Best of Mountain View 2012 | August 24, 2012 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

Cover Story - August 24, 2012

Best of Mountain View 2012

These are the champions, the restaurants, retailers and professionals who answered the call to compete and came out on top. Readers had the task of judging the top performers and awarding gold medals to the best of the best. From oil changes to acupuncture, bagels to baba ghanoush, pearl tea to pet hospitals, we've got it all. These are your winners, Mountain View, the places you chose for the best service, best products, best food and best places to have fun.

Best of Mountain View contributors

Editor: Andrea Gemmet

Writers: Rebecca Alger, Emily Efland

Publicity and Logistics: Margaret Kadifa, Rachel Palmer

Photographers: Sierra Duren, Kimihiro Hoshino, Michelle Le, Daniella Sanchez, Veronica Weber

Section Designer: Paul Llewellyn

Designers Linda Atilano, Lili Cao, Shannon Corey, Diane Haas, Rosanna Leung, Scott Peterson

Lane 1



With its 20th consecutive win, Hobee's hits it out of the park with the best breakfast in town. According to Hobee's president Edward Fike, their BDBIT: Best Darn Breakfast In Town is still the most popular - two eggs, served your way; "Country Style" hash browns; and toast or blueberry coffee cake. New this year is the gluten-free menu so everybody can enjoy a meal.

2312 Central Expressway, Mountain View, 650-968-6050

#67 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, 650-327-4111

4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650-856-6124


Chef Chu's is a longtime local favorite for its great service, quality ingredients and consistency. Owner Larry Chu Jr. says that everybody enjoys the selection of specialty dishes such as potstickers, Peking duck, and wok-seared rack of lamb, and that vegetarians will also find a parade of entrees to enjoy, including tofu and noodle dishes.

1067 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos


Coffee House

This year's winner, Red Rock Coffee on Castro features live music and an open-mic night on Mondays. Besides brewing a great cup of joe, its community-oriented focus draws people in. Along with live music on Saturdays, there's also Saturday coffee tasting events that have expanded to include Espresso Tasting and 1 Coffee 5 Ways, a tasting designed to highlight the various brew methods one can use at home.

201 Castro St., Mountain View


Fine Dining

Sometimes what separates the gold from the bronze is more training. Executive Chef Joey Elenterio of Chez TJ agrees, citing the restaurant's fine dining success as "a matter of taking the three or four extra steps." Featuring a menu that changes every three to four weeks but always includes fresh produce from farmers' markets and the restaurant's garden, Chez TJ boasts fine French and California cuisine inspired by local produce. The food may vary, but customers say the quality never changes.

938 Villa St., Mountain View



Xanh's contemporary, cutting-edge feel encompasses its design and its cuisine. The restaurant serves a variety of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes in innovative spins on classic Vietnamese recipes. Also open for buffet lunch, the restaurant offers family-style dining during the day and vibrant nightlife after the sun goes down. Xanh also won for best Vietnamese restaurant.

110 Castro St., Mountain View



Mountain View's Amber India wins once again with its traditional North Indian tikas, curries, biryanis and more, enhanced with flavors such as chilies, saffron and rose water. Manager Manjeet Singh says that while its most popular dishes are butter chicken and chicken tikka masala, Amber's traditional, rich cuisine leaves diners happy and full.

2290 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View. 650-968-7511

150 University Ave., Palo Alto. 650-329-9644


Frankie, Johnnie and Luigi Too does home-style Italian food, and does it well. In addition to traditional pastas and garlic bread, there's a wide selection of pizzas and wine. Owner John V. D'Ambrosio says that local favorites are lamb osso bucco, an oven roasted lamb shank, and cioppino, seafood in a light tomato broth served with pasta.

939 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View



To put it simply, customers return time after time to Mediterranean Grill House because "they like the food," says owner Hasan Ibrahim. The restaurant offers everything Mediterranean, from falafel to a feta cheese salad to baba ghannuj (an eggplant dip), but Ibrahim says most popular are the chicken shish kabobs — barbequed chicken served on skewers with rice and salad or hummus.

