Escape to Los Gatos: Destination Restaurants, Craft Beer + Sunny Days at the Park
(Courtesy of @thebywaterca)

Escape to Los Gatos: Destination Restaurants, Craft Beer + Sunny Days at the Park


The picturesque town at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains may be known for glitzy homes and even glitzier tasting menus, but it's also one of the most exciting Bay Area towns for exploring and feasting at all price points.

In fact, with just over 32,000 residents, Los Gatos has a surprising amount of cultural and natural sights worth noting. Gastronomic powerhouse Manresa as we all knew it has closed, but in its place is something all new and dazzling. The restaurant's chef, David Kinch, is also still thriving in his other dining concepts, and the city has far more than a dozen other restaurant standouts. And even the most jaded San Francisco drinkers will find a mighty craft cocktail scene here.

It's easy to eat and drink all day in Los Gatos, but the nature game is also strong here with plenty of trails and parks for biking and walking off all that homemade bread and pinot noir. Follow our guide and enjoy one of the Bay Area's most happening suburbs.

Where to Eat in Los Gatos

(Courtesy of @oakandrye)

Ritual at Manresa

The legendary three-Michelin starred restaurant as we knew it closed back in 2022; in its place is a pop-up to end all pop-ups. At Ritual at Manresa, David Kinch is less chef and more ambassador, curating a selection of acclaimed chefs from around the world. This is jet set dining at its most extravagant, except the chefs—all with Michelin and/or World’s 50 Best accolades—are traveling to us. In 2024, look for Alex Atala from Brazil's Michelin two-star D.O.M. and Junghyun Park of New York's Michelin two-star Atomix. Reservations can be made as a guest or as a member for the season. // 320 Village Ln. (Los Gatos),

Oak & Rye

Los Gatos has some of the region's finest wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies. Pizza maestro Angelo Womack left Brooklyn's beloved hipster paradise Roberta's for this Los Gatos project, and his pies have just the right puff and char to the crust, and cleverness to simplicity balance in choosing the toppings. Craft cocktails are the main sidekick; sippers like the Fleet Street (mezcal, amaro, grapefruit, and grapefruit-brulee shrub) are so good that maybe one day they'll get their own bar. // 303 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Tasting House Wine Bistro

A special restaurant with an equally strong wine program thanks to 10 staff sommeliers, this is the place for wine geeks to dine in town. The menu is a perfect balance of thrilling and elegant from 26-year-old chef Julian Silvera, whose sustainable kitchen turns out elevated bistro dishes composed of locally sourced ingredients designed for pairings. Choose the suggested pairing or from more than 50 wines by the glass and half glass. The restaurant's list also boasts more than 500 wines by the bottle. Perhaps start on the lighter side with the uni risotto, then continue on to a 72-hour braised short rib. Live music nightly means it's always an occasion at Tasting House. // 368 Village Ln. (Los Gatos),

Thank you to our partners at Tasting House.

Lexington House

Blurring the line between sophisticated restaurant and destination-worthy cocktail bar, The Lex (aka Lexington House) pours outstanding cocktails that will keep you there for a round or three. But don't forget about dinner: The Lex serves seasonal, creative Californian fare including playful smaller plates like Kentucky-fried black cod and Brokaw Ranch avocado toast on pain de mie with pistachio egg yolk jam and nori. // 40 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

The Bywater

While David Kinch is now synonymous with ambitious NorCal cooking and its seasonal emphasis, he always had the itch to cook the wonderful food of one of his formative culinary homes, New Orleans. The Bywater is his chance—and no, it's not Manresa with a NoLa twist. Opened in 2016, The Bywater is your go-to for French Quarter and Garden District classics like po' boys, seafood jambalaya, beignets, and Sazeracs—with, of course, a careful touch and ingredients superior to anything you'll find on Bourbon Street. The outstanding Sunday-only smokehouse barbecue bunch has its own very devoted following. // 532 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),


This gluten-free Italian restaurant is anchored by humble cornmeal-based polenta, bit all it takes is a bruschetta flight and a polenta dish to realize that this tiny spot opened in 2022 is a choice dining experience in the South Bay. Chef Yvonne Khananis offers a half dozen polentas—think venison Bolognese or foraged mushrooms and homemade sausage—a few mains and starters. Lunch focuses more on high-level sandwiches and salads. // 10 Victory Ln. (Los Gatos),


