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Good restaurant to take mom to in Palo Alto?

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I am taking my mom to meet my boyfriend for the first time over dinner in Palo Alto tonight, I need recommendations as to a good place to make reservations. We're open to any kind of food, but mom is a bit price conscious so I'm not looking for any restaurant that is extravagantly expensive (entrees up to ~$25 ok). Recommendations for a restaurant with good food, a good atmosphere (without it being too loud), and decently priced would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. I'm not 100% sure of the pricing, but I have had several decent meals at St. Michael's Alley, and it's been quiet enough for conversation. Check the board for any recent updates.

    Tamarine is good, but I think overrated and kind of expensive.

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

    1. St. Micahel's Alley and Tamarine will be pushing your price range. I was going to mention Flea Street in Menlo Park, but that is also pushing it price wise.

      Cafe Silan in Menlo Park is delightful and quiet. i haven't been for awhile but Sultana in Menlo Park was pretty good last time I went. Also, haven't been in awhile but Coconuts is also fun.

      Not in Palo Alto, but I am a fan of Sakoon in Mountain View. It should fit in your price range and is nice, upscale and inventive Indian food.

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

      Cafe Silan
      867 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

      Flea Street Cafe
      3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025

      Sakoon
      357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

      1 Reply
      1. re: jsaimd

        Thanks for the suggestions, I will have to look into Sakoon, it sounds interesting!

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        Sakoon
        357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

      2. There are many excellent restaurants in Palo Alto to choose from with that price range. But if i had to choose, I would go with Reposado. Or, perhaps in close second, Three Seasons.

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        Three Seasons
        518 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        Reposado
        236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        2 Replies
        1. re: mordenti

          Had dinner recently at Three Seasons with two friends & didn't have a good experience at all. Ordered veg. spring rolls (best of lot), sea bass, garlic noodles, pea shoots. Noodles & veg. side were greasy with smallish portions which shouldn't be the case considering what they charge. $27 Sea bass was a major disappointment as it came in an iron (?) pot with filets swimming in a slightly sweetish broth. Also got $5 cocktail of day, ok, & ginger creme brulee, meh. Service was okay, not great. Never again.

          To the OP, I suggest Vero. Our family had an enjoyable meal & considered it good value. Unfortunately, it's been a while but recall enjoying the following items...pureed bean soup, fish of the day, & the spaghetti alla carbonara. DD had ordered the carbonara & while tasty, wasn't as good as Osteria's back in the day. Keep meaning to go back.

          http://www.veroristorante.com/

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          Vero
          530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          Three Seasons
          3317 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

          Osteria
          247 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          1. re: ceekskat

            Thanks! Vero sounds interesting. Noticed they had pasta with guanciale in it. One of my favorites!

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            Vero
            530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        2. I also like St. Michael's Alley for this but i think it might be pushing the envelope slightly. I wouldn't do Reposado personally - it's more loud and trendy and not really built for conversation. Another spot I really like is La Bodeguita del Medio on California Avenue. It's on a more mellow street of Palo Alto and is something different as well (Cuban food)...the mojitos are excellent and it's got a good vibe. It's maybe $2-$5 less per entree than St. Mike's.

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          Reposado
          236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          2 Replies
          1. re: vis

            Thanks, I found the cuban restaurant you mentioned on Yelp. It sounded interesting.

            1. re: vis

              It's been a while since my last visit to La Bodeguita. I like it very much but it's been pretty loud during my previous meals.

              In neighboring Menlo Park, I would suggest Shiok.

            2. I like the idea of St. Michael's Alley - very mom-friendly atmosphere. Out of the 10 entrees listed on their website dinner menu, only 3 are over $25 and all of them are under $30.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Concetta

                Not too much info on what your mom likes except price, but Nola's is fun and the food is fun especially if you just order a lot of appetizers (shrimp and grits and crab dumplings are very good as is the warm cabbage salad when its on the menu). They make hurricanes with fresh juice.

                Zibbibo is also nice atmosphere. I've taken "moms" to both places.

                1. re: myst

                  forgot about those. both good spots...if you go to Nola's, the the skirt steak...heart attack on a plate but good. washes down well with hurricanes. Zibbibo is the same restaurant ownership as Restaurant Lulu and Azie i believe.

                  1. re: myst

                    Aren't both of those places loud? Zibbibo certainly is; I haven't been to Nola.

                    For good food, good atmosphere, not too loud, and reasonbly priced, Vero is indeed an excellent choice in downtown Palo Alto.

                    Michael

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                    Vero
                    530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                    1. re: mdg

                      The bar at Nola's is very loud as are the rooms downstairs but the rooms upstairs are more mellow. Zibbibo is loudish, but the feel of the place is more of a "take the parents" kind of a spot to me.

                      my top choices are still St. Mikes and La Bodeguita...also like Cafe Brioche for a french bistro feel. haven't been to Vero but sounds nice.

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                      Vero
                      530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                      Cafe Brioche
                      445 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

                      1. re: vis

                        Perfect description. That is why I like these places, you can have loud or quiet depending on your mood. Although to be honest last time at Nola's with two 60 year old mom's we ate in the bar and they really enjoyed it. The OP was going on a weekday too which helps with noise levels. At both NOLA and Zibbibo though I have usually eaten small plate style (nibbles). I took my Aussie guests and I think they ordered every appetizer on the menu at NOLA ( I like to stick to my two favs).

                2. Restaurant roulette update: "and then there were two". Three restaurants have opened in the last week on University Ave, or we would have finished Saturday. We did one of the new ones last night, and are down to Crepevine and the new place that took over Loui Loui Steaks. FYI - the sliders at slider cafe have too much bun and aren't succulent enough. The nitrogen injected winebar thing is pretty good, and at $5 per good sized pour, a reason to make the trip. The beer selection is pedantic. Open until midnight will have some attraction. Also: Melt Lounge has killer quesidillias, massive, cheap and tasty; Scotty's has terrible food but good relaxed atmosphere, the Lovin' Hut curry is worth the "MASTERTV.COM" brain washing.

                  Anyway --- by not saying anything about what your mom likes or what kind of attitude you're setting, it's hard to recommend.

                  The problem pointed out by many people is the well fitting restaurants, the impressive ones, are slightly out of your price range.

                  If you can stretch to St Michaels or Flea Street, do it. Those are perfect. Evvia is likely out of your price range too.

                  Nola is too party (and the upstairs sections can still get loud). Reposado is a little too party but OK. Three Seasons is a fine choice but a little generic (the food has been degrading but still has a few good dishes). Vero is a little casual and the tables are close together, otherwise fine. Cafe Silan is very casual but in a homey way, and they're super nice about lingerers. The restaurant invokes family like no other around. Zibbibo is a good choice, food is only good but the atmosphere is relaxed. I like Strada for Italian right now, but it's slightly on the noisy side. Empire Tap Room, those nice booths, wouldn't be stupid.

                  I'm only lukewarm on La boguida. There's only one dish worth eating (mastitas), it's a little loud. If you're going to eat California Ave, choose Cafe Brioche, which is intimate, good food, good prices, and always easy to talk.

                  If Chinese is an option, consider Su Hong Palo Alto. It's to the south of everything currently stated, but has a wide menu, good prices, and is right between formal and casual.

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                  Three Seasons
                  518 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                  Su Hong
                  1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                  Cafe Silan
                  867 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                  Flea Street Cafe
                  3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                  Vero
                  530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                  Reposado
                  236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                  Cafe Brioche
                  445 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

                  Loui Loui Steak
                  473 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301