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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as online editor. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in journalism. Though my...  (More)

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What local restaurants do you miss the most?

Uploaded: Jun 2, 2014
In light of the seemingly endless ebb and flow of restaurant closures and openings on the Peninsula, from years-long standbys to short-lived stints, I've long wanted to ask readers: What local restaurants do you miss the most?

One Palo Alto restaurant's absence I lament is Zao Noodle Bar, which operated out of the 261 University Ave. space now successfully occupied by Oren's Hummus Shop.

I'm sure others miss Zibbibo and Empire Tap Room. I know Menlo Park residents miss the Su Hong sit-down restaurant, though the to-go outpost is still busily serving up its famous general's chicken. (The sit-down restaurant on El Camino is not officially gone, but has been mysteriously closed for many months.)

Perhaps soon-to-be on Stanford students' list is Ike's Place, the San Francisco sandwich cult favorite that's closing mid-June.

What local eateries are on your most-missed list?



Comments

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

In downtown MV:

Jacqueline's bistro and wine bar (closed around '93)

Sue's Indian Cuisine (I believe her descendents run Shezan now)

Cafe Yulong (owners retired)

Hunan Chili (forced out last year when rent literally tripled)


Sunnyvale area:

Empress of India (in original format -- no menu or buffets, they just brought you exquisite dishes)

Afghani House (IMO, best of several Afghan restaurants with related owners)

Hardy's Bavaria WHEN the affable Hardy Steiner still ran it


Posted by NW Resident, a resident of North Whisman,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

In downtown MV - Cafe Yulong

In north MV - Buda Thai


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Nora's Cafe, Cafe Sofia, Mike's Cafe in Menlo Park. What was the diner owned by the Chinese-American man several decades ago, in downtown Palo Alto on Univ Ave? They roasted a turkey every day, and I believe owned another diner down the street. One of them was Jim's Cafe? Ken's in Menlo, Uncle Frank's in EPA, and its predecessor, Betty's Soul Food, The Cookbook at T & C, before that silly rhapsodizing motherhood place took over - and subsequently went under. Stickney's at T & C, too. Pear Williams, Waverley Place, Dal Baffo, Lisa's Tea Treasures (yes, I know it moved, but it was great to meet friends who took the train there). John Bentley's in Woodside and Chantilly when it was in downtown PA, in that lovely old building. Going way back, too, Pearl's Oyster Bar/Place where Nola's is.

Admittedly, not all of the above places were great, but they're tied in to good memories for a lot of locals, many were affordable and family friendly, too.


Posted by chris, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm

The Boardwalk in Mountain View is closing.


Posted by hmp, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

The Good Earth, downtown PA.


Posted by Langelah, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I miss Windy's Chinese restaurant, Miyakes (yes...oddly enough I do) and Elbe (great lunch specials and awesome lunch prices).


Posted by Langelah, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I miss Windy's Chinese restaurant, Miyakes (yes...oddly enough I do) and Elbe (great lunch specials and awesome lunch prices).


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm

The Good Earth had an unfortunately huge cockroach problem. Blech.


Posted by DCvB, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

The original Ming\'s, Dal Baffo, Spago, the Heidelberg, Trader Vic\'s, Mac\'s Tea Room (Los Altos), Stickney\'s, 42nd Street, Higashi West, Waverly Place, Liaison, and Jan\'s Valley Inn (Portola Valley).


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm

This takes some real thought ... I have to go back along with some to list the places I miss the most.

The Good Earth was one of them. Before the Good Earth it was House of Pies.

I used to really like Macheesmo Mouse, now I am not even sure where it used to be.

Pizza A-Go-Go was also a favorite, I have still not found pizza that was as good as their pepperoni, veggie and super-veggie.

The Village Cheese House is still there physically, but it has changes so much and the sandwiches are just not the same.

Bistro Elan was my all-time favorite, at their old location with the patio in the back ... it was one of the best place to eat on the planet in my opinion as good as any gourmet food I've had in France.

I miss the Togo's of yesteryear, the one at Meadow & El Camino ... their stuff today is nothing like it used to be.

Another good one was the Red Pepper Mexican restaurant near the same location.

Hobee's in Town & Country.

Up until the 80's I think there was the Amber Lantern that had the best hamburgers ever, which was sold and re-opened as Mountain Mikes, and then change to the Starbucks on El Camino near California. Today no one really even knows what a decent hamburger tastes like ... they would faint dead way if they ever ate one or those Amber Lantern burgers. Until recently Clarke's in Mountain View used to do a decent imitation, but they have changed too.

I also miss ... I can hardly remember what it was called ... I think World Wraps, where the sushi/sashime place is now over by the Aquarius theater.

Also, not for the great food, but for staying open 24 hours - the University Creamery.

There was also a good barbecue place in the old Whiskey Gulch area of Palo Alto or East Palo Alto.

That's all that is coming to mind now, but I'm sure there's more, does anyone else remember these places?


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

So many things I love are disappearing. Most of all I miss Maddalena's on Emerson Street, and the next door Cafe Fino, owned by the wonderful Freddy Maddalena who danced while preparing Bananas Foster and sometimes sang with the little combo in the bar area. It was elegant and fun, the perfect spot for special occasions. The tuxedo-clad bartender, Maurice, was in the French Resistance.

I also miss Babbo's and Bravo Fono in the Stanford Shopping Center with their great atmosphere and kind servers.


Posted by Fran, a resident of another community,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Trader Vics, Marie Callendar's when it just served simple family meals and pies, and going to miss Mings when it closes


Posted by Colly, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 3:30 am

Shocked I don't see Compadre\'s on this list!


