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Palo Alto/ Stanford University

robert Apr 11, 2006 09:35 PM

Hey all-

I will be visiting Stanford University for a few days next week, and would like some dining suggestions that are within a reasonable distance from Stanford U. I am quite open to cusine/style and price, though something slightly upscale/california would be nice.


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  1. h
    huckleberry Apr 11, 2006 09:44 PM

    i would recommend california cafe located near the Stanford Barn for your slightly upscale/californian cuisine (link below).

    Palm Drive on Stanford campus which turns into University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto is abundant with restaurants, ranging from sake bomb dropping Miyake's to the more sophisticated greek Evvia or californian Zibibbo's. A personal favorite of mine is Osteria, serving Tuscan fare at value prices. I love the pasta dishes there, including their gnocchi and parpadelle.

    Link: http://www.californiacafe.com/palo_al...

    6 Replies
    1. re: huckleberry
      thejulia Apr 12, 2006 12:38 AM

      Bistro Elan on California St (French Californian)
      Evvia off of University (Upscale Greek)
      Tamarine (Upscale Vietnamese fusion, better than Three Seasons) off of University
      Zibibbo's (Mediterranean Californian) off of University
      Levende (Italianish, Wine Bar, very pricey) on University

      Levende has gotten more mixed reviews than the others, above, but I've had good experiences there.

      I don't really recommend California Cafe at the mall for quality of food. It's OK, but not great, fairly pricey and has a sort of boring atmosphere. If you don't have access to a car and don't want to take a taxi, you can Marguerite it pretty close to downtown PA. Ask any Stanford student for the closest Marguerite station.

      1. re: thejulia
        The Scribbler Apr 12, 2006 01:50 PM

        I'll agree on CA Cafe: much ado about nothing. And if you're doing Asian fusion, go to Tamarine over 3 Seasons.

        On campus, your options are somewhat limited. Linx is good (cafeteria, but more upscale thanks to the Clark center faculty and med school folks who eat there), and the museum cafe is good, although over-priced (it's run by the same people who run Flea St. Cafe). The Alumni Cafe is good but again over-priced.

        Palo Alto has a frankly disappointing restaurant scene. One good place is Cafe Brioche on CA ave (right across from Bistro Elan, which is a better restaurant but also significantly more expensive). I've had a few business dinners there, and the food is quite good (although I thought desserts were more ho-hum). And nextdoor there's Joanies which does a very nice breakfast.

        Osteria in downtown PA is also bood, although crowded. St. Michael's Alley (near Whole Foods in downtown PA) does good new American food. And Levende is a lounge in the Mission, Lavanda is the restaurant in Palo Alto. It does a decent small-plates Italian menu with a wine-bar feel.

        Other places to consider: Strait's Cafe (pan-Asian, on El Camino Real towards Mountain View), Shiok (Singaporean/pan-Asian in downtown Menlo Park), Bistro Vida (Menlo Park). There's a lot more if you can drive (Hunan Home's in Los Altos for Chinese seafood, Krung Thai in Mountain View, Amber Indian (North Indian, Mountain View), too many South Indian places to list in Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, etc.).

        1. re: The Scribbler
          thejulia Apr 12, 2006 03:14 PM

          thanks for the correction re levende/vs lavanda.

          re st michael's alley, i recommend it for brunch, but not dinner. i also do not recommend strait's cafe. stuff is pretty blah. if you want asian fusion, go for tamarine, definitely.

          1. re: thejulia
            Melanie Wong Apr 12, 2006 03:15 PM

            Still liking La Strada?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              thejulia Apr 12, 2006 08:43 PM

              hi melanie! yes, thanks very much for that reminder, la strada on university is also a good italian place... haven't been in a bit, but they've got consistently high quality food, and almost nothing at la strada is as rich and heavy as osteria's best dishes. very good for palo alto ppl watching. not especially californian tho.