In San Sebastian, dinner is a moveable grazing event during which Spaniards sample tapas and sangria from one spot to the next to the next. In Los Gatos, tapas means just sitting and enjoying an evening at PintxoPote. Look for more than a dozen classics—think tortillas, boquerones, and albondigas—all executed flawlessly. The all-Spanish wine and sherry list keep dinner going until Los Gatos calls it a night (which is far earlier than in San Sebastian). // 424 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

The Cats

The windy road to Santa Cruz on 17 unofficially officially starts when you pass this iconic roadhouse on the side of the highway. The Cats (yes, named after Los Gatos) seems more like the kind of old west Saloon that you’d find in the Sierra Foothills than at the edge of Silicon Valley, which makes it all the more fun and unique. Previously a weight station, a speakeasy and a bordello across the decades, now it’s mainly a destination for excellent BBQ meats, baked cornbread, jalapeño hush puppies, and cocktails. // 17533 Santa Cruz Hwy. (Los Gatos),

Zona Rosa

Whether it’s 1pm or 8pm, this popular spot near "Old Town" seems to always be bustling with Dungeness crab and shrimp ceviche tostadas, chicken mole enchiladas, and nicely composed tequila and mezcal cocktails filling the tables. At any given time, there are about a half dozen margaritas and nine different tacos offered, so decision fatigue can be a real thing. Don’t miss the trio of salsas to start and the ‘Alambre’ taco on a homemade tortilla with hangar steak, bacon, chorizo and salsa cruda. // 81 W Main St. (Los Gatos),

Los Gatos Cafe

Los Gatos definitely isn’t a late-night town — but it sure does appreciate a terrific early meal. The signature way to start a day in the city is with this downtown favorite since the 1980’s (there’s also a second location in the “Uptown” area). The breakfast and lunch menu is overwhelming in a good way, ranging from burgers, to crab and shrimp Louie, to several tempting kinds of egg soufflé omelettes and Benedicts. Here’s a heads up that the beloved cinnamon rolls are only served on weekends and reservations aren’t accepted (and this place is hardly under-the-radar), so plan accordingly. // 340 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Happy Hound

When the world seems to be moving too quickly around Silicon Valley and a trip back to calmer, quieter days with less screen time is needed, head to this Los Gatos Boulevard classic (about 5 minutes from downtown by car) for various burgers, shakes, hot dogs, and particularly special onion rings. The place is cheerful and surrounded by huge windows letting in ample sunlight, the food is consistently satisfying, and it feels great to dine at a community cornerstone place that absolutely doesn’t feel like a “concept”. // 15899 Los Gatos Blvd. (Los Gatos),

Where to Drink in Los Gatos

(Courtesy of


Champagne Bar at Tasting House

Bubbly lovers flock to this Champagne bar which offers more than 80 Champagne selections ranging from grower-producers to premier houses, available by the glass, half and full bottles, and even in special flights. Open at noon five days a week, the bar is also a choice pick for celebratory lunches as well as afternoon rendezvous. Make it special with classic Champagne pairings including caviar, oysters, fries, and sandwiches. Hungry for more? Enjoy dinner from Tasting House's dining room menu after 5pm. // 368 Village Ln. (Los Gatos),

Thank you to our partners at Tasting House.

Saison Winery

San Francisco's Michelin two-star restaurant Saison has one of the most stellar wine lists in the country, so why not have their own winery too? The winemaker is none other than the restaurant’s cofounder and wine director Mark Bright, a leading figure in the restaurant wine world. Saison’s wines poured in the intimate, relaxed downtown tasting room are single-vineyard selections (chardonnay and pinot noir being the main staples) from the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County, all deserving of a spot on Saison’s list (they really do). // Tasting room open 2pm to 8pm Wednesdays through Sundays; 346 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Gali Vineyards

While the pinot noir and chardonnay of this small, husband-and-wife owned winery come from 18 acres in bucolic Corralitos (southern Santa Cruz Mountains), wine tasters don’t have to venture beyond downtown Los Gatos to enjoy a few sips of the wines in a $20 flight and buy some bottles for later. The unique curveball here is the Gali’s interest in Spanish grapes, so this is the rare Santa Cruz Mountains winery where you can usually taste tempranillo and albariño. // Tasting room open 2pm to 6pm Wednesday-Thursday, 12pm to 7pm Friday-Saturday, and 12pm to 6pm Sunday; 21 W Main St. (Los Gatos),

