About Il Fornaio - Palo Alto
Il Fornaio means "The Baker" in Italian. This award-winning restaurant offers an authentic and unique dining experience. Specialties include wood-fired rotisserie and grilled meats, poultry and game; housemade pastas; pizzas from an oak wood burning oven; fresh salads and housemade soups; a wide variety of desserts; and fresh baked bread made daily from scratch. Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007.
Hours of Operation:
Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 10:30am, Saturday - Sunday: 8:00am - 11:00am; Lunch: Sunday - Saturday: 11:30am - 5:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10;00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Off-site catering available. Please contact Event Coordinator for more details.
Valet parking is available for $10. In addition, there is also the hotel parking lot, as well as a public lot available.
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Celebrating 20 years in downtown Palo Alto, Il Fornaio offers 2 private dining rooms and a heated, covered, garden Piazza. Banquet menus for large parties features the best of Il Fornaio's authentic Italian cuisine and Chef Luigi's signature dishes.
Il Fornaio - Palo Alto Ratings and Reviews
I contacted the event coordinator, Eva, at the restaurant and told her about our special occasion for friends getting together. She gave us special table and suggested some appetizers which were ordered in advance so that there was no wait when the group get together. Service was excellent and the food very good.
Everything was good just not exceptional ...
Everything was good just not exceptional.
We visited Il Forniao several years ago, ...
We visited Il Forniao several years ago, and enjoyed it very much. We were meeting a special friend in Palo Alto, and decided to go to Il Forniao. We are very happy we did. Everything was Five Star. All of us present have the same response.
We are actually HUGE fans of Il Fornaio. ...
We are actually HUGE fans of Il Fornaio. And it is my stated favorite restaurant. We go here for almost all special occassions. But for the first time, they disappointed me on this evening. It started with a very small service issue. We were brought bread but not oil and vinegar and had to track that down. The food quality was really the disappointment, though. Normally their bread is wonderful, a basket of different kinds, served warm. This evening it was a rather unexciting standard sliced loaf, cold. The soup was rather thin, also not served very hot, and had a sour taste that was unexpected given that it was butternut squash. My entree plate was not served cleanly - there were spatterings of sauce on the plate edges. And the entree itself again was not hot. And the tomato sauce tasted quite acidic, almost like it received little simmer time and not much spice. I had to add salt to both soup and entree for the first time coming here. Anyway, I certainly won't give up on Il Fornaio. I'll give it a second chance at some point. But I'm a little sad at the potential dip in quality for a place that is normally so wonderful.
Will never recommend this place
I went on a date at this place but the food was below average. Bread looked stale not warm, very hard to chew, ravioli was not cooked properly. I will never go again.
We picked Il Fornaio Palo Alto as its close to Lucie Stern Theater., and the place offers a brunch menu. The waiter was attentive, we mentioned we had an hour before our 2 pm show. I enjoyed my omelet, it was perfectly cooked and the potatoes on the side were delicious. My friends enjoyed their meal too.
Terrible drink service
Asked for an espresso Martini and showed lexi a recipe on my phone..he argued and responded that he will make it only "his way". Really didn't like his poor customer attitude especially when il fornaio is supoosed to be more high end restaurant. Some basic lessons on customer service desperately is needed.
Could be better...
We expected a higher sensory level but didn't meet expectations. The server wasn't attentive to our requests.
fish was old
The fish was old and borderline inedible. The porterhouse steak was cooked at medium instead of medium rare as specified. And the steak was mealy. I got the impression that they were clearing out the stock room. Also, we ordered the Bisteca Fiorentina, and the Ribollita, both are classic Tuscan dishes. Neither tasted even close to what we expected. The ribollita had not developed the multi-layered flavors from slow simmering that were were accustomed to from sampling this dish in Italy. Someone show the cooks how these dishes SHOULD