650 Castro St., Mountain View



Whoever said the number 13 is unlucky has never been to Mountain View's favorite Mexican restaurant. Fiesta del Mar is our readers' choice for the best Mexican food in Mountain View, and this year, it won for the best seafood restaurant as well. Enjoy unique camarones (shrimp) dishes and a menu of 200 tequilas. Online take-out ordering is also available through the restaurant's website.

10005 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View


Middle Eastern

Offering traditional Turkish food since 2005, Cafe Baklava wins best Middle Eastern cuisine once again. With many traditional Middle Eastern classics like doner kebap, moussaka, alinazik, Cafe Baklava embodies authenticity, right down to the Turkish beer and hookahs; it's no wonder Cafe Baklava wins the gold once again.

341 Castro St., Mountain View


New Restaurant

Since July 2011, SteakOut has been catering to Mountain View residents' meatier needs. Founding partner Mike Finley says customers love the restaurant's grass-fed, pasture-raised hamburgers -—seared on both sides on a griddle to retain flavor and juice — and 18 beers on tap. While burgers dominate as the favorite meal, the menu also includes sandwiches and salads.

383 Castro St., Mountain View

(650) 209-0383

Outdoor Dining

Cascal won in two categories this year: readers ranked it as the best place for outdoor dining and it tied for the best place to have a business lunch. "The menu offers over 25 tapas-style dishes — a Spanish tradition of small plates with savory flavors — as well as a variety of traditional paellas and regional dishes," says manager Brad Daley. There's live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

400 Castro St., Mountain View


Business Lunch

Lunch with a client? Pick Country Gourmet, because locals voted it the best business lunch in Mountain View, in a tie with Cascal. Country Gourmet has a variety of salads, soups and wraps along with the favorite almond chicken and three different types of quiche. A lively bar, patio and indoor seating offer the right combination for business conversation.

2098 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View



A champion every year since 2007, Sushitomi clearly has a lot of fans in Mountain View. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves sushi, of course, but also tempura, teriyaki, donburi rice bowls, noodle soups and grilled appetizers.

635 W. Dana St., Mountain View



For over a full decade, Amarin Thai has been a favorite among readers. Patrons say the restaurant offers high quality Thai favorites at affordable prices. Owner Supawan Pimsakul lists the pad thai and various curries as customer favorites, but with two extensive menus — one strictly vegetarian and the other serving all kinds of Thai food — Amarin offers authentic Thai for all.

174-176 Castro St., Mountain View

(650) 988-9323


If you see duck on Garden Fresh's menu, don't be fooled. As Mountain View's favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant, the restaurant doesn't carry meat, although it does serve meat substitutes and plenty of tofu for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters to enjoy at a healthy lunch or dinner. Each entree comes with brown rice (a healthier alternative to traditional white rice).

1245 W. El Camino Real


Lane 2

Food & Drink


House of Bagels beats out the competition because of the unique way they bake their bagels each morning. By boiling the bagels first and then baking them in a brick oven, the product is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Choosing from 22 flavors that range from jalapeño to chocolate chip, fans agree that the traditional and gourmet bagels are simply the best.

1712 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View



Mountain View residents aren't the only ones to notice Le Boulanger's fresh bread, says manager Julian Hawawini. The bakery also showcases its Bay Area award-winning sourdough, which, like the other breads offered, is baked daily. Along with 40 varieties of bread and pastries comes the popular California Fresh sandwich containing turkey, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and onions on Le Boulanger's Dutch crunch roll. Le Boulanger also won the vote for best deli this year.

650 Castro St., Mountain View



Winning both Best Bar and Best Happy Hour in Mountain View, Tied House Cafe and Brewery is open to "families, groups, and individuals" with emphasis on the family-friendly side as a restaurant as well as a bar. The 14 beers on tap all come from the in-house microbrewery, and bartenders encourage customers to develop their palates by tasting them all.

954 Villa St., Mountain View



Slow but steady is what wins the race for Armadillo Willy's year after year. They take no short cuts in the smoking process — the ribs and brisket cook from five to 18 hours over real oak logs. The BBQ joint has served Bay Area locations with authentic Texas barbecue since 1983.

