Today, this historically significant building houses La Foret, an exquisite French restaurant named appropriately enough for its lush forest surroundings. As one of San Jose’s finest dining establishments, La Foret is proud to carry on the time-honored tradition of hospitality that began in New Almaden more than 100 years ago.
La Foret is under new ownership as of 10/17/17. All gift certificates purchased before 10/17/17 are only redeemable at Le Papillon in San Jose.
In the mid 1800s, just a few years before the great California Gold Rush, Andres Castillera, a Mexican officer with the Artillery discovered his own riches in the lush green hills of an area known as New Almaden. Castillera’s bounty was cinnabar,a precious metal commonly referred to as “quicksilver,” and word of his discovery spread quickly. It wasn’t long thereafter that the small community was thriving with miners anxious to stake their own claims.
In 1848, a creekside boarding house was constructed in New Almaden to house the area’s hard-working crews. The two-story building (the first two-story hotel in California) provided the miners with a comfortable place to sleep and hot meals, served in a rustic dining room downstairs. The old boarding house remained in operation in this capacity up until the 1930s, when it was converted into the Cafe Del Rio, a popular restaurant which served New Almaden for almost 40 years.