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The Cats Restaurant & Tavern

3.9
282 reviews
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$30 and under
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Barbecue
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Vibrant Bar Scene
  • Good for Groups

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About

The Cats Restaurant & Tavern is a BBQ and sandwich joint located in the Los Gatos area of San Francisco. Current owners of the restaurant renovated the original building from the 1800s. Restored wood from the 1800s and early 1900s was used all around for floors and walkways, giving The Cats Restaurant & Tavern the look and feel of an old fashioned saloon. This restaurant offers a selective menu of BBQ, burgers, sandwiches and sides. All the BBQ dishes are prepared using the award winning BBQ sauce recipe from Pit Master Paul Kirk.

Feast on Hickory slow pit smoked BBQ with your choice or chicken, pork or ribs or enjoy the Oak wood brick grilled BBQ with chicken, salmon, pork, veggies or your chosen cut of steak. Any combination of meals can be ordered from The Cats Restaurant & Bar for outside event catering.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Barbecue, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service, American
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Hours of operation

Dinner: T-W 4:00pm-10:00pm
Dinner: Th 4:00pm-12:00am
Dinner: Sa-Su 4:00pm-12:30am
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Phone number
(408) 354-4020
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Private party facilities
Offers private dinning for 15-70 people. Also able to accommodate buy-outs.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Highway 17
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Parking details
Private lot off of highway 17. Private shuttle from the town of Los Gatos to the Cats Restaurant and Tavern.
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Entertainment
Live music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Corkage Fee, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Wine
What 282 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on all time ratings
4.1
food
3.8
service
3.9
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on February 6, 2016

Still one of my favorite places to go for an incredible barbecue dinner. Cool, old style ambiance but energetic and friendly. The staff is fabulous!! Love it!

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4.0Dined on January 30, 2016

my wife and went in for my birthday......she had the pulled pork plate......say that 10 times fast.......and I had the honey glazed pork chop.....both were good.....the pork chop might have been a tad dry but not that much.......I used to play music at the Cats before they closed and remodeled, and the honey glazed pork chops were what I had most every time....it's definetly a bbq/meat and potatoes kinda place but they have some basic dinner salads .......I hear they have some good bands in there...I listened to the one that night for just a couple of songs and they were trying to play some jazz for the opening few numbers but I think they were really a rock band trying to break the early dinner crowd in....a little heavy handed for jazz but they were just getting warmed up....they may have been really good......I couldn't stay and listen so I'm just guessing...but...we'd definetly go back sometime.....I bet their steaks and ribs rock pretty hard........

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3.0Dined on January 29, 2016

We came here with a total party of 12 for my birthday gig. When we arrived, we seated right away and didn't have to wait for the whole "most of your party needs to be here" in order to get seated (plus!). Since it was our first time here and the name did say tavern, all my friends left their kids home with babysitters. It's ok for older kids, but not for little children, it gets very loud, and there isn't a lot of space at all. If you get there early enough, you can park in their parking lot, if not, head back towards Los Gatos, and park across the hotel, The Cats offers shuttles to and from this lot.
The food was......up and down.....Appetizer firecracker chicken wings: great. Cornbread:amazing. Fried mushrooms and onion strings:very good. Cheese bread and cowboy fries: yummy.
Main course: Tri-tip sandwich: so very very dry. Very. Ribs: dry and with a weird gritty texture not from the rub...=/ Hamburger was ok at best. Pulled pork also very dry. The chicken was pretty good. The loaded potatoes was yum(side dish though..). My whole party was sadly disappointed in the entrees. Pretty weird that the sides and appetizers were so good but the mains were not. And then there's the price, pretty high considering the food quality.
Sadly I will not be back....This place is out of the way too, so it would have needed to be awesome in order for me to want to come back.
Oh and there was a live band but tiny space, only meant to be listened to, not to dance to. So sit and listen type of bar.

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4.0Dined on January 28, 2016

Great spot, love the authentic down home ambiance. Their barbecue is the best and the entertainment terrific.

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5.0Dined on January 23, 2016

Fantastic restaurant, great service, lively music and amazing food! I love that the place is historical too. The meats were so tasty and the side dishes were incredible. There wasn't anything we ate that was bad. Cats did not disappoint at all! Can't wait to go back!!

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2.0Dined on January 23, 2016

This was my first visit. Friends has told us that they had had the most amazing Ribeye steak with a really good rub on it. We finally got a chance to go. First thing the server told us was that they were out of Ribeye's . We were all very disappointed. She later came back and said they did have some. Well, when we received our food 4 out of the 6 of us all agreed it was not a Ribeye we got but a NY Steak. It was bland, no rub was used. We still paid the price for the NY. We did not complain at the time but definitely know it was not what we had ordered. The cornbread that came with everyone's order came in 1 basket and came when we were almost done with our meal. We had to ask numerous times for it.

