clock menu more-arrow no yes

8 Photo-Worthy Restaurants and Coffee Shops in San Jose

Because sometimes you have to do it for the ‘gram

View as Map

There’s nothing wrong with a good hole in the wall, especially if the food is off-the-charts good. But something about an artsy restaurant feeds the soul. Whether it’s a splashy mural or several decorative conversation-starters, a curated space with personality enhances the experience of going out to eat. So feast your eyes on eight of San Jose’s most Insta-worthy interiors.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. ADEGA

Copy Link
1614 Alum Rock Ave
San Jose, CA 95116
(408) 926-9075
Visit Website

ADEGA is the kind of place that embraces beauty in the details. Its owners curated the space with a glass-enclosed wine rack, hand-made furniture, and wine barrel-making tools on its walls—and these little touches add up. Most striking of all is the mosaic art on the back wall. Flourishes of blue paint across tile portray feathers from an outstretched wing, scrolling on a fancy frame, part of a Greek pillar, and a dozen other abstractions of grandeur — building into the crest of one majestic wave. Be aware that a night at ADEGA means investing in the full seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu. We think it’s well worth the price. Not only is ADEGA the first and only Michelin-starred restaurant currently in San Jose, but it’s the only Portuguese restaurant in the U.S. to achieve a Michelin star.

2. Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

Copy Link
80 N Market St
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 294-8626
Visit Website

For curried goat and oxtail stew with a delicious side of art make sure to drop by Back A Yard. While the dishes delight your taste buds, the bright lime pillars and floor-to-ceiling mural will engage your mind. The mural depicts a scene from Faiths Pen, one of the owner’s favorite foodie haunts on the North Coast of Jamaica, and drops viewers into an immersive scene where roadside vendors hawk jerk chicken and fried fish from a small army of BBQ grills lining the street. “Food at these roadside shacks is unpretentious [and] soulful with a huge dose of Jamaican Charisma,” the owner shares on Facebook.

Tables in front of a mural of roadside vendors selling jerk chicken. Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

3. Olla Cocina

Copy Link
17 N San Pedro St
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 606-7999
Visit Website

If there’s a trendier place to order tostada and tamales than Olla Cocina, then we’ve yet to come across it. Located on a string light-lit street around the corner from San Pedro Square Market, its large open windows reveal a charming interior of wagon wheel light fixtures, tiled flooring in hacienda-style, and accent walls with wildly patterned wallpaper. One wall displays a collage of vintage movie posters, while another presents a bold skull pattern—ideal backgrounds for those Instagram photoshoots.

4. Nirvana Soul

Copy Link
315 S 1st St
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 564-6617
Visit Website

It’s safe to say the Nirvana Soul coffee shop has gained itself some diehard fans. If you live in the South Bay, chances are you’ve spotted at least one or two folks on the street wearing Nirvana Soul tote bags or face masks with pride. Owned by sisters Jeronica and Be’Anka, Nirvana Soul is downtown San Jose’s first black female-owned coffee shop. The siblings gave their space a cheery sunset color palate (complete with fuchsia ceiling) and curated an upstairs art gallery to highlight local and BIPOC artists. There’s also a mural of the sisters with a fun backstory to it: Painter Ricardo Gonzalez dropped by the shop one day to offer his artistic services (also letting Jeronica and Be’Anka know that this would be his first mural and he’d understood if they wanted to hire someone with more experience). “We told him we’d never opened a coffee shop before so let’s just see what he [came] up with,” the owners share on their Facebook page.

5. Good Spot

Copy Link
386 S 1st St
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 550-6585
Visit Website

Visit the Good Spot for your late-night bites and after-dark photoshoots. This “gastro-lounge” serves American-Asian food in a playful modern space with a plant wall, LED lights, and art by local muralist Fernando “FORCE129” Amaro Jr. The mural features a large geometric sloth to pay homage to Good Spot’s spirit animal. Its leisurely presence embodies Good Spot’s mission to “nourish the souls of sloth humans.” On the restaurant’s website, the owner explains that “The humble, permanently smiling creature brings a youthful, whimsical touch to the entire place and reminds us to not take ourselves, or itself, too seriously.”

