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Chez Sovan


This downtown restaurant serves excellent Cambodian food in a casual environment. While the surrounding neighborhood may not be postcard material, the authentic Cambodian food is a refreshing addition to San Jose's restaurant scene – especially for those who love the distinctive flavor of paprika. The specials change daily, and the waitstaff is efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. There is a second location in Campbell.

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E & O Trading Company


In the mood for a little lemon grass, imperial rolls or chili-soy salmon? Then this downtown Asian delight is for you. The restaurant is decorated with bamboo and several sculptures, and the ceiling is at least 20 feet high. Their menu consists of dishes representing a fusion of Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese. The lettuce cups are filled to the brim with shitake mushrooms, the corn fritters are crunchy, and the meats are cooked to perfection. As popular as their food is, many patrons also stop in for their unique selection of brews that include Gecko bay and India Pale Ale. E & O also offers several California wines.

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Menara Moroccan Restaurant


Near the Convention Center on East Gish Road, you'll find Menara, whose arched entrance, tile fountain, pillowed couches, waiters wearing traditional fezzes, and the occasional belly dancer give the place a definite air of the exotic. The menu contains such savory items as honeyed lamb, seasoned hare, or b'stilla (Moroccan pigeon pie). Of course, for dessert, you'll have to try their mint tea and homemade baklava.

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Eulipia Restaurant and Bar


Eulipia Restaurant and Bar is a trendy little restaurant located within easy walking distance of San Jose's top attractions and shops. The upstairs bar area has been a hub for local artists and poets since the restaurant's opening in 1977, and the romantic downstairs dining area is noteworthy for its linen tablecloths, artwork, candles and red brick walls. The cuisine is Californian and New American with entrees such as Atlantic Salmon roasted with cashew nuts and red wine braised shortribs. Try their famous Macaroni and White Cheddar Cheese as the perfect side dish. The restaurant's "come as you are" policy makes it popular with patrons of all ages.

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Race Street Seafood Kitchen


This Race Street legend has been a part of San Jose's dining scene for more than half a decade. The atmosphere is California-style laid-back and casual, and the crowd usually consists of far more locals than tourists – so you know it's good. Their fish and chips are a favorite at lunchtime, and nearly all of the menu items are battered and fried.

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Henry's World Famous Hi-Life


The building that houses this local favorite dates back to the late 19th century. Henry's, whose Western interior is home to memorabilia of all shapes and sizes, is popular for its barbecued steaks and ribs. Such dishes as chicken fettuccine Alfredo, center-cut chops, and fresh seafood are also available. Henry's doesn't offer dessert - everybody knows that you couldn't fit it in if they did.

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Naglee Park Garage


The Naglee Park Garage is super casual and a great place to enjoy a meal with family or friends. It's small but cozy, with an attractive courtyard where they occasionally host live music or movie screenings. The food is reasonably priced and well prepared, with choices to suit just about every taste: herb-crusted trout, mustard-rubbed leg of lamb, and maple-lacquered chicken are a few of the choices. Impressive selection of beer, too.

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Mudai Authentic Ethiopian Restaurant


Traditional Ethiopian food combines fresh vegetables and meats with numerous herbs and spices to create fragrant stews, which you scoop up with injera bread. Choose from a wide selection of spicy and mild vegetarian dishes made with lentils, chickpeas, fava beans or veggies; or opt for beef, chicken or lamb. On the menu, dishes called "Tibs" are stews, usually spicy; "kitfo" is a preparation of raw beef, similar to beef tartare. A great departure from the everyday!

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Ristorante Fratello


A casual neighborhood Italian eatery that's family owned and operated, Ristorante Fratello may not have a trendy location or stylish décor, but it does have fantastic classic Italian food. The menu is lengthy, so choosing what to order may be a problem! Sausage polenta, ravioli, cannelloni, spaghetti carbonara, chicken marsala, salmon primavera – all are excellent. Two things are for certain – the tiramisu is a must have, and you will leave absolutely stuffed.

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Giorgio's Italian Food & Pizzeria


Pizza and classic Italian soups and pastas are the mainstays here. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but the lasagna is a favorite, and calzones are popular as well. Everything's available for take out, as well, which might be the best way to go on a Friday or Saturday night when the place is packed.

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