Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels
Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels offers a wide selection of pastries and challah. The stars of the show here, however, are the bagels, which are made fresh every day. Locals know that it's important to come in early so that popular flavors are still available. Even during the early months of the pandemic, customers could be seen waiting (a safe distance apart) outside for their morning bagel after the shop pivoted to curbside service.
477 S. California Ave., Palo Alto; izzysbrooklynbagels.com; 650-329-0700
Douce France features a stunning array of desserts - from bite-sized strawberry tarts to delicate eclairs - all made from fresh ingredients and based on recipes that originated in the Alsace region of France over half a century ago. Menu items can be ordered online.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #104, Palo Alto; cafedoucefrance.com; 650-322-3601
Nearly all of the Texas-inspired grub at Armadillo Willy's is cooked over an oak-wood fire. This locally owned BBQ joint offers traditional items like ribs and brisket, as well as more adventurous options, like jalapeno-cheese sausage. The restaurant is open for in-person dining, takeout and delivery.
1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos; armadillowillys.com; 650-941-292
Best Boba Tea
Teaspoon Palo Alto
Teaspoon Palo Alto offers a variety of specialty drink flavors - from toasted marshmallow to a virgin mojito - made with all-natural golden cane sugar. The shop also offers shaved snow desserts that come in flavors like Lemon Tart, Tropical Delight and Afternoon Tea. All items can be ordered online.
2675 Middlefield Road, Suite C, Palo Alto; teaspoonlife.com; 650-272-6734
From Hawaiian French toast to omelets to crepes, breakfast is so good at Joanie's Cafe that readers have selected the California Avenue restaurant as a favorite destination year after year.
405 S. California Ave., Palo Alto,; joaniescafepaloalto.com; 650-326-6505
Kirk's Steakburgers has been satisfying generations of Palo Alto residents with its famous massive steakburgers grilled over a charcoal flame the same way since the restaurant was founded in 1948. Kirk's still uses the same butcher as the original founders and several second- and third-generation employees work at the popular Stanford-student hangout. Over the years, the restaurant has aimed to make its dining experience second to none by combining contemporary conveniences with its classically cooked foods. The result: Kirk's burgers have become local legends that just keep getting better.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #75, Palo Alto; kirks-steakburgers.com; 650-326-6159
Taqueria El Grullense M&G
Taqueria El Grullense M&G is the go-to destination for those craving quick and authentic Mexican food in a no-frills setting. The menu features an extensive choice of fresh-made soups, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, homemade tortillas, combination plates and more. The burrito menu boasts a selection of 14 meat or fish fillings, as well as vegetarian options, topped with your choice of cheese, guacamole, sour cream and red or green sauce. The restaurant also takes phone orders.
3636 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; elgrullensepaloalto.com; 650-251-9317
Best Cocktails To Go
After the pandemic put an end to the traditional happy hour for most of 2020, Calave, known for its bar bites and happy hours on the patio, put together an extensive to-go cocktail menu for patrons to enjoy at home (or elsewhere) that includes select wines, craft beer and signature cocktails such as its Mezcal Mule and the House Old Fashion. Its food and cocktail menu is now available for indoor and patio dining as well as for pickup.
299 California Ave. #115, Palo Alto; calave.com ; 650-521-0443
Driftwood Deli and Market
With its plethora of possible sandwich combinations, Driftwood Deli & Market draws happy customers from all over the Bay Area. The menu at this old-style family-owned deli includes everything from longtime favorites like its signature "Heaven on Earth" with roast beef, melted Jack, bacon and avocado, to a classic turkey twist with pesto, avocado, artichoke hearts and cheese on a Dutch crunch roll. Driftwood also has daily soup and salad options as well as lunch boxes (including a sandwich, soda, cookie, chips and fruit) to go.
3450 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; driftwooddeliandmarket.com; 650-493-4162
Best Dim Sum To Go
When Dumpling City opened in 2017, the owners aimed to provide locals with an authentic handmade Chinese dumpling and dim sum experience. The menu doesn't disappoint: Dumpling City offers a range of traditional, handcrafted dumplings with fillings like pork, chicken, shrimp, lamb and vegetables, steamed buns and wontons. All items are available to order online and in person. Customers can also buy frozen dumplings (in packs of 20) to make at home.
