The winner of Palo Alto Weekly's Best Breakfast award for more than 20 years, Hobee's remains a Silicon Valley institution where night owls and early birds flock together over generous portions of home-cooked delectables in a cozy, casual atmosphere. Browse the menu for a breakfast of three sweet-potato pancakes ($6.75), any of six hash-brown varieties ($7.97), or the Hi Hat Ommie—a combination of diced ham and jack and cheddar cheeses, with country-style hash browns hidden inside like human dignity inside a San Diego Chicken costume ($9.75). Otherwise, prop up eyelids with a simmering cup of Hobee's famous cinnamon orange tea ($2.35) paired with its equally famous blueberry coffee cake ($2.50). Late arrivals to Hobee's can still tickle their taste buds with a bouquet of options such as the honey-pineapple teriyaki salmon ($10.95), the grilled chicken with tropical fruit salsa ($10.95), or the Very Gouda BBQ burger piled high with caramelized onions, rich barbeque sauce, and a Wisconsin's worth of gouda ($9.25).
The Chefs at Pedro’s Restaurant & Cantina tantalize taste buds with a menu of authentic Mexican comestibles. Launch feast fiestas with a trio of mini handmade sopes chock-full of veggies, chicken, or beef and sprinkled in cotija cheese ($8). Patrons can stick with traditional entrees including chile verde, sautéed pork cutlets and chilies ($14.50) or can venture into new territory with special dishes, such as the steak de la casa’s grilled USDA Choice yew york steak disguised in adobo sauce and served with its partner in crime, the cheese enchilada ($24). Mix and match burritos, enchiladas, tacos, beef tamales, or chile rellenos with the combo option ($11.25 for one item; $13.25 for two; $15.25 for three), which comes with a choice of two sides, such as refried beans, spanish rice, or a palm reading by the wait staff. Pedro’s Restaurant & Cantina dazzles eyes with adobe-esque walls, outdoor seating, a plethora of plant life, and eclectic artwork.
Sweet Pea's Cafe & Catering specializes in crepes for breakfast and lunch, accenting their café food with coffee from North Coast Roasting Company. Breakfast stretches from open to close, boasting eggs benedict crepes and fluffy farm-fresh omelettes wrapped around avocado or apple sausage. Savory crepes enclose fillings of salmon or brie, while sweet crepes are stuffed with Nutella, strawberries, or a light combo of lemon and sugar. Gluten-averse patrons can comfortably enjoy both gluten-free crepes and gluten-free sandwiches stacked on Udi’s breads. At the Capitola location, paintings and other work from local artists populate the walls of the cozy café.
Every day, the aroma of smoky spices wafts from the imported, wood-fired tandoor ovens at Tandoori Oven’s locations. To a soundtrack of upbeat techno, reggae, and bhangra music imported from UK clubs, servers deliver plates of lamb biryani loaded with basmati rice, bell peppers, cashews, and secret spices alongside mango lassis blended with housemade yogurt. The healthful signature wrap is stuffed with chicken or lamb that’s been marinated for 24 hours in yogurt and spices and then baked in the tandoor oven and wrapped in soft naan with mint chutney and tamarind. Local athletes dine at Tandoori Oven, a sponsor of the TRIbe Triathlon Club, after workouts for meals made to order with lean meats and served in participation trophies.
At Southern Kitchen, guests may find themselves surrounded by fans in San Francisco Giants gear devouring old-fashioned breakfast and lunch food and chatting with the friendly owners, the Thompson family. Mike and Rose Thompson, both Giants fans themselves, took over the venue in 1993, recruiting their sons Mike and Ed to help them on the staff. Their down-home hospitality and comfort-food specials soon drew hungry groups to the roomy, semicircular booths, and amid the friendly chitchat, both Mike and Ed met their future wives.
This same neighborly vibe persists in the dining room today. To complement the quaint ambiance, the breakfast and lunch menus stick to delectably traditional cooking methods. Produce arrives at the kitchen daily, every egg is fresh off the farm, and baked goods—from biscuits to muffins—are housemade. Guests can indulge in chicken-fried steak and signature sausage gravy at any time of day as the kitchen never stops serving breakfast, and every weekday lunch plate includes a cup of housemade soup. Personal touches also speak to the eatery's down-home credo; for example, children can order their pancakes in the shapes of cheerful bunny rabbits or their favorite spherical planets.
Barefoot Coffee approaches bean brewing as a culinary art, sourcing seasonal, organic harvests from fair-trade farms in El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. At the Los Gatos coffee bar, baristas handcraft every espresso ($2.15) and latte ($3.65) using premium ingredients such as organic milk from Straus Family Creamery and pure water from the tears of Zeus. Signature drinks include the mocha, which blends single-origin E. Guittard chocolate with coffee and fresh milk ($3.75). For at-home sipping, a bag of Brazilian-born Redcab Espresso brews cups distinguished by floral aromas ($16 for 350g). Patrons can also dine on delicacies from local merchants Starters Bakery and Snake & Butterfly Chocolates, or visit the iPad bar for games, news, and asking the Internet why it can't fall asleep at night.