We arrived in Los Gatos early on purpose, so that we could have gelato at Dolce Spazio 221 North Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos , CA 95030, then walk around town. Their gelato does not taste like gelato at all which was a bit disappointing for us but soon forgotten when we started roaming the town. The streets are bright and clean but I have to complain about all the shops closing at 6pm. How do you ever buy anything?

Our reservation for Manresa 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030 was at 6:30pm anyway so we headed over, surprised to see that this two Michelin star restaurant was not full, and never filled up by the end of the night.


Our tasting menu began with what looked like dessert, but it was indeed savory. The red pepper gelee and black olive Madeleine were more interesting than delicious.


Next, a strawberry gazpacho, fresh and bright. This picture doesn’t do it any justice, first served with micro brunois of each ingredient, piled in the center. The thick red puree poured gently to surround it. This reminded me of some rocks in the ocean by the aquarium, birds perched on it and a sleeping spotted seal, the water rushing up and down against it.


Then, warm parmesan churro with fried kale, both crisply crunchy, void of any oiliness. As if the chef knew where we had just been, watching the tanks of eels swimming through the seaweed.


The gently cooked egg was matched with flavors I would never have imagined, a sherry vinaigrette, sour cream, and maple syrup, spotted with chives. I enjoyed the balance of sweetness with acidity as odd as the combination was, but Lon did not.


Bread and butter were standard for fine dining.

bread and butter

The next plate was again, a suitable scene for our coastal road trip. Doesn’t the Japanese Sea Bream, herb sauce, and mustard flowers (they actually taste mustard-y) look like a seascape? Perhaps coral and rock with moss?

Japanese Sea Bream

Then, a lovely shimeji mushroom broth (I think) was poured in, a subtle and refined Japanese feel.

Japanese Sea Bream with shimeji broth

Lon really liked this plate of garden beans, each one squished and snapped between your teeth differently. We don’t remember what the foam was now, but there was also a piece of tempura fried male squash blossom. Oddly, mine was hard and crunchy like a crouton and Lon’s was airy and crisp.


Next, a scene from a lovely garden, like many we had seen around Santa Barbara and Carmel. Many houses had front yards, all beautifully landscaped with flourishing flowers and greenery, soaking in the sun. They went so far as to put a little “dirt” on the plate but it was bitter and reminiscent of coffee grinds with a bit of nuttiness. Every vegetable on this plate was the freshest possible, so faintly dressed, to show off the natural flavor of real vegetables. We learned that Manresa has their own farm to make that possible.

garden vegetables

The albacore tuna, a fish that normally bores me, was a thick, fleshy and tender, juicy and flavorful hunk. The onion and bone marrow broth poured around it was so rich, yet so pure. We both felt that the chervil cream was not necessary, but we still praised and praised this dish, more than any other.

albacore tuna, onion and marrow broth, chervil cream

By now, Lon was saying that he felt like this was a meal of soups, and it did start to feel like that as most dishes seemed to have a broth poured on. Th next dish was no exception, chewy fried chicken petals with a seaweed broth. The broth was better than the chicken though, that came close to being jerky.

chicken and seaweed crispy chicken with seaweed broth

Sadly, we can’t actually remember this dish anymore, with a buckwheat tuille on it.


The pork was juicy and fatty with crispy skin, simply paired with an al dente cabbage leaf.
By now, service had slowed to a crawl and the wait between desserts seemed like forever. I started falling asleep at the table.

pork with cabbage and turnips

The fig dessert was fantastic, cooked until the textures evolved, tightening the skin into a candy and turning the center into fig syrup, but none was too sweet. The ice cream added a nice touch of creaminess.

fig and ice cream

When I saw the chocolate banana dessert with beignets at another table, I was so excited, but it fell short. The biegnets were nice and hot, but the dough tasted oily, although it did not feel oily.


The banana coated in crisp caramelized sugar, like the top of creme brulee, was good, but the rest didn’t add much. I don’t even really remember what the rest of the plate was but I remember both of us shrugging when these were the easiest flavors to impress us with.

banana and chocolate

I also thought it was odd that they didn’t ask us if we wanted coffee or tea, but by the time I thought about it, I didn’t want to ask since I was near done with dessert. The finishing touch brought you back full circle, with what appeared to be the dish we started with, but these were strawberry pate de fruit and chocolate Madeleine. Unfortunately, the flavors were again less interesting than the concept.

strawberry pate de fruit and chocolate madeleine

With a glass of sparkling Riesling and a glass of Txomin (which I first had at Degustation), it came out to $458.47 (with tax and tip).

I was really falling asleep but couldn’t resist the invitation to the kitchen, which they show off proudly for it’s cleanliness, but Chef David Kinch was not in town. On our way out, we were given house-made caramels with sea salt. These were divine and stood out the way I had hoped the food would but didn’t. Most of it was more pleasing to the eye than the palate, superbly fresh, but flavors remained too subtle throughout, leaving the overall feel just kind of boring and forgettable.

posted by jessica at 10:17 AM Filed under Fusion or Mixed, Restaurants, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.