70 Days Across America
Sitting at the heart of Silicon Valley, downtown Mountain View is a pedestrian friendly district full of eateries, drinking holes, and boutiques. Check out where to eat, where to drink, where to shop, and what to do in this detailed Mountain View restaurant crawl!
Eating Like a Local in Downtown Mountain View
Silicon Valley is the second stop on my 70 Days Across America journey around the United States.
After visiting a couple of museums in nearby Santa Clara, my buddy Herb takes me to Castro Street in downtown Mountain View in search of a spot for lunch.
“What do you feel like eating?” Herb asks.
“What are the options?” I reply.
We start our crawl along Castro Street, which bisects the district. It is chock full of eateries, each one more enticing than the last.
The selection is mind-boggling! We could practically eat our ways around the world without leaving the four-block stretch that runs from the Mountain View Transit Center to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Scattered among the 80-plus food-and-beverage outlets are all manner of shops, art galleries, boutiques, and other businesses.
Unfortunately, we keep getting distracted by shop windows in our search for a place to have lunch.
“Let’s take a look inside!” one of us says to the other.
There are at least three Indian restaurants on Castro Street, and Biryangiz catches our eye.
With four outlets in Northern California, it serves appetizers, biryanis, curries, breads, sides, desserts, and drinks.
We are tempted, but Indian food sounds a bit heavy, and we’re hoping for a lighter meal. We might want to follow up with coffee and a pastry after lunch so let’s not stuff ourselves!
- Biryangiz – 246 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
We pass American restaurants, Italian restaurants, Mexican restaurants, and Spanish restaurants.
In addition to restaurants serving French fare, Korean fare, and Thai fare, there are so many Japanese eateries that I soon lose track.
There are restaurants serving seafood and restaurants serving Mediterranean cuisine.
Not to mention pizzerias, coffee houses, and wine bars – the list goes on.
Vietnamese Restaurant Review
Finally, we settle on Pho Hoa, a local chain restaurant serving Vietnamese style rice noodles and iced drinks.
The establishment is one of at least four Vietnamese eateries in the district.
Pho Hoa serves pho (Vietnamese rice noodles), vermicelli bowls, rice plates, kids meals, and snacks.
Pho, vermicelli bowls, and rice plates are all accompanied by a choice of proteins, veggies, and add-ons, but the choices for each vary.
I find it difficult to make up my mind between the pho and the vermicelli.
The rub? Pho comes with broth, but vermicelli comes with fish sauce, and I love both. I settle on the pho, and I’m not disappointed.
But I would have loved to douse a little bit of that fish sauce into my bowl!
The ambiance at Pho Hoa is contemporary, informal, and relaxed. I notice a few customers whiling away the afternoon in front of keyboards.
Is this a Vietnamese version of Starbucks?
Just like the menu promised, the food seems fresh, healthy, and tasty. I’ll give the place an enthusiastic one thumb’s up!
- Pho Hoa Noodle Soup – 220 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
After a satisfying lunch, we continue to explore the street. These are some of the other food and beverage outlets that tempt us to walk inside …
Several bakeries, pastry shops, ice cream parlours, and coffee houses line both sides of the street.
The chocolates, macarons, croissants, muffins, and bread pudding at Alexander’s Patisserie are particularly tempting. Shall we go inside and wash one down with a double espresso?
- Alexander’s Patisserie – 209 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
There are two Irish pubs, and Molly Magees attracts our attention. It’s dark and inviting. Should we drop by for a Guinness?
- Molly Magees Irish Pub – 241 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
Entertainment in Downtown Mountain View
Herb is attracted by a storefront with an attractive stained glass window over the entrance.
It turns out to be a self-described “vintage nightclub”. Should we come back tonight and take in a live performance?
- Opal Nighclub – 251 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
Chinese Dim Sum
We resist temptation until we reach the Hong Kong Bakery & Cafe. Am I feeling homesick?
We go inside pick up some dim sum and Chinese pastries to take home for dinner.
- Hong Kong Bakery & Cafe – 210 Castro Street, Mountain View, California.
What’s on in Downtown Mountain View
- Farmer’s Market – Every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm, Caltrain Station parking lot, 600 West Evelyn Avenue, between Hope and View Streets, Mountain View, California
- 41st Annual Spring Parade – April 20, 2019 – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Castro Street, Mountain View, California
- 23rd Annual A La Carte & Art Festival – May 4 & 5, 2019 – 10 am to 6 pm, Castro Street, Mountain View, California
- 6th Annual Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh -May 11 & 12, 2019, Hope Street between Villa & Dana, Mountain View, California
- Thursday Night Live – July 11, 18, 25 and Aug 1, 8, 15, 2019 – 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Castro Street, Mountain View, California
- Seventh Annual Wine Walk – Saturday, July 27, 2019 – 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm, Castro Street, Mountain View, California
Please note: if an important sporting event is being held at nearby Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, the Farmer’s Market will be held at an alternative venue.
Where to Stay in Downtown Mountain View
There are several hotels in Mountain View, California. The following hotels are among the hotels closest to Castro Street.
Click on links to check availability and room rates.
The approximate distance to the Mountain View Transit Center and the Center for the Performing Arts is listed for comparative purposes.
- Holiday Inn Express Mountain View – S. Palo Alto – 1561 West El Camino Real, Mountain View, California. A 14 minute walk or a 0.7 mile drive to the Center for the Performing Arts. A 25 minute walk or a 1.2 mile drive to the Mountain View Transit Center.
- Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View – 1665 El Camino Real El Camino Monte, Mountain View, California. A 16 minute walk or a 0.8 mile drive to the Center for the Performing Arts. A 27 minute walk or a 1.3 mile drive to the Mountain View Transit Center.
- Quality Inn & Suites at NASA Ames – 5 Fairchild Boulevard, Mountain View, California. A 33 minute walk or a 1.6 mile drive to the Center for the Performing Arts. A 24 minute walk or a 1.2 mile drive to the Mountain View Transit Center.
- Ramada Inn by Wyndham Mountain View – 56 Fairchild Drive, Mountain View, California. A 35 minute walk or a 1.7 mile drive to the Center for the Performing Arts. A 26 minute walk or a 1.3 mile drive to the Mountain View Transit Center.
Why You Should Go to Downtown Mountain View
There are approximately 80 food and beverage outlets as well as entertainment venues along Castro Street and nearby streets.
There are also shops and boutiques selling everything from bicycles and books to clothing, home furnishings, groceries, and flowers.
Other businesses include banks, dry cleaners, fitness studios, medical services – the list goes on.
Doing a restaurant crawling along Castro Street is one of the highlights of my visit to Silicon Valley.!
Check out the Mountain View Downtown Guide for more information.
For more on my 70 Days Across America …
After spending most of my adult life living overseas, I decide to re-discover my roots in celebration of a milestone birthday.
Look over my shoulder as I embark on my epic journey, 70 Days Across America …
- Prologue – What’s It All About?
- Chapter One – Preparation for My Trip
- Chapter Two – Flying Business Class
- Chapter Three – Arrival in Northern California
How to Dress Like a Local …