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Permanently Closed - California Cafe - Los Gatos

3.9
1773 reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Groups
  • Great for Lunch

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed.

California Caf� in Los Gatos, CA prepares food that is a good match to the name. Offering a fusion of California classics and American fare, this restaurant really emphasizes the most seasonally fresh ingredients, as well as those locally grown.

The menu choices at California Caf� in Los Gatos vary between the main menu and the special brunch selections. The main menu includes shareable dishes to pair up with one of the house wines or cocktails, and you might choose the venison satay or the cheese plate. The fresh salads are meal sized and the mains include a signature burger, beef and seafood options, and even some vegetarian selections. There is also the lovely lounge menu for California Caf� in Los Gatos, and it is full of perfect nibbles to enjoy with friends.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Californian, Seafood, Contemporary American
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Hours of operation

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Phone number
(310) 555-1212
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Chrisopher Lane
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Private party facilities
From large corporate gatherings to intimate social dinners, California Cafe offers a variety of options including private and semiprivate rooms, patio seating, as well as the opportunity for restaurant exclusive events for up to 300 guests
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Private party contact
Josue Vallejo-Cordero: (408) 354-8300
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Main
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Parking details
Public lot
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1773 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on all time ratings
3.9
food
3.9
service
4.0
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined on February 23, 2016

Service was so-so. Food good. The best part was we were able to sit outside on a beautiful day in the middle of February.

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2.0Dined on February 23, 2016

California Cafe was once a great place to eat, and I still keep hoping it will become that again. Sadly, I've tried it a few times in the last couple of years, and each time there has been an issue with the food (and often with the service). The menu is old-fashioned, which is fine, but the problem is really in the execution. The seared ahi tuna salad was served with well-done, rubbery tuna. It was entirely inedible. Seasoning was way off. The only reason to go is for the patio. Your best bet is to sit outside and have a glass of wine - skip the food entirely.

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2.0Dined on February 20, 2016

My party of five had reservations to celebrate a friend's birthday. We were promptly seated, but had to wait 25 minutes until a waiter came to take our order, and that only happened because I had to go to the hostess to ask to be served. Food was not very memorable.

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5.0Dined on February 19, 2016

I've had a a rehearsal lunch, hosted a bridal shower, had my baby sprinkle, many dinners with friends and date nights without a disappointment. The food is great abd the bread pudding is to die for.

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2.0Dined on February 18, 2016

Chinese Chicken salad not good; forgot the chicken on the Chicken Caesar Salad; waiter did not check on our order. Probably won't return to this location as the food quality had declined.

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2.0Dined on February 14, 2016

We have eaten here many times and enjoyed the atmosphere, menu, and hospitality. This time was disappointing and made us not want to come back. The waiter, Josh, was distracted from the beginning. I felt like he didn't want to be there. We were seated 10 minutes before he came to the table, and then, there were long waits between his checking on us. After the food arrived, he didn't check on us until after we had finished eating. When he did, I mentioned that he might want to inform the kitchen that the description of items on the menu and what we received were different. I know that substitutions need to be made from time to time, but I mentioned that in the future if someone ordered that dish that he might want to inform them that the kitchen is now substituting this for that. I guess he didn't like the idea, so he disappeared and about 20 minutes later placed our bill on the table. We requested a dessert menu and he responded "the kitchen is closed and we don't have any desserts." (The funny thing is as we exited the restaurant asking another table what they wanted for dessert?") We were disappointed that a place we have enjoyed gave us such a negative experience. We won't be returning.

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1.0Dined on February 14, 2016

The food for poor. My order included terra chips that I could have ordered at the grocery store. Both my wife and I picked at the food. We felt that this is one of those restaurants with a great location that can charge a premium, but not care about food quality or service. We will not return.

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2.0Dined on February 13, 2016

After making my reservation I called to adjust the time. We weren't told until we got there that due to Valentines Day the menu had been adjusted to only be selected dishes. I'm sure they did that to ensure we came I the door

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5.0Dined on February 13, 2016

Nick was a great waiter.