David Bruce Winery

Few names in California wine have the historic power of David Bruce, the dermatologist-turned-pinot noir whisperer. Even if he might not be as known throughout the Bay Area as a Robert Mondavi or Paul Draper, he deserves to be on our local wine equivalent of Mount Rushmore. Bruce’s 45 acres at high elevation in the cool, windy, often foggy Santa Cruz Mountains produce some of California’s premier pinot noir, along with estate riesling, chardonnay and syrah. Tastings are not exactly like a lavish $100 Napa Valley experience. It’s a much more casual $20 flight situation here, and there’s also a nice picnic area. // Tasting room open 11am to 4pm Thursdays through Mondays; 21439 Bear Creek Rd. (Los Gatos),

Testarossa Winery

From the tech industry to producing chardonnay and pinot noir, Rob and Diana Jensen’s winery recently hit the three decade mark and helped blaze the well-worn path from Silicon Valley success to vineyard. The historic site where Testarossa resides dates back to 1888 when the Novitiate Winery was created by Jesuits to make altar wine. Things are a bit different these days at Testarossa’s pair of settings for visitors on property: the indoor tasting room by the stone cave and the outdoor Wine Bar 107 (more of a festive cafe-wine bar setting with no tasting flights). // Tasting room open from 12pm to 5pm daily; 300 College Ave. (Los Gatos),

Wright's Station Winery

The best of the handful of Summit Road area wineries is Wright's Station, a lesser-known gem with superb wines, a breathtaking patio, and a fun, don't-take-the-wine-too-seriously vibe. Pinot noir and chardonnay are the stars here, like everywhere on Summit Road. By the way, cool history for the name: Wright's is a nearby ghost town that was built in the 1870s for the construction of the Summit Tunnel connecting Santa Cruz and the Santa Clara Valley. // Tasting room open 11am to 5 pm Fridays through Sundays; 24250 Loma Prieta Ave. (Los Gatos),


Loma Brewing Company

Boston Red Sox icon Kevin Youkilis is best known as a baseball champion with a beloved nickname (Yoooouuuuk!), but nowadays he's running this brewpub juggernaut that nicely balances being a chill place to drink with food that goes a little above and beyond your typical beer-friendly grub. Dishes such as a smash burger with Memphis-style barbecue sauce, fried brussels sprouts with teriyaki glaze, and an array of sandwiches pair with the brews. Somehow the venue manages to be popular with families, cougars on the prowl, Tinder dates, and sports bros all at once, making it an interesting, likeable place. // 130 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Enoteca La Storia

It's easy to do the full-on dinner full of antipasti, pasta, and panini at this always upbeat hot spot. But Enoteca La Storia really shines when you leisurely make your way through the by-the-glass wine list, which excels at Italian varietals but also has a sneaky good selection from France and California. Pair with small bites like crostinis, burrata, and lasagna. // 416 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Los Gatos Soda Works

For anyone who still thinks that craft cocktail bars are really just an urban city concept and the 'burbs never have good ones, then it’s time to visit this Los Gatos dining-with-cocktails (or just enjoying cocktails sans food) stalwart. Originally a soda production and bottling facility, now it’s a place for creative yet unfussy cocktails like the ‘Figment of the Imagination’ tying together Mt. Gay rum, Swedish Punsch, black fig elixir, coriander and bay leaf soda (note that not all cocktails here have soda). The food part of the equation wildly varies, from salmon poke cups, to Dungeness crab and avocado mousse toast, yet is always satisfying as a series of smaller plates to go with each round of drinks. // 21 College Ave. (Los Gatos),

Hapa’s Brewing

The San Jose-based brewery standout has a location in Los Gatos with a pleasant patio meant for lingering with your dog and a Hungry Dog West Coast IPA. There’s a small but nicely curated food menu to accompany the brews that range from lighter sours to a powerful hazy triple IPA. // 114 S Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Los Gatos’ Best Coffee Shops, Ice Cream & Snacks

(Courtesy of @manresabread)

Manresa Bread

What Manresa was to fine dining, Manresa Bread is to bakeries. The flavors and forms of baked goods aren't overly complex. What is complex here is the process for head baker Avery Ruzicka to make such top-tier levain boules, giant walnut-filled whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, and croissants. Come early because the bakery closes at 3pm and often runs out of favorite goodies. Lunch and breakfast options are limited to a fantastic slice of quiche and excellent, simple sandwiches and toasts. This is also your best bet for third wave coffee drink in town. // 40 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Fleur de Cocoa

Fleur de Cocoa is doing it all, from exquisite chocolate mousse–based cakes to elegant tartes with various fruits. From there, the French baking greatest hits continue: canelés, almond croissants, eclairs…oh, and they make their own chocolates, too. The petite, cheery cafe offers a small lunch menu of quiches, classic French sandwiches and salads. Hot chocolate is the drink to order. // 39 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Dolce Spazio Gelato

