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New to dowtown PA

  • h

I just started a new job in downtown PA, right off University. Obvioulsy, there are tons of places to eat, but pricey. I need some chowhoundish tips. Pho/noodles, taquerias and anything else. I can drive to lunch, as long as it's within 10 minutes or so. Much thanks.

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  1. Rangoon for Burmese food, PA. It's on my list to try. My friend try the curry pork and liked it. What do the hounds like?

    Hukilau for Hawaiian food, it's pretty decent. I like the spam masubi and chicken adobo.

    Coupa Cafe, PA-best hot chocolate ever. Regular better than spicy. Arepas are unique.

    The Counter, off California Ave PA for gourmet burgers. Chowhound report here:

    Palo Alto Creamery should be good too.

    Please report back on what's good.

    I'd go to Mtn View for taquerias-La Bamba is supposed to be good, tons others.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hhc

      for cheap ethnic, definitely go to mountain view, castro street has maruichi and ryowa for ramen, spice islands for malaysian, and la bamba is a fantastic taqueria (old middlefield). it's more of a 15 minute drive during lunch hour though. also, try backayard in east pa for delicious jerk chicken and oxtail. pho vi hoa on el camino and san antonio is probably the best pho in the immediate vicinity. downtown palo alto really doesn't have much in the way of cheap ethnic eats.

      1. re: thejulia

        That's what I was afraid of. I tried Darbar, and it was very good (but $10). Coming from downtown San Jose, I'm used to many choices of great ethnic food for $5. Oh well. Can't wait to try Back a Yard and Hyderabad.

    2. Lunch? Dinner?

      Rangoon (on Bryant, near Hamilton) serves Burmese and Chinese. On the dinner menu, I like the ginger salad and green tea salad; Burmese curry shrimp or fish (the fish changed a few years ago to one I didn't like as much), which is a tomato-onion-masala type curry, not at all like Thai curries; and Rangoon-style string beans (I ask for less salt, as these are a bit salty). For lunch, the All Season Beef, a stir fry with beef, shrimp, and tender-crisp string beans is very filling.

      Do you like Indian buffets? Of the ones downtown, I've tried Darbar (on Lytton near Alma) and Janta (on Lytton near Waverly). When the food is at its freshest, both are good. But I stopped going to Janta because they seemed to have a problem with burning things.

      For Thai, Bangkok Cuisine (on Lytton near Waverly), which seems to be a sister restaurant of Amarin in Mountain view, probably edges out Siam Royal (on University, near Bryant) for taste and portion size, but I generally don't bother going to that area for Thai.

      As there are dozens of other places, well, you will have lots to post about.

      By the way, it's difficult to get anywhere from downtown PA in 10 minutes, except perhaps over to California Ave (Mediterranean Wraps, shawerma) or Willow Road (Late for the Train, brunchish).

      1. Search the board for Palo Alto for some more recommendations. The one obviously missing so far is Hyderabad House on University, two doors down from Borders. It's self-service Indian and far better than the other reasonably-priced Indian options downtown. (Heck, it's as good as Junoon and lots cheaper; I haven't tried Mantra.)


        1. I second Coupa Cafe. Good selection of salads, crepes, sandwiches and arepas - plus a bunch of really good looking desserts.

          Next door, Bistro Maxine, http://bistromaxine.com/main.html is supposed to be a good little creperie (I haven't been there yet). The Mountain View Voice recently gave it a decent review.

          I agree that there isn't that much good ethnic food in downtown PA, but there are some decent non-ethnic cheap(er) spots:

          - Pluto's: good salads
          - Pasta?: decently priced Italian
          - The Old Pro: great sports bar with $7 lunch specials

          And for dessert, Satura Cakes and Prolific Oven are both great.

          And if you're up for a short drive, I definitely second Back-A-Yard in Menlo Park and suggest Applewood Pizza and Cafe Borrone as well.

          1. Prolific Oven does a pretty nice lunch too. Soup, sandwiches, large salads, plus they throw in a little piece of cake for dessert. Yum.

            I like Bistro Maxine, though I've only had dessert crepes there.

            A slice of Hawaiian pizza at Pizza My Heart is very good, really nicely balanced flavors. I don't like their other combinations as well. I recommend asking for it extra crispy. Their salads are decent too.

            Osteria is great for lunch, a little more pricey, but if you order carefully, you can get out for under $20.

            I'm not a huge fan of Pluto's, but it may be one of those try-it-for-yourself things.

            Oh, the little sandwiches at Cafe Del DOge are pretty tasty. I like the salmon, walnut, arugula one, but I think it's more of a snack than a lunch.

            Thanks for the reminder to try Hyderabad House! I have yet to go. I'll try and get there tomorrow.

            1. I liked Krung Siam on University for Thai

              1. Not my territory, but I know that Whole Foods is popular and has some seating.

                1. On California Ave., south of University, there are several chow worthy places from Nora's Cafe west.

                  1. Rudy's pub has (or had) one of the better deals in downtown PA- a $5.00 lunch, entree (fish & chips, sausage sammie, burger, etc) and a drink. It made have crept up in price. I was last there six months ago or so.

                    It is a dive on University by Alma across from Blockbuster.

                    1. I used to like Mango Cafe (on Hamilton) long ago, but haven't been recently. Chicken roti was solid. My last trip there, the food seemed to have slipped a bit, but perhaps someone has been there more recently and can comment.

                      Also haven't been in a while, but I liked the food at Robaii Falafel & Persian Bites, also on Hamilton. Good garlicky gyros, but portions were a little small.

                      Leaving downtown -
                      A standard lunchtime trip when I was working down there was Hunan Garden on El Camino, though there are closer Chinese options downtown.

                      There's a little cafe above the Bank of America at El Camino and Page Mill that we would frequent often. Several rotating hot daily specials, sandwiches, salads, baked goods.

                      On California, Cafe Brioche is good for a slightly more expensive lunch, though it gets crowded, so go early. Also on California, for sit-down Mexican I liked Palo Alto Sol. There's also a brown rice sushi place hidden away down there (Homma's) that people seem to either hate or love.

                      If you want pho, the closest I can think of is Pho Vi Hoa at El Camino and San Antonio, but I could be wrong.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          I have never eaten at Mango Cafe, and I'm not sure why you don't like it, but I do notice here that the managment has changed in the last 6-8 months and it may be more authentic.


                          1. re: katya

                            It went downhill with each succesive owner. The new team has increased prices without increasing quality.