Hotel restaurants and bars may once have had a bad rep, but right now they’re the hottest places in Silicon Valley for fabulous food, drinks, and networking. With all the deals that go down in the Valley, when you raise a glass at any of these sexy hotel restaurant bars you’re almost guaranteed to bump elbows with a VC, VP or entrepreneur—or at least a soon-to-be Valley-ite in town for a third round of interviews.
Quattro (Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, East Palo Alto)
Located just off of University Avenue and Highway 101 in Palo Alto, the Four Seasons Silicon Valley is situated on prime real estate, as the neighboring law firms attest. And as you cruise down the palm tree-lined drive to the hotel entrance, you realize you’re entering a unique oasis that seems far from the bustling vibe of downtown Paly. Quattro Restaurant’s contemporary Italian cuisine is reason enough to visit the hotel—but even better, you can order from the restaurant menu while seated in the spacious yet tony lounge and bar. Start with one of the cocktails from the new summer menu, or enjoy a glass from the wine list to accompany dinner, before finishing with a barrel-aged Vieux Carré. This summer, Fridays are the best evenings to visit, with the Chronicle Nights series paying homage to music from a different decade every week, sequentially. By celebrating music from romantic eras of the past and pairing classic libations from those days gone by, Chronicle Nights transforms the lounge and patio into the Valley’s sexiest vintage hotspot, perfect for a date night.
Location: Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, 2050 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Hours: Daily 11am – midnight. Chronicle Nights through August 29, 2015, Fridays and Saturdays 9 pm – 1 am. Live music on Fridays only.
Price Range: $$-$$$
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Madera (Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, Menlo Park)
First things first. Yes, Thursday night is still Cougar Night at the Madera bar. And if you didn’t know, now you know. But on other evenings, like the unofficial Wednesday locals night, Madera is a sophisticated but inviting place to enjoy some specialty cocktails at the bar and a gorgeous sunset from the patio. No matter which night you go, you’re likely to sit next to a VC from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (located just across Sand Hill Road)—even if it won’t be Ellen Pao anymore—or a millionaire stopping in for a drink on the way home to his Woodside mansion. The lengthy cocktail menu may make a decision difficult, but just ask bartender Brandon for a recommendation. The barrel-aged Manhattans and Old Fashioneds are potently delicious, or you can select one of the many fine Japanese whiskies if you prefer your spirits unsullied. Even wine is an option, as the Michelin-starred Madera restaurant boasts a Wine Spectator award-winning list by advanced sommelier and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts director of wine Paul Mekis.
Dio Deka (Hotel Los Gatos, Downtown Los Gatos)
Michelin star-worthy Dio Deka restaurant in the Hotel Los Gatos is known for its fine contemporary Hellenic cuisine—and the best damn grilled double-cut lamb chops in Silicon Valley—under the culinary leadership of Chef Jeff Fitzgerald. But Dio Deka’s large bar and outside seating are a better-kept secret. During the sultry summer months, it’s not hard to imagine you’re on a restaurant terrace on a small Greek island, surrounded not by shipping tycoons but by software titans, since Los Gatos is home to Valley elites who prefer a small-town feel. On weekend nights, especially, when there’s live music playing, the courtyard is a popular gathering place. Order one of the Greek-inspired specialty cocktails, like the Grecian Sunrise (Aphrodite Ouzo, fresh orange juice, and a splash of grenadine) or Greek Mojito (Metaxa brandy, fresh lime, lemon, and mint), plus some of the wonderful orektika, or appetizers, and you’ll be starting your weekend off right. Or if that’s all Greek to you, indulge in one of the house specialty martinis, like Dio Deka’s version of The Vesper, made with Tanqueray Ten gin, a touch of Belvedere vodka, and a splash of Lillet. Just don’t forget to order the lamb chops.
Location: Hotel Los Gatos, 210 East Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030
Hours: Sunday 5 – 9 pm. Monday 5:30 – 9 pm. Tuesday – Friday 5:30 – 10 pm. Saturday 5 – 10 pm.
Price Range: $$$
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Arcadia (San Jose Marriott, Downtown San Jose)
Silicon Valley is fortunate to boast not one but two Michael Mina steakhouses. Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara may be the newest, but Arcadia in downtown San Jose has the distinction of being Chef Mina’s flagship restaurant in the South Bay. Long a destination for fine libations and elevated steakhouse fare, Arcadia recently revamped its beverage program by offering barrel-aged cocktails for the first time, crafted by Eli Wuest, Assistant Food & Beverage Operations Manager—and by bringing in Mina Group master mixologist Carlo Splendorini to add his touch to the bar’s signature drinks. With offerings like the Arcadia Red Dress, created with Belvedere vodka in support of (RED), the bar menu now matches the sleekly sexy urban lounge and bar decor. The newly unveiled trio of cocktails aged in barrels for a month include the Barrel of Monkeys (Del Maguey Mezcal, 99 Bananas, and Tempus Fugit L’Aero d’Or), a Negroni (#209 Gin, Campari, and La Quintinye Vermouth Royal), and the White Manhattan (Hudson white corn whiskey and Contratto Vermouth Bianco). But if you prefer wine to cocktails, Monday night is your night, when all bottles of wine are available for half-price.
Parcel 104 (Santa Clara Marriott, Santa Clara)
It’s a happy for coincidence for Valley-ites and business travelers that Silicon Valley’s Marriott hotels have found a winning combination of fine dining restaurants and sexy bars. Chef Bradley Ogden’s Parcel 104, once the site of a Bartlett pear orchard, appropriately was one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in the Valley, and its bar has long been a gathering spot for tech types. With various seating areas for groups and smaller, more intimate tȇte-à-tȇtes—including a large patio with firepits—the bar and lounge area are expansive and allow for partying or privacy. Whichever experience you choose, bartender John Tran makes each one personal. He welcomes patrons and quickly learns their beverage preferences, whether cocktails, beer, or wine. But if you love fine spirits and cocktails, you’re definitely in the right hands with John. The winner of local bartending competitions, like Cocktail Wars, John is a true mixologist whose talent is combining your favorite liquors and flavors into delicious hand-crafted cocktails. After a friendly conversation and some questions, John created a spicy Martini for my friend, garnished with her favorite cocktail onions. The weekday happy hour from 2:00 to 6:00 pm features drink and lounge menu specials that make Bar 104 the perfect post-work hangout or place to meet a date. As for me, I’ll be back to sip more Bruichladdich Islay Barley single malt unpeated Scotch by the firepit. She’ll be back for her new go-to Martini.