Mountain View Voice

- April 7, 2006

The votes are in!

Want to see how your favorite restaurants compare with the choice of Voice readers? Are you thinking of Thai, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, vegetarian, or breakfast? Top picks from the hundreds of Voice readers who voted online this year are compiled in this easy-to-read section we call the Best of Mountain View. Check here to discover where to find a cornucopia of food choices, the best auto repair shop, hair salon, nail salon, bookstore or fitness club. These are the best of the best, as voted by you — it's a list that you'll want to keep handy all year long.

Auto Repair:

Larry's AutoWorks

Mountain View residents have no problem putting their trust in Larry's AutoWorks. The mechanics at Larry's take pride in their honesty, always making sure to be forthright with their customers. Larry's guarantees that all repairs last for either two years or 24,000 miles, proving that they stand behind their work with confidence. The customer service at Larry's makes have your vehicle fixed up as easy as it should be.

2526 Leghorn St.; Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; 968-5202

Bagel:

The Posh Bagel

The superbly cooked bagels and endless variety of sandwiches at Posh have heightened the standards of Mountain View residents. The bagels are of many different flavors and are prepared with care using fresh ingredients and proven cooking methods. Sandwiches can be ordered from the menu or customized and, on top of great bagels, Posh serves fruit smoothies as well.

44 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 7:30 a.m-5 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; 968-5308

Bar:

Tied House Café and Brewery

If you're tired of the watery taste of commercial beer, look no further than Tied House for a more wholesome drink. At this bar there is no need for a born-on date as the brewery rests under the same roof. Because of this, Tied House takes pride in its beer and features four hearty originals that keep the locals coming back for more and the out-of-towners choosing Tied House over the rest. Tied House is much more than a great bar: it also offers a restaurant that serves tasty pub-style food, and a brewery with an outdoor beer garden and display brewing. Whether you're trying to meet people or having a meal with friends, the beer is fresh and the service is great.

954 Villa St.; Mon.-Thurs., Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; 965-2739

Barbecue:

Uncle Frank's BBQ

It's hard not to feel comfortable at Uncle Frank's. With the first step in the door comes a toasty waft of good food, and it only gets better from there. The meat is well-smoked and accompanied by an array of tangy sauces. Ribs, briskets and everything else cooked on a BBQ is available, and well worth the wait. Large portions and delicious sides make it impossible to leave Uncle Frank's with an empty stomach.

2135 Old Middlefield Way; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; 964-4476

Bookstore:

Books Inc.

Well-read residents of Mountain View and beyond flock to Books Inc. for the enjoyable atmosphere and array of offerings. When there isn't a book signing or speaker to entertain, browsing customers can stop upstairs for a coffee or sandwich. The plentiful collection of literature and nonfiction is enhanced by the conversant and friendly staff, always happy to talk with people about books.

301 Castro St.; Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; 428-1234

Breakfast:

Hobee's

There is no better way to start the day than with a timeless breakfast at Hobee's. Famous (or infamous) coffee cakes, eggs galore and drinks ranging from tea to smoothies are only part of the pervasive menu. Hobee's is known as a great place for everyone to eat. Whether sitting with a large family or a small group of friends, the service is fast, and it's easy to eat with any appetite.

2312 Central Expressway; Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 968-6050

Burger:

Clarke's Charcoal Broiler

Burgers are best cooked over charcoal, which is one of many reasons why Clarke's has become a yearly favorite of Mountain View residents. On top of great chuck, Clarke's lets its customers arrange their burgers however they like with an expansive display of condiments, cheeses and toppings. The well-cooked burgers are of quality meat and reasonable price, but most importantly they taste really good.

615 W. El Camino Real; Sat.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 967-0851

Burrito:

La Costena

Tucked away in the back of a small Mexican market, La Costena serves custom burritos in large portions. With sufficient vegetarian options and friendly service, La Costena draws a wide range of eaters. Their well-filled burritos taste fresh and are priced well.

2078 Old Middlefield Way; Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; 967-4969

Business Lunch:

Cascal

The businesspeople of Mountain View choose Cascal over other places for a lunch with a colleague because of the lively atmosphere that provokes conversation. The restaurant is fast-paced, making it easy to slip in and out for a quick and filling meal. The menu is creative and has a good selection of tasty tapas. With dishes that are easy to share, Cascal is a nice setting for verbal communication.