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2.0Dined on February 12, 2016

Surprised on arrival by a mandatory Valentine's Day prix fixe menu--on Friday the 12th!--which was not mentioned on the website. We were then seated, in a nearly empty restaurant, right next to the very noisy clearing area, which we corrected right away! Some of the food was very good, California Poki, ribeye steak, to mention a couple, but other's were not. The Cioppino Tagliatelle, for example did not really match the menu description. No crab at all, nor was the sauce a traditional tomato base, both clearly stated in the description. Essentially, at best, a merely adequate pasta with mostly salmon. The beignets / banana fritters were only fair. Never really tasted much in the way of bananas; couldn't really be sure which was which---not a ringing endorsement. Another surprise was the bill being itemized instead of a single prix fixe charge. Hard to decipher. The entire experience felt poorly organized and poorly communicated: on the web page, on the menu, and at the restaurant. A bit disappointing at over $100 each (with a modest glass of wine and coffee). Doubtful that I will ever go back.

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4.0Dined on February 7, 2016

Was empty for the superbowl and the fish entrees were very good not superb. The salmon in the caesars could have been fresher as well, but all in all everything was quite good.

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5.0Dined on February 6, 2016

We have patronized the California Café since it opened. It is our "go to" dining spot whenever we are entertaining out-of-town guests, having dinner with friends or family and when we just want to enjoy a meal on our own. One of the reasons why we like California Café so much is the consistency in the quality of the food and the service. We have never had a bad meal or poor service in all of the time that we have been patronizing this establishment.

If you are looking for a dining experience, California Café is the place to go.

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4.0Dined on February 5, 2016

Solid as usual

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4.0Dined on February 5, 2016

Dinner with my 15year old daughter. We had a taste for something simple that night and opted for the burger and roast beef French dip and and their venison satay for appetizers. Our server, Michael was very accommodating with the wine selection. I sampled 4 reds and finally chose their Malbec offering to pair with my food. We had a good time and enjoyed our 3 course meal.

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5.0Dined on February 5, 2016

This restaurant is just a nice and easy upscale place to enjoy a wonderful menu selection.
Great place to meet up for lunch and not get rushed.

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5.0Dined on January 31, 2016

Brought a friend here for her birthday, there were 4 of us and it was very nice. They made peach belini's for us even though it wasn't on the brunch menu. And each of us had a super meal.

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3.0Dined on January 23, 2016

I went with a group of 8. The food was very good but the service was slow. We ordered salads and some of us added proteins but it took forever to get the food. In the meanwhile we were waiting with no bread or anything else to keep us busy.

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4.0Dined on January 16, 2016

The food was very good... Nothing fancy, but nicely prepared. Service and was friendly.

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4.0Dined on January 7, 2016

The menu is an "all day" menu - not strictly a luncheon menu. Predominating this menu are dinner dishes (with dinner prices). There are some salads that fit the luncheon theme along with a very nice burger and an excellent French Dip beef sandwich. Overall, the choice of luncheon fare is limited and adding a couple more luncheon items to the menu might be an improvement.

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5.0Dined on January 6, 2016

This dinner was entertaining alone with our server. He was a gem. Good food and great environment.

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4.0Dined on January 5, 2016

We were able to get a window seat as requested. Waiter was very efficient.

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5.0Dined on January 3, 2016

The dinner was good, but the butterscotch bread pudding was to die for. Our waiter was very helpful selecting this delicious dessert. I forgot our waiters name, but I hope he's there the next time we come back. A++.

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4.0Dined on January 2, 2016

We visited the Los Gatos version, having visited the Stanford version a few times (which is now closed). The food was good as always. We had the Rib Eye, the Scallops, the Pork Chop, and the Lobster Roll. I really loved the asparagus/pea base for my scallops, and the beef and pork were really quite good. The lobster roll was fine, but really, why did my son even order that? We had calamari and chicken satay appetizers. I liked both, but we had been hoping for venison satay, and they only had chicken so we were a little disappointed there. For dessert we had pumpkin cheesecake, white chocolate cheesecake, and chocolate cake. All were quite good. I had port, also good. We ordered red wine by the glass, so I didn't really explore the options thoroughly.