1031 N. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos



Clarke's Charcoal Broiler is famous for "good service and good food," owner James Blach says. The burgers weigh 1/3 of a pound and are cooked over charcoal, which makes for an authentic grilled taste. Along with their condiment bar stocked with fresh produce and old-school feel, Clarke's has all the making for a champion burger. Clarke's also offers delivery and take-out.

615 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View



La Costena's custom-built burritos fill up the hungriest of eaters, and patrons say they taste great. Each burrito comes with rice, beans and salsa. Besides holding several Best of Mountain View awards, La Costena holds a Guinness Book record for the largest burrito, built in Rengstorff Park. Readers also voted it the city's best place for take-out.

2078 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View

650- 967-0507

Ice Cream Store

Gelato Classico dishes out its Italian ice cream in a rich and wide selection of flavors, from green tea and hazelnut to caramello chocolate crunch. Loyal patrons flock to the gelato in large numbers each night, and they say the creamy ice cream is worth the wait.

241 Castro St., Mountain View


Noodle Place

Mountain View's favorite noodle house, Ramen House Ryowa, takes its name from its most popular dish: Ryowa noodles. These Japanese-style ramen noodles are served with cha siu barbeque pork, seaweed and a boiled egg. Customers say the noodles are perfectly cooked and the broth is always flavorful.

859 Villa St., Mountain View


Pearl Tea

Fans of Verde Tea say no one makes the frothy, East Asian beverage containing sweetened tea and milk with as much skill as Verde. The cafe serves pearl milk tea in flavors from peach to red bean. The pearls — tapioca balls at the bottom of each drink — are a particular favorite.

852 Villa St., Mountain View



Amici's East Coast Pizzeria is famous for its authentic thin, crisp-crust pizzas cooked in traditional dome ovens right next to an open flame. Marketing director Richard Allum says that Amici's is the best because it "strives to make your experience the best it can be." The local pizza joint also has a variety of salads and pasta dishes so that there's something for everyone.

790 Castro St., Mountain View


Fresh Produce

Not only is the Mountain View Farmers Market the fourth-largest in the state, it consistently wins local and national awards and is named by patrons the No. 1 farmers' market in the Bay Area. Located near the Mountain View train station, the market showcases over 80 farmers and food producers who offer an extensive selection of organic produce, baked goods and fresh flowers. Open year round, rain or shine, the market makes a great Sunday morning excursion.

600 W. Evelyn Ave., Mountain View


Small Grocery Store

The Milk Pail has always been a favorite for its local produce, baked goods, and food along with its huge variety of rare cheeses, but this year they also began giving mozzarella-making classes and started "Curds & Chords," a program where the store participates with music venues by hosting a cheese-tasting table to help encourage attendance at open-mic events.

2585 California St., Mountain View


Lane 3



Peninsula Acupuncture says it brings modern training and perfected technique to one of the most ancient forms of medicine, in which fine needles are inserted into patients' skin at certain points to restore the body to balance and health. Fans of the licensed acupuncturist Ted Ray praise his soothing technique and ability to bring about full recovery from a wide variety of troubles.

2500 Hospital Dr., Mountain View


Auto Body Repair

FCC Collision is a long-term family operation since 1979. Their experienced professionals and welcoming customer service have car owners coming back for more. According to owner Adam Piper, over 40 percent of customers come back again and again or are referred by friends.

177 E. Evelyn Avenue, Mountain View


Auto Repair

Employees at Dean's Automotive train hard for their jobs, going to auto classes regularly to educate themselves on different car problems, says owner Warren McCord. The auto repair shop has provided quality care since 1963 using its specialized automotive service and repair facilities. They back up their car care with a 24-month/24,000-mile guarantee on parts and labor.

2037 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View



Suffering from pain, either chronic or due to injury? Head over to Dr. Lisa Devlin, voted the best chiropractor in Mountain View. While most people come in for pain, patients typically return for an adjustment to return to their activities more quickly. Delvin practices a low force method called the Activator Method — no twisting, cracking or popping. She also provides laser therapy to help decrease pain and inflammation as well as promote improved circulation and muscle relaxation.

1265 Montecito Ave., Mountain View



Smiles Dental is once again a favorite of Mountain View residents. Dr. William Hall attributes the business' success to its friendly, caring staff as well as the customer service staff's attention to detail. In addition to using digital x-ray technology, the office prides itself on pampering its patients and their teeth.

