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 from a family recipe imported from Eastern Europe. Locals know that it's important to come in early so that popular flavors are still available.
477 S. California Ave., Palo Alto;
2220-B University Ave., East Palo Alto; izzysbrooklynbagels.com; 650-322-5700
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.
What's new: "We just started making empanadas, they are so delicious and we serve them with our chimichurri sauce and chipotle aïoli."
Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; adascafe.org; 650-327-2327
Nearly all of the Texas-inspired grub at Armadillo Willy's is cooked over an oak-wood fire. This locally owned barbecue joint offers traditional items like ribs and brisket, as well as a variety of salads and homemade soups, including chicken tortilla soup. The restaurant is open for in-person dining, takeout and delivery.
1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos; armadillowillys.com; 650-941-2922
Best Boba Tea
Boba Guys' milk tea — made in small batches using real tea leaves instead of powders, Straus Family Creamery organic milk and a housemade, all-natural sweetener — has drawn a major following since its start as a pop-up in San Francisco in 2011. The shop is best-known for its Strawberry Matcha Latte.
What's new:The company recently launched "Airplane Mode," its latest menu collection, signaling that it's time to get back out there and go places and look at the world with hope and optimism.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #120, Palo Alto; bobaguys.com, email@example.com
Breakfast is so good at Joanie's Cafe that the California Avenue restaurant offers it at lunch, too. Favorite brunch items include pancakes, waffles, French toast and omelets, crepes, scrambles or just plain eggs — all served with hash browns, home fries or fruit. The restaurant is open for takeout and dine-in service.
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.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #75, Palo Alto; kirks-steakburgers.com; 650-326-6159
LuLu's Mexican Food
Whether it's a shrimp, veggie, chicken or steak fajita wrapped in a gluten-free tortilla, the burritos -- like everything else at Lulu's -- are made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Since opening its doors 17 years ago, the family-owned taqueria has built a following with its authentic Mexican food rooted in home-style preparation.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real # 49, Palo Alto; lulusmexicanfood.com; 650-327-8226
Best Deli Best Sandwiches, Best Grocery Store, Best Produce
Piazza's Fine Foods
With its blend of old-world charm (founder John Piazza immigrated from Sicily in 1933) and the convenience and amenities of modern supermarkets, Piazza's Fine Foods has been a community favorite in the grocery scene since 1979. The still-family-owned store has a commitment to organic seasonal produce and natural foods, and patrons love its scrumptious deli.
Charleston Shopping Center, 3922 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; piazzasfinefoods.com; 650-325-5933
Best Dim Sum
The menu at Tai Pan boasts more than 80 different kinds of Hong Kong-style dim sum and specialty rice-noodle rolls as well as other specialty dishes. According to the restaurant's owners, a "tai pan" is an individual who excels above all others in their field — and through thoughtful preparation and presentation, that's exactly how they strive to treat all of their patrons. The restaurant is open for dine in, takeout and delivery.
560 Waverley St., Palo Alto; taipanpaloalto.com; 650-329-9168
Best Happy Hour
Happy hour on the patio at Calave has become a tradition in Palo Alto ever since the wine bar opened on the corner of California Avenue and Birch Street in 2015. From 4-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, patrons can grab a seat inside or outside and enjoy happy hour bar bites along with a wine flight, craft beer or signature cocktail while mellowing out with friends.
299 California Ave. #115, Palo Alto; calave.com; 650-521-0443
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, white chocolate ginger, cotton candy and "Blue Moon," which tastes like Fruit Loops cereal.
What's new: Rick's has added more seasonal flavors, such as butter beer and lychee sorbet, to the menu and is working on vegan ice cream flavor.
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
From paella and pintxos to Iberico ham, Telefèric Barcelona is a temple to Spanish cuisine. Operated by siblings Xavi and Maria Padrosa, Teleferic Barcelona is an authentic Spanish tapas and paella dining destination that offers seven different types of paellas served alongside a wide selection of tapas. The menu also offers a diverse cocktail menu that includes Sangria flights, Turkish gin and craft cocktails, such as the Barcelona mule.
Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real #130, Palo Alto; telefericbarcelona.com; 650-321-0712
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 also offers a takeout menu and live music on Mondays,
448 California Ave., Palo Alto; terunpizza.com; 650-600-8310
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
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 on-site every morning. Items also are served at Oren's Hummus Express, which focuses on quick, grab-and-go service.
261 University Ave., Palo Alto; orenshummus.com; 650-752-6492
Oren's Hummus Express, 855 El Camino Real, #162, Palo Alto; orenshummusexpress.com; 650-563-6736
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. Its long list of frozen yogurt flavors includes pomegranate, pineapple colada, island mango, raspberry white chocolate, strawberry vanilla, peanut butter, peppermint.
Stanford Shopping Center, 180 El Camino Real #14, Palo Alto; pinkberry.com; 650-322-6030