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Palo Alto Restaurants

PaloAlto.net is pleased to present this selective restaurant guide for the city of Palo Alto, California. Many of the restaurants are bookable online through OpenTable.com. It's free and it books the table immediately in the restaurant's reservation system.

Bella Luna
233 University Ave., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.322.1846
Italian. Bella Luna in Palo Alto is a casual dining staple. Sunny Tuscan hues saturate the intimate interior, and the dishes create a tasty illusion of dining in Italy on food prepared by Italian chefs. The pasta, tender yet al dente, is unbelievably good.
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California Cafe
700 Welch Rd., Palo Alto CA 94304; Tel. 650.325.2233
A Palo Alto classic, California Cafe is a stylish, relaxing restaurant in the historic Stanford Barn. The menu of creative, diverse cuisine is divided into small and large plates, with options ranging from Boston lettuce salad and vermouth steamed mussels to grilled Kobe tri tip and oregano & black pepper gnocchi. Their Liquid Therapy menu boasts several tempting cocktail creations.
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Evvia Estiatorio
420 Emerson St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.326.0983
Evvia has been serving beautiful and elegant Greek cuisine since 1995. The menu, showcasing seafood and game, features many of the most sought-after traditional Aegean dishes as well as selections which have been modernized through the innovative blending of cultures, techniques and Californian fare.
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Lavanda
185 University Ave., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.321.3514
Mediterranean. Chef Clyde Griesbach has left a trail of great dining wherever he's cooked, and with Lavanda he's found a sophisticated showcase. This urban grill at the top of University Avenue offers eclectic small tasting plates, along with heartier fare such as roasted sea bass with chanterelle mushrooms and guinea fowl with sautéed chard. Save room for the signature grilled coconut cake!
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Nola
535 Ramona St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.328.2722 x7
Cajun/Creole. At this festive eatery, barbecue and Jamaican jerk dishes jump-start meals that march on toward gumbos, grilled seafoods, jambalayas and a raft of sensuous desserts. Don’t leave without enjoying one of Nola’s renowned margaritas or tequila mixed drinks. Come and drink in the colorful elegance that is Nola.
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Scott's Seafood
855 El Camino Real #1, Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.323.1555
For over 20 years Scott's Seafood has been a Palo Alto tradition. Simple and elegant décor with warm wood and white linen provide an inviting balance to straightforward seafood dishes such crab cakes with horseradish cream, Australian lobster, blackened snapper, and grilled salmon as well as prime grade, dry-aged steaks.
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Straits Restaurant
3295 El Camino Real, Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.494.7168
Singaporean. Blending culinary motifs from India, China and Thailand, the food of Singapore is anything but timid. The menu at Straits is lavish and diverse, and desserts are artfully arranged like edible sculptures. Full bar.
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Tamarine
546 University Ave., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.325.8500
Contemporary Vietnamese. If Tamarine was a book, it would be a Pulitzer Prize-winner. From a sophisticated cocktail menu and intriguing wine list, to electrifying small plates cooked with genuine inspiration, Tamarine is the answer to a seemingly unanswerable question: What is the one thing missing from the Palo Alto dining scene?
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Trader Vics
4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.849.9800
Polynesian-American. The world-famous Polynesian restaurant and bar specializes in the original perpetrator of fusion cuisine, globalization. Trader Vic's Island cuisine is an influenced mixture of French, Creole, Indian and Chinese and the bracingly refreshing Mai Tai, invented by Trader Vic himself at his thatched Oakland establishment, still steals the bar at this new Palo Alto restaurant.
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Vero
530 Bryant St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.325.8376
Italian. Vero is the definition of a true authentic Italian style meal. The word “Vero” in Italian actually means truth, and every part about this restaurant makes validates the name. A warm and cozy atmosphere in combination with delicious homemade Italian classics makes Vero the perfect spot for a family meal.
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Zibibbo
430 Kipling St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.328.6722
Mediterranean. This eye-popping remodel by the renowned chef/partners of Restaurant LuLu in San Francisco offers delectable wood-fired favorites plus sushi. This restaurant boasts Pan- Mediterranean cuisine, with dishes hailing from all parts of this exotic place. Come and enjoy the vast wine list and delectable food here at Zibibbo. They even serve breakfast too.
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Bistro Élan
448 S. California Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.327.0284
California French. The only problem with the menu is that it's all tempting. Using seasonal produce, the chef allows flavors to speak for themselves. Wine, beer.