At the beginning I asked if we could have separate checks and she said "yes definitely" Well that did not happen. She gave us one bill and she said we had to figure it out our-self. It was a mess. I personally will not go back and either will the group we went with.

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1.0Dined on January 22, 2016

Steak is marginal at best, and dining room has lost whatever Charm it once had. Used to go here all the time when we lived in Bay Area, it has really deteriorated.

To sum it up in one word, AWFUL".

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3.0Dined on January 22, 2016

Limited BBQ menu - would like to see more beef BBQ items. Menu never seems to change. Good cocktails. Good beer menu, but about half if items listed were unavailable. Calamari appetizer were steak bites - very good. Wedge salad excellent.

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4.0Dined on January 22, 2016

I go here often, as the BQ is wonderful, the employees rock, and the bands are ussually quite good. Love the ambiance.....

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3.0Dined on January 17, 2016

The Cats is an institution, and that is why we went. We also went for the barbecue ribs, which were tasty, and to hear guitarist Joe in the bar on Sunday...he is great. The hostess was professional and happy to switch our table in the main dining room for one in the bar. Our actual waitress was a bit dingy. Part of the problem could be the menu. Neither first nor second wine choices listed were available. There were beers on the menu they didn't have, too. She didn't come by to ask in we wanted more to drink either. We had to flag her down. The mushroom side dish should be avoided. Mushrooms are easy to cook so someone needs to teach the chef how to prepare them right. Pretty basic. Wet wipes would have been a nice touch after eating the ribs, too. They were never offered.

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4.0Dined on January 16, 2016

Service was slow.....and we were seated upstairs with a VERY noisy group. Worth the wait to be downstairs whereally you have a better chance of having a conversation. We will be back...

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5.0Dined on January 15, 2016

We had a blast - great table just outside of the bar with an awesome waitress. We had 4 couples and everyone enjoyed their meals - ribs, chicken and steaks..........stayed afterwards for the music - just like we always remembered it - maybe even better!

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2.0Dined on January 8, 2016

Would not go back. Everything is way overpriced and the food is not that good Set my steak back twice and they still didn't get it right and pay 26 bucks for it. Disappointing.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2015

Dinner was amazing - the calamari melted in our mouths, the steaks, hot and juicy! After dinner we headed downstairs to the bar for some drinks while waiting for the New Years Eve Band, "Vegas Nights" to play. Ashley, the bartender kept us entertained with good conversation and amazing drinks throughout the night. Just before midnight, everyone received a free glass of champagne to toast in the New Year! Thank you Cats...it was a PUUUURR-FECT way to ring in the New Year!

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4.0Dined on December 30, 2015

It's a cross between a pub, a saloon, and a sports bar, specializing in barbecue deliciousness! They also have great entertainment in the evenings. Very enjoyable for a casual night out.

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5.0Dined on December 30, 2015

From the friendly staff to great BBQ the Cats is a true gem. A huge bonus is the live music on a great stage. Looking forward to my next visit.

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5.0Dined on December 13, 2015

Too bad they moved the brick oven to upstairs. It was always nice to see it downstairs.

Nice that the menu includes soups, salads, etc.

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4.0Dined on November 27, 2015

Perfect accommodations- was given an entire room for my birthday group. Both the hostess Molly and our server Matt were very warm, polite and professional. They helped make the night a great experience at the Cats. I'll definitely be back again!

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4.0Dined on November 21, 2015

Fun birthday spot, great ribs and beans

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2.0Dined on November 15, 2015

I was really hoping to find a good barbecue restaurant in the South Bay. This definitely was not it. It is really too bad because it is in a great location. My ribs were dry and the baked beans (that were supposed to have brisket in them and didn't) were way too sweet. I know people that like it, so perhaps I ordered the wrong thing, but I likely won't be going back to find out.

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5.0Dined on November 12, 2015

Sat at the bar, Dave was great. Best steak had in a while for us both. Entire dinner was awesome!!

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4.0Dined on November 7, 2015

Once the server realized we had been waiting for 15 minutes with menus, our service was great. Food was excellent. Cold slaw is killer.

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4.0Dined on November 7, 2015

Love The Cats but had surprisingly bad service Saturday night. I'll still return though - love the food and atmosphere.

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3.0Dined on November 1, 2015

I've been to The Cats a few times, and while the service generally isn't great, it was worse on this recent visit:

- took 15-20 min to place a drink order
- food took forever so the kids ate my salad, ordered another salad
- appetizer showed up with the main entries
- my entry was wrong, waitress never bothered to come around and check
- got my replacement salad for dessert

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4.0Dined on October 31, 2015

We are semi regulars, once every month or two, and we love it. Well worth the 40 minute drive. As this was going to be for a special night out, and I know how loud the bar can get (and that's not a problem, they always seem to have loads of fun) I specifically requested a table downstairs, but in the furthest room from the band. Instead we were seated right near the bar and had to yell to be heard. That aside, the fried mushrooms were delicious, the steak was perfectly cooked, and the only downside is they drenched my steak sandwich in bbq which was a bit bitter.