100 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View


Dry Cleaners

Green & Fresh Cleaners says it is the first environmentally friendly, green dry-cleaners in Mountain View. The full-service garment and fabric care cleaning company has served the Bay Area for over 40 years. They use a 100 percent PERC-free dry-cleaning process that helps not only your clothes, but also the environment.

580 N. Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View


Fitness Classes

Need motivation for your high-energy workout? Mountain View residents say to check out 24-Hour Fitness' group classes. Zumba, cycling and yoga are the three most popular fitness classes, says service manager Anjuli Roberts, but the gym is also planning on adding new body workouts for even tougher training. The 24-Hour Fitness Sport on Showers Drive is our readers' pick for best gym.

2535 California St., Mountain View, 650-935-9064 ext. 40

550 Showers Dr., Mountain View, 650-941-2268

Green Business

BookBuyers takes the winner's podium for both the best book store and the best green business in Mountain View. It's known for being a community place, where customers can find books on almost any subject. As the largest used-book store on the Peninsula, with an expanded new book program of harder-to-get classic authors and titles, book lovers have hit the gold mine with BookBuyers.

317 Castro St., Mountain View


Hair Salon

A winner for the past five years as the best hair salon in Mountain View, Allure aims to make clients feel as if they're walking into the Opening Ceremony. "What makes us unique is we have extreme passion for what we do," says owner Alisa Barnhart. The salon offers a variety of hair treatments, including perms and coloring, as well as facials, nail treatments and spray tanning.

888 Villa St., Mountain View



Three-star Hotel Avante gets the gold for Best Hotel in Mountain View. Featuring an outdoor pool, health club, fitness facilities, and even its own masseuse — something no other hotel in the area can boast of, according to manager Charles Hall — the hotel has a "retro-chic" design and top-notch service. Breakfast and wireless Internet are included with rooms.

860 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View



Known for its friendly staff and large nail polish selection, customers say Gorgeous Nails and Skin Care provides top-notch manicures and pedicures at reasonable prices, complete with hot stone massages. Manager Nancy Nguyen also cites the nail salon's cleanliness and thorough sanitization methods.

821 Castro St., Mountain View



Fans say Heaven on Earth offers a wide array of massages at bargain prices. Patrons praise the skin care and massage place's ability to leave everyone feeling fully relaxed and rejuvenated. "Each of our massage therapists bring in their own specialties to the table, such as shiatsu, deep tissue, lymphatic drainage, facelift massage," owner Jolyn Silvia says. Clients even have access to amenities, such as the private steam room, updated fitness center, jacuzzi and heated swimming pool.

555 W. Middlefield Rd., Mountain View


Oil Change

For three years running, the Car Doctor wins the best oil change in Mountain View. With 40 years of experience in the business, the Car Doctor knows how to diagnose an automotive bug. Owner Gary Schaller says the shop offers speedy, quality service and prides itself on making sure that their customers have safe, reliable transportation.

2235 Old Middlefield Way Unit K, Mountain View


Personal Trainer

To achieve your Olympic dreams, head over to Stafford Fitness, which specializes in personal training with Stephanie Stafford. She offers one-on-one injury management for endurance athletes, weight loss, and general wellness/stress management.

Evolution Trainers: 1235 Pear Ave. Suite 101, Mountain View


Pet Care

Adobe Animal Hospital is open 24/7 so that no matter what happens, someone will be there for your furry friend. The hospital offers a wide variety of services, from surgery and dentistry to internal medicine. As a larger hospital, the doctors have a wide array of experience and background and unlike most pet care, owners can stay with their animals during blood work or operations to make them feel more comfortable.  

4470 El Camino Real, Los Altos


Shoe Repair

You need a good pair of shoes to sprint your way to victory. Model Shoe Repair owner Sae Lim cites his reasonable prices and loyal customers as the reason for his shoe repair store's victory, and customers applaud the speed and high quality of the repairs.

621 West Dana St., Mountain View



Underdog Bikram Yoga just celebrated its first year in business by winning the gold medal for favorite yoga studio. Bikram Yoga, unlike other kinds, is performed in a heated room. People of all ages come to heal their bodies from the inside out. There are no levels in Bikram, so whether you're injured or an Olympic hopeful, it's designed for everybody.