Blue Chalk Cafe
630 Ramona St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.326.1020
California. A contemporary twist on "comfort food" from the Deep South, splashed with microbrewery beers, wines and Southern specialty drinks. Signature dishes include Cheese grits, red beans and rice, and chicken wings spiced with Louisiana hot sauce.

Buca di Beppo
643 Emerson St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.329.0665
Italian-American. Like a Sicilian Christmas carnival in the '50s, this party spot blends clutter, joy, high spirits and, oh yes, huge portions. Go with several friends.

Cafe Brioche
445 California Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.326.8640
Southern French. Mediterranean magic: exceptional cuisine on oversize plates is whisked to tables as soon as it's created.

Caffe Riace Ristorante Italiano
200 Sheridan Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.328.0407
Italian. An absolute joy. Every dish is made with honest expertise--no tricky trendiness here--and served with flourish and pride. The homey offerings are based on wholesome Italian staples. Beer, wine.

Coupa Café
538 Ramona St. Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.322.6872
Venezuelan Café. Coupa Cafe's coffee is flown in from Venezuela every two days and their chocolate comes from a premium Venezuelan chocolate producer. Gleaming display cases are filled with wonderful-looking pastries, various salads and the cafe's signature chocolates. Don't miss the cafe's hot chocolate, especially the Mayan version, which has bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon and the flickering heat of pasilla and cayenne chile peppers. Arepas, corn meal griddle cakes, are standouts, too.

Empire Grill & Tap Room
651 Emerson St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.321.3030
American. Waiters with charm to spare, an energetic clientele and a menu packed with grilled, roasted and smoked intensity make Empire Grill much more than simply a smart place to sip a cosmopolitan. Full bar.

Fanny & Alexander
412 Emerson St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.326.7183
New American, with Asian-Cajun spin. Spicy Thai shrimp and salmon carpaccio show up as appetizers, while entrees linger in the region of blackened meats and filet mignon in cognac sauce. Full bar.

Gordon Biersch
640 Emerson St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.323.7723
American. Food takes equal billing with ambience and fine handmade beers at the first in this group of successful brewpubs. The menu is so fine-tuned, though, it could thrive even without a brewery attached. Beer, wine.

La Bodeguita del Medio
463 S. California Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306; Tel. 650.326.7762
Cuban. Themed after a vintage Havana haunt of Ernest Hemingway's, this zesty restaurant serves lively Cuban influenced cuisine along with liquid staples like rum and mojitos in a handsome, casual atmosphere. Full bar. Cigar divan.

Nouveau Trattoria
541 Bryant St, Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.327.0132
Mediterranean, French. No dotcom accoutrements clutter up the charmingly nondesigner ambience at Nouveau Trattoria. Owner Annie Nunan puts her personal touch on a steadfastly untrendy menu filled with French classics and heartfelt pastas. Full bar.

Osteria
247 Hamilton St., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.328.5700
Italian. Authentic Italian cooking done by skilled chefs from Italy--inventive men willing to explore, yet mindful of Old World standards. Be sure to make a reservation, or you'll be lucky to put a single foot through the door. Beer, wine.

Restaurant Soleil
675 El Camino Real, Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.321.4422
Meditertanean. A mouthwatering menu and an elegant, golden-hued room shine together at Soleil, upstairs in the Westin Palo Alto. Local ingredients and provocative sauces create dishes worthy of the wine list.

St. Michael's Alley
140 Homer Ave., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.326.2530
New California. Reservations are a must at this smart bistro, whose menu includes inventive potato, meat and seafood dishes that tilt toward New American cookery. Beer, wine.

Zao Noodle Bar
261 University Ave., Palo Alto CA 94301; Tel. 650.328.1988
Asian. Putting a hip spin on an ancient culinary art form, this contempo noodle palace purveys many forms of the deliciously messy primal food. Casual. Beer, wine, sake.

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