Other reviews have complained about service. I thought it was OK. We had 6:30 reservations, and it was leisurely (even though it wasn't packed, like I suspect it is at lunch time.) I didn't time it precisely, but we had appetizers by 7:00 or 7:15, and were definitely into the main course by 7:30. It took a little while to get our wine, and my first choice (by glass) wasn't available, but it came quickly once I chose again. So, I think their pacing is probably just about right for dinner, but perhaps too leisurely for a business lunch.

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5.0Dined on January 2, 2016

The food selections, the food, and service are excellent!

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5.0Dined on January 1, 2016

I love the romantic and posh feel of this restaurant – a beautiful place to bring a spouse or parent out for a Sunday brunch. The roast beef sandwich was amazing and the lobster roll was much nicer than I would have anticipated considering I do not favor seafood very much. The server, Benjamin, was a very sweet young man who made very polite conversation. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to enjoy their meals and the noise level was just enough were there was a little laughter but one is still able to have conversation with no problem hearing one another. Wines is well stocked and was divine. The cappuccino and mocha dessert drinks are to die for.

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2.0Dined on December 31, 2015

We went on New Years Eve and there was a $55 dollar pre-fixe dinner. The salad was just ok, and the pork chop that I ordered medium was cooked until very dry and hard to chew. The sauce was good but there was hardly any. Our waiter took a long time for everything and the wait staff all seemed stressed out and hurried. I'm guessing it was an off night all around because it seemed like this place had great reviews. Not sure if I will be coming back though.

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4.0Dined on December 31, 2015

We have dined at Cal. Cafe very many times over the 30 years we've lived here. Probably well over 50.
While the service can be spotty at times, we still enjoy it ... most recently New Years Eve.
Usually a nice menu -- not too many items but always a good selection.

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4.0Dined on December 24, 2015

My wife and I have been coming here on Christmas Eve every year since 2005. I proposed to her over dinner that year, choosing the location because it's where we had our very 1st date.

In most of the following years, the management had no problems fulfilling my request to reserve our special table. In fact, in 2013 after I left a favorable review here, the manager emailed me to say he was holding our table for Christmas Eve 2014!

Unfortunately, that manager left, and for the past 2 years the new management has ignored the special request I put in my Open Table reservation. Last year, I requested to speak with the manager, and she was kind enough to correct the oversight. Upon arrival this year, however, we were told we could not have the table I reserved, even though it was open. Management would not meet with me to rectify the situation, so we had to wait in the bar until another table was made available.

Fortunately, our waiter Ben was made aware of our special occasion, and he made up for the unnecessary hassle the manager had caused. We enjoyed the food, the wine, and the special attention he gave us.

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2.0Dined on December 24, 2015

We made a reservation for Christmas Eve dinner here, mainly because we knew it would be festively decorated for the holidays.

Much to our surprise and extreme disappointment, our family was seated in a side room clearly used for meetings. There was not a single holiday decoration in this room; no candles, no music, no flowers, no centerpiece, nothing!! Cold, sterile, terrible! Service was slow, and although the food was good, our holiday dinner choice was very regrettable. We won't return here.

Although we understand that not everyone could be served in the main dining room, the manager of this restaurant should be thoroughly embarrassed at seating holiday diners in a boring, non decorated side room on Christmas Eve!

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3.0Dined on December 24, 2015

