1530 Southwest Expwy, San Jose
While the building might be new, the Perakis family who run it are no strangers to the South Bay. Tasso Perakis and his wife Maria have been running restaurants here since the early ’70s, and now they’ve both come out of retirement to open up Tasso’s Restaurant & Bar with their son Kostas at the helm. Featuring a swank bar with Mediterranean-inspired cocktails like their Fig Mojito, and a restaurant that serves up all the Greek favorites like moussaka and spanakopita. Their “famous” lamb shank lives up to the hype, as the slow-cooking makes the meat melt off the bone. Tasso’s is the perfect place for those who like a home-cooked meal but in a modern, chic environment.

The Grandview Restaurant
15005 Mount Hamilton Rd, San Jose
For those who like dinner and view, the name of this former roadhouse, built in the 1880s, pretty much says it all. Perched on Mt. Hamilton in San Jose’s East Hills, the Grandview offers sweeping vistas of the entire Silicon Valley. And as if that isn’t enough, it’s also South Bay’s only seed-to-table restaurant that grows nearly all its produce and eggs and even features its own herd of Black Angus cattle. This Italian steakhouse doesn’t stop there, as they even make all their own fresh pastas daily and house a terrific selection of wine, as well as a bar that mixes up killer craft cocktails. Pro tip: There’s currently an $80-for-$100 gift card for The Grandview being sold at local Costco’s throughout the South Bay.

The Palms
115 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
A gift card to The Palms restaurant in Los Gatos is the perfect gift for the hungry ghost hunter on your list, as this restaurant is housed in Coggeshall Mansion, the former location of Place Funeral Home, and is purportedly haunted by several apparitions. From this 1891 Queen Anne, The Palms serves Asian and Polynesian fusion dishes. The Chilean sea bass is one of the house specialties and is pan-seared to perfection. Pro tip: they’re offering a special through the holidays where patrons get a free $20 gift card for themselves when they purchase a $100 gift card. It’s the gift that gives back!

791 Auzerais Ave, San Jose
The owners of Palermo’s took over the business formerly known as Paradiso’s, which was a popular Italian deli since 1967. This particular location is also situated approximately in right field of the old Sodality Park, where the Great Bambino’s walk-off home run (allegedly) fell when he played there in October 1927 with Lou Gehrig in a 21-game showcase with his team the Bustin’ Babes. Palermo kept a lot of Tony Paradiso’s old recipes, including their spectacular meatballs that are a fitting tribute to the Sultan of Swat.

EMC Seafood & Raw Bar
378 Santana Row Ste 1100, San Jose
For the seafood lover on your list, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar will likely have what they want. This SoCal Koreatown favorite has finally made its way here to NorCal and features live uni, oyster shooters and various carpaccios. Their uni noodles are a fan favorite, and if one desires variety, than the Seafood Tower is the way to go; lobster, sashimi, king crab legs, fresh uni and scallops on the shell are just some of the items that come with it.

Doppio Zero
Multiple locations
Pizza lovers need to look no further than Doppio Zero for an authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pie. It’s one of only a handful AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) certified places in the entire Bay Area, ensuring that their pizzas are 100 percent authentic from the type of flour and  tomatoes used to their oven and its temperature. One really can’t go wrong with the classic Margherita pizza, but their la carne pie, with chorizo and Italian sausage, is also worth checking out.

115 E San Carlos St, San Jose
Knock off two birds with one stone by grabbing gift cards for your buds with sweet tooths and any vegan on your list—every family has at least one. This purveyor of vegan cinnamon rolls is a locally based chain that got its start in Berkeley before hitting it big on ABC’s Shark Tank. Patrons can use a multitude of toppings and flavored icings to create almost limitless flavor combinations. Well, actually 414 combinations, but who’s counting?

TAOB Pit Stop
484 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose
Owner Art Campos ran his popular catering business, The Art of BBQ (TAOB), for many years—catering to as many as 35,000 people in one year alone—when he decided to go all-in at this brick-and-mortar store. Barbecue lovers will think they’ve died and gone to hog heaven at TAOB Pit Stop with their Flintstone-size St. Louis pork ribs and smoked pork belly. They also make some killer apps with their version of “wolf turds” (smoked bacon-wrapped jalapeños) and deep-fried mac and cheese bombs.

Pho Ha Noi
969 Story Rd, Ste 6048, San Jose
Pho Ha Noi devotees got a second chance at love, as the original location closed inexplicably in 2013 only to reopen in late 2016 at this swank new location in San Jose’s Vietnam Town Plaza. Crystal chandeliers and quartz tables will have patrons feeling like they’re dining in a fancy five-star restaurant instead of a humble pho house. Chef Charlie Nguyen specializes in northern-style pho, which has more of gingery and green onion flavor, and their bone marrow broth is slow-cooked for 36 hours to release a deep beefy base. Their house-made fresh wide noodles are the perfect way to enjoy pho—and make sure to order the rare, tenderized beef on the side for an extra-special treat.

Multiple locations
Deciding on what to order at a restaurant can cause certain individuals to panic and make hasty decisions that they regret moments later; Alex Hult’s latest restaurant, Flights, has the solution for them. Flights’ tapas-style offerings always come in threes, so now there’s no more vacillating about which type of burger to order, or cogitating on which mojito to sip. Flights is also one of the fastest-growing restaurants in the area; since opening their original restaurant in downtown Campbell two years ago, they’ve quickly opened locations in Los Gatos, Burlingame and Mountain View and are anticipating a Las Vegas location in 2019.