Did you know that the café at Symantec is open to the public and it’s fantastic? It’s true. I just enjoyed a delicious Watsonville Artichoke Salad and a snickerdoodle. There aren't too many places for lunch in the Whisman area, so I wanted to talk about the “relish” café. They have food from all over the world, including specialty European sandwiches, pasta and pizza, and a Latin food station. The Latin area was featuring Cuban food today, but the selection changes daily, as do most of the different stations. The “Grill” area has grass-fed beef and all kinds of local grilled organic vegetables. There’s a giant salad bar in the center of the café. I noticed an Asian station and a cute little table of desserts. One tiny little sign said “Apple Pie: .37 cents per ounce”
The café general manager, Smitha Haneef, was nice enough to give me a tour. She explained that the cafe focuses on making the Symantec employees happy. (That’s a great idea!) The café wants to feel like an extension of the home kitchen. You can pretty much have anything you want. One of the little stations is called “Fun Flex” and makes whatever comfort food the employees want that day. Are the employees asking for breakfast for lunch today? No problem. French toast and bacon coming right up! There’s a chalk board for employees to write their ideas as to what they would want for lunch in the near future. How cool is that?
The café is open to the public, although only about 25% of the lunch customers were not Symantec employees. The UPS driver in that area stops by everyday to get a sandwich for the road. There is lots of beautiful outdoor seating surrounded by a big fountain and palm trees.
I was really struck by the fact that the meals are such high quality gourmet food at a reasonable price. My salad was made entirely out of local ingredients and it was fabulous. I loved having lunch at this local hidden hot-spot and I’m happy to get to share the secret. I’ve already decided what I’ll have next time I come: the special Smoked Salmon sandwich. They have their own smoker and they smoke the meat fresh everyday.
Symantec has been in Mountain View for many years, but they recently relocated their headquarters here from Cupertino. The café is located at 350 Ellis Street. It was remodeled over the Christmas holiday and the entire campus is really very pretty. Thanks Symantec for making products that keep the bad guys out of my computer and for opening your doors to the community for lunch.