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The 10 best restaurants in Palo Alto right now

The best restaurants in Palo Alto serve all kinds of incredible cuisines, from Greek and Italian to Vietnamese and Indian

The EAT List
The EAT List
By Virginia Miller |
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When you think about the best restaurants in the Bay Area, you might not think about Palo Alto. With its college town vibe and heavy dose of chain eateries, the tech center hasn’t exactly been known as a food destination (especially with the best restaurants in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose restaurants nearby). But that’s all changing thanks to an influx of new restaurants serving fresh Greek, Indian, Italian, Vietnamese and even Georgian dishes. So the next time you're headed to Silicon Valley, consider adding the best restaurant in Palo Alto to your list of things to do in the Bay Area

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in San Francisco

Best restaurants in Palo Alto

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Vina Enoteca

In the middle of shopping mall blandness near the Stanford campus, Vina Enoteca is a respite of Italian authenticity housed in a striking, brick-walled, 1800s barn. The menus features wood-fired pizzas and handmade pastas like cacio e pepe and rabbit agnolotti. Bar manager Massimo Stronati serves up elegant, Italian-influenced cocktails featuring local ingredients.

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Evvia Estiatorio

The sister restaurant to SF’s Kokkari, Greek restaurant Evvia Estiatorio dishes out juicy lamb chops, whole grilled fish, spanakotiro pita (phyllo stuffed with spinach, leeks, feta and dill) and plump gigantes (wood oven-baked giant beans in tomato sauce) in a rustic, hearthfire-warmed dining room. 

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3
Zareen’s
Photograph: Flickr/sstrieu

Zareen’s

Chef Zareen Khan calls on her Pakistani and Indian roots for this order-at-the-counter restaurant featuring family recipes like masala fries, creamy curries and aloo samosa burgers (a smashed potato samosa layered with cheese and chutneys on a toasted bun) alongside salads and sandwiches. 

4
Shaking beef at Tamarine
Photograph: Courtesy Tamarine

Tamarine

Modern Vietnamese dishes are the focus here, like the taro root rolls, crab and garlic glass noodles, claypot cod and soy, garlic and onion-seared shaking beef.

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Bird Dog

Bird Dog brings a hip, mid-range dining experience to Palo Alto. The lunch menu showcases uni and crudo alongside Wagyu striploin and short rib. Wood-grilled avocado in ponzu and real wasabi are the house specialties. Wine pairings include European and California varieties alongside stiff cocktails like the English Patient (barrel-aged gin, Maurin Quina Aperitif, saffron and Suze).

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Baume
Photograph: Flickr/Jun Seita

Baume

Two Michelin-starred Baume is Palo Alto’s special occasion destination housed in a nondescript 1970s building. In the intimate, elegant space, the tasting-menu–only restaurant showcases seasonal ingredients in dishes like the 62-degree sous-vide egg topped with wild mushroom and dry vermouth foam and paired with shots of fresh celery, rosemary and lime juice.

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7
Oren's Hummus
Photograph: Tai Kerbs, Courtesy Oren's Hummus

Oren’s Hummus

The original location of this Bay Area mini-chain opened in 2011. The affordable, order-at-the-counter cafe offers Israeli and Middle Eastern fare like shakshuka in both traditional tomato sauce or green kale and spinach sauce. Hummus comes in a number of different varieties, of course. 

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Bevri
Photograph: Courtesy Bevri

Bevri

Bevri delights khachapuri fans who now have a local source for the traditional Georgian dish (a massive “boat” of bread filled with cheese and egg). Bevri also serves other Eastern European and Georgian dishes like shashlik (skewered meat), borscht soup and khinakli soup dumplings. Don’t forget to pair with Georgia’s other great export: fascinating, funky and elegant natural wines.

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9
La Bodeguita Del Medio
Photograph: Flickr/Scott W. Hill

La Bodeguita Del Medio

Head to this South Bay gem for quality Cuban food and cigars. At the cozy, dim cafe, regulars sip mojitos or rum, smoke cigars and fill up on Cubano sandwiches, arroz con pollo and ropa vieja. 

10
The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse
Photograph: Courtesy The Sea

The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse

Chef Yu Min Lin shows off seafood in dishes like black sesame-laced tartare, squid risotto and grilled lobster with leeks and Peruvian potatoes at this pricey, seafood-centric steakhouse. For beef fans, try Alexander’s memorable Wagyu trio with different salts. 

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