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Feb 28, 2008 06:47 PM

high school graduation in Palo Alto

Dear SF Hounds,

Coming in from MI and would like to host a high school graduation party for a family of 12 (15-70 year olds). Californian/American (new) cuisine or possibly Italian, fun/casual vibe, outdoors a plus. $50/person max if possible.

Scoped out the "best of" lists that I could find and cross-referenced with Zagats but I can't get a feel for the balance between the vibe and the food. Please help, oh foodies...

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  1. Sounds like La Strada is what you're looking for. Was just there last night with family and the food was quite good (especially the gnocchi with asparagus, the pizzas are also winners), and while it gets pretty loud during prime times it's a nice friendly atmosphere. I think you'll easily stay within that price range if you don't go crazy with the wine list (but since you have kids, that should be a cinch on average). They also have a semi-private room with a long table in the back that you can ask about.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jsgjewels

      I second La Strada. Attended a birthday dinner in the semi-private room for about 15 or 20 people and both food & service were great. Menu was pre-arranged (I had chicken) & the total was I think $42pp. "Host" & others brought bottles of wine so I am not sure if she accounted for corkage or whether she footed that portion herself. Do give them a call.

    2. I suggest NOLA. They have some semi-private rooms on the ground floor that seat about 12. It's got a very fun atmosphere, the food is far above average for expectations, and, critical to any family gathering, they have a full bar. The outdoors bit - the restaurant is built around an open internal courtyard in a roughly new orleans style.

      La Strada is white tablecloth italian, as are most places in PA.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bbulkow

        La Strada is not a white tablecloth restaurant. In fact, they are a friendly and informal place where to enjoy some real Italian food. It is generally pricey, but not expensive, and the food is more often than not well worth the price tag. I think it would suit a high school graduation very well within the budget stated- I highly recommend the pizza (among the best Italian style of the Bay Area), and the risotto (they serve a couple of types, and they are great!).

      2. You might try Zibibbo. They have private rooms and I think you can pre-order.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          I second Zibbibo - they serve family-style on large platters, which makes it a lot of fun. And the space is beautiful.

        2. All good choices. If the outdoors req is important, Empire Tap Room in downtown Palo Alto has, in my view, the nicest outdoor dining area on the Peninsula. Food is not great, but decent, and would serve your age range well.