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Oct 30, 2011 09:48 AM

preperformance dinner Palo alto

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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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

    2. 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

        So where did you wind up? How was it?