Best Lunch in the South Bay

San Jose claims a lot of “firsts.” Not only was it California’s first city, but it was also the state’s first capital — a run that lasted from 1849 to 1852. Another fun fact? Over a million people live there, making San Jose the third largest in California — behind Los Angeles and San Diego — and the 10th largest in the country. And with all these people comes a lot variety and talent. Whether you’re seeking traditional Pakistani cuisine or just a good old burger, you will find it here in spades in addition to upwards of 10 Michelin-starred restaurants. With that in mind, here are the best lunch spots in the South Bay.

Back A Yard Grill-South Bay-Lunch-@backayardgrill-800x450

Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

Back A Yard Caribbean Grill’s welcoming atmosphere brings Caribbean specialties to the South Bay. Every dish is packed to the brim with flavor and just the right amount of spice. We recommend the Jerk Chicken Rice Plate that comes with generous sides of rice and beans and plantains. Hours are Monday through Saturday 11am to 7pm. 

Brown Chicken Brown Cow-South Bay-Lunch-@bchicbcow-800x450

Brown Chicken Brown Cow

Located in downtown Campbell, Brown Chicken Brown Cow is a casual eatery specializing in grass-fed burgers. The ambiance here makes you feel right at home and while you can’t go wrong with any of the burgers here, we also recommend ordering the Brussels sprouts — you will not be disappointed. Hours are Sunday and Monday 11am to 10pm, Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm.

Freshly Baked Eatery-South Bay-Lunch-@eatswtina

Freshly Baked Eatery

This well-established sandwich joint specializes in a variety of traditional offerings and like the name implies, is known for its freshly baked bread. You can always expect friendly service, quality ingredients and efficiency here. Go for the roast beef or garlic herb turkey and remember to bring cash. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Orchard City Kitchen-South Bay-Lunch-@orchardcitykitchen-800x450

Orchard City Kitchen

Orchard City Kitchen specializes in New American small plates, so we recommend ordering family style to try as many dishes as possible. The chef rotates the menu regularly but fan-favorites like Korean Fried Chicken and the Triple B (biscuits, bacon, and honey butter) are menu staples so definitely do not miss one of those! Hours are 11am to 8pm daily.

Pedro_s-South Bay-Lunch-@pedrosrestaurant-800x450


A vibrant Mexican restaurant with a beautifully decorated interior. One bite of their tacos and you’ll be transported out of the Bay and onto a beach down south. If you’re looking for a buzz we recommend ordering the Billionaire margarita with a side of guacamole and Chimichangas. Santa Clara hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:30am to 8pm, Friday 11:30am to 9pm, Saturday 12pm to 9pm, Sunday 12pm to 8pm. Los Gatos hours are Sunday & Monday 12pm to 8pm, Tuesday through Thursday 12pm to 8:30pm, Friday & Saturday 12pm to 9:30pm.

Purple Onion-South Bay-Lunch-@purpleonionlg-800x450

Purple Onion

Purple Onion is a casual eatery serving breakfast and lunch soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, and hot dogs. Although they do have many tasty vegetarian options, if you’re a meat eater we recommend the Steak & Coffee baguette sandwich or the Cat Town Dog — Niman Ranch all-beef “Fearless Frank,” two slices of bacon, provolone cheese, yellow mustard, sweet relish and little yellow peppers on a soft bun. Main Street hours are 8am to 4pm daily. Winchester Blvd hours are 8am to 3pm Monday through Saturday.

Zareen_s-South Bay-Lunch-@zareensrestaurant-800x450


Located in a small strip mall, Zareen’s unpretentious location keeps customers coming back with their freshly made, authentic Indian food. You can’t go wrong with ordering a classic like Chicken Tikka Masala and we also recommend a Chai or Mango Lassi to sip on with your meal. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30am to 9pm, Friday 11:30am to 10pm, Saturday 11:00am to 10pm, Sunday 11:00am to 9pm.

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite

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