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Los Gatos, Calif.: Eat Here

New restaurants and a remodeled art deco theater have this South Bay town abuzz.

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  • mushroom skewer at Donostia Los Gatos, image
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    Tapas at Donostia in Los Gatos include earthy mushroom skewers.
  • pizza at Oak & Rye, image
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    The “Field of Greens” pizza makes for great grazing at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos.
  • Los Gatos Theatre, image
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    The remodeled Los Gatos Theatre now features leather seats.
  • cocktail at Jack Rose Los Gatos, image
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    Jack Rose Libation House named itself for this, Steinbeck’s favorite drink.
  • bartender at Lexington House Los Gatos, image
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    Classic cocktails meet farm-to-table food at the Lexington House.

One of the oldest communities in Santa Clara County, Los Gatos is also one of the hippest thanks to a slew of new restaurants and a luxe remodel for its art deco movie theater. Area code is 408.

Former Miss Nevada Sarah Hult, who’s a San Jose native, and her husband, former hockey player Alexander Hult, transformed a former Hobee’s into Hult’s, a fine-dining affair that offers delicious, beautifully presented plates such as thin slices of tender octopus topped with crispy rice, avocado puree, and slivers of onion and jalepeño. 165 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd., 354-3434, hultsrestaurant.com.

A speakeasy vibe pervades the Lexington House, which serves up craft cocktails and farm-to-table shared plates. Chef Philippe Breneman spent time at nearby Manresa and Dio Deka, and it shows in dazzling dishes such as lamb tenderloin and a mix of Brussels sprouts left raw or caramelized with bacon, Greek yogurt, and local honey. 40 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Ste. A, 354-1600, thelexlg.com.

Families and foodies flock to Oak & Rye for airy artisan pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven, including varieties such as the “California 2.0” with dill aioli, capers, onion, arugula, and nuggets of moist salmon. Angelo Womack, formerly of the acclaimed Roberta’s in Brooklyn, handles the pies, while longtime Los Gatos chef Ross Hanson oversees everything else. 303 N. Santa Cruz Ave., 395-4441, oakandryepizza.com.

Fresh, house-made pasta shines at Centonove, including signature browned butter-drizzled ravioli stuffed with kale, pine nuts, and mascarpone. Co-owner and sommelier Lisa Rhorer focuses on Italian wines offered by the bottle, by the glass, or in custom flights. 109 W. Main St., 384-4007, centonovelosgatos.com.

Donostia is that rare authentic tapas place in the South Bay made for enjoying glasses of sherry with plates such as Ibérico ham, pimenton octopus, and braised beef cheeks. 424 N. Santa Cruz Ave., 797-8688, donostiapintxos.com.

Originally built in 1915, the art deco Los Gatos Theatre saw a complete renovation in 2014 that included leather-covered, rocking stadium seats, a state-of-the-art projector with 3-D capability, and a concession stand that serves gourmet popcorn. 43 N. Santa Cruz Ave., 399-9800, losgatostheatre.com.

Night owls will appreciate the 1 a.m. closing time on Fridays and Saturdays at Jack Rose Libation House, named for John Steinbeck’s favorite cocktail—100-proof apple brandy, lemon, and house-made grenadine. The interior is reminiscent of a rustic library, with an eclectic decor of mounted animal heads and stacks of old books. 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd., 395-3500, jackrosebar.com.

Photography by Carolyn Jung

This article was first published in November 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.