We wanted to create a new series for Style Approximately called “This is the Bay” where we highlight a few of our favorite restaurants, shops, museums, people across our beloved Bay Area. Adrienne and I are Bay Area natives, and while we love our dear San Francisco to pieces, we aren’t there very often. I’m in the South Bay while Adrienne is in the East. Of course we’ll cover SF, but we wanted to highlight the hidden gems that are often off the beaten SF path. Let us know of any places you would like for us to cover in the comments below!
The first place we wanted to share with our readers is Olla Cocina. Located in downtown San Jose, Olla Cocina celebrates San Jose’s deep roots in Latinx food and culture. The design of the restaurant is gorgeous, refreshing, and detail oriented. Among the many beautiful touches, we especially love the bright walls, high ceilings, and the Dia de los Muertos themed wallpaper. When you walk in, there’s also a pair of cute swing chairs facing outside. It feels like you’re far away from the city and transported to a beachside bar. “Cervezas Aqui” is boldly splashed across the bar furthering the vision of a relaxed atmosphere where you can gather with friends.
And the food! Olla Cocina emphasizes community gathering, and it clearly shows in their food. The menu encourages a shared experience of both small and large plates. The menu takes on regional Mexican cuisine with a San Jose spin of fresh California ingredients and flavors. Our favorites include the ceviche, ahi tuna tacos, street corn, and the taco sampler plate. We wash it down with their colorful cocktails, a favorite being The Paloma.
We come to Olla Cocina often especially when gathering with friends. The fun unpretentious atmosphere is the perfect setting for a celebration or get together, and the food is really a sampling of the city’s best. Yes, it is a beautiful space and definitely instagrammable, but also stay for the food, kick back, and enjoy a cocktail and (several) tacos while you’re at it.