              1. re: thejulia
                Melanie Wong Apr 12, 2006 08:52 PM

                Yes, you're right, not much California about La Strada except the fun and casual atmosphere and a little too heavy hand with the cheese on the pizza. I haven't been to Osteria in this century (!), even then the food was too heavy for me. Nice people though.

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/42980#209534

                Image: http://home.earthlink.net/~melaniewon...

    2. s
      SMD Apr 11, 2006 11:54 PM

      Depends on how much walking you want to do. California Cafe is nice. It tends to be very slow as a warning. I would say Evvia has better food, and not too bad of a walk. For cheaper eats (or Palo Alto) I like Kan Zeman on University or Mediterranean Wraps on California. Bistro Elan on California is good (a little more upscale). Palo Alto Sol is good, just order from the specialty meny and stay away from Americanized things like fajitas. Before 8ish (I think) there is a bus that goes to California, though not a bad walk), at noon one goes to downtown Palo Alto. See the Stanford Marguerite website for more details (just search on the Stanford Site). Three Seasons and Tamarind get good reviews, and folks have been chatting about a new place called Mantra. In downtown Palo Alto I would steer clear of Indian food and Miyake's. On campus there is a cheap and good Thai cafe (in the basement of the Psych Building on campus) and many people are please with Links cafe in the Clark Center.

      1. a
        Autumn Apr 12, 2006 07:16 AM

        Coupa Cafe on Ramona just off University is my favorite hangout spot in the area. It's a South American cafe, with excellent coffee (the coffee is great, the spicy hot chocolate is amazing), crepes, arepas, salads, desserts. It's more a cafe for reading and munching than a dining place as such, but the food is top notch and not too expensive for what you get. My personal favorites are the spicy hot chocolate, the chocolate tart with blackberries, and the goat cheese omelette.

        I'll second Evvia and Zibibbo for upscale deliciousness.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Autumn
          amandine Jun 24, 2006 08:15 PM

          I highly highly second Coupa Cafe! (and Evvia)

        2. m
          Maya Apr 12, 2006 11:56 AM

          La Bodeguita del Medio on California Ave for great upscale Cuban food and drinks.

          1. l
            LPC Apr 12, 2006 12:19 PM

            And, if you want to expand your horizons to Menlo Park:), I recommend Trattoria Buon Gusto, family-run Silician, small, warm dining room. Great pasta dishes, wonderful service.

            If you wanted to go really upscale, and felt like driving to Woodside, I recommend the Woodside Pub.

            If you wanted to go California all the way to post-hippie, I have had good meals at the Flea Street Cafe on Alameda in Menlo Park/Atherton, which is actually quite close to Stanford.

            If you want to try some really cheap tacos that are fantastic, go to Tacos El Grullense, the one in Redwood City on Middlefield opposite Costco. I think it is the E&E branch. So delicious and only a dollar a pop.

            1. s
              ShoeFly Apr 12, 2006 01:26 PM

              Two of my favorite places to eat is Tamarine (Vietnamese) and NOLA (Cajun).

              Tamarine (http://www.tamarinerestaurant.com) serves wonderfully upscale, Western-influenced Vietnamese cuisine. The best deal is the 2-course "Tamarine Power Lunch" for $15.00. Pick from Shrimp Spring Rolls, Ginger Chix Salad, Shrimp Cupcakes, or Papaya Salad, then move on to either Wok Pho Noodles, Slow Cooked Pork, Tri Squash Scallop curry (!!**), or the Vietnamese Boeuf. A great deal!
              Address is 546 University Avenue (between Webster and Cowper), Palo Alto, CA 94301, Tel: 650.325.8500

              Another one is NOLA's (http://www.nolas.com/) serves Cajun, Creole and Southwestern Cuisine. There's an underground parking garage next to the restaurant for easy parking. The address is 535 Ramona, just off University. Tel: 650.328.2722

              You can accumulate dining points as both of these restaurants are available for lunch and dinner through OpenTable (www.opentable.com

              1. m
                mdg Apr 12, 2006 04:57 PM

                You've gotten just about all the places I would recommend (e.g. Kan Zeman, Evvia, Bistro Elan). Just two additions:

                - The great restaurant in Woodside is called the Village Pub. That's my favorite for upscale Californian food reasonably near Stanford. Flea Street Cafe is also very good and quite a bit closer.