400 Castro St.; Mon.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m..; 940-9500

Chinese:

Cafe Yulong

Quietly burrowed on a side-street off Castro, Cafe Yulong does not confuse itself with glamour-oriented restaurants. The reason it is held above the many Chinese alternatives is the delicious food it serves. The building is small and simple, but as soon as customers enter they are delighted to be welcomed by Yulong's punctual service and loaded menu. Masters of the Northern Chinese cuisine, Cafe Yulong uses fresh ingredients and homemade noodles to keep hungry customers coming back for more.

743 Dana St.; Tue.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; 960-1677

Chiropractor:

Lisa Devlin

Dr. Lisa Devlin has been practicing in Mountain View for more than 10 years, and knows what she's doing. Devlin does chiropractic work as a veterinarian as well as a sports trainer, helping out animals, athletes and anyone else with a back problem. Famous for her individualized care, Devlin is considered by Mountain View residents to be the best at what she does.

1265 Montecito Ave.; Mon. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tue. 8 a.m.-noon; Wed. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; 428-0950

Coffee:

Dana Street Roasting Company

At Dana Street Roasting Company, the coffee is always freshly roasted. Excellent prices and a vibrant staff have locals making Dana Street an every-day stop. Besides scrumptious pastries, lunch and dinner is available. The interior gives a down-to-earth feel and many customers stay for conversation after getting their drinks. Wireless Internet and live music both come free of charge at Dana Street, and the coffee is more than worth the price.

744 W. Dana St.; Mon.-Thu. 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; 390-9638

Dry Cleaners:

Blossom Valley Cleaners and Drape Center

The annoying wrinkle and unfortunate stain are no big deal if Blossom Valley Cleaners is nearby. The solution is easy, cheap and only takes a day. Blossom Valley Cleaners is a Mountain View favorite because they clean what others cannot, and they do it well.

1782 Miramonte Ave.; Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 968-1321

Fast Food:

In-n-Out Burger

Fresh quality food, punctual service and a clean setting were the principles on which In-n-Out Burger was founded in the late '40s. Today, these principles are what make In-n-Out the unprecedented fast food phenomenon that it is. With an amazing rare trinity of fast, cheap and good, In-n-Out has earned coast-wide notoriety for serving unbeatable fast food. Stop the car and pop inside to watch your potatoes made into French fries — just for a little extra drama.

1159 N. Rengstorff Ave. and 53 W. El Camino Real; Sun.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; (800) 786-1000

Financial Institution:

Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual is a step above the rest because of its unconditional customer service — which seems to be especially abundant at the bank in Mountain View. By treating all customers with an expansive willingness to help, Washington Mutual has become the most popular bank in the area. Friendly staff and a convenient location make Washington Mutual an easy place to stop by.

749 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; 968-0333

Fine Dining:

Chez TJ

Considered by many to be the best dining experience south of San Francisco, it's no surprise that the people of Mountain View put Chez TJ above the rest. Even before the food is made, the romantic environment puts good vibes in the air. Complete with wine pairings and ordinal courses, the prix fixe meal is put together with boundless care. The gifted chefs of Chez TJ perform the contemporary French cuisine beautifully, making sure that diners who enter have a night to remember.

938 Villa St., Tues.-Thurs. 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 946-7466

Fitness Club:

YMCA

The multitude of programs and extensive facilities of YMCA make it easy for everyone to partake. From triathlons to massage therapy, the list of offerings is endless. Families enjoy the many programs, which include child supervision. Whether looking for athletic competition or community service opportunities, YMCA has it all.

2400 Grant Road; Mon.-Thurs., 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.- Sun. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; 969-9622

Florist:

Mountain View Farmers' Market

The Mountain View Farmers' Market is a superb place to go to buy flowers because of the massive selection and unbeatable prices. Large quantities of fresh-cut flowers are sold every Sunday at the downtown locale. Farmers come from the across the state and sell a great variety of flowers for very little.

Located at parking plaza on Hope Street between Villa and Evelyn; Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; (800) 806-FARM

Hair Salon:

Allure Salon

Allure Salon knows that customers are not just looking for a run-of-the-mill haircut. That's why they use skill and creativity to launch clients to new heights with their appearance. Having expertise in cosmetology and makeup, the Allure professionals make a life out of helping customers look amazing. Ranging from full-makeovers to quick cuts, Allure is very capable in the services they offer.