1910 W. El Camino Real


Lane 4


Bike Shop

Need a tune-up before your next big race, or even just a new bike light? Cognition Cyclery, a self-proclaimed "neighborly bike shop," offers everything from at-home pick-ups of broken bikes to new bicycling products. They even have a "Triple A" service in case your bike breaks down while you're on the road.

903 Castro St., Mountain View



For the second year in a row, Therapy's wide range of clothing styles creates fans of all ages. The Mountain View outlet of the chain of boutique stores packs the house with a unique blend of men's and women's clothing, accessories and home decor items. Fans praise the friendly, helpful customer service.

250 Castro St., Mountain View



Sashay Floral earns top marks for the creativity and design aesthetic of its fresh flower bouquets. A small florist shop, Sashay mostly caters to weddings and corporate events, but they also do day-to-day deliveries. "People don't just pick up a bouquet and go, it's design work," says co-owner Poppie Rodriguez.


Hardware Store

This local branch of the well-established home and garden supply store has friendly and knowledgeable staff willing to help everywhere, from hardware to paints and plants. Orchard Supply Hardware is known for its appliance selection and the variety of plants available in the nursery, and online coupons are often available.

2555 Charleston Road, Mountain View


Home Furnishings

Readers say Cost Plus World Market is the go-to place for great finds at bargain prices, especially when it comes to vibrant furniture and exotic decor from around the globe. Kitchen, dining, and gardening utensils are also sold.

1910 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View


Store for Unusual Gifts

For the friend who already has everything, East West Bookshop is the top choice for unusual gifts. East West has far more than books — there's garden decor, jewelry and a yoga studio out back. Around the store will be spiritual music and chanting CDs, tarot decks, crystals, books by the Dalai Llama and Buddha statues of all materials and sizes. East West hosts talks and workshops nearly every single day on topics from spirituality to health and prosperity.

324 Castro St., Mountain View


Lane 5

Fun Stuff

Best Park

Cuesta Park offers something for children and adults of all ages. There is plenty of sand and multiple swing sets for the younger crowd. Visitors can walk, run or ride bikes and scooters around the park's extensive paved trails. Barbecue facilities, along with a bocce ball court, children's playground, horseshoe area, passive areas, picnic areas, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and restrooms make the park an all-around winner. Cuesta Park is also host to the Summer Sounds concert series. Cuesta also won with readers as the best place in town for a playdate.

Place for Live Music

It's not the only place in town to hear live music, but it's certainly the biggest. Once again, Shoreline Amphitheatre takes the cake for the best place for live music in Mountain View. The amphitheater has a capacity of 22,500, with 16,000 general admission seats on the lawn. Next time your favorite band is in the Bay Area, there's a pretty good chance they'll be at Shoreline.

1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View



Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I respectfully wonder if there was a mistake under Sushi/Japanese, possibly a mix-up with the parallel poll by the Palo Alto Weekly. "Best Sushi/Japanese" text above cites a single restaurant, then lists two Sushi Tomo addresses, both in Palo Alto. I don't recall seeing Sushi Tomo on the MV Voice poll, and unlike say Chef Chu's (right at the MV border), one Sushi Tomo location is in downtown PA, miles from MV; the other on El Camino Way, off ECR beyond Charleston. But Sushi _Tomi_ in downtown Mountain View is a popular, widely honored restaurant with a similar name and won this poll for MV last year, and earlier.

Also, compare this year's opening and closing text for Sushi/Japanese winner to last year's:

Sushi/Japanese [2012]:
Known for its fresh fish and traditional sushi, Sushi Tomo presents diners with a wide variety of rolls and sushi options. ... The restaurant is now open for lunch on weekends.

Sushi/Japanese [2011]:
Sushi Tomi is known for its fresh fish and wide variety of very traditional sushi. ... The restaurant is now also open for lunch on weekends.

Posted by imchinese, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

Chef Chu's for best Chinese? That's a fail. Who votes on this (obviously not Chinese people) Even the waitstaff there comments on how unauthentic the food is.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.