Dolce Spazio is the first and final word when it comes to ice cream in Los Gatos. The parlor's smooth, dense gelato is some of the finest in the Bay Area, whether you go for a classic flavor like hazelnut or something different like bananas foster. The espresso isn't bad here either, making it a popular afternoon pick-me-up spot for a little sugar and caffeine rush. // 221 N Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

Los Gatos Meats & Smoke House

The best sandwiches always come from the best local butcher shop. Quality of the smoked meats and homemade sausages go into those sandwiches at this Los Gatos lunchtime institution going back to 1891. Whether it’s a barbecue brisket or smoked turkey kind of day, stop for lunch and then take something home for dinner. // 575 University Ave. (Los Gatos),

Icing on the Cake

Downtown Los Gatos’ dessert paradise turns 40 in 2025, a testament to its mix and match cake and icing options (how about red velvet cake with mocha icing or the signature banana cake and cream cheese frosting?). The are also nearly limitless options of brownies, cookies, pies, and much more. // 50 W Main St. (Los Gatos); closed Sundays,

Los Gatos' Best Parks + Hikes

(Courtesy of @hakanoner)

Vasona Lake County Park

The 110-acre park just outside of downtown Los Gatos is the town's prominent green space where hikers, joggers, paddle boaters, and dogs all mingle happily together on frequent sunny days. There are abundant picnic areas and hiking trails, with a signature trail that closely hugs most of the perimeter of Vasona Lake. Kids and kids at heart love the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and its real steam engine and the adjacent Oak Meadow Park. The Billy Jones nonprofit also is responsible for the park's historic carousel, which is over 100 years old and appeared in the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The drive-thru Christmas lights display at the park is one of the South Bay's most popular holiday traditions. // 333 Blossom Hill Rd. (Los Gatos),

St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve

Between downtown and Lexington Reservoir, a 1,253-foot tall hill rises majestically as part of the backdrop for almost every picture of Los Gatos. With trails winding around the various oak woodland, chaparral and grassland areas, St. Joseph's Hill is also one of the South Bay's (and 7x7's) favorite places to hike, bike, and ride horses. Most visitors park on the north side of the reservoir, then hike up the winding Manzanita and Novitiate trails to the hill's summit. Panoramic views are the reward. If you're up for a full-day adventure, take the Los Gatos Creek trail from downtown to the park, then head up the hill and catch your breath at the top before heading back to town. // Near 17201 Alma Bridge Rd. (Los Gatos),

Lexington Reservoir County Park

Most Bay Area residents know of this vast reservoir as the place where traffic bogs down frequently on the 17, either coming from or going to Santa Cruz. So get out of the car and explore this beautiful area where Los Gatos Creek flows into the 450-acre lake created by the James J. Lenihan Dam. There are a few hikes around here and it's fun just to hang out by the water for a picnic. One of the best hikes is the Priest Rock climb from the reservoir's east side to the top of Mt. El Sombroso. It's a steep workout concluding with stunning South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains views. // 17770 Alma Bridge Rd. (Los Gatos),

Where to Stay in Los Gatos

(Courtesy of @hotellosgatos)

Hotel Los Gatos

The town's signature hotel is this 72-guestroom, Tuscan-villa-esque property just outside downtown. Along with the luxurious rooms, one of the city's finest restaurants (the Greek-Californian themed Dio Deka) and the city's leading spa (Onyx Skin + Body Spa) can be found at the Hotel Los Gatos. It's a pet-friendly place and many of the rooms and suites are wonderfully spacious with fireplaces and/or balconies. The deluxe touch extends outside with a made-for-Instagram pool and hot tub surrounded by palm trees, beautiful tile work, and no shortage of lounge chairs for enjoying days in the sun. // 210 E Main St. (Los Gatos),

Toll House Hotel

Towards the southern edge of downtown, the 115 rooms and suites of the Toll House are winners for their comfortable-meets-refined look. All are decorated in lighter, calmer colors that fit in with the forests and mountains right outside Los Gatos. Amenities are a particular strength for the hotel—think hot stone massages at The Spa - Los Gatos, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, and a serene central courtyard. Rooms are a step below luxurious but are well-appointed and generously sized, especially the suites that sport living room-like sitting areas and fireplaces. The on-site restaurant, Los Gatos Tavern, serves perfectly fine (though not particularly exciting) casual food and drinks. Toll House is run by the same hotel collection as The Lodge at Tiburon. // 140 S Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos),

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