Ask A Local About Saratoga
What brought you to Saratoga? I moved to Saratoga a little over forty years ago to raise my children here. Back then my street was aptly named for all of the Pepper trees growing on it, but as time went on the orchards were replaced with homes. It’s still a nice, peaceful little street though.
What do you like best about it? I love that you’re a short drive from the downtowns of both Saratoga and Los Gatos, but still tucked away enough that you get to enjoy the splendor of the nature that surrounds my home.
What do you like least? When I was younger I used to think Saratoga was a little too sleepy for my taste, but as a young adult you are close enough to downtown San Jose and Campbell to enjoy their nightlife.
Do you need a car to get around? There’s a local bus, but I would definitely suggest owning a car. You’re in a small town, not a big city, it’s much more convenient to have one ready.
What's the neighborhood housing stock like? I feel like I’ve been seeing more homes up on the market lately, but they cost of living here is relatively higher than those that surround it so some homes have been on the market for a while.
Better for buyers or renters? With the cost of rent, I’d say it’s better to buy and pay off your mortgage than pay someone else’s.
Tell us something we don't know about the neighborhood: Saratoga hosts the greatest farmers market of all time! Every Saturday my wife and I head down the road to West Valley to grocery shop. There are so many options! I believe they have over fifty vendors, so it’s quite a fun outing. And while it is such a big production, the community college offers a lot of parking space so even if you’re not a morning person, you can still get in with ease in the afternoon.
Any hidden gems? My wife and I love to eat at Bai Tong in downtown Saratoga. It’s one of our favorite Thai restaurants in the Bay Area actually. I would definitely suggest an order of the fresh spring rolls, pad thai, pad se-ew, or khao pad sah rod. The wait can be a little long at times, but it’s really such a wonderful date night restaurant. The food is amazing, staff are friendly, and ambiance is welcoming.
Favorite grocery store? Lately I’ve been all about the Saratoga Meat & Fish market. With the closest butchers being in Mountain View and Palo Alto, it’s really great to have a high-quality meat and seafood place nearby. Their Wagyu and house-made sausages are delicious! The owner is very friendly and knowledgeable, he’s very big on selling grass-fed, non-GMO, wild, and organic products so it’s a treat! I actually just picked up a couple of their cheddar jalapeno and blue cheese bacon burgers, so we’ll see how they taste.
Good for kids? I raised my kids here and I think it was the perfect choice. It’s a great community, the schools are highly rated, and there’s plenty to do.
Notable Residents: Before moving to LA, Steven Spielberg lived here and even graduated from Saratoga High. Other famous residents include Kerri Walsh, gold medal olympic athlete in beach volleyball, and Joe Murray, an emmy-winning animator. Then there’s Dan Rusanowsky, the San Jose Sharks radio broadcaster; Laney Diggs, professional figure skater; James Williamson, electronics engineer and guitarist of the Stooges;and Stephanie Elam, news anchor for CNN and NBC.
Best place to get a coffee? Sue’s. It’s a relatively quiet coffee shop, where jazz plays softly in the background as the views from the second floor take your breath away. My favorite is a toss up between the Aztec Mocha and their Affogato. They’re both deliciously smooth and creamy! Plus they make ceramics next door so all of their drinks are served in some of the cutest mugs. Oh, and you can’t forget about the food! I love getting their freshly toasted milk bread with earl grey milk jam and yuzu marmalade.
Best park? I love taking friends and family to Villa Montalvo because it’s so close to rolling hills, but it feels like you’re in another world. If I think of heaven on earth, this is definitely it. From the impressive grandeur of the amphitheater to the lush green grass outside the historic villa, every inch of Montalvo is stunning. There are several beautiful trails which feature rare trees, scattered art pieces, grassy areas, themed gardens, and valley views. If I had to pick my favorite part of Montalvo, I would have to pick the Blue Garden. It has this huge tree that is filled with hundreds of tiny bird houses!
Beloved neighborhood joints? Hakone Gardens is very nice. There are plenty of picturesque hillside gardens, historic buildings, koi ponds, waterfalls and unique stone works. It’s an incredibly peaceful and tranquil place to sit and clear your mind. I think I may be a little biased though because my son married his wife there many years ago. Oh! And if you’re a movie buff, some scenes from the movie Memoirs of a Geisha were filmed there.
Best winery? Oh that’s a tough one! It’s a toss up between Savannah-Chanelle and the Mountain Winery. Both are delightful. Savannah-Chanelle has a rustic old barn, knowledgeable staff, a great tasting menu, and you’re surrounded by their vineyards and Redwoods. Plus it’s a great spot to go with friends or take your kids and bring a picnic! Then, over the summer there’s a slew of notable artists coming through the Mountain Winery. It’s a beautiful venue with panoramic views, decent food, tasty wine, and even tastier chocolate covered raisins!
Where are the best places to experience the outdoors? Sanborn. It’s a great place to hang out, throw a picnic or barbecue, and hike. I love it because the hike’s have a great change in elevation and aren’t too strenuous. Plus you’re surrounded by the natural splendor of the Redwoods. Everytime I’m there all I can think is, this truly is god’s country.
Final words? In a small town, tucked away in the trees of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is a little slice of heaven that goes by the name Saratoga.