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Feb 5, 2008 02:50 PM

Dinner Rec's for Mt. View/ Palo Alto?

Looking for suggestions for dinner this Friday. Here are the parameters:
Have a 8pm concert, so dinner needs to be one of those "before the show" type's, quickly in and out
Would prefer California/ European/ Mediterranean (I'm in San Jose and get plenty of great Vietnamese/ Indian/ Mexican)
Decent wine by the glass list

So, something similar to 71 St. Peter in San Jose. I considered Chez TJ but am unsure of the kitchen given the recent turnover, and more than that, seems to be more of a lingering dinner rather than, nice dinner with a timeline.

Any ideas? TIA,

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  1. Here are a couple of places you can consider:

    Mt. View:
    Cascal (Spanish Tapas) - They have nice atmosphere but the food is just ok. The Sangrias are not bad.

    Palo Alto:
    Lavanda (Italian) - this place is pretty decent. We had a great bottle of chianti here last time (not cheap but worth it).
    Evvia (Greek) - their food is solid. Wine list is decent also.

    Good luck!

    1. My first two thoughts were also Cascal & Lavanda. Evvia, while an excellent choice, may be difficult to reserve on such short notice but perhaps since it is an early dinner. My other recs of which I've only been to La Strada, are as follows:

      Zucca Ristorante - Mtn. View (even has pre-theater menu on website)
      Cantankerous Fish - Mtn. View
      La Strada - Palo Alto

      The first two are available on opentable.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ceekskat

        You're right that Chez TJ, while a great restaurant, wouldn't work for this. Vero in downtown Palo Alto is another possibility for Italian. I've gone there before the opera and had no problem getting out in time for an 8:00 curtain. I'm going to be checking out La Strada myself for another upcoming show to see how that compares.


        530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        1. re: mdg

          Vero is fantastic. We have been eating there for just over a year now -- can't get enough of their pastas! The carbonara is eggy and light, with just enough bacon to give it that salty, smokey taste that carbonara _should_ have. The brescaiola - not sure if i've spelled that correctly, but it's basically beef prosciutto - is delicious, especially on the salads. If you're not on a first date (or not self conscious), order the linguine nerone, which is linguine flavored with squid ink and served with calamari, clams, and red pepper flakes. The clams and calamari are flavorful, and the pasta tender and toothsome -- just be prepared for your teeth and tongue to turn temporarily black!

          On to dessert -- the tiramisu is to die for. The "salami" is buttery and chocolatey and definitely worth ordering. Haven't tried the panna cotta yet, but will do so at our next visit.

          Yummm! Can't wait to go back!!

          1. re: mdg

            We went to La Strada last week before a show and revisited Vero yesterday before a different show. Both are fine choices in downtown Palo Alto. La Strada has the better wine by the glass list, including a glass of what might be the best Valtellina I've ever had, but Vero's list is quite acceptable. Vero probably has the better desserts - the crostata di mele was absolutely wonderful, and I've had the chocolate salami before so I know how good that is.

            Appetizers, pastas, and entrees were all nicely delicious. They all had sufficient technique and creativity to avoid the "I could cook this better myself" reaction we get in most Italian restaurants in the area.

            Neither one is up to the revelations at places like Incanto or Oliveto. Both pitch their pastas as entrees, which means you cannot comfortably assemble an Italian pasta plus entree dinner like you can at those places - or even at Chow, which is hardly trying to be as Italian as both these places would like you to think they are. How hard can it be to offer two portion sizes of at least a few of the pasta dishes, like Chow does for all of theirs?

            So we still have to travel north for great Italian restaurants, but it's nice to at least have a couple of good choices nearby.


        2. Cantankerous Fish is owned by the same people as Scott's Seafood, so take that as you will.
          La Strada should be a good choice, and while not in your cuisine guidelines I'd consider Mantra which should have space for an early dinner. The chef there is doing some great indian interpretations (which should work for most palates). They also have an interesting cocktail list and a thoughtful selection of wines by the glass (I'm guessing a bottle would be better if you had time to linger).

          An aside, has anyone been to Cafe Fino since it reopened?