888 Villa St., Suite 100; Call for appointment; 938-8777

Hardware:

OSH

From front to back, the service is great at OSH. The friendly staff is always ready to help customers find the necessary product. The layout of the building is well designed and easy to navigate. Returning items is a breeze, and the inventory of products is expansive.

2555 Charleston Road; Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; 691-2000

Home Furnishings:

Cost Plus

Cost Plus World Market tops the competition because of its comprehensive selection and affordable pricing. When purchasing home furnishings at Cost Plus, customers quickly notice that everything that a home needs is there, and everything that's there is cheap given its high quality. Offering more than just furniture, Cost Plus sells gourmet foods as well as ground coffee and fine wine, making it easy for customers to purchase a little more than they were looking for.

1910 El Camino Real; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 961-6066

Hotel:

Hilton Garden Inn

The Hilton in Mountain View is a great place to stay for travelers of all types. The hotel is technologically adept for businessmen on the move, and is very informative about local attractions for the vacationing family. The staff is accommodating and the rooms are excellent.

840 E. El Camino Real; 964-1700

Ice Cream:

Gelato Classico Italian Ice Cream

With its arsenal of rich flavors, Gelato Classico makes it hard for customers to choose. Those who enter the inviting little building are welcomed with a benevolent owner and a colorful display of fresh ice cream. Gelato Classico does not rely on the name to bring in business. Instead, it gives the prowlers of Castro a quick and easy treat for desert, every night of the week.

241-B Castro St.; Sun.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; 969-2900

Indian:

Amber India Restaurant

Mountain View's Amber India is considered the unmatched Indian restaurant in the Bay Area. The building is soaked in beautiful artwork and filled with proficient staff. Upon being seated, diners are captivated by the dreamy atmosphere and inviting menu. Along with ample vegetarian options, the menu has the perfect balance between traditional items and dishes that are exclusive to Amber India. The North Indian cuisine is bursting with flavor.

2290 W. El Camino Real; Daily 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; 968-7511

Italian:

Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too

This traditional Italian joint has checkered table cloths and incomparable Italian cuisine. The chefs have mastered the Italian-style pizza using thin, fresh crusts and exquisite cheese to give diners a break from greasy commercial pizza. The prices are fitting and the atmosphere is friendly, making Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too a top-notch choice for a sought-after Italian dining experience.

939 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri. 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m.-1a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; 967-5384

Mexican:

Fiesta Del Mar

Fiesta Del Mar does not stray far from its roots, serving authentic Mexican dishes and an assortment of complimentary drinks such as margaritas or a number of different tequilas. Known for its strong Mole sauce and fresh fish, the restaurant is overflowing with the thick smell of sizzling Mexican food. The environment is celebratory and the servers use their knowledge of the menu to help diners decide which of the many plates will hit the spot.

1005 N. Shoreline Blvd.; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; 965-9354

Middle Eastern:

Zucca

With linen tablecloths and mirrored walls, Zucca has an intimate atmosphere that is often quieter and calmer than comparable restaurants. The bistro-esque furnishings and elegant outdoor seating that Zucca offers add to its aesthetically charming feel. The food is unique in its European-Mediterranean cuisine, featuring dishes from Spain, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Italy and France. The homemade recipes that Zucca uses have been tested for great taste and give the customer an array of flavorsome originals.

186 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; 864-9940

Nail Salon:

Gorgeous Nails

The elegant decor and comfortable chairs in Gorgeous Nails keeps customers relaxed from the moment they walk in. With a qualified team of manicurists, Gorgeous Nails consistently pleases its customers, who often return for years to come.

821 Castro St.; 428-1807

New Business:

House of Forgotten Treasures

House of Forgotten Treasures is a feel-good business that buys and sells used kids clothing for discount prices. Growing in popularity, the store gets new items nearly everyday, including kids' furniture and toys. With prices far below retail and a great variety, House of Forgotten Treasures has won the hearts of Mountain View residents.

902 Villa St.; Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.; 961-8222

New Restaurant:

California Roadhouse

California Roadhouse is one of very few American-cuisine restaurants on Castro Street. With its roadhouse decor and old-fashioned lamps, the place is packed with character. Appetizers are large and the hearty plates of meat are even larger. Diners show up for a relaxing meal and leave with a full stomach and a feeling of satisfaction.