6. Must be Thai

Copy Link
3143 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA 95117
(408) 816-7179
Visit Website

How many people can say they’ve savored a steaming bowl of tom yum while contemplating a mural of Godzilla shooting laser beams out of its mouth at a flying tuk-tuk rickshaw and a cluster of floating durian fruit? We can all think of a few restaurants that take themselves too seriously, but not so with Must Be Thai. From a projector playing Bruce Lee movies and the Thai version of Superman to the Lego check and tip tray, this restaurant glories in its funky weirdness. So load up on pad thai, curry, and roasted duck and soak in the atmosphere. 

7. The Funny Farm Restaurant

Copy Link
3245 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA 95117
(408) 244-4424
Visit Website

This place is... more than a little bonkers. But what else did you expect from a diner called The Funny Farm? The slogan “crazy good food” and the logo of an upside-down rubber chicken named Chuckles is only the beginning. Look forward to a stripper pole covered in purple and orange faux fur. Slinkies dangling from the ceiling. Stuffed animals crammed in jars like bottled specimens. And a mural cluttered with pop art graffiti and superhero comic sound effects. Even though it’s not necessarily an artsy touch, we think they also deserve creativity points for the pieces of bubble wrap they hand to customers for stress relief while they wait for their loco moco tots and mother clucker breakfast sandwich.

8. K Cafe Patisserie & Tea House

Copy Link
923 S Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 900-0023
Visit Website

Expect springtime year-round at Vietnamese coffee and brunch spot K Café. The place is dressed to the nines — its pink ceiling covered in a flurry of silk flowers, gilded branches, bird cages, and an exorbitant number of chandeliers. If the weather is warm, join the goddess statues and life-sized horse sculpture in the garden patio. Outside, you will also encounter a mural featuring a row of colorful shops and the store’s owner with her two dogs. And the pièce de resistance? The food matches the atmosphere — so expect truffle mushroom eggs benedict on a patterned plate and flowers on your French fries.

A dining room with large chandeliers, flower-covered walls, and pink booths. K Cafe

1. ADEGA

1614 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose, CA 95116

ADEGA is the kind of place that embraces beauty in the details. Its owners curated the space with a glass-enclosed wine rack, hand-made furniture, and wine barrel-making tools on its walls—and these little touches add up. Most striking of all is the mosaic art on the back wall. Flourishes of blue paint across tile portray feathers from an outstretched wing, scrolling on a fancy frame, part of a Greek pillar, and a dozen other abstractions of grandeur — building into the crest of one majestic wave. Be aware that a night at ADEGA means investing in the full seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu. We think it’s well worth the price. Not only is ADEGA the first and only Michelin-starred restaurant currently in San Jose, but it’s the only Portuguese restaurant in the U.S. to achieve a Michelin star.

1614 Alum Rock Ave
San Jose, CA 95116

2. Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

80 N Market St, San Jose, CA 95113
Tables in front of a mural of roadside vendors selling jerk chicken. Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

For curried goat and oxtail stew with a delicious side of art make sure to drop by Back A Yard. While the dishes delight your taste buds, the bright lime pillars and floor-to-ceiling mural will engage your mind. The mural depicts a scene from Faiths Pen, one of the owner’s favorite foodie haunts on the North Coast of Jamaica, and drops viewers into an immersive scene where roadside vendors hawk jerk chicken and fried fish from a small army of BBQ grills lining the street. “Food at these roadside shacks is unpretentious [and] soulful with a huge dose of Jamaican Charisma,” the owner shares on Facebook.

