Restaurants

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Ada's Cafe - Best Coffeehouse, Best Meal Under $20

Best California Cuisine
Saint Michael's Alley

Originally founded as a coffeehouse with a bohemian vibe when it opened in 1959, Saint Michael's Alley has since developed into a refined restaurant with upscale ambiance and a menu rooted in local, fresh ingredients that includes entrees such as roasted sea bass, red curry roasted duck breast and pan-roasted halibut. The restaurant is open for takeout, to-go cocktails and patio and dining room dining.
140 Homer Ave., Palo Alto; stmikes.com; 650-326-7762

Best Chinese Restaurant
Chef Chu's

Since opening in 1970, Chef Chu's specialty dishes, including its homemade potstickers and Beijing duck cooked in a cast-iron Chinese oven, have attracted a who's who list of diners from near and far, including Serena Williams, Steve Young, Justin Bieber and JFK Jr. The restaurant has expanded its services to include drive-thru and no-contact delivery.
1067 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos; chefchu.com; 650-948-2696

Best Coffee House
Ada's Cafe

Ada's may serve up delicious artisan drinks, baked goods, panini and salads all made with organic ingredients, but it is not a typical cafe. It's a nonprofit that trains and employs people with developmental disabilities, giving them space to both work and belong. Since opening in 2014, Ada's has been working to change the face of retail and create meaningful connections between the community and its employees. Even during the pandemic, the cafe has continued to serve as a community hub where loyal customers have stood in line outside offering heartfelt words of hope while picking up their to-go orders. Dine-in and curbside pickup are now available.
Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; adascafe.org; 650-327-2327

Best Curbside Service
La Bodeguita del Medio

With its Cuban-influenced menu, elegant dining room and heated patio, La Bodeguita del Medio has been a Best Of winner in various categories year after year. During the pandemic, the restaurant added a curbside pickup zone, revamped its outdoor dining service and pivoted, for the first time ever, to a takeout menu to provide customers an enjoyable dining experience, whether at home or outside the restaurant. Inspired by the legendary La Bodeguita in Havana, the Palo Alto restaurant offers robust meat dishes, fresh seafood, flavorful vegetarian entrees and specialty cocktails.
463 S. California Ave., Palo Alto; labodeguita.com; 650-948-2696

Zola, Best French Restaurant

Best French Restaurant
Zola

Zola is owner Guillaume Bienaime's modern take on a classic French bistro. The dishes at this small French restaurant incorporate seasonal produce into every dish on the menu, which includes items like roasted button mushrooms with escargot butter, rillettes de saumon and short rib bourguignon. Meat also is sourced as locally as possible. The restaurant has been on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list, which recognizes eateries that offer excellent food at a reasonable price. In May, Bienaime opened the restaurant's bar companion, Bar Zola, next door.
565 Bryant St., Palo Alto; zolapaloalto.com; 650-521-0651

Best Fusion Restaurant
Tamarine Restaurant

From ginger-beef pho and wok-flashed rice noodles to steamed wild snapper in banana leaves, Tamarine Restaurant serves thoughtfully crafted Vietnamese cuisine that makes every dish a work of art in this fine dining establishment. Takeout, no-contact delivery and indoor and outdoor dining are available.
546 University Ave., Palo Alto; tamarinerestaurant.com; 650-325-8500

Zareen's, Best Indian Restaurant

Best Indian Restaurant
Zareen's

Zareen's is a Michelin Guide restaurant that serves traditional and fusion-style Pakistani and Indian food, including samosas, kebabs and a Punjabi chicken burger with spicy fries made in small batches around the clock. During the coronavirus shutdown, Zareen's also started selling frozen foods to-go and expanded to a third location in Redwood City.
365 S. California Ave., Palo Alto; zareensrestaurant.com; 650-600-8438

Best Italian Restaurant
Cafe Pro Bono

With its authentic Italian dishes (grilled polenta, veal piccata, rigatoni mancini), white tablecloths and casual setting, Cafe Pro Bono has been a favorite local dining destination for more than 27 years, even attracting notable guests such as Secretary of State George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice. During the pandemic, the Italian eatery expanded its dining service outdoors. Dine-in, curbside pickup and delivery are available.
2437 Birch St., Palo Alto; cafeprobono.com; 650-326-1626

Best Kids Menu
Hobee's

After opening in the 1970s, Hobee's quickly evolved into an iconic Silicon Valley chain known for its funky vibe, healthy menu items and ample breakfasts <0x00F3> including its legendary blueberry coffee cake with crumbly streusel topping. The Kids menu, which doubles as a coloring page, includes an array of fun and healthy items, including the cheesy scramble, smiley potatoes, chicken dunkers, fruit dippers and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Kids eat free on Wednesdays.
4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; hobees.com; 650-856-6124