3487 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; https://www.dumplingcityca.com/; 650-272-6715
Best Grocery Store
The Market at Edgewood
See Best Produce
Best Ice Cream/Gelato
Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream
For more than 40 years, Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream has been churning out small-batch ice cream handmade daily at the back of the shop. The menu boasts more than 48 flavors, including creations such as coffee-molasses chip and rose and white chocolate ginger. Customers can order ahead to pick up ice cream scoops, milkshakes, sundaes and other items to go. It also makes banana, coconut and peanut butter "doggy ice cream" that's safe for canines. The shop is accepting online donations to help us stay afloat, according to the website.
3946 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; ricksicecream.com; 650-493-6553
Palo Alto Creamery Fountain & Grill
Palo Alto Creamery Fountain & Grill is an old-school diner that has been serving shakes since 1923. Everything here is made from scratch, including the 20-plus milkshake flavors on the menu, which are all served the old-fashioned way in metal mixing cups.
566 Emerson St., Palo Alto; paloaltocreamery.com; 650-323-3131
Best New Food/Drink Establishment
State of Mind Slice House
Brothers Lars and Andrew Smith's State of Mind Slice House, which opened in January, is their ode to the New York City slice shops, with their own West Coast stamp. All of the slow-proofed pizzas are made from organic California flour and topped with made-from-scratch sauces and ingredients like housemade chorizo, chevre, local vegetables and hot honey. During the pandemic when other local pizza shops discontinued serving single slices, the Slice House remained true to concept. Takeout is available. All whole pies also can be ordered as rectangular pan pizzas instead.
3850 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; stateofmindslicehouse.com; 650-384-6369
With Neapolitan-style pies baked in a wood-fired oven, Terun provides diners a slice of Italy in Palo Alto. The pizzeria offers a virtually endless choice of creative combinations with toppings like burrata, zucchini, grilled eggplant, artichokes and pears. Terun is offering takeout, delivery and restaurant dining.
448 California Ave., Palo Alto; terunpizza.com; 650-600-8310
The Market at Edgewood
The Market at Edgewood is a family-owned neighborhood market that offers a large variety of hand-selected produce from local farms and producers, as well as baked goods, a diverse meat section and a dedicated cheese specialist. The market offers curbside pickup and delivery as well as special food events on the patio.
2170 W Bayshore Road, Palo Alto; marketatedgewood.com; 650-665-7590
Sweetgreen combines a fast-casual service concept with seasonal dining. Its farm-to-table salads include locally sourced lettuce, vegetables, fruit, meat and other toppings. The menu changes five times each year, with the supplying farmers and vendors posted on a list inside the downtown restaurant. Diners can take their pick from signature salads and seasonal combinations or customize their own.
581 Ramona St., Palo Alto; sweetgreen.com; 415-212-7385
Best Take Out
Famous for its fresh, direct-from-Israel hummus, flavorful meat skewers and stuffed-to-the-gill pita sandwiches, the menu at Oren's Hummus is full of Israeli staples. Oren's bakes the pita and cuts produce for dishes onsite every morning. Items also are served at Oren's Hummus Express, which focuses on quick, grab-and-go service. Patio dining, takeout and delivery are available.
261 University Ave., Palo Alto; orenshummus.com; 650-752-6492
Oren's Hummus Express, 855 El Camino Real, #162, Palo Alto; orenshummusexpress.com; 650-752-6492
Loyal customers attribute Pinkberry to reigniting the phenomenon for frozen yogurt after the chain made its debut in southern California in 2005. The menu at the Stanford shop features a wide selection of local fresh ingredients served in its yogurt and smoothies. All fresh fruit is hand cut at the store daily. In addition to its long list of frozen yogurt flavors - pomegranate, pineapple colada, island mango, raspberry white chocolate, strawberry vanilla, peanut butter, peppermint - Pinkberry recently rolled out cold brew fruit teas for the summer.
Stanford Shopping Center, 180 El Camino Real #14, Palo Alto; pinkberry.com; 650-322-6030