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Bland Name Hides Super Flavorful and Garlicky Middle Eastern Food at Gourmet Express in Milpitas

katya | Jan 31, 200805:05 PM

There's only one restaurant in a weirder location and that's Spice Route across the street recessed in the corner of the Best Western.

If you're working in Silicon Valley, this place is basically at the NE intersection of Hwy 237 and I-880 so it's quicker to get to than you might think.

It's hard to find a nicer proprietor than the owner of this place who always greets you with a smile and wants to know how your meal was. She has you pay after the meal, which is fine though I’ve almost forgotten to pay on almost every visit.

One of the employees accidentally served me up a platter instead of a sandwich my first visit. That was okay since the platter is definitely the way to go here. They cost $8.99, and you get a big pile o' meat (I got the garlic chicken which included shredded chicken, garlic sauce, and onions), warm pita, your choice of four sides. My sides were hummus (very good), a great baba ganoush, a dolma, and the addictive lemon garlic potatoes. Thankfully there was enough pita to both dip it in the dips and to use it as a sandwich for my shredded chicken. The creamy garlic sauce was served on top of the chicken (I would have preferred it on the side), and it was very garlicky which is a good thing. There's even a tiny used book library on the premises if you come by yourself with nothing to read at lunch.

This is the kind of place that tastes pretty good the first time and even better the next time. Now I'm addicted. What do they put in that hummus? They will throw in a few extra pitas for free if you ask. The only downside to this place is that there are 3 great sides, but the others to choose from are only okay. These are the tomato/cucumber salad (my usual choice), tabbouleh (I've finally realized I'm just not that into tabbouleh) and thedolma (bland and a little oily).

I think they now serve lunch on Saturdays. Now I no longer have to make a big trek over from the center of Silicon Valley on my lunch break.

The alternate name for this place on the signs is Garlic Land for a reason. It's too bad it's not the main name because "Gourmet Express" is like the worst, most vague name ever. I'm surprised they didn't go with "Restaurant Bistro" or "Fast and Tasty." But then again what does a name like "Fresh Choice" really tell you about a restaurant?

Gourmet Express
463 Valley Way
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 263-8388

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