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Annivesary Dinner in Palo Alto

We will be a group of 6-8 people. It can either be upscale or a 'hole-in-the-wall.' What matters most to us is delicious food, inventive cuisine. We like everything from steaks, to seafood to Mexican to Thai. Skip the Italian, though. Thanks! Looking forward to your suggestions.

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  1. Evvia (Greek/Mediterranean) is loud and pricey, but the food has always been excellent. Haven't heard anything about Joya (Spanish, fusion) really, but the space looks nice (from the La Strada people, and La Strada is good, but not sure if it works for a party of 8)

    3 Replies
    1. re: P. Punko

      Here's a positive report from last month for a birthday celebration at Evvia.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610104

      1. re: P. Punko

        I don't know if it has gotten any better, but last fall Joya was awful. If they put half as much effort into their food as they did into their decor, they would be a decent restaurant. Even their Sangria was bad.

        1. "delicious inventive cuisine" in Palo Alto. narrows you down to only two or three places at the top of the heap. I'm sure you've considered them, because they're on every list of the best few places in PA. So what places are you considering?

          And why don't you just go to Chez TJ? It's only a few minutes outside of Palo Alto.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            We haven't considered any restaurants because we haven't been back to the area in more than a few years so I don't really know what's there anymore which is why I rely on ChowHound. Chez TJ looks good. THANKS to all for your reviews, suggestions.

            1. re: GoodFoodie

              If the price at Chez TJ is acceptable, it is very likely the best, most inventive, new cuisine in the area. I don't think Iron Gate or Evvia or Madera come close.

              1. re: bbulkow

                Evvia isn't inventive per se at all, the food is just extremely well prepared. I consider it comfort food in a way, but somehow we've only been there when others have treated us. It just is one of those places that is what it is. Price is a restriction for me sometimes, so when dinner is in the over 100 per person range it is very difficult to be happy about such an expenditure, it is almost that the taste buds just don't calibrate well when that much scratch is in play.

                Chez TJ does look good, though.

          2. Thanks to chowhounders when visiting Palo Alto, we ended up at The Iron Gate in San Carlos on El Camino real - a retro, funky, black tie waiters, flaming tableside chafing dish "continental" dinner house ala 1950's. Large groups were having a lot of fun, the food was nostalgic, and the service was professsional albeit the place was a bit down on its black tie heels.

            3 Replies
            1. re: glbtrtr

              Do you remember what dishes you ordered?

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              Iron Gate
              1360 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Here is the link to my review of our dinner back in 2006 at the Iron Gate:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/349670

                Link to today's dinner menu: http://www.iron-gate.com/dinner.htm

              2. re: glbtrtr

                Make that the Iron Gate, technically in Belmont, not San Carlos. Can't remember what we ordered but I wrote a chowhound review several years ago that may be in the archives - one was the tableside spinach salad, and Steak Diane flaming dishes were ordered all around us.

                The food was pretty good, but was more nostalgic than refined, but that is what dining in the 1950's was all about. They don't intend to be a retro restaurant like some of the cutesy 1950's Be-bop burger places, they are just "old school" and now primarily run by old school Eastern European type immigrants who still remain in that wonderful old dining time warp.

                http://www.iron-gate.com/

              3. Just had lunch at Madera on Sand Hill Rd and truly appreciated the ambience . You might check out the menu since I think it will meet your inventive cuisine standards.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Giselle

                  Giselle, I'd love to hear more about your lunch. Here's a thread on Madera, pls add your comments if you have a chance.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619123

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    My husband had what he declared a most delicious burger. I had the same salad that Pinkster in the thread you sent had. The service was attentive and professional, not oppressive, and sounds very unlike that of the Mothers Day experience ( I think Mothers Day is not a good day to dine out especially at a new restaurant) For me, the ambience of contemporary elegance throughout the entire lobby, pavillion, bar and deck looking west over the pool and to the mountains in the distance , was well worth it.

                    1. re: Giselle

                      link

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                      Madera
                      2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                2. Bistro Elan. It's on California Ave. Just do a search on Chow, and see all the nice reviews about the place.