Taking kid to visit Stanford next week, where's a good lunch place in
Palo Alto, near campus that has great food (not pricey), and is a place that would be popular with students and give us a feel for student life?
We have reservations for A16 on the other night we're out there.....love that place! One of my SF faves.
Oren's Hummus Shop ( though it is summer so it will mostly be grad and international students)
There are some relevant suggestions on this board, the thing is that they may not mention "Stanford" expicitly but if you know the geography you can infer proximity.
Thus, just across El Camino from the campus is a commercial complex, the Palo Alto Town & Country, sleepy and conventional for the previous 50 years, that got a sort of yupsale makeover a few years ago and promptly started attracting exotic luxury cars to its parking lot. Amid the flash and five-dollar fluorescent cupcakes are some notable unique casual eateries that I and others travel from nearby towns to visit. I just mentioned the particular two (Calafia and Howie's Artisan Pizza) in detail within a posting to another thread, below is pinpoint link (if your browser just takes you to the main thread heading, try refreshing to get to the specific post linked).
Calafia was started by noted local chef Charlie Ayers after he created Google's famous muliplex "gourmet" cafeterias. He retired from Google with some equity payoff and built his own casual restaurant.
These are general places, they attract students as well as downtown workers, housewives, etc.
re: ernie in berkeley
Have to respectfully disagree. I've found the food around Tressidor to be pretty bad. (CoHo, the Treehouse, Axe and Palm as well as chains like Panda Express) The two branches of Coupa Cafe, one near the library (sandwiches and crepes) and the other at the school of business (sandwiches and arepas) are much better and both are places where students and faculty hang out.
To the OP: I'd just wander up and down University Avenue and see what your kid likes. It's a fairly safe and boring street, but students end up there a lot. California may have more interesting food, but it's more out of the way and students probably only go there if they have a car. Town and Country Village has good options too, as have been mentioned. Also has Trader Joe's. It's across the street from Palo Alto high school, so a lot of teenagers hang out there, at least during the school year.
During the summer there are many high school "camps" on campus, as well as many international students, so it certainly won't be empty.
Students don't really eat lunch off campus. It is pretty isolated. When they do go out for dinner it tends to be at places that are fun hang outs (like Nola) rather than great food.
I would probably head to town and country. Howie's for pizza, Asian Box for a quick meal. I have had good meals at Mayfield and although I used to be a Calafia detractor after several subpar meals, the last meal I had there was actually quite good. I have not been a Gott's fan but others like it. The taqueria there is not great IMO.
I also like Oren's Hummus Shop and Mediterranean Wraps. Both have free buses that get fairly close. I remember as a student thinking that University Ave. was so incredibly far away (it isn't).
You could go to the Thai cafe on campus. It has a strong following on campus and I lived on their noodle salad in undergrad/grad school. I haven't had it for years and it isn't always open. Coupa is also pretty good for arepas. Fraiche is in Tressider and serves good frozen yogurt.
Another option if you have a car is to seek out the area's good ethnic food, like Indian or Mexican cheap eats. They can be the "in the know" person when someone in the dorm rounds up a car to go get grub.