Hobee's, Best Kids Menu

Best Latin American Restaurant
La Bodeguita del Medio

See Best Curbside Service

Best Meal Under $20
Ada's Cafe

See Best Coffee House

Best Mediterranean Restaurant
Oren's Hummus

See Best Takeout in the Food & Drink section

Best Mexican Restaurant
Reposado

Reposado is much more than tacos and cerveza. The eatery offers specialty dishes like marinated pork that's slowly been braised in banana leaves as well as a fabulous array of appetizers, including a plate of four different street tacos. Full plates come with house-made tortillas and offer inventive twists on vegetables, chicken, seafood, steak, pork and tofu. The restaurant also offers dozens of artisanal tequilas and specialty cocktails. Food is available for takeout, pickup and on-site dining.
236 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto; reposadorestaurant.com; 650-328-8840

Best New Restaurant
Rooh Palo Alto

Modern Indian food is the name of the game at Rooh, which opened in January 2020 as the first Peninsula restaurant for owners who run several Indian restaurants in the U.S. and New Delhi. The restaurant's calling card is a 13-foot custom wood-fired grill, smoker and tandoori oven setup that churns out charred tandoori pineapple, roasted eggplant and duck kebabs.
473 University Ave., Palo Alto; roohpaloalto.com; 650-800-7090

La Bodeguita del Medio, Most Creative Outdoor Dining Service, Best Curbside Service, Best Latin American Restaurant and Best Takeout for a Romantic

Best Place to Order Food on Game Day
The Old Pro

Instantly recognizable by its pennant-covered interior walls, the Old Pro is known for its happy hour deals and eclectic menu, which includes wings, crispy brussel sprouts and garlic Parmesan tater tots. The restaurant is open and menu items are available for takeout and delivery.
541 Ramona St., Palo Alto; oldpropa.com; 650-326-1446

Most Creative Outdoor Dining Service
La Bodeguita del Medio

See Best Curbside Service

Best Restaurant to Splurge
Protege

Protege is an approachable yet impressive neighborhood restaurant that features New American cuisine. Just nine months after co-owners Dennis Kelly (master sommelier) and Anthony Secviar (chef), alums from the three-Michelin-star The French Laundry in Yountville, opened in Palo Alto in 2018, the restaurant won a Michelin star. Protege is open for patio and dining room service; takeout also is available.
250 California Ave., Palo Alto; protegepaloalto.com; 650-494-4181

Best Takeout for a Romantic Night at Home
La Bodeguita del Medio

See Best Curbside Service

The Fish Market, Best Seafood Restaurant

Best Seafood Restaurant
The Fish Market

For nearly 43 years, The Fish Market has been an El Camino Real mainstay serving up traditional fare to satisfy the hardiest of sea-faring souls <0x2014> fish and chips, cioppino and clam chowder <0x2014> as well as dishes for the edgier palate. Indoor and patio dining are available, as well as takeout and delivery. The restaurant's retail market also has reopened.
3150 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; thefishmarket.com; 650-493-9188

Best Steakhouse
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar serves prime beef, chops, seafood, chicken and plant-based options, as well as 100 wines by the glass in a contemporary dining room at Stanford Shopping Center. Takeout, delivery and indoor/outdoor dining are available. The restaurant also offers a special carry out menu that features family three-course meals.
180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; flemingssteakhouse.com; 650-329-8457

Best Sunday Brunch
Joanie's Cafe

See Best Breakfast in the Food & Drink section.

Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant
Fuki Sushi

With chefs trained in Japan, Fuki Sushi executes delicately crafted sushi rolls with well-cooked rice and fresh seafood. The restaurant features private tatami rooms and offers takeout and delivery.
4119 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; fukisushi.com; 650-494-9383

Thaiphoon, Best Thai Restaurant

Best Thai Restaurant
Thaiphoon

Whether you feel like having it hot or mild, the menu at Thaiphoon can be altered to the spice level of your choice. From chicken coconut soup to fried tofu or braised lamb, there is something for everyone. The restaurant offers dine-in and patio service and takeout.
543 Emerson St, Palo Alto; thaiphoononline.net; 650-323-7700

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Cuisine
True Food Kitchen

The menu at True Food Kitchen draws from an anti-inflammatory diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, seafood, healthy fats and other items, which are sourced locally and regularly rotated on the menu with the seasons. The restaurant is open for indoor and patio dining and offers no-contact pickup and delivery.
180 El Camino Real, #1140, Palo Alto; truefoodkitchen.com; 650-272-5157