Dan Pitt’s Opinionated Compendium of Downtown Palo Alto Restaurants

 

The Restaurants

Type

American



American




American



American



American



Bakery



Bakery




Bakery



Bakery



Bakery



Bar/Bistro



Barbecue




Brazilian



Burmese




Burmese




Cajun



California



California




California




California



California




California



California




Candy



Caribbean



Chinese


Chinese



Chinese


Chinese



Chinese



Chocolate



Chocolate




Chocolate



Coffee,

Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice



Coffee, Tea, Juice



Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice



Coffee,

Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice



Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice



Coffee,

Tea, Juice



Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee, Tea, Juice


Coffee,

Tea, Juice


Coffee, Tea, Juice


Crêperie



Crêperie



Dance Club




Deli


Deli



Deli



Deli




Deli



Deli



Deli



Deli



French



French



French



Greek



Greek



Hotel

Dining


Hotel

Dining



Ice Cream,

FroYo,

Acai


Ice Cream

FroYo




Ice Cream

FroYo


Ice Cream

FroYo




Ice Cream

FroYo


Ice Cream

FroYo


Ice Cream

FroYo



Ice Cream

FroYo



Ice Cream

FroYo


Ice Cream

FroYo


Indian



Indian



Indian


Indian



Italian




Italian



Italian



Italian



Italian



Italian




Japanese



Japanese




Japanese



Japanese



Japanese-Mexican


Korean



Mediterr

anean


Mediterr anean


Mediterr

anean



Mexican



Mexican


Mexican



Mexican




Mexican-

Japanise


Pizza



Pizza



Pizza




Pizza



Pizza





Pizza


Pizza


Pub-Brew




Pub-Brew



Pub-British



Pub-Sports


Pub-Sports




Spanish/

Tapas



Thai



Thai


Thai




Thai-Sing aporean


Vietnamese




Vietnamese




Wine Bar




Wine Bar




Wine Bar




World

Food

Restaurant

Cheesecake Factory



Peninsula Fountain &

Grill



SliderBar Cafe



Umami Burger



Wahlburgers



Chantal Guillon



Cream




Il Fornaio



Paris Baguette Bakery Cafe


Prolific Oven



Scotty’s Bar



Dan Gordon’s




Pampas



Burma Ruby




Rangoon Ruby




Nola



Bird Dog



Lemonade




Local Union 271




LYFE Kitchen



MacArthur Park




St. Michael’s Alley



Thyme




Rocketfizz



Coconuts



China Delight


Garden Fresh



Jing-Jing


Steam



Tai Pan



Alegio Chocolate



Chocolate Garage




Timothy Adams

Chocolates


Blue Bottle Coffee/

HanaHaus


Café Venetia




Café Venetia




Coupa Cafe

(two locations)


David’s Tea



Gong Cha



Il Fornaio




Local Union 271



Paris Baguette Bakery Cafe



Peet’s Coffee & Tea



Peet’s Coffee & Tea



Philz Coffee




Project Juice




Prolific Oven



Starbucks



Tea4U (aka T4)



Tea Time



Bistro Maxine



Crêpevine



The Patio @Rudy’s




Cafe Epi


Ike’s Place



New York New York



Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store



Sprout Cafe



Subway



Sweetgreen



Whole Foods Market



Cafe Bon Vivant



Les Bizous



Zola



Evvia



Opa



Poolside Grill

(Sheraton)


Soleil (Westin)




Bare Bowls




C.R.E.A.M.

(Cookies Rule Everything Around Me)


Creamistry



Fraiche Yogurt





Gelataio



Gelato Classico



Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store



Peninsula Fountain &

Grill



The Scoop



Yogurtland



Amber Dhara



Curry Up Now



Darbar


Janta



Arte Ristorante




Buca di Beppo



Il Fornaio



La Strada



Osteria



Vero Ristorante




Kanpai Sushi



Nobu




Shoji Sushi



Yayoi



Sushirrito



Maum



Café 220



Gyros-Gyros



Oren’s Hummus

Shop



La Morenita



Reposado


Sancho’s Taqueria



Tacolicious




Sushirrito



Il Fornaio



New York Pizza



Paxti’s




Pizza My Heart



Pizzeria Delfina





Round Table


Spot Pizza


Dan Gordon’s




The Tap Room



Rose and Crown



The Patio @Rudy’s


Old Pro




Joya




Aroy Thai Bistro



Bangkok Cuisine


Siam Royal




Thaiphoon



Tamarine




Three Seasons




Gravity Wine Bar




Vino Locale




Wine Room




Pluto’s

Price

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$




$



$



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$



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$$



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$




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$




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$$$



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$$


$



$-$$




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$$



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$




$



$$?