401 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Daily 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; 254-8981

Noodle House:

Tung Kee Noodle House

Tung Kee Noodle Houses are popping up all over the Bay Area, and its popularity is well-earned. Tung Kee uses a squadron of vigorous and precise chefs to pump out great tasting noodles for an unbeatable price. Tung Kee is expanding at the corporate level without losing any of the quality in product or in service. These noodle bars are growing in numbers, and growing in customers as well.

520 Showers Drive; Daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; 947-8888

Pearl Tea:

Tapioca Express

This colorful joint is full of energy and a great place to get tea to go, or to stay and lounge. Adjacent to the serving room is a comfortable seating area stocked with chess tables and reading material. With a gargantuan selection of flavors and different drinks, Tapioca Express provides customers with the stimulating tea beverages that are rapidly growing in popularity.

740 Villa St.; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; 965-3093

Pizza:

Amici's East Coast Pizzeria

Great East Coast pizza is a gem in the Bay Area. But it's not only the style that makes Amici's pizza better than the rest, it is the way they cook it. Amici's uses brick ovens to toast their pizza with precision, baking pies till they are crispy but not burnt. It is not hard to taste the added zest that comes with pizza cooked in a brick oven. With tons of great toppings and great service, it's hard to go wrong at Amici's.

790 Castro St.; Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 961-6666

Produce:

Mountain View Farmer's Market

The people of Mountain View choose the Farmer's Market over corporate superstores because of the quality goods and economical pricing. Only open on Sunday, the weekly event is run by suppliers eager to sell their produce in varying quantities at a great price. The Mountain View Farmer's Market allows Silicon Valley residents a chance to taste the world-class produce of Central California, the Monterey Bay region and elsewhere.

Located at parking plaza on Hope Street between Villa and Evelyn; Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; (800) 806-FARM

Sandwich:

Le Boulanger

With bread baked fresh every day, it is no surprise that Le Boulanger has once again been voted best sandwich in town. Their filling sandwiches feature more than just great bread, they are customizable with a great assortment of meats. With its coffee, sweets, delicious omelette sandwiches for breakfast and fabulous soup-and-sandwich for lunch, Le Boulanger is a cafe as well as a premier bakery.

650 Castro St.; Mon.-Sat. 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; 961-1787

Seafood:

Cantankerous Fish

No matter the time of year, this restaurant always has fresh fish. In only a few short years, Cantankerous Fish has established itself as the home of the best seafood on Castro. The atmosphere is low-key and the food is reasonably priced. The service is friendly and knowledgeable about seafood, and about what goes best with what.

420 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; 966-8124

Small Grocery Store:

Milk Pail Market

Milk Pail makes a point of providing customers with less ordinary products such as milk in a glass bottle or a rare European cheese. The grocery store takes requests from customers seeking food items they don't normally carry, trying to meet the individual needs of the chefs that shop there. With free samples available, shoppers of Milk Pail often get to taste a food item that is completely new to them. Proudly irregular, Milk Pail is a grocery store like no other.

2585 California St.; Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; 941-2505

Sushi:

Sono Sushi

Sono Sushi serves diners using boats of sushi. By preparing the items with diligence and making sure that no dish is served unfresh, the staff at Sono Sushi keep giving customers a reason to come back. The sushi is excellent as well as reasonably priced, and best of all it's ready to be eaten the moment you've been seated.

357 Castro St.; Tues.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; 961-9086

Thai:

Amarin Thai

Amarin Thai is a Mountain View favorite because of the zesty dishes and stimulating atmosphere. With tons of great curries, Amarin stays true to the cuisine and serves the spicy Thai dishes that customers love. The ample options for vegetarians and multiple seating options make Amarin a restaurant experience that everyone can enjoy.

174 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. noon-10 p.m.; 988-9323

Unusual Gifts:

East West Bookstore

East West is the place to go for those who want to venture off the beaten path for their gift-shopping. Eye-catching artwork and whimsical items fill the shelves at East West Bookstore. The literature is engaging and out of the ordinary — it is common to find books that delve into spirituality and are more imaginative than academic.

324 Castro St.; Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 12:30 p.m.-8 p.m.; 988-9800

Vegetarian:

Garden Fresh

This Buddhist restaurant tricks its diners with the words "chicken," "pork" and "ham" all over the menu. Regardless of those monikers, it is no secret that Garden Fresh is meatless and has great food to boot. Fried stuffed tofu and eggplant are a few of the many enticing dishes available.

1245 W. El Camino Real; Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 961-7795

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