Though this will come as no surprise to Silicon Valley foodies, a shout-out to David Kinch’s Manresa is in order. The Los Gatos gastronomic beacon has been named the No. 3 restaurant in the world for 2020 by, a French website that bases rankings on an algorithm that sifts through “hundreds of guide books and millions of online reviews.”

Manresa received a score of 98.5 out of a possible 100 points. Just another feather in the cap for Chef David Kinch, who has maintained his restaurant’s three-Michelin-Star rating for five years running.

Speaking of Manresa, next month Kinch will host a one-night-only “four-hand dinner” with Chef Mauro Colagreco of the three-Michelin-starred Mirazur restaurant in Menton, France. The Feb. 27 event will be the two chefs’ fourth collaboration, but the first here in the South Bay. It’s pricey: the tasting menu is $395 per person, and the wine pairing is an additional $285. Check out Manresa’s website for ticket info.

Blue Bottle Coffee opened its third South Bay location late last year at Santana Row. This is the acclaimed Oakland-based coffee purveyor’s first Silicon Valley shop outside of Palo Alto, and it is already drawing crowds. Known for their single-origin beans and cold brews, their New Orleans-style chicory coffee definitely lives up to the hype. It is strong yet surprisingly smooth, with just the right amount of milk and cane-sugar sweetness.

The second Tostadas has opened in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood. This is actually Mexico City natives, and brothers, Alex and Victor Garcia’s third eatery—in addition to the downtown Tostadas and the affiliated Toast in Willow Glen. Despite the name, the restaurant offers a wide range of Mexican cuisine, including birria, enchiladas and a number of vegan-friendly options. However, their namesake is where they really shine. I recommend the al agauachile (shrimp in a lime-pepper sauce) variation of their ceviche tostada.

The new year looks to be an exciting one for ramen fanatics, as two more Japanese imports are getting ready to open up shop here in the South Bay this year. First up will be Ippudo that’s set to launch their third Bay Area location any day now in Cupertino (the other two are in Berkeley and San Francisco). Ippudo is known for their Hakata-style thin, quick-cooking noodles and a rich tonkotsu broth that takes nearly two days to cook. Secondly, one of the OG Iron Chefs, Masaharu Morimoto, will be opening a Momosan Ramen & Sake here in Santana Row a bit later this year. This will be their fourth location worldwide—but their first here in the Golden State.

The end of 2019 saw a number of closures. In December, three of my favorite spots all shut down in quick succession. Santa Clara Valley Brewing served its final pint late last month. SCVB, which began pouring in 2015, was one of the first in a slew of breweries that helped to revitalize the Spartan-Keyes and Martha Gardens neighborhoods, just south of Highway 280. All of their beers were named after local landmarks: the Alviso Mills hefeweizen, New Almaden imperial red ale and their ever-popular Electric Tower IPA. They will be missed.

South Side Vietnamese spot Corner Pho—which had some of the best pho outside of the East Side—has also closed. They were home to one of the South Bay’s many food challenges. The “Phomongous Challenge” dared foolhardy eaters to finish two pounds of noodles, two pounds of meat and a gigantic bowl of broth in under 50 minutes. Winners got a free meal, a free T-shirt and a picture on the Wall of Fame. Losers had to fork over $50 and give their likeness over to the Wall of Shame.

Finally, Tsugaru in Japantown shut its doors for the last time in December. A longtime mainstay of J-Town, Tsugaru served Japanese comfort food for as long as I can remember. Their bento boxes and unique sushi rolls were a popular combo, but their deep-fried soft-shell crab was a must on any visit. They were always a classy operation and were kind enough to leave a note for their customers that ended with “…thank you for all the love and support over the years. We wish you all the best.”