There is a good chance you have never visited a Chinese restaurant quite like iChina. Not only is it the most extravagant Chinese restaurant you’ll likely dine in, it might also be the largest. In fact, it’s enormous, occupying two levels across over 12,000 square feet. Moreover, iChina is Silicon Valley’s first New American Chinese Restaurant and features the Valley’s first virtual reality dining room. Indeed, this state-of-the-art building is clearly representative of San Jose, the innovative capital of Silicon Valley. Equally impressive is the superb cuisine, expertly crafted by Chef Eddie Lam. Above all, iChina is one of best new restaurants in Silicon Valley and the entire Bay Area.
About iChina Restaurant
Westfield Valley Fair
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95050
Opened last August, iChina is a signature restaurant of Westfield Valley Fair’s Restaurant Collection. A stunning architectural design with ancient and contemporary Chinese influences, the first level houses JiuBa, the impressive bar and cocktail lounge. Adjacent to the entrance to JiuBa is a set of entranceways to the shopping center. Once inside, you can access the escalator to the second-floor dining room. At nearly the same time you walk in, you’ll see just how sophisticated your dining experience will be. For example, iChina features marble floors, elegant chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows. What’s more, it has stylish furniture and artwork in addition to walls with shades of jade green and gold. Clearly, it’s a representation of Silicon Valley’s design and sophistication.
Song Dynasty Artwork
Of particular interest are the glass paneling, whose artwork is a tribute to Wang Ximeng, a renowned artist who lived during the Song Dynasty. This artwork is a celebration of the artist’s sole surviving piece of art, “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains”. It’s a masterpiece in Chinese art history as well as one of the longest, at 39 feet long.
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The bulk of the seating in the 300-seat iChina restaurant is in the lavish main dining area. In addition, there are four rooms reserved for private dining. In general, there is private dining space for 8-12 guests, with optional configurations for up to 20. Of these four private dining rooms, the most impressive is the VR Realm Room. Clearly, this room is emblematic of an exclusive Silicon Valley dining experience,
Virtual Reality Dining Room
The 360 virtual reality dining room is the first in Silicon Valley and among the first in the country. Over a chef’s table meal, you will see dazzling animations across the walls and table. However, this immersive dining experience is not for everyone. Whereas the main dining area has an affordable menu for this level of fine dining, the VR room is quite expensive. In this case, reservations start at $4500 for up to 12 guests. Despite the price, the Realm Room does attract many guests from the tech sector.
Sample Lunch Dishes
Black Pepper Beef Filet
Black pepper chicken is a very popular staple in Chinese cuisine. Yet Chef Lam delightfully substitutes chicken with luscious slices of filet. The result is a celebration of Asian flavors that’s topped with a mushroom medley, onions and chili pod peppers. That’s not to mention the serving size, allowing you to take tasty leftovers home. Black pepper beef filet is available in the Luxury Set Lunch ($45) or à la carte ($35). You can complement this dish with jasmine or brown rice.
Spicy Braised Eggplant
Customers and staff alike say this entrée is exceptionally good, even if you don’t particularly like eggplant. For one thing, it’s been frequently mentioned as a favorite dish on Yelp. Yet another, it it’s a beautifully crafted dish, with iberico pork, greens and black vinegar. To be sure, the spicy braised eggplant is quite delicious yet not too oily or hot. This entrée is available from the Premium Set Lunch ($35) or à la carte ($19).
Sample New Á La Carte Dinner Menu Dishes
Just today, iChina announced the expansion of its impressive á la carte menu, featuring new items for dinner guests. This is due in part to the growing popularity of the á la carte lunch menu. In view of this, Chef Eddie Lam shares his innovative takes on progressive American Chinese cuisine. Equally as impressive is that these menu items represent all eight of the culinary regions in China. Most notably, there is a particular emphasis on the popular Cantonese, Sichuan and Shandong cuisines. That’s not to mention additional choices like filet mignon, imperial wagyu and A5 Miyazaki wagyu.
Cantonese Style Steamed Fish
A classic Cantonese dish, Chef Lam elevates fish to a much higher level. In detail, it’s the fresh catch of the day with an inventive take on zesty Chinese flavors. That’s namely a generous amount of caramelized seasoned choy, cilantro, scallions ginger and fresh chili. This delicious treat is available at market price. To accompany this entrée, you may like golden Main lobster soup ($22) and squid ink fried rice (22).
Sichuan Succulent Free-Range Chicken
This spicy treat is as delicious as it is beautifully presented. This entrée features kui fei boneless half chicken that’s cooked to perfection. This is coupled with mala peppercorn sauce, sesame, chili oil candied peanuts, cilantro, green onions and cucumber. The Sichuan succulent free-range chicken is available for ($29), a mid-range price for main dishes. Of course, you will to add some additional plates to complete your dining experience. For example, the scallion pancake is just ($15) and Dungeness crab garlic noodles is $26. Without a doubt, you can top off this dining experience with a decadent dessert. For this reason, you may enjoy choices like flourless chocolate mousse cake ($15), tira-mochi ($15) or matcha affogato ($11).
Traditional Tea Ceremony
In addition to serving lunch and dinner, iChina offers a traditional ceremony. A Chinese tradition that dates to the first century Tang Dynasty, it’s a formal presentation of serving tea. This special service is available daily for private parties from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can make reservations online, by calling or emailing the restaurant. The duration of tea tastings can be from 45 minutes to up to two hours. Tea tastings can also come with an optional food pairing.
If you’re walking from the parking lot, you might mistake JiuBa as the main dining entrance. That’s because it’s the first entranceway you see from the street of this massive building with its sizable iChina sign. Regardless, this bar and cocktail lounge is as dazzling as the second level restaurant. In other words, you’ll appreciate the upscale décor and the impressive cocktail menu. In detail, are crafted cocktails with intriguing names like Red Envelope and Lost in Shanghai. Even more choices include China Aster, Lucky Jade and Oolong Milk Punch. Complementing the cocktail menu is an assortment of premium beers and fines wines. Lastly, you can enjoy tantalizing bar bites (from $13) daily after 6 p.m
Fresh off a billion-dollar transformation, Westfield Valley Fair is the largest shopping mall in Northern California by area. Because of this, it has to have multiple parking garages. With this in mind, the most practical way to park is with a valet ($15). Moreover, there is a valet station near the Restaurant Collection that borders Stevens Creek Boulevard. If you decide to self-park, you must make note of the name of the garage. For instance, it may be the Stevens Creek garage, Winchester garage, etc. Of your choices, Stevens Creek garage is the closest to the Restaurant Collection. However, you must walk a few minutes in order to reach it. That’s not to mention street level parking that’s only for electric vehicles, bank customers etc. Of course, you also have the option of using a rideshare service.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBSNews.com, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.