Bill's Cafe (San Jose, CA)

8:00:00 AM

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

When you ask locals in San Jose for brunch recommendations, I can assure you, Bill’s Cafe will come up into the conversation.

That and the selections for brunch is fairly limited for a city so big. I mean, if you eliminate the chains like Denny’s and IHOP, there are only a few left on the list that serves a mean brunch with a tower of pancakes, heapful of potatoes and bottomless mimosa.

So whenever I get the cravings for brunch, I head over to Bill’s Cafe. A San Jose establishment since 1977, there are a total of 5 locations all around San Jose you can choose from and they’re opening two more (Palo Alto and Pleasanton) for the lucky cities in the surrounding areas.

What is it about Bill’s Cafe that brings everybody out?

Is it the atmosphere? The people? The food? The hype?

It’s all of the above. For first timers, it’s mostly hype. I remember my first time visiting Bill’s Cafe with a friend. We went to the Alameda location and it was a smidge past brunch time as we edged towards lunch and boy... was there a line outside.

We waited around with the other groups of people, while they chatted and sipped on coffee. (self-serve coffee station for all the waiting folks outside, SCORE!)

When we finally got seated inside the diner-esque restaurant, we were starving. And the menu was massive. We ordered quickly and waited anxiously while gazing at the other diners eating their way through different type of pancakes, waffles and eggs done so many ways that I lost count.

It dawned on me half-way through my crab cake benedicts just how efficient this place ran. And just how many eggs were being scrambled through the course of these few hours--which were a lot! Slowly, but surely through a mouthful of country potatoes and crab cakes, I understood the beauty of Bill’s Cafe and the reason why so many patrons come back time and time again.

I could go on-and-on about the eye opening, euphoric brunch experience, but honestly I’m not a huge breakfast person. In fact most days, catching the extra zZz’s trumps anything else on my weekend list.  

However, since that first time at Bill’s Cafe, I have visited a few more times, over at the Rose Garden location. And each time, I’m impressed at how effortlessly they manage the insane flow of people. I visit mainly on the weekends and there’s always a crowd waiting around for seats.

TIP: Go early (they open at 7 AM) or go right before they close (closes at 3), if you want to avoid the crowds. Though waiting is half the fun~

This particular location is near the Egyptian museum, Rose Garden as well as Valleyfair Mall, so if you fancy an activity or perhaps some light exercise to burn off those calories, there are many options.

The Important Bit: Food!

A wide selection of condiments for your breakfast. 
Like I mentioned briefly, Bill’s Cafe has a large menu filled with what you might imagine in breakfast heaven. However, for first timers, they’re well known for several things: Mimosas, Crab Cake Benedicts, Scrambles and Pancakes.

And if you’re not part of the breakfast crowd, they also have a selection of sandwiches and salads for lunch.

The portions are huge and you will walk out feeling full, satisfied while tethering on the line of a food coma.

Bacon + Eggs. Need I say more?
As for me, I’ve tried their Belgian Waffle with a side of bacon and over easy eggs (which is perfect if you don’t feel like indulging too much), Crab Cake Benedict and Strawberry Frosted Flakes Pancakes.

So beautiful. So perfect. 
The Belgian waffle is crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, golden in color and basically looks like the perfect waffle. It’s served with the side of whipped butter and some maple syrup. Eggs are cooked well and bacon is served crispy-- just how I like it.

PC's order. Just as good as I remembered it. 
Their crab cake benedict is an indulgent, rich and a guilty pleasure. Two poached eggs, two crab cake patties are stacked on top of a split English muffin and binded together with a creamy Hollandaise sauce. And with that, you also have a choice of a side between country potatoes or hash browns.

Lastly, during my most recent visit to Bill’s Cafe, I tried out their frosted flakes strawberry pancakes. These pancakes were huge! I’m glad I opted for two pancakes rather than three because I had problems just trying to finish two. These pancakes had a nice crunch to them, thanks to the frosted flakes and the strawberries added some sweetness and tartness to them.

Bill’s Cafe offers such a wide selection for breakfast that there’s bound to be something for everybody.

Meanwhile, the next thing on my list to try is the MIMOSA. Nothing says breakfast like waking up in the morning to a large goblet of alcohol. Bottoms up! What do you like to eat for brunch? Where do you go for brunch around your neighborhood?

Rose Garden
302 N. Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95128

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