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3.0Dined on October 31, 2015

Great steak, my New York strip steak was perfect. I bet all the meats here are very good. Service was great. Prices are good. Nice portions. Drinks are really good too. Their specialty drinks are outstanding. I would eat here again.

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5.0Dined on October 24, 2015

Food was great, left full and happy! Punctual seating (reservation).

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4.0Dined on October 10, 2015

My sister and I did a last minute choice of dinning options. Glad we chose Cats the table was ready, the staff was friendly and attentive. They knew the menu and made great suggestions. The sauced half rack of ribs and baked beans with beef bits were finger liking good and the mixologist knew how to make a great Mojito. I have suggested Cats to friends already. "

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3.0Dined on October 10, 2015

If you don't want to cook, its good choice. Had some service issues but I'd go back to have ribs again.

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3.0Dined on October 8, 2015

Had to wait to be seated (not busy time) cornbread was cold and hard, waiter said he would bring warm cornbread never received, waiter was to busy to stop and ask if service was needed, people did attend to the regulars since you could tell by the way they interacted with them, was not so impressed since I did take a friend for his birthday and did mention this in the comments when making my reservations. Not to please with the service however the food was delicious.

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3.0Dined on September 26, 2015

We finally tried The Cats restaurant which has been on our list for quite some time since we pass it daily on our way home from work. It has a long history in this area and was enticing given it's claim to barbeque fame. The service was friendly and efficient but unfortunately the food was just okay. We enjoyed the appetizer of wings. They were well cooked and very flavorful. The calamari was different from any we have had and was large filets but very tender and flavorful. Unfortunately, the ribs, which they highly tout on the menu were tough and some were full of gristle. Alas, our quest for good barbeque in California is still unrealized.

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3.0Dined on September 20, 2015

We have eaten at The Cats several times, but this time I feel like both service and quality of food was not as good as on previous visits. The server forgot some of the drinks, the salad had a different dressing to what we ordered, we were missing a side component of the meal. Adjacent tables also seemed to be missing parts of their meal. I usually always order ribs, usually pretty good, but this time, one end was delicious and the other tough and chewy. I'm sure we'll be back at some point, but I am not feeling as enticed to return as I have done after previous visits. Ps, we usually eat there with our small children, around 5pm, which works out fine, but I wouldn't want to take them there much later than that as it gets busier and louder.

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4.0Dined on September 18, 2015

Good food. Good service

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5.0Dined on September 18, 2015

Won't go back for dinner. Food was not as good as it was even one year ago. It took FOREVER to get our food. Manager didn't try to rectify anything. No acknowledgement of the birthday guest.
WHAT happened to The Cats!??
I'm so sad.....

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5.0Dined on September 16, 2015

We love The Cats!!

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3.0Dined on September 15, 2015

Pork chop was very dry. Pulled pork sandwich w/coleslaw (well coleslaw was almost non-existent and there was no blue cheese) and only 4 fries which were cold. Ribs were so-so, Dickeys is so much better! Glass of wine ordered was only 1/3 full. Waitress OK but overly anxious to get started with orders when we were still waiting for the rest of our party as well as anxious for us to leave even though no one was waiting for the table and restaurant wasn't busy. Also needs to watch when she removes plates as one in our party had to duck to avoid getting smacked in the face with dishes. So ... no we wouldn't recommend at this time. Glad to see the restaurant back open of course as it was always a neighborhood gem but it needs some work for us to return.

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4.0Dined on September 12, 2015

Waitress was attentive and the appetizers and meals came super quick! The food was good and had great flavor! We shall be back!

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4.0Dined on September 6, 2015

Food was good. The service was a little slow, the food came out at different times. But over all we enjoyed our time and the food.

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5.0Dined on August 28, 2015

Susie Q did very well with our large group, plus several smaller tables around us. Food was great. Piped in music from the live band downstairs was a great touch - in fact, you could really hear their playing very well up there with it not being obtrusive either. Terrific eve!

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4.0Dined on August 23, 2015

The Cats restaurant is one of the only remaining landmarks from the days that Stagecoaches ran through San Jose and to Santa Cruz. The setting is remnant of the 1800's and the kids (12 yrs old) really enjoyed it. Took many pictures of both the food and restaurant and the chairs, tables, old photo sand wooden carved bears and rustic buildings. The food was great. Took some home to enjoy again the next day.

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