, Fontana’s has dished out heaping helpings of Italian fare fused with Californian and Mediterranean influences. This canola-championing eatery boasts dinner and lunch menus packed with from-scratch pasta and seafood dishes backed up by a steady stream of homemade desserts. Accent any meal with a suitable selection from the expansive wine list, which features homegrown California nectars along with Italian-born blends of grown-up grape juice. Diners can slurp spaghetti fountain-side on the luscious patio or discuss the cultural ramifications of the painting Dogs Playing Poker by the cozy light of a flickering fireplace in the elegant dining room.
The epicurean alchemists at Medallion Steakhouse start with organic produce, and grass- and corn-fed beef and chicken raised on local farms and transform them into fine, innovative dishes. Specialists tend the raw oyster bar, where guests sidle up to string necklaces of pearls from varieties such as Fanny Bay, Marin Miyagi, and Kumamoto oysters. With their appetites roused, diners then settle down into oversize booths padded with plush pillows to dig into farm-fresh entrees. Smells of sizzling 14-ounce grass-fed steaks and roasted chicken breasts from Petaluma Farms swirl through the air between the restaurant’s exposed-brick wall hung with red-and-white-framed mirrors. A wall of white birch tree trunks and soft sounds of a waterfall's trickle keep diners comforted as they linger for a forkful of hazelnut dark-chocolate mousse and sips of spirits such as a 20-year-old tawny port and Godiva white-chocolate liqueur.
Brothers Steven and Matthew Hardin opened the first Hawgs Seafood Bar in Campbell on December 13, 1996, dishing out fresh oysters on the half shell, steamed clams and mussels, and plates of lobster, paella, and grilled salmon. The restaurant takes its name from the brothers' childhood in Los Gatos, when Matt earned the nickname "Hogs Jaws" thanks to his speedy work at the dinner table and word-for-word quotations of speeches from Animal Farm. Today, the family celebrates the proud tradition of sharing special moments with loved ones while devouring everything in sight through a spread of ocean-fresh meals such as garlic-roasted shrimp and pan-seared scallops, all accented by frosty beers and an ample selection of wines.