People don’t typically think of Palo Alto when they imagine a flourishing dining scene, but these folks are doing themselves a disservice. Palo Alto is home to incredible restaurants, seemingly expanding its gourmet dining options by the day! Here are some of the best, trendiest, and must-visit restaurants taking the Palo Alto culinary scene by storm.
Tamarine is the culmination of cuisine hailing from China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, France, and Vietnam. Every dish perplexes the palate with a contrast of textures and exotic flavors emphasizing Vietnamese ingredients. Traditional plates are reimagined to reflect California's evolving culinary landscape and exceptional produce. The fusion of Southeast Asian and California coastal fares is breathtaking. While the menu changes with the seasons, you can look forward to many tantalizing dishes this winter, including roasted squash, kanpachi crudo, and aromatic lemongrass sea bass served with a chilled mango-cilantro glass noodle salad. Ever-changing like the menu, Tamarine also boasts a rotating art gallery. Once you get a taste of Tamarine, you’ll surely be back for more.
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Located in the heart of downtown Palo Alto, Bird Dog serves modern fares influenced by the tapestry of cultures that make Northern California a magical place. The menu is straightforward to emphasize the ingredients minus the pageantry typically found in fine dining restaurants. Offering something for everyone, the menu features everything from raw fish and tender meat dishes to locally-sourced veggies and grains. Try the dry-aged scallop for a lighter dish, or opt for the wagyu striploin for a more robust choice. Considering the array of delectable options, it’s recommended to indulge in the chef’s menu to savor a carefully curated dining experience.
Sundance The Steakhouse
Next time you’re craving a classic steakhouse meal, give Sundance the Steakhouse a try. The Sundance philosophy is simple: serve only the best prime-grade beef, fresh seafood, and local organic produce. Sundance is perfect for every occasion, whether you’re planning a corporate event or celebrating life’s milestones. Stop by for a happy hour to sip the famous lemon drop and nosh tasty bar snacks like chilled prawn cocktails and filet mignon spring rolls. Come back for dinner to savor oysters on the half-shell, award-winning clam chowder, and a melt-in-your-mouth prime ribeye steak. Whether you prefer a succulent Australian lobster tail or a juicy prime rib, Sundance comes with all your steakhouse favorites.
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Reposado offers elevated Mexican cuisine, potent margaritas, and a perfect atmosphere for taking a load off after a rough week. You can enjoy all of your favorite Mexican dishes here. Bring a group of friends to share apps like melty queso fundido con soy rizo, zesty guacamole, and buttery camarones al ajillo. Every traditional plate has a twist, such as the puerco rostisado, served with roasted pineapple, habanero butter sauce, and fire-roasted vegetables. Don’t forget to grab some sides and extras like the elote asado, followed by some decadent tres leches cake for dessert.
Zola + BarZola
Lowkey, intimate, and farm-to-table are all synonymous with Zola + BarZola. This hip spot features sidewalk seats and an expansive wine list teeming with options that will satisfy every wine enthusiast. If cocktails are more your speed, you’ll be happy to know that Zola offers plenty of low-proof, boozy, sparkling, and citrusy options to wet your whistle. Pair your cocktail or glass of wine with some salty pretzels with gruyere or a lovely fromage and charcuterie platter. For a heartier option, try the ricotta gnocchi or some beef cheek bourguignon. You can’t go wrong with any of the stunning offerings of Zola + BarZola.
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What sets Protégé apart from other restaurants is its two distinct dining experiences, the lounge, and the dining room. Go for the lounge for a casual ambiance fit for savoring the a la carte menu and drinking delicious libations. The dining room is ideal for an intimate date night with your love, sharing romantic glances while you revel in a carefully conceptualized seven-course tasting menu. When you need a casual yet refined dinner with friends or colleagues, enjoy some Kushi oysters, Spanish octopus, and ricotta dumplings featuring butternut squash, beech mushroom, and burgundy truffles. Some fabulous dishes you can expect at dinner include Dungeness crab, Liberty Farms duck breast, and strawberry shortcake. Pair your meal with some bubbly, full-bodied red wine or crisp white wine, and you’ve got one for the books!
Get a taste of New Orleans and Southern hospitality with a dinner at Nola. This down-home eatery emphasizes cocktails, blues, and New Orleans-style fares. Cocktail lovers quickly fall in love with Nola’s drink menu, featuring everything from Havana mojitos to cucumber basil gimlets. When the weather heats up, grab a boozy slushie, like the strawberry lemon frosé or the eye-opening waker-upper made with rum, cold brew coffee, Grand Marnier, allspice, and vanilla chantilly cream. If you just want a taste of boozy deliciousness, opt for a mini cocktail, like the Bourbon Street. Pearl’s oyster bar is a must-have during weekend brunch, while Mama’s macaroni and cheese, the grilled portobello po’boy, and the firecracker cajun pasta are fabulous any time of day.
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Fuki Sushi is a beloved local spot serving up exceptional Japanese dishes in a traditional setting. Whether you sit at the sushi bar, sunroom, tatami rooms, or main dining room, you’re in for a delectable Japanese meal. Fuki Sushi’s skilled chefs transform fresh fish into fabulous sushi and sashimi dishes. All are welcome here, whether you’re brand new to the world of sushi or a connoisseur. Stop by for lunch specials with a colleague and return for the varied sushi experience set for dinner with your love.
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