Aren’t your first two paragraphs contradictory? I’d say in general its definitely harder to find places to be excited about in the Peninsula and the Valley, versus places like Oakland and SF. But they are there if one looks past the restaurants covered by the media there are some gems that are just as good if not better.
Sunnyvale, Milpitas, etc. is a gem for Indian. I think the Tristate area has a higher population from the Indian subcontinent. But the concentration of regional specific (not general curry house) Indian restaurants around SV/ MP is unmatched anywhere in the US. Just not a lot of people pay attention to it outside of the valley tech worker population.
There are good stuff other than Indian too- Iroriya, Nagi, Napoletana, Giac Minh, Chef Z (part of menu), etc. There are some that are not necessarily in my exciting category since its not my most preferred cuisine category, but should hold their own. Noodle Talk for example should compete with Wojia in Albnay just fine. And I haven’t even explored the Korean and Vietnamese areas much.
We are just not in the well-covered food part in the Bay Area. If Jonathan Kauffman, Luke Tsai or @Hyperbowler lives down here, or if Mercury News has a better food section, then we’ll get a bit better reputation for the eats we have down here.