Places To Eavesdrop And Eat In Silicon Valley, California

Jina Kim

Intrigued about the lives of startup workers? Hanging out at the right casual dining places in Silicon Valley might teach you a thing or two. Here are the top five places you can visit in Palo Alto and Mountain View to get an insider’s glimpse of Silicon Valley’s culture over delicious food.

Spätzle, at Bierhaus

1. Bierhaus

Bierhaus

A tour of Silicon Valley wouldn’t be complete without Castro Street in Mountain View. Located across from Fenwick, one of the most prestigious law firms in Silicon Valley that handles tech IPOs and M&A deals, this place is always crowded with tech workers after work. (Notable companies on Castro Street or nearby include 500 startups, Quora and Polyvore) The place has long picnic tables so it’s easy to strike up a conversation with your techie neighbor. Besides, who is not friendly at a beer garden anyway?

Bierhaus, 383 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

Mint Mojito © Brandon Schauer/FlickrMint Mojito © Brandon Schauer/Flickr

2. Philz Coffee

Grocery Store, Coffee Shop, Tea

Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel
© ario_/Flickr Madera
Philz started in 2003 in a corner grocery store on 24th street and Folsom Street in San Francisco. Since then, it has become a local favorite. This location is in the same block as Palantir, one of the hottest big data start ups in Silicon Valley backed by Peter Thiel. Order a mint mojito and look for engineers coding away on their Mac Pro, founders talk passionately about their start ups and venture capitalists talk about their latest deals.

3. Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel

Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel

New York has Wall Street and Park Avenue. Silicon Valley has Sand Hill Road – the land of venture capital firms. Venture capital partners listen to startup founders pitch their dreams, then figure out which start up will become the next Facebook. Want to find out more ? Get a drink at Madera at around 5PM, enjoy the stunning view of the Santa Cruz mountains and observe. If you are lucky enough, you might hear some interesting conversation. If not, you can at least impress your friends later by saying you have been here. The drinks are pretty stiff by the way (minimum $15) but worth it. Don’t be intimidated to park next to a Ferrari.

Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA

© Jennifer 8 Lee/Flickr SushirritoSushirrito © Jennifer 8 Lee/Flickr

4. Sushirrito & CREAM of Palo Alto

Sushirrito & CREAM of Palo Alto

Start up employees line up as early as 11:30AM for this hot local chain, although for some, this is breakfast. Waiting in line is a great time to strike up a conversation while waiting for some delicious, fresh hand-held sushi burritos. Remember to show up early because the line gets pretty long. For dessert, try the ice cream sandwich from CREAM next door, or explore their other options such as sandwiches or milkshakes.

Sushirrito 448 University Avenue Palo Alto, CA

CREAM, 440 University Avenue Palo Alto, CA

Cream Palo Alto© CREAM of Palo Alto

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