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Sep 15, 2008 11:18 AM

Palo Alto lunch place for baby shower?

Hi chowhounds! My group is hosting a small baby shower luncheon for 7 guests this Friday in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area. I was originally just going to book the Empire Tap Room as I like their patio and their food is halfway decent, but the weather is cooling down so the patio isn't as appealing.

Can folks suggest a place that 1) will be conducive to a group of 7 and somewhat fast/prompt service (as we have to get back to work!), 2) simple/Californian cuisine (so as to appeal to the pregnant woman who can't have certain foods) and 3) hopefully reasonably priced (entrees under $20)?


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  1. I'd suggest California Cafe, near the Stanford Shopping Center. Check out the website at to see if you like it. I have lunch there every so often. It's not the brightest star in Palo Alto, but its not too time-consuming and should fit your needs better than Empire IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: robertb

      Although the food is very hit or miss, California Cafe can be nice for a group, but I have had VERY slow service there many time.

      Note that patios often have nice heat lamps, which work even for me who is chronically cold.

      St. Michael's Alley might work. It is small, but they could do 7 guests.

      You can make reservations at la bodeguita del Medio, although not Californian, they have enough variety I don't think it is too far of a stretch - you can get chicken and rice for instance.

      Anyone been to Mike's Cafe recently. It has been ages since I was there, but I seem to recall it being decent food, fairly straightforward, and good space.

    2. The weather is supposed to pick up later this week so I would keep the Empire reservation especially as jsaimd noted about the heat lamps. It is a lovely venue.

      Two other places came to mind but then I remembered you said Cal cuisine:-) Osteria (speedy service) & Vero. I don't see a separate lunch menu for the latter as the dinner entrees would be over budget; but perhaps you can call if you are interested. Our family of four had a very nice meal there recently including white bean soup, spaghetti carbonara (almost on par with Osteria's!) pan roasted halibut, & the fish special of the day which I don't recall.

      Ooh, just remembered Cafe Brioche on California. I am not sure about their service though as they tend to be very busy at lunch time.