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Good Dinner in Palo Alto?

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Wife & I are Caltraining down tonight to meet out-of-town friend visiting P.A. What's our best bet for a medium- to high-end dinner, most any type (except sushi--makes pregnant wife sad), within say a 10-minute drive of the station (Univ. Ave. & El Camino R.)? If on our home turf in SF, we'd take her to Delfina (main or Pizz.), Range, Foreign Cinema, La Ciccia, Minako, Thep Phanom, or a similar favorite; what's in that league of price/quality/formality level in P.A.? Evvia and Junnoon get good mainstream press but very mixed mostly negative here.

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  1. We love Evvia. It's the south bay version of Kokkari if that helps. I can't imagine why it gets negative press in SF. We're also fond of Bodeguita del Medio on California Ave. It's Cal-Cuban. I like the ropa vieja, love the fried ripe plantains and they have an outstanding selection of rums. Tamarine on University, upscale Vietnamese, is quite nice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Judith

      Thanks, Judith. I've realized that my method of looking for threads on this topic before I posted my query was flawed (tried to limit by date and ended up missing lots of posts), and that in fact Evvia gets mostly positive reviews here. (By "here" I meant Chowhound; I'd inadvertently excluded lots of good posts.)

      1. re: readingstand

        I second Judith's recommendations for Evvia and Tamarine. On California Ave., Bistro Basia and Bistro Elan are both very good Cal/French places. Mantra is an interesting Cal/Indian; one meal was great, the other was just good, but I don't think there is anything like it in San Francisco. Italian places down here are not as good as in San Francisco, so I would avoid those.

        I don't know which of these places are open Monday, so be sure to call ahead (or reserve on OpenTable when available) to avoid disappointment.

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        Tamarine Restaurant
        546 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

        Mantra Restaurant & Lounge
        632 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        Bistro Elan
        448 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

        Evvia Estiatorio
        420 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        Bistro Basia
        201 South California Avenue, Palo Alto, CA

      1. re: Truffle Dog

        I know your dinner is over, but Cafe Brioche is a very reliably delicious provencal restaurant on California across from Elan.

      2. I've been to Evvia once (we were treated by friends), and not having to pay, I thought it was a very satisfying meal- a complete winner. Tamarine is good. Junnoon and Mantra both have their fans, but you should remember this board is tougher and has jaded palates (not a bad thing). People who eat out all the time might have different bars than people who only eat out occasionally.