80 N Market St
San Jose, CA 95113

3. Olla Cocina

17 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA 95110

If there’s a trendier place to order tostada and tamales than Olla Cocina, then we’ve yet to come across it. Located on a string light-lit street around the corner from San Pedro Square Market, its large open windows reveal a charming interior of wagon wheel light fixtures, tiled flooring in hacienda-style, and accent walls with wildly patterned wallpaper. One wall displays a collage of vintage movie posters, while another presents a bold skull pattern—ideal backgrounds for those Instagram photoshoots.

17 N San Pedro St
San Jose, CA 95110

4. Nirvana Soul

315 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

It’s safe to say the Nirvana Soul coffee shop has gained itself some diehard fans. If you live in the South Bay, chances are you’ve spotted at least one or two folks on the street wearing Nirvana Soul tote bags or face masks with pride. Owned by sisters Jeronica and Be’Anka, Nirvana Soul is downtown San Jose’s first black female-owned coffee shop. The siblings gave their space a cheery sunset color palate (complete with fuchsia ceiling) and curated an upstairs art gallery to highlight local and BIPOC artists. There’s also a mural of the sisters with a fun backstory to it: Painter Ricardo Gonzalez dropped by the shop one day to offer his artistic services (also letting Jeronica and Be’Anka know that this would be his first mural and he’d understood if they wanted to hire someone with more experience). “We told him we’d never opened a coffee shop before so let’s just see what he [came] up with,” the owners share on their Facebook page.

315 S 1st St
San Jose, CA 95113

5. Good Spot

386 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

Visit the Good Spot for your late-night bites and after-dark photoshoots. This “gastro-lounge” serves American-Asian food in a playful modern space with a plant wall, LED lights, and art by local muralist Fernando “FORCE129” Amaro Jr. The mural features a large geometric sloth to pay homage to Good Spot’s spirit animal. Its leisurely presence embodies Good Spot’s mission to “nourish the souls of sloth humans.” On the restaurant’s website, the owner explains that “The humble, permanently smiling creature brings a youthful, whimsical touch to the entire place and reminds us to not take ourselves, or itself, too seriously.”

386 S 1st St
San Jose, CA 95113

6. Must be Thai

3143 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95117

How many people can say they’ve savored a steaming bowl of tom yum while contemplating a mural of Godzilla shooting laser beams out of its mouth at a flying tuk-tuk rickshaw and a cluster of floating durian fruit? We can all think of a few restaurants that take themselves too seriously, but not so with Must Be Thai. From a projector playing Bruce Lee movies and the Thai version of Superman to the Lego check and tip tray, this restaurant glories in its funky weirdness. So load up on pad thai, curry, and roasted duck and soak in the atmosphere. 

3143 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA 95117

7. The Funny Farm Restaurant

3245 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95117

This place is... more than a little bonkers. But what else did you expect from a diner called The Funny Farm? The slogan “crazy good food” and the logo of an upside-down rubber chicken named Chuckles is only the beginning. Look forward to a stripper pole covered in purple and orange faux fur. Slinkies dangling from the ceiling. Stuffed animals crammed in jars like bottled specimens. And a mural cluttered with pop art graffiti and superhero comic sound effects. Even though it’s not necessarily an artsy touch, we think they also deserve creativity points for the pieces of bubble wrap they hand to customers for stress relief while they wait for their loco moco tots and mother clucker breakfast sandwich.

3245 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA 95117

8. K Cafe Patisserie & Tea House

923 S Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95128
A dining room with large chandeliers, flower-covered walls, and pink booths. K Cafe

Expect springtime year-round at Vietnamese coffee and brunch spot K Café. The place is dressed to the nines — its pink ceiling covered in a flurry of silk flowers, gilded branches, bird cages, and an exorbitant number of chandeliers. If the weather is warm, join the goddess statues and life-sized horse sculpture in the garden patio. Outside, you will also encounter a mural featuring a row of colorful shops and the store’s owner with her two dogs. And the pièce de resistance? The food matches the atmosphere — so expect truffle mushroom eggs benedict on a patterned plate and flowers on your French fries.

923 S Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95128

Related Maps