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preperformance dinner Palo alto

lovejazz61 Oct 30, 2011 09:48 AM

Hi - going to see Merce Cunningham Nov 1 at Stanford LIvely Arts. would like to get to PA early and beat the traffic which would entail eating in Palo Alto that night. Any suggestions for dinner: Asian/fusion/California - anything but pizza or burgers Thank you.

  1. l
    lovejazz61 Nov 8, 2011 01:22 AM

    wow everyone thank you. Now I have to go back to Palo Alto to eat at all these places! I love chow hounders.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lovejazz61
      mdg Nov 8, 2011 11:02 AM

      So where did you wind up? How was it?


    2. bbulkow Oct 30, 2011 10:56 AM

      There's a lot of places that can be recommended within a short shot of campus.

      Commonly recommended as tops in PA is Evvia. High end Mediterranean. Get something from the mesquite grill, and bright white wine. A little staid.

      Since you like Soi 4, you might try Tamerine. It's sort of a slanted door kind of place. The best way to experience is the shared tables near the bar, so you don't get caught in the fancy trappings of the dining room, and somewhat let down by the food.

      I've come to enjoy Zibbibo again. Long wine by the glass list, plenty of tables, good mezes. Mussels on the iron skillet. A great place to hang out.

      On the inexpensive side, you can't beat Oren's Hummus. I've never had hummus like that anywhere in the world (never been to isreal).

      I'd really direct you to Junoon, because I think it's closest to Soi 4 in interesting dishes in a medium-high-end setting. However, driving by last night, the sign changed to Amber Something, so new owners. Will have to see how much they've rejiggered their menu. If you like a drink before a show, consider Mantra. Good happy hour. Food is a little less bright than it should be, but I like the atmosphere and the food ain't bad. They've taken off some of my favorite items, like the 'nanizza'.

      Don't eat chinese in PA, unless you go to Da Sichuan or Su Hong Palo Alto - which are a bit south of where you want to eat. Da Sichuan has interesting dishes, Su Hong is good Shanghai style if you dig into that side of the menu and ignore the "american classics".

      The California Ave cluster is also close. New-ish Birch is interesting. Jin Sho is probably the best sushi south of the menlo park cluster and north of Los Altos. My favorite french place around (casual but the kind of *really good* you actually get in france) is Cafe Brioche. On the cheap side is Simply Med.

      La Strada doesn't get enough love. Solid northern-cal-italian. The only wood fired pizzas in PA, but a good charcuterie. Renzo is on the southern side - not brilliant, but solid.

      For a bit more fun but still good NOLA gets top marks. Reposado has been mentioned recently - high end Mexican, not stunning, but always satisfying. Go for more complicated things on their menu.

      Mayfield Bakery is also tops. Closer to campus and easier to eat at. A little less special occasion, yet still expensive. If you're east bay focused, it's sort of like A Cote without the cocktails and a less quirky menu.

      If you're coming down the peninsula, consider Village Pub. If you haven't been there it's an extraordinary experience. There's no place in the east bay remotely like it, it's like Big 4 in the city, but the real deal. I know you said no burgers, but the bar menu has one of the best burgers in existence, and you can get it either with Fois Gras or Truffels (sometimes a choice of white or black, depending on season). That's off menu.

      There's just too many ---- narrow it down -----

      A Cote
      5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

      La Strada
      335 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

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

      Jin Sho
      454 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

      Village Pub
      2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062

      236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

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

      Cafe Brioche
      445 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

      Da Sichuan
      3781 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

      Oren's Hummus Shop
      261 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      2 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow
        mdg Oct 30, 2011 12:45 PM

        A key aspect of a pre-performance dinner is getting you out on time without worries. Some of these places, while the food is delicious, are slower-paced and probably not the best choice before a performance (Village Pub, Tamarine, and Cafe Renzo in particular). Our favorite pre-performance place in Palo Alto is Vero - a great Italian place downtown just off University.

        Su Hong's food tastes to me like it's loaded with MSG - and I'm not hugely MSG sensitive - so avoid unless you like that style.


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

        530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        Village Pub
        2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062

        Cafe Renzo
        473 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        1. re: mdg
          bbulkow Oct 30, 2011 03:14 PM

          Good point on all counts.

          I like Vero as well. I especially like sitting at the counter in the back. Fairly straightforward italian.

          I usually get fast service at NOLA, Mayfield, Brioche, Oren's.

          I got very good service at Madame Tam's Bar last week. The food was good enough, fun atmosphere, but not worth it if you don't drink.

          I've never had an issue with Su Hong's MSG factor, but I keep strictly to Shanghai style - things like the Lion's Head Dumplings and the XLB.

          530 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

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