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Palo Alto lunch: $25/person, near Univ Ave @ 101

I'm at a law firm this summer in the University Ave complex that houses the Four Seasons. Part of the fun of being a summer associate is that there is a $25/person lunch budget for attorneys to take the summers out to lunch. So far I've had an amazing sushi lunch that was definetely over $25/person, and a lunch at St. Michael's Alley (summary: pretty good food, but really poor service (as in slow and unhelpful and with attitude), and overall not worth returning).

I realize there are various posts on the board that could be good for lunch spots, but perhaps there are hounds who work nearby who can suggest options. The closer it is, the more likely I'll be able to swing lunch there. I would love to go to Mountain View for ramen and indian, but it's probably just not feasible. Going up and down University Ave during lunch time is seriously trafficky, but likely to be necessary.

So far, I've seen promising posts for Fish Market, Cafe Brioche, Bistro Elan, Zibbibo (mixed), Ewia, Hunan Garden (old post), Krung Thai, and Pho VI Hoa.

How far is Amber India? I would *love* to go there.

Any other recs I should look into? I'd really appreciate even just a sole name of a restaurant, which I am then happy to hunt down for additional information. Thanks very much!

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  1. I spend a lot of time in Palo Alto for work. Avoiding University Ave. is going to be hard, since it is the most convenient place for you, and I find it has the most variety. I wasn't sure if you are asking for places for attorneys to take you or for you to go on your own. Here are some of the places I frequent for lunch under an hour:

    Pluto's (482 University Avenue): yes, it is a chain but the salads are pretty great, especially with grilled steak
    Gyros Gyros (498 University Avenue): Pretty good med food; great greek salad; good hummus; gyro meat is pretty good too
    Niebaum-Coppola (473 University Avenue): they have daily specials which can be a good deal; pizza is good; salads are very good
    Madison & Fifth (367 University Avenue): only went here once; the pasta was good although nothing memorable
    The Counter (369 S California Ave): good burgers; build your own, on a bun or in a bowl with salad; supposed to have good sweet potato fries, although I have never had them
    Oakville Grocery (Stanford Mall): great sandwiches and salads

    2 Replies
    1. re: meggie t

      Thanks Meggie T. I certainly welcome suggestions for places to go on my own dime and time (your recs are very helpful!), but for this post I'm particularly interested in places to be taken to lunch with the attorneys. I'm hoping to use the ~$25/person funds to the very best I can in terms of lunch chow :).

      1. re: artemis

        IIRC The Four Seasons complex is right at the on/off ramps for 101 - the easiest thing would be to get on 101 southbound - you're not that many offramps away from lots of good eats in the South end of Palo Alto, Mt. View and Los Altos. It really doesn't take that long to get down there... so Amber isn't impossible in my estimation... Or go North to the Woodside Road exit in Redwood City - take a right on Broadway and try Mandaloun or any of the almost wall-to-wall restos in that area. Mandaloun is in the price range you're talking about, has a front and back outdoor patio and an interesting menu. Hope this helps...

    2. Iberia is a Spanish restaurant in Menlo Park (near Ravenswood & El Camino) that may fit your budget. http://www.iberiarestaurant.com/

      BackAYard (Willow St/101) is worth checking out sometime, even though it is only ~$10 for lunch items. It is a tiny Caribbean place, so you probably want to get it to-go and eat back at the office at a park. http://www.backayard.net

      Amber India is on El Camino near Rengstorff. It would probably take you 10-15 minutes to get there -- lots of street lights. For lunch there is a buffet but I'm not sure if you can order from the menu instead. For dinner, the food is very good but overpriced IMO for the portions you get.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hapa Dude

        I just ate at the buffet at Amber India today and saw others ordering off the menu. The buffet is $12.95, good, elegant, fast since you don't have to order and wait.
        Have you tried the delicious Italian food at Osteria? I love the pappardelle. fresh pasta.

        1. re: Hapa Dude

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416659

          First, I don't beliebe Iberia is open for lunch. Also, heres a recent thread on Iberia. I'm an Iberia supporter, but have to admit that the service is bad. Since you mentioned bad service in your post you might want to factor that in before going to Iberia. Better for drinks & tapas at the bar after work.

        2. Funny. I know a Palo Alto attorney who was just talking about the summer associates and the lunch subsidy.

          It's about 10-15 minutes away or more but you could try Mountain View if you can get some extra time:
          http://www.mountainviewca.net/name.html

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. thanks so much for all of these great replies! please keep them coming :).

              1 Reply
              1. re: artemis

                La Strada on University is very good. And, while I've not been there, Kaygetsu in Menlo Park seems like a good place to put your lunch allowance . . . might go over budget some.

                And for lunches on your own dime, you might check out East Palo Alto. Wasn't there a Samoan or Tongan report?