$


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$

Address

375 University



566 Emerson




324 University



472 University



185 University



444 University



440 University




520 Cowper



383 University



550 Waverley



548 Emerson



640 Emerson




529 Alma



326 University




445 Emerson




535 Ramona



420 Ramona



151 University




271 University




167 Hamilton



27 University




140 Homer



496 Hamilton




250 University



642 Ramona



461 Emerson


460 Ramona



443 Emerson


209 University



560 Waverley



522 Bryant



654 Gilman




539 Bryant



456 University



419 University




95 University




538 Ramona

111 Lytton


318 University



439 Waverley



520 Cowper




271 University



383 University




153 Homer



436 University



101 Forest




575 High




550 Waverley



376 University



165 University



542 Ramona



548 Ramona



367 University



412 Emerson




405 University


401 Lytton



125 University



900 High




168 University



205 University



581 Ramona



774 Emerson



535 Bryant



423 University



565 Bryant



420 Emerson



140 University



625 El Camino



675 El Camino




530 Emerson




440 University





164 University



200 Hamilton  





121 Lytton



435 Emerson



900 High




566 Emerson




203 University



494 University



150 University



321 Hamilton



129 Lytton


369 Lytton



473 University




643 Emerson



520 Cowper



335 University



247 Hamilton



530 Bryant




330 Lytton



180 Hamilton




201 University



403 University



448 University



322 University



220 University



498 University



261 University




800 Emerson



236 Hamilton


491 Lytton



632 Emerson




448 University



520 Cowper



325 Hamilton



441 Emerson




220 University



651 Emerson





263 University


115 Hamilton


640 Emerson




233 University



547 Emerson



412 Emerson


541 Ramona




339 University




320 University



407 Lytton


338 University




543 Emerson



546 University




518 Bryant




544 Emerson




431 Kipling




520 Ramona




482 University

Tel (650)

473-1913



323-3131




322-7300



321-8626



Opening ?



322-2255



321-2390




853-3888



838-0404



326-8485



561-4929



324-1960




327-1323



285-2770




323-6543




328-272



656-8180



524-5028




322-5301




325-LYFE



321-9990




326-2530



704-6828




370-1510



329-9533



326-6065


462-9298



328-6885


322-1888



329-9168



324-4500



796-5287




323-8282



326-1263



323-3600




323-3600




322-6872

741-0743


462-1450



494-4173



853-3888




322-5301



838-0404




325-2091



319-0367



321-2161




867-3869

(415)



326-8485



321-8600



321-5588



328-2877



323-1815



323-9300



322-2575




328-4888


322-1766

not open

yet

483-4765



323-3175




323-7688



325-1805



212-7385

(415)


326-8676



485-3228



323-6888



521-0651



326-0983



391-9855



328-2800



321-4422




272-6885




321-2390





561-4714



838-9819





461-4334



327-1317



323-3175




323-3131




323-1203



326-3264



329-9644



477-1001



321-6688


462-5903



329-8300




329-0655



853-3888



324-8300



328-5700



325-VERO




325-2696



Opening

by June

2017


324-3300



494-4437



600-9696



Opening ?



853-8182



327-0107



752-6942




329-1727



833-3151


322-8226



838-0500




600-9696



853-3888



328-0351



473-9999




327-9400



353-2208





322-2893


324-3131


324-1960




752-6132



327-7673



322-2575


326-1446




853-9800




485-2636



322-6533


329-8129




323-7700



325-8500




838-0353




327-3161




328-0450




322-1292




853-1556

Remarks

Palatial ostentation, gargantuan menu, gross portions, go in disguise


All meals; burgers, meatloaf, BIG shakes, great shakes, beer, pie! see Favorites


Breakfast and lunch/dinner sliders; priced by 1, 3, or 12; loud, crowd


Hard to believe burger fans are umami fans, but long lines


Gourmet burgers; can Mark Wahlberg cook? Is Boston burger heaven?


Just macarons and tea (and a few bacetti – look it up)


Cookies and the ice cream to make sandwiches with; you choose both; no wonder there’s a line down the block


We buy bread, rolls, & chocolate croissants here


Half French, half Korean, obviously or not; see Rants+Raves


The town bakery; order your cake here; lunch, too


What a nice bar; good food, drink, furnishings, conviviality


Specializing in barbecued & smoked meats; Gordon Biersch German-style beer + Dan Gordon’s American ales


PA’s first, over-the-top churrascaria; a year’s worth of meat; pricey vino


Edgier spinoff of Rangoon Ruby, which was just full every night; same menu exactly, clubbier vibe


Interesting and delectable dishes that could come only from Burma; pleasant room; see Rants+Raves


Young crowd; in/outdoor; mucho boozing; see Rants+Raves


High end in everything but the food prices; see Rants+Raves


Casual L.A. chain for inventive salads, sandwiches, braises, plates, & sides; nothing over $7; and lemonade!