Posted by Ingrid Mallory, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 6:21 am

I miss the Menu Tree, it used to be a wonderful place when I was a child. If it was really hot out and my Mother did not want to cook, my Father would say let's do Menu Tree. I miss the birds and the funny clock and the variety of places to eat there. I also miss Red Pepper, Compadres, the Good Earth, Café Sofia and so many other restaurants that no longer are in the area.


Posted by Ol' Skoo, a resident of another community,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 8:07 am

Pudley's on University. You could get a good burger and a beer, sit at the long table that was just above the sidewalk and open. Best people watching in the 80's.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

I miss old Stickney's.......the fresh pastries to buy, the menu especially the Chicken Pot Pie!!!, the child-friendly menu, the super friendly wait staff. It was good old American-style cooking and heavily patronized. Then it became Scott's Seafood. Scott's has 'shot itself in the foot'. Had to close down the breakfast portion. Visitors think it is a seafood restaurant from the sign outside, and Scott's should change its name!!- which is why visitors didn't bother to even come in for breakfast. Lunch isn't that full either, visitors think it's seafood, and rumor has it that it's in trouble. You'd think that with Hobee's kicked out, a moderate priced place for breakfast would be a winner.
Scott's has really shot itself in the foot with its marketing - some questionable service - and constant rising of prices.
It was popular and crowded with seniors using its coupon on weekends, but that too has been cut out. and greatly diminished. M-F. Customer traffic seems to be down on weekends. Not that many mid-week either.


Posted by Ronald, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Rinconada Pool snackbar- cheeseburgers...slushes...


Posted by nat, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I miss
Sophia's on Middlefield in Midtown the most!!!!!


Posted by Fred, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

@ Ingrid Mallory

I remember the old Menu Tree as a kid and the whole open air mall of San Antonio Shopping Center. The Sears with their red dyed pistachios and the hobby shop. Bullocks was the other anchor store. Good times

Restaurants have a life of their own and many when they go its past time IMHO. I miss Adam the old owner of the Schezuan Cafe on California avenue (he alone was reason to go there) and of course The Velvet Turtle


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 5, 2014 at 12:44 am

I just thought of another one ... but I cannot remember it's name even.

There was like a big old white house on El Camino between University and Town & Country that housed a Mexican restaurant that was pretty good ... but I can't remember the name of it now. Anyone?

Oh, and I hate to say it, but I miss the old Denny's and Lyon's in Palo Alto on El Camino. Great places to eat very late at night, even though the food was not that great. Things have changed so much I am not even sure where the Lyon's was now.

There was the Samurai Japanese place also on El Camino.


Posted by Otis, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Rudolfo's and Joe's Palo Alto.


Posted by montaine, a resident of Southgate,
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

you used to say ''you long for the cafe yu long!'' ,well now you really do. the fate was in it's name.


Posted by narnian, a resident of Community Center,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Anyone remember Uncle Otto's in downtown Palo Alto on Bryant, maybe, or Emerson? Best milkshakes ever.

I also miss Des Alpes on California Avenue at Park. And Blum's at Stanford for their coffeecake.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I miss a restaurant with a kids' menu. I miss a restaurant with a salad bar.
I miss a restaurant where kids can choose something they recognize as designed for them but is still real food.

It is becoming almost impossible to find something that isn't pizza or fast food for kids. Where's the salad bar, the non garlic fries, the non garlic anything? Where can we go for a simple soup and salad, a grilled cheese or simple piece of fish and baked potato.

Where are the affordable family places?


Posted by Gayle, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jun 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I miss Pasta Q, formerly on University Ave in Palo Alto, and Castro St in Mountain View. They have been replaced with great restaurants, but I sure long for their Arrabbiata


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 14, 2014 at 2:59 am

Gayle, Pasta Q place was good ... they still have their restaurant in Mountain View though ... not too far away.


Posted by JS, a resident of University South,
on Jun 14, 2014 at 8:43 am

I miss Higashi West (University), Coppola's (University), Sue's Kitchen (Castro St), and Florentine's (Castro St).


Posted by Dirk, a resident of Woodside,
on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:34 am

The restaurant I miss the most is PEARL'S OYSTER BAR. That place was the perfect combination of great food, a wonderful outdoor/courtyard location, and most importantly, a staff who loved what they did and made you, the customer feel like part of the magic. We ate there at least 2-3 times a month in the early 90's when it was in it's hey day and never walked out of there without smiles on our faces. I bumped into the blonde 'kid' (now grown man) who managed Pearl's at Robert's Market in Woodside a couple of years ago and instantly recognized him. We had a nice chat about the Pearl's and I chided him for not keeping Pearl's going longer. I've tried NOLA (which replaced PEARL'S after the original team sold it) and have always felt sad that what was once such a special place to us is now so raucous and uninviting. Ahh....Pearl's....


Posted by Michael, a resident of another community,
on Jul 12, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Jocco's in downtown Los Altos. Someone in the local paper called in "the best thing to happen to Los Altos since they paved the streets." It was where Sumika is now. Sumika's really good and I like it, but I loved Jocco's.


Posted by Flash, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 20, 2014 at 8:43 am

I agree about Maddalena's, of course, where I had my wedding reception, and Yulong (the only restaurant named after a C data type), Elbe before its decline, and Spago. I'll add Mackie's Steakhouse, Caffe Verona, Andalé (which survives at the airport and in Los Gatos, and O'Connell's Irish Pub.


Posted by Agnes Brydges, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I miss several old places including: Stickney's Town & Country; Foster's Freeze; Dinah's Shack; L'Ommelet; Kirk's; Ramona's; Maddelena's = Palo Alto. In Menlo I miss Edy's Ice Cream; and a place I can't name, along El Camino near the Atherton border - where you could get great salads and dinners. In Burlingame I miss Kee Joon's (atop a tall building out on the water).


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