Original Joe's 301 S. First St./San Carlos St., (888) 841-7030, (408) 292-7030. L-D daily; $$. No reservations.
OJ's--as the locals call it—is one of the town’s most popular restaurants, and diners are willing to wait to be seated in one of the comfy leather booths. In business since the 1950s, the restaurant retains a vintage flair and offers an extensive menu of venerable Italian specialties as well as really good steaks—all delivered by tuxedoed waiters. Most everything gets raves, but I can vouch for the ravioli Bolognese, eggplant Parmigiana, and New York steak grilled over mesquite charcoal. When I ordered the New York with a baked potato, the waiter asked me why I would come to an Italian restaurant to order steak and potato. I was nonplussed then, but after I ate my steak I would have replied “because it is sooo goood!” The traditional spaghetti with meat sauce and giant meat balls is also very popular.
More things to do in San Jose.
Even more things to do in San Jose.
More ideas for exploring Northern California.