Farm to table with focus on locally procured foods; breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, smoothies


No butter, no fried, no high-fructose corn syrup; see Rants+Raves  (twice)


Fabulous Julia Morgan building (ex-WWI USO); southernesque menu; get beef rib chop for two


Devoted local following; some say best in town; shiny new quarters


Farm-to-table ambitions; limited casual menu: soups, tarts, salads, pasta, sandwiches; dinner weekends only


Candy and soda pop; lucky we’re not an overweight society


Hukilau Hawaiian-style Caribbean food (and drink!)


Basic, clean, quiet


All vegan, with imitation meat and seafood (and real vegetables)


Spicy, greasy, bustling; see Favorites


Hong Kong and dim sum, mostly steamed; see Rants+Raves


Pure Hong Kong; half the kitchen for dim sum


Both truffles and bars, they grow and make their own; see Rants+Raves


Bars from elsewhere and a lot of education; open only Wed. eves & Sat. mornings; see Rants+Raves


Artisanal chocolates made in front of your very eyes


Good coffee & light food in the new HanaHaus/SAP incubator


Choose your beans, your roast, your blend; it’s a lot of work; see Rants+Raves


Now open in the Caltrain station; same good stuff in a bright setting; see Rants+Raves for details


Panini, arepas, eggs, wine; ‘til 11 pm; full of surprises; see Favorites


A growing chain, over 150 kinds of tea, mostly to buy and go


Taiwanese bubble tea, highly customizable


These people know how to make coffee (and  bread, pizza, etc.); bar on left as  you enter


Coffee, smoothies, 3 meals, locally procured ingredients


Fine Asian cakes, but afterthought coffee, sweet rolls; no baguettes; see Rants+Raves (twice)


Bay Area’s (obviously superior) answer to Starbucks


Bay Area’s (obviously superior) answer to Starbucks


Every cup brewed to order; a nice place to hang out; see Rants&Raves for the rules of engagement


Not just juices but juice cleanses, like Comet only liquid; $9.25 & up for juice (already bottled), cleanses $65


The town bakery; order your cake here; lunch, too


New style; I’m soooo impressed



Taiwan-style bubble tea; try the jellied fig, or something unexpected


Teas, tea sandwiches, pastries; are we in the Cotswolds, Dear?


Sweet & savory crêpes; coffee, wine; very French; 7am-10pm


Way more than crêpes, and friendly staff and NO CORKAGE FEE


Like the original Rudy’s except you’re less likely to get beat up or shot, plus nice hidden terrace in back


Pretty sandwiches and pastries


Big sandwiches with kitschy names; formerly on Stanford campus


NY deli food: hummus & falafel? bagels yes tongue no; minuscule


Sandwiches, burgers; housemade ice cream; no evenings or Sundays yet; see Favorites


Healthy salad/sandwich factory; get the chipotle chicken!!!


Just like every other Subway, but open 24 hours a day


Bowls, salads, even a small amount of chicken (but don’t mention it)


Quite an array of prepared foods and salads, all made by pierced people


Small, un-fancy French menu; still finding its way


French with a little Asian thrown in; no wine knowledge


Menu might be “seasonal French” but nothing else is; see Rants+Raves


Gourmet Greek; high class; loud; fine Greek wines


Don’t expect Evvia but okay for everyman’s Greek


American; very nice for guests; not a townie destination


Mediterranean; expensive steaks without the ambiance, and limited wine without the vintages listed


Acai berries with super-natural additions from cacao to kale for $12 & up; neither ice cream nor fro-yo


Ice cream and the cookies to make sandwiches with; you choose both; no wonder there’s a line down the block



A micro-batch just for you while you wait; real cream or non-dairy


Fresh and frozen gourmet yogurt; individually ground coffee, and in the morning genuine oatmeal; see Rants&Raves for more


Gelato & sorbetto in cups, cones, sandwiches, & popsicles


Always a line, and deservedly so



The dairy’s own outlet; sandwiches, burgers; no evenings or Sundays yet; see Favorites


All meals; burgers, meatloaf, BIG shakes, great shakes, beer, pie! see Favorites


A “microcreamery”, making small batches with pure ingredients


16 flavors plus best selection of toppings (according to Miss M.)


