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Former San Franciscan visiting Stanford with college shopping daughter. Where to have lunch nearby?

w
winedude Nov 5, 2007 08:55 AM

We're heading back to SF this weekend for our annual trip, but this time we're heading down to Stanford on Friday for a tour. Any recommendations for a lunch spot nearby?

Thanks!

  1. o
    ophiesay Nov 6, 2007 02:34 PM

    California Ave (off El Camino) - the "other" Palo Alto street has a few cute little restaurants. Counter Burger is an upscale, delicious burger place with outdoor seating.

    1. e
      estnet Nov 5, 2007 03:15 PM

      If you have a car (which I presume you will) - and want mexican palo alto is probably not the best place. 10 minutes or so northish in Redwood City just at the edge of Atherton on Middlefield Rd are tons of (reasonably) authentic places - there have been lots of comments on this board.

      South is a place called La Bamba (also 10-15 minutes) which has won the PA weekly award for many years for best mexican - the burritos are huge (and pretty much made to order so you can customize the goodies inside). - not at all elegant but good food

      1 Reply
      1. re: estnet
        Porthos Nov 5, 2007 07:49 PM

        Second La Bamba. If it's mexican you crave, this is it. The soft tacos and pupusas are also stellar. I tend to go with the soft tacos so I can try all the meat fillings available...carnitas, al pastor, colorado chile, carne asada, lengua. If you get the burrito, get it with everything. It will cripple even the heartiest eater.

      2. m
        macdog Nov 5, 2007 02:40 PM

        On the Stanford campus is the Cool Cafe located at the Stanford Art Museum. Really good food that is very fresh and organic. Also, Cafe Borrone's on El Camino in Menlo Park is a fun place for lunch and would give your potential Stanford student an idea of where high school and college kids like to hang out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: macdog
          m
          mdg Nov 5, 2007 02:46 PM

          If you and your daughters like Indian food, Hyderabad House on University Ave. downtown (near Borders) is casual and inexpensive, and far better than what you can get in Boston. The wraps place on California Ave. is Mediterranean Wraps and is very good; Gyros Gyros on University Ave. downtown also does nicely for that type of food.

          Michael

        2. g
          Giselle Nov 5, 2007 02:14 PM

          Right nearby is Stanford Shopping Center. There are several quick places to eat there and a little west of Nieman Marcus on Welch Rd is California Cafe which is nice.

          1. a
            artemis Nov 5, 2007 11:51 AM

            i spent this past summer eating lunch in palo alto. palo alto sol or bodeguita del medio would both be good bets.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/408153

            1. j
              jlafler Nov 5, 2007 09:24 AM

              Zibbibo (just off University, in what passes for downtown PA) is good for lunch, though pricey. It can be noisy, so I recommend sitting in the atrium if there's a choice. Good wine list, too, winedude -- IF that's your real name....

              6 Replies
              1. re: jlafler
                w
                winedude Nov 5, 2007 09:41 AM

                Zibbibo looks great, if it were just my wife and I. With the kids (teenage girls), we were thinking a bit more casual, and we always crave Mexican, which we can't find where we live now (Boston). Any possibilties?

                1. re: winedude
                  j
                  jlafler Nov 5, 2007 10:30 AM

                  Alas, I am not up on Mexican. You could try The Peninsula Creamery (two locations, one off University, one at Stanford Shopping Center). The portions are gigantic, so a good strategy is to share entrees if you want to have any hope of room for dessert. There are some good casual places on California Ave., which is a little further from the university than downtown, but not much. I like The Counter (369 California Ave.) for burgers (actually, more for the concept and the fact that they are extremely kid-friendly). In that block there's also a "wraps" place that seems to be well-patronized, but I've never tried it because it doesn't have much seating.

                  If you know anyone who works at Google, you could try to wangle a lunch invitation. :)

                  1. re: jlafler
                    Shane Greenwood Nov 5, 2007 11:07 AM

                    I second the reco on the Creamery. I prefer the one downtown to the mall location because the ambiance is more authentic (could just be my aversion to eating in a mall), but both are good.

                    Nola's might fit your criteria too. www.nolas.com.

                  2. re: winedude
                    c
                    Concetta Nov 5, 2007 10:58 AM

                    Try Palo Alto Sol on California Avenue for Mexican.

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                    Palo Alto Sol Restaurant
                    408 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

                    1. re: winedude
                      512window Nov 5, 2007 12:34 PM

                      You could try Casa del Sol, on Ravenswood just off El Camino, or Mextogo, on El Camino in Menlo Park. Mextogo is pretty much a dive, but the food is good. In other words, the kind of place you can afford when you're a student.

                      After dining, you can walk across the street and hang out at Kepler's bookstore.

                      1. re: winedude
                        o
                        orezscu Nov 5, 2007 03:20 PM

                        Zibbibo isn't all that fancy - I'd even call it casual, though it's definitely not taqueria casual. If it's good taqueria-style Mexican food you're after, you're in great luck around here. Closest to campus, and not chains or franchises, I'd say hit Burrito Real on San Antonio or La Azteca in Redwood City. MexToGo in Menlo Park will also give you a kick of proper taqueria. If you want to do more of a restaurant thing and stay right in town, hit Palo Alto Sol on California avenue, as Concetta recommends. It's sit-down, full bar, and a wider variety of dishes. I met my wife there, but that has not clouded my judgment of the place. Wonderful food.

                    2. b
                      brokergal Nov 5, 2007 09:21 AM

                      Can you provide some additional detail on preferences? Being a college town there's lots of variety and price ranges.

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