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Lunch near Stanford Univ.

Looking for a recommendation for a moderately upscale lunch near Stanford University. Something along the lines of California Cafe.

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  1. Really like Mayfield Bakery & Cafe. Here is a link to some reports: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594849

    Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
    855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      1. IMHO Macarthur Park is pretty good, not as good as in the past, but still worth going to.

          1. The area does moderatly upscale lunch very well. I've never heard of California Cafe, but there's one about as close to campus as you can get (in the red barn). There are dozens and dozens, depending on how far out you go.

            How far from campus are you willing to go? What would you like that's different from California Cafe? Do you want/need very easy parking?

            For example, I had an exquisite lunch at Kaygetsu a few days ago. The sushi is absolutely first rank ("best outside NY and Tokyo" my dining partner said, and I have to agree, I literally think I haven't had better in the bay area), the atmosphere and service is solid but unexceptional. The new restaurant at the restaurant at the top of Sand Hill is supposed to be very, very beautiful - just opened a few months ago.

            Mayfield is quite new, I didn't think the atmosphere resembles the pictures of California Cafe. MacArthur Park might suit for atmosphere, but be warned that it's old-school - food is supposedly on the upswing, but I find it a bit pretensious. Once you get to University Ave, there's a lot of choices. The favored upscale places would be Junoon, Tamerine - they're a bit fusion-y in a good way. Junoon in particular puts on a good lunch. An old school steak house, often overlooked but excellent, is Sundance Mining Company - very leather and beef.

            1. Best Burger Place: The Counter, California Ave., Palo Alto (crowded, be prepared to wait. But their sweet potato fries and their milkshakes are to die for)

              In Town & Country Village, just outside Stanford (Embarcadero and El Camino Real), many good Japanese places. That's where the Mayfield Cafe is (which, IMHO, is too "chi-chi" -- if all you want to see are yuppies, then feel free!). Kirk's in Town & Country iis a staple of "old Palo Alto" -- very good steakburgers

              4 Replies
              1. re: batchoy

                Sorry Batchoy, I have to disagree. I had high hopes of Kirk's when I moved here from LA (thinking it would be like Applepan), but when I went I thought my burger tasted of char and grease. Also, The Counter is a chain and not upscale.

                I'd go with Mayfield, the food is solid. The Rosewood hotel's restaurant, Madera, is fancy. I went to a banquet and was very impressed by the food, but I haven't tried the restaurant.

                I have a fondness for the Neiman Marcus Cafe, generous fresh portions, nice place and good service. Plus I like popovers.

                But, as bbulkow says, California Cafe is right there if you just want to do that.

                California Cafe Bar & Grill
                700 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1502

                Neiman Marcus Cafe
                400 Stanford Shopping CT, Palo Alto, CA

                2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                1. re: batchoy

                  Since we're reviving an old topic :

                  The Counter has decent burgers, but has *glacial* service. Getting out of there in under 1.5 hours is nearly impossible. The fries are good. The bar is *terrible* (not that most people drink at lunch). I do not have that much time for a burger, and only go there when I'm feeling masochistic.

                  The best quick food on California ave is Med Delight. Faster, better, cheaper than The Counter.

                  The best burger in town is Palo Alto Creamery. The beef is tastier, the buns are better, the service is friendly and efficient, the cooking is always spot on, the milk shakes are killer. No sweet potato fries, but a good calamari appetizer, excellent wine by the glass, and often interesting dinner specials.

                  Kirk's had something going on back in the old location on ECR where they actually had a pit and flames. Today it's thin patties that look premade and a fixins bar with iceberg lettuce in a run-down environment. Stay away.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Do you mean Mediterranean Wraps on California? Sam owners as Kan Zeman and the new med Wraps Bistro or something like that on University. Great falafel and i like their baba ganoush and sververma.

                    1. re: jsaimd

                      Yes! Their bab ganoush is wonderful - very smokey. I still prefer the California St location over the others, but perhaps the University Ave location has improved.

                      An underlooked delight is their tea - hot, sweet, strong, perfect.

                2. Probably way too late for you, but for someone looking at this thread in the future, Tootsies has had lots of positive posts. It is number one to try for the next time I get down that way.

                  Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn
                  700 Welch Rd Ste 118, Palo Alto, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rworange

                    Add another + for Tootsie's.

                    Just returned from delightful lunch on their patio. Tuna salad with baby arugula and cannellini beans, perfect light dressing. Friend enjoyed the panzanella salad.

                    Easy parking in same lot as for California Café.

                  2. Also worth trying:

                    -Bistro Elan (on California Ave)- wonderful, fresh and market-driven CA-French
                    -Sumika (Los Altos)- the best Oyakodon ever (I know, it doesn't fit the guidelines, but still -worth noting for the future)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: robertb

                      doesn't fit the post, but when i want a tasty meal around Stanford, it's usually at
                      Tootsie's (still the best on campus), a quick drive to Sumika for oyako don or Formosa Bento House (RWC) for porkchop rice. sometimes Gemelos (RWC) for tacos, or Back a Yard Grill (MP) for a jerk plate

                      236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

                      Formosa Bento House
                      2660 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA 94063