I almost hesitate to blog about this place because it seems to be a true hidden gem, mostly undiscovered, but when your blog is the same … Anyway, the dinner I had this week at Zona Rosa in San Jose was one of the best. It’s an upscale Mexican-California cuisine type place, but maintains a tiny mom-and-pop feel. Really cute decor and less then 20 seats, so make a reservation. Also, do yourself a favor and order the Palomaesque and/or Francisco Libre the minute you sit down. The Palomaesque – tequila, grapefruit, honey and lime, if my memory serves me correctly – comes in an amazing clay cup, the rim coated in the perfect salty-spicy flavoring for the drink. Ditch the straw and drink directly from the cup so you get both the rim flavors and cocktail. The Francisco Libre is also amazing, with a hint of pressed cilantro and jalapeno.
The food: We tried the fried avocado, ensalada temporada (seasonal greens, avocado, mango, papaya, candied pistachio & citrus dressing), crab ceviche (marinated dungeness crab+shrimp, lime, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, 2 crispy tortillas) and scallop tacos (royal sweet scallops, butternut squash serrano glaze, blue corn tortilla). I went to the bathroom (through the kitchen) at one point and spotted a woman making the tortillas to order. The salad and scallops were my personal highlights, but everything was top-notch. Gives any restaurant in this food category in San Francisco a run for its money.
It’s a little pricey, but you’re paying for quality, care and great customer service. It’s worth it. Trust me.
Zona Rosa // 1411 The Alameda, San Jose