Part of the esteemed Amber empire; quite contemporary


Indian street food; originally only a truck


Quite popular; we think it’s fair


Family run; our regular place; see Rants+Raves


Mario from Cafe Renzo now owns it; I’m glad; it’s beautiful indeed; see Rants+Raves


Kitchy; family-style plates; crowded; loud; good for large parties


Where VCs eat breakfast; pizza, too; fine food & wine; see Favorites


Rustic style; small but well-chosen menu; very nice food; see Favorites


Long-time local favorite; Cucina Toscana; underpriced


Yummy family recipes from Massimo & Antonio; good Italian wines by the glass; see Favorites


Specializing in sushi, almost all à la carte; good, not great


Highest-end Japanese restaurant ever to lodge in downtown Palo Alto; why go to Las Vegas? or London?


Nicer than Sushi Tomo on the same spot; real service now


Teishoku style of dining; think set meal or bento box


Sushi inside burritos; lunch only



Details when it opens; can’t be worse than Madame Tam’s


Casual Greek & Mediterranean; free Wi-Fi; be under 30


Good Greek food by Turks; gyros, kabobs


Full menu with grills and many sides, beer and wine, devoted to hummus; see Rants+Raves


Family run, unusual menu, table service, really good; see Favorites


Modern Mexican, and gorgeous


Peninsula’s best fish tacos; veggie burritos good, too


Not like Mexico, but that’s OK for most Americans; think upscale tacos and other nouveau-trendy accents


Burritos filled with sushi; open lunches only (perhaps a good thing)


Incredible pizza plus full Italian meals; see Favorites


Pizza by the slice or the pie; thin crust, no less


Chicago style: thick, just like you’ll be; pronounced “potchee’s”; a mere $9 corkage


Tasty slices or whole pies; salads; decent atmosphere, considering


The San Francisco success expands to Palo Alto where Empire Tap Room used to be; a bit artisan, a bit precious; nice thin crust, though


A big chain; you can do better


The real thing (for students)


Specializing in barbecued & smoked meats; Gordon Biersch German-style beer + Dan Gordon’s American ales


Solid bar food and Palo Alto Brewing Company beers (among others)


English “food”; hidden in parking lot; trivia Tuesdays; see Rants+Raves


Fresh air, at least


Bar food, real food, cover charge for big games; seems like 800 TVs; see Favorites


19 tapas, 8 mains; only California, Spanish, & S. American wines; wow corner location; see Rants+Raves


A branch of Thaiphoon, which we like, only prettier


Cozy, tasty, but lose the TV, please


Some unusual dishes; sauces tend to be sweet; nicely remodeled; see Rants+Raves


Competent pan-Asian; in/outdoor



Fabulous food; heavenly wine list; Riedel stemware; sophisticated atmosphere; see Favorites


Not Tamarine and no Riedel but very, very good; hidden in alley with great outdoor seating


23 by the glass or carafe, many more by the bottle; staff even knows about some of them; bistro food, too


Only local wines; tea, light fare (chèvre, crostini, frisée); art; stuff; now with new energy and real dinners


Quiet, comfortable adult drinking spot; some sofas; cozy; light, cold food thus far


Quality casual food; old space-age interior; OK to go alone

Here is the list of restaurants, all in contiguous Downtown Palo Alto. They are organized alphabetically by Type, and by Restaurant (name) within Type. A few appear more than once because they fit in different type categories. If you know the name of a restaurant but can’t guess what category I have put it in, you can use the Search function in your browser. I apologize for alignment errors that might appear in some browsers. If you see any, please email me immediately with details.


When a restaurant has its own website you can find the hyperlink behind the restaurant’s name. I urge you to reserve your table in advance at the better restaurants, so I have also indicated those restaurants at which you can reserve a table online using opentable.com (abbreviated as OTC), which I use regularly and recommend highly; just click on the OTC in the third column if so. At the opentable.com page you will have to select Palo Alto in the center pulldown menu that says “All Peninsula Neighborhoods”. For Google Maps for this area, click here.


The remarks are my own. Some are purely descriptive, others evaluative. No offense is intended, but humor is. The remarks reflect my own sensibilities and preferences for local ownership,  attention to quality in all respects, price reflective of quality, and inventiveness. You will also find others’ opinions on yelp.com and you should post your reviews there – I do (though I don’t have time to do so very often). In any case, I encourage you to form your own opinions. 


KEY TO SYMBOLS

OTC = opentable.com for online reservations; just click on the “OTC” in the column next to the name

$$$ = some entrées or typical meals over $30

$$ = entrées $15-29

$ = entrées under $15

All phone numbers are in area code 650

All zip codes are 94301; for Google Maps type in “<street address>, 94301”; you don’t need “Palo Alto”

Comments? Write me at PaloAltoRestaurants.