Samba's menu spans continents, uniting dishes toasted over the leaping flames of a Brazilian grill with those cooked in the heated clay interior of a tandoor oven. Samba's signature rodizio dinners deliver skewered meats to tables, where they are carved by servers directly onto diners' plates. Picanha, a cut of beef, is a popular choice. For those who would rather not indulge in the all-you-can-eat option, the picanha burger?covered in mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, and peppers?offers a taste of the Brazilian beef.
Indian offerings include seven types of naan bread, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice entrees. Samba serves Mediterranean as well, from hummus appetizers to shish kebab lunches and pizzas dotted with feta cheese.
Though the food comes from various regions, the venue positions diners under the same sky?or at least a ceiling charmingly painted to mimic the clouds. Samba also celebrates birthdays with exceptional fanfare: drums, tambourines, and song, instead of the traditional treat of fine-dining establishments, a lobster clutching candles in its claws. This excitement also extends to the upcoming 2014 World Cup beginning in June, during which the restaurant will air the contests with a family-friendly atmosphere.
When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.
The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.
Saunter into Velvet's world of flavors to savor breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a relaxed, informal dining environment. The venue's menu is made of much-loved entrees such as chicken-fried steak ($10.99), specialty sandwiches that include tuna melts ($8.99) and vegetarian croissants ($9.99), and a complete breakfast club of omelettes, pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal (view the three-part morning menu here, here, and here). In accordance with its name, the creamery is also responsible for a delicious caboodle of premium ice creams and sorbets, which are called into existence right before your eyes. Try a dollop of roasted butternut squash, or busy your licker with the restaurant's cult classic, a triple Belgian chocolate flavor infused with D'Art port wine.
Cooks inside the kitchen of George’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill cover plates with tender new york steaks, glazed baby back ribs, and slow-roasted prime rib. In addition to dinner entrees, they char grill burgers and top them with crisp bacon and onions sautéed in bourbon chipotle sauce and build fish sandwiches with beer-battered cod filets for lunch. Servers deliver glasses of wine, beer, and neat pours of milk from the full bar to sip between bites.
Angelo's Steakhouse Italiano treats its visitors to hearty feasts of tender sirloin and angus T-bones, as well as handmade pasta. Pappardelle and spaghetti mingle with meatballs, italian sausage, and cream sauce, and cutlets of chicken and wild-caught salmon pair with sides of fingerling potatoes. Meat lovers salivate over the special steak menu, which is full of beefy dishes such as the center-cut Durham Ranch bison sirloin or the Flintstone—a hulking 40-ounce (or greater) dry-rubbed rib eye served with two sides of pasta Bolognese and a knife made out of chipped obsidian.
When a 13-year-old Isadore Fang began washing dishes at a Sunnyvale restaurant called The Bold Knight, he had no way of knowing he would later own the sink where he performed his humble duties. Eventually, the ambitious restaurateur would own multiple establishments, including The Rendezvous in Fremont and Isadore's, his labor of love since 1989.
There—together with his wife and co-owner Laurel—Fang leads a dedicated staff whose attention to detail earned praises in a 2008 article in the Record. Courteous servers top white-clothed tables with fresh seafood and certified Angus steaks alongside traditional Italian pastas. Semiprivate booths let couples share intimate conversations or the complimentary cheese fondue and warm french bread served with every dinner upon request. Between sips of wine from an extensive list, diners can glance toward the elevated stage where live musicians occasionally play. Alternatively, admire hand-painted murals on the walls, one of which depicts the tranquil, seaside village where Leonardo da Vinci invented the olive-oil mister.
Outside the restaurant, the Fangs' emphasis on serving others carries over to charity work: they have been featured on ABC News10 for helping to send food packages to American troops.