                - Despite the over-generalization to avoid Indian restaurants in downtown Palo Alto, Hyderabad House on University Ave. is a great place for self-service Indian food. For more upscale and full-service Indian, Amber India in Mountain View is currently tops in the area, cooking better now than they ever have. It's quite a bit further from Stanford, though.


                1. b
                  BCakes Apr 12, 2006 06:23 PM

                  Palo Alto Sol on California avenue is my favorite restaurant in the area. Great margaritas too.

                  Tamarine and Three Seasons are both really good upscale Vietnamese places. I think the food is comparable and three seasons a little cheaper.

                  Mantra is a new restaurant that I thought had good food, an interesting menu, and a great ambiance (good service too!). They also had some wonderful and really interesting drinks (fresh fruit purees, ginger).

                  Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park: The ambience is nothing special but the food is delicious. Local produce, organic type of stuff.

                  Zibbibo & Straits are hit or miss.

                  Nola's is a really fun place, but the food is only okay.

                  I have heard great stuff about Osteria but have never been.

                  If for some reason you wanna grab a meal and bring it back to the hotel (or if you somehow found a nice DRY place outside) there is a Jamaican take-out place on Willow in Menlo Park that is wonderful. Back-a-yard grill.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BCakes
                    mayaonfiya Jul 1, 2006 01:06 AM

                    Jamaican place on Willow? Fantastic! Do you remember the name or cross street?

                    1. re: mayaonfiya
                      rworange Jul 1, 2006 08:13 AM

                      Back-A-Yard. Here's their website with the address and a link to a previous Chowhound post.



                      Hope you will report back if you go and keep us updated.

                  2. amandine Jun 24, 2006 08:28 PM

                    the grilled octopus from Evvia
                    ropa vieja from La Boguedita del Medio
                    cappucinos at Coupa Cafe
                    smoked salmon platter from Cafe Borrone's
                    chocolate chewie cookies from Whole Foods
                    falafel and shwarma from Mediterranian Wraps
                    maki from Homa's Brown Rice Sushi
                    brunch at Cafe Brioche
                    cake by the slice at Prolific Oven (or at University Cafe, for better ambiance)

                    1. d
                      dineoutdiva Jul 11, 2006 12:17 PM

                      Hi All-
                      I'll be in Palo Alto in a few weeks just for dinner one evening mid-week. I enjoy many cuisines but lean more towards Italian, Mediterranean. Any updated recommendations? I read about Vero but only saw one review. How does that compare to Evvia or Trattoria Buon Gusto (Menlo Park, close enough)? I'll have a car so I don't mind driving a bit.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dineoutdiva
                        lmuller Feb 23, 2007 03:40 PM

                        I ate at Pasta? this week and, despite the annoyingly stupid name, I enjoyed it! The pastas were pretty basic but good with lots of options.

                      2. i
                        indychef Feb 23, 2007 07:13 PM

                        I just went to the new Chez Zucca on Bryant, off of University. It has a terrific ambience, and it's reasonable too, considering how swanky the place looks from the outside. They have French/European food. They have a sister Mediterranean restaurant in Mt. View that has always been one of my favorites. It's still under the radar from what I can tell.

                        Tamarine is solid as well, but a little pricey. I think they've done a remarkable job in staying consistent over the years, which as you know, is the death knell of most restaurants.

                        1. j
                          Judith Feb 23, 2007 07:21 PM

                          I guess I'm in the minority, but I prefer Three Seasons to Tamarine. I'd add Janoon. Pricey and some of the appetizers aren't totally successful, but the entrees are excellent. I'd also suggest Bodeguita del Medio on California Street, and Amber India. You didn't say where you're coming from, but IMO this area has some of the best Indian food for miles, and Amber is at the top of that list.

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