This review is for Xmas eve, which had a prix fixe menu that day. I regularly dined at the CA Cafe for over 20 years, and was always impressed with the food and service. Then in 2010, everything changed. The food quality became spotty, then just plain poor, and I stopped going. But I decided to give them another try for Xmas Eve. Our reservation was for 3:30, and we got a very nice table with a view of garden/amphitheater. It was very early in their service, and there was hardly anyone in the restaurant. When our waitress arrived, I was taken aback by how dour she was; I mean there was not a shred of friendliness about her. She could not even crack a smile when she greeted us. After she took off with our drink orders, the bus boy arrived with our water. He too seemed very grim and unfriendly. I mean, I probably wouldn't be happy having to work on Xmas Eve either, but holy cow, this is their job. I would expect a little bit of warmth from these folks. We ordered caesar's and mixed greens salad (both very good), the prime rib (was WAY over done but flavorful and tender), the salmon dish (salmon was a bit strong and the calamari was like rubber and sauce had a slight fishiness to it that was off-putting). The eggnog tiramisu was outstanding though, it tasted like it was made in-house and the servings were huge (we took one home). Also the cocktails were excellent as well. The evening ended up being fine, if not a bit overpriced. Ultimately the service was good, and the waitress even warmed up some finally near the end, though I would not call her friendly even after I gave her a nice tip. We received nicer interactions from other servers and other diners. Overall, I'm just not satisfied with the dining experience with the Cafe, especially with the high cost, and will think long and hard before going back. There are just too many other restaurants where I have nicer dining experiences.

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5.0Dined on December 23, 2015

We were presented with the dinner menus not lunch. Dinner menus are much more expensive as you can imagine and I consider this an unfortunate mess-up on someone's part. I should have complained at the time, but didn't want to appear tacky. And while I might have said yes, I wish I had been asked first. Noon means lunch. I ended up spending twice what I had planned.

My guests enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Our waiter gave each of us a $20 gift certificate for their next visit. But, but, but, I'm the one who paid almost $1,300 for lunch.

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3.0Dined on December 20, 2015

We went for breakfast but were disappointed with the choices menu choices, very limited.

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1.0Dined on December 18, 2015

We came to this restaurant based on a referral for our company holiday luncheon. We had reservations at 12:15. Our order was taken at 12:45. Appetizers came out pretty quick however we were not served our meal until 2:15. When our food came out it seemed that our food had been sitting under the warmer for a while as our mahi mahis were both dry, the macadamia nuts were charred, the potatoes were dried out. The veggie chips were also very hard in the Naan Chicken meal. During this time the server never came back to the table to offer any more bread. She came to say our food would be out shortly and it was still another half hour to 45 minutes. Other tables around us were receiving their food and our patience was starting to wear thin. We finally asked another server to get our server to explain where our food was. Immediately after that, our food arrived, but it was still another 10 more minutes before we saw our server. We are very disappointed with our service at California Cafe.

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5.0Dined on December 14, 2015

Sitting by the windows overlooking the courtyard and Los Gatos Creek Trail is always a pleasure. The wait staff patiently gave us time to finish our lengthy greetings at the table before we were ready to place our order - long standing friends with lots of news to exchange - and they were patient while we stayed after finishing lunch to talk some more. The restaurant was not too crowded, so we were not delaying other patrons by taking longer; still, it was nice to have a leisurely lunch and not feel pressured. The menu had a few new items, and prices have definitely gone up a few dollars for each entree. I chose one of the new menu items and found it quite tasty. Always enjoy their tapenade with the bread.

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1.0Dined on December 11, 2015

Cocktail prepared incorrectly; waiter came to table and told us he didn't have time to be with us until he took care of some other tables; two people didn't get their dinner; person at our table had to open bottle of wine for waiter; threw away our leftovers...total fail.

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2.0Dined on December 11, 2015

I'm sorry to say but I don't think I'd go back for a long time. The restaurant was very unorganized and it spoiled our evening.

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4.0Dined on December 10, 2015

My wife and I go to the California Café every time we are in Los Gatos from Aptos. We find it is convenient and the food is good. This time we met friends from Menlo Park for a Christmas get together. Parking is a challenge but spaces do open up in Old Town or across the street in the under-ground parking garage.

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5.0Dined on December 10, 2015

Nice place to go for lunch or dinner. Arrive early though, parking is a nightmare!

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5.0Dined on December 8, 2015

MAYBE THE BEST RESTAURANT IN LOS GATOS. I'VE BEEN COMING FOR YEARS. THEY SPENT A MILLION OR SO ON THE REMODEL. JUST A GREAT PLACE.

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3.0Dined on December 4, 2015

Really smokey inside. It's like their exhaust fans weren't working.

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