Where to Eat Dinner in Gilroy

Cafe Thyme Restaurant Review

A low-key, but not exactly quiet restaurant, Cafe Thyme was full of surprises for my little family. On entering the restaurant, I first thought the place was quiet, low-lit, and more inviting to the mature and romantic diners. However, upon sitting at our table, my assumptions were quickly turned upside down, but not necessarily for the worse.

Our introduced himself and asked if we would like to participate in a wine tasting that would incorporate voting cards to help the restaurant select the best house wine. Considering it was at a decent cost, this added a little frivolity to our dinner, so my husband and I decided to partake.

Wine tasting at Cafe Thyme
Wine tasting at Cafe Thyme

As we waited at our table, distracting our 4-year old with the crayons and sheet provided, we hear a mic check one table behind us. Turning to look, there was one singer and one guitarist preparing for their set. Before our waiter could return with our drinks, Cafe Thyme was consumed with a modern singer and acoustic guitarist with ample speakers for all to hear. The music wasn’t obnoxious at all, just loud. The songs were reminiscent of something I expected to hear at Lilith Fair, which isn’t unpleasing with dinner.

My husband and I smiled at each other over the initial shock, then began tasting the samples our waiter brought among the din. The wines themselves were not exactly my taste (I prefer Zinfandel and Malbec), but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appeal to somebody else. We sampled the three and marked them in order of preference. My favorite, Church Creek, was robust, fruity and dry. Second was the Avalon – it dulled in flavor by comparison, but was still pleasant enough. Last and least of all, the seemingly watery to Fortino.

We gave our waiter our voting cards and proceeded on to our dinners.

Clam chowder with bacon
Clam chowder with bacon

For an appetizer, we ordered the clam chowder and were not disappointed. Tender potatoes, celery, and clams. A rich broth, but not too heavy. There’s was also some slight spice, complimenting the small pieces of smoky bacon. All three of us enjoyed it, including our young daughter.

For our entrees, my daughter wanted her usual favorite – mac and cheese. Despite a flavorful cheese sauce, there was a mild grittiness, and not enough sauce for the pasta. Too bad, considering the flavor had potential.

Mac and cheese at Cafe Thyme
Mac and cheese at Cafe Thyme

I ordered the short rib tacos- sweet tender meat, with pickled tangy relish and a light salsa with mouth warming bite cooled by sliver of avocado. I thoroughly enjoyed these tacos. I was only sad when they were all finished.

My husband ordered the polenta, which was a bit bland despite a creamy texture. With nice grilled kielbasa to offset with its perfect saltiness and enticing olives, they added the missing flavor the polenta was lacking. Another dish I felt had a lot of potential.

Cafe Thyme polenta and kilbasa
Cafe Thyme polenta and kielbasa

All in all, our visit was pleasant enough. The live guitar was soothing and the song choices were good, albeit a tad loud. Cafe Thyme had a classy atmosphere, with minimalist decor. Though there were a couple dishes and details that could have been better, I still found the place good enough to come again. Maybe they’ll have a good day and everything will perfect.

Read more reviews by Amelia on her Yelp page.

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