Monta Loma Neighborhood and the Mid-Peninsula

Monta Loma (MLN) is a great neighborhood which has a real community. Long before nextdoor, the community had a website, mailing list and later a wiki. We have block parties, a gardening group, CERT team, etc. There was (and maybe still is) a babysitting coop. MLN is located near many high tech employers like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Apple. Google X is located at the edge of the neighborhood. MLN is close to Stanford, Foothill College, Stanford Hospital, Camino Hospital. Caltrain provides access to San Francisco, and San Jose is a reverse commute drive.

Monta Loma was constructed in the 1950s as affordable housing in a “California Modern” style by three different developers. It’s on the northern end of Mountain View, adjacent to Palo Alto, and Los Altos. The neighborhood is bordered by the roads San Antonio, Middlefield, Rengstorff, and Central Expressway. Originally the residence were people in the “trades” and “white collar workers” looking for starter homes. Many never “upgraded” because they loved the neighborhood. In the late 1990s the demographic shifted as the original residents retired to less expensive locations and the houses (now selling from ~$2M) were generally only “affordable” to people in high tech. Like the rest of the Bay Area, the neighborhood is multi-cultural with a significant number of people who were born outside of the USA. When I walk through the neighborhood park I often hear English, Russian, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Hebrew, plus a number of languages I can’t identify.


Monta Loma well location for getting around the mid-penisula, or a place to explore the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

  • CalTrain San Antonio Station provides transportation up and down the peninsula with connections to other public transportation include BART, the Santa Clara Light Rail system, and a variety of bus lines.
  • Walk to San Antonio CenterThe Village at San Antonio, and Monta Loma Plaza with a selection of stores, restaurants, fitness facilities, and a Icon movie theater.
  • Bikeways routes to many local companies including Google, Stanford, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Lime used to has bikes by the train station, but I haven’t seen them in awhile.
  • Cars have fairly easy access to 101, 280, and 85. There are a few cars in the neighborhood listed on Turo. Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis have small rental car offices within a couple of miles. In the past I found good rates from acar which is a local rental company a mile from the neighborhood.

Groceries & Supplies

Within a 1-2 miles of Monta Loma:

  • Trader Joes: Quirky grocery store beloved by it’s patrons. Reasonably priced, small but well curated set of fresh foods, with a very tasty selection of prepared and frozen foods, especially their appetizers.
  • Safeway: Smaller store located in neighborhood in the San Antonio Plaza, larger store is in The Village at San Antonio.
  • Dittmers: Classic German butcher shop with excellent sausage, meats, and interesting collection of imported European food.
  • Midwife and the Baker: Our local artisan baker.
  • Whole Foods: Sometimes pricy organic groceries. Whole Foods has a nice selection of prepared foods. Whole Foods also has an Amazon pickup-drop off center.
  • Crossroads Speciality Foods: imported European, middle eastern, and west African foods.
  • True Value Hardware, Bruce Bauer lumber, Mountain View Ace Hardware
  • Cost Plus World Market: Interesting collection of imported foods and household goods
  • Walmart, Target, Costco: classic big box stores with just about everything you might need
  • Drug Store: Safeway in The Village at San Antonio, Target, and Costco have “in store” pharmacy. The closest 24-hour drug store is now the Walgreens at Grant and El Camino.


Within a mile of Monta Loma I would recommend

  • Hobee’s: longtime local favorite spot for breakfast / lunch. Decor is a tired, but the food is tasty as ever. People love their blueberry coffee cake, but many of us eat a portion and bring the rest home
  • Saaj: reasonably price fast/casual Mediterranean
  • Armadillo Willie’s: Texas style BBQ
  • Estrellita: Mexican, with traditional dishes from Chiapas and Oaxaca
  • Pacific Catch: Fresh fish… there are better places but none closer
  • Dumpling Garden: The closest Chinese restaurant. Food is decent. Best Chinese is in Fremont and Cupertino.
  • Sushi Jin: Pricy but good sushi. Fish flown in from Tokyo daily.
  • Dohatsuten Ramen: Ramen & Japanese “tapas”
  • La Bamba: Mexican & Salvadorian which moved from the Monta Loma Plaza to a spot on Old Middlefield.
  • Coupa Cafe: coffee, tea, light bites
  • Ike’s Love and Sandwiches: tasty “modern” subs
  • Poke Bar location inside Ava’s on Castro street is a bit more than 1 mile, but it’s the closest Poke place and one of Jackie’s favorite

Also within approximately a mile there are a number of other restaurants including: Rincon Sabroso, Baji’s Cafe, Wild Onion Bistro, China Wok, Fairchild Public House, Mendocino Farms, Dong Lai Shun, Veggie Grill, Boba Bliss, Mizu Sushi, The Counter, Chilli, Gen Korean BBQ, Wingstop, Sushi 88, Chef Chu’s, Esther’s German Bakery, Teaspoon Los Altos, Pasta Mart, Noodle Talk, Sushiko, A Good Morning, Veggie Garden

There are more options a short drive to Castro Street in Downtown Mountain View, Main Street in Los Altos, California Avenue in Palo Alto, and University Avenue in Palo Alto. For the best food you will want to head up to San Francisco or to the Napa Valley, but there are a number of restaurants in the mid-peninsula / South Bay I would recommend. Most are chef / owner operated:

  • Flea Street Cafe (Menlo Park, Farm to Table). Vegetable tasting plate is always good
  • Vaso Azzurro (Mountain View, Italian)
  • Kappo Nami Nami (Mountain View, traditional sushi)
  • Amber (Mountain View and other locations, Indian)
  • Vive Sol (Mountain View, Mexican). The guajillo chicken is excellent. The extended family also owns Fiesta Del Mar, Palo Alto Sol
  • Cascal (Mountain View, Tapas). Generally prefer Joya, but Paella is good. Very noisy inside, outside can be nice.
  • Gochi Fusion Tapas  (Mountain View, Japanese Fusion)
  • Happy Lamb Hot Pot (Mountain View, Chinese hotpot)
  • Cafe Nur (Los Altos, Turkish)
  • Alpine Inn (Portola Valley, Burgers and wood fired pizza on Picnic Benches)
  • La Bodeguita Del Medio (Palo Alto, Cuban)
  • Joya (Palo Alto, Tapas)
  • St Michael’s Alley (Palo Alto, Californian)
  • Taverna (Palo Alto, Greek)
  • Evvia (Palo Alto, Greek)
  • Sundance (Palo Alto, Steak)
  • Refuge (Menlo Park, Bar Food)… great pastrami and burgers, decent beer selection
  • Bistro Vida (Menlo Park, French)… feels and tastes like small bistros in Paris
  • Rosewood (Menlo Park, Bar Food) Sliders are good, Jazz Saturday nights, interesting people watching, infamous for “Cougar Night” on Thursdays.
  • Dish Dash (Sunnyvale, Mediterranean)
  • Kabul (Sunnyvale, Afghani)
  • Manresa (Los Gatos, Farm to Table, Michelin 3Star). Amazing food with a fixed tasting menu for a high price.
  • Alice’s Restaurant (Woodside, Brunch & Burgers) At skyline drive and 84. Great place to stop while biking, hiking, or motoring near Skyline.

Fast food that is within a couple of miles includes: In-and-Out Burgers, Panera Bread, Five Guys, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Krispy Cream Donuts, Subway, McDonalds, Peet’s Coffee, StarBucks, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Panda Express, Chipotle, KFC, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box… I am sure there are others as well.

Nearby Points of Interest

Nearby Parks

  • Monta Loma Park – tiny park used by families with pre-school aged children.
  • Rengstorff Park – community pool, skate park, picnic area with grills
  • Eagle Park – community pool, large fields
  • Shoreline Park – Where Mountain View meets the bay. Picnic area, kids play area, small “lake” where you can rent small sailboats and paddle boats. A couple of small restaurants, a historical house you can rent for gatherings all connected by a multi-purpose path which goes from near the SFO airport down to Sunnyvale.
  • Shoup Park – Los Altos. A pretty redwood grove with a small creek, picnic area with grills, and a “party house” that can be rented for gatherings.
  • Rancho San Antonio – Closest park into the Santa Cruz foothills. Rhus Ridge is the closest trailhead. The parking lot is typically full. Often need to park at Foothill College and walk to the trailhead.
  • Wunderlich Park – A bit further (in Woodside), but one of our favorite. Nice hikes including the possibility of a mid-hike lunch of Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline drive.
  • Bicycling – Not a “park”… a number of good road bike routes. I understand the Santa Cruz hills have a number of great mountain bike paths, though I have no personal experience.



Health Care & Emergencies

Dial 911 to reach emergency operator on any local phone / cell phone

The two closest emergency rooms are about the same distance from our home.

The two biggest medical practices in the area are Sutter Health/Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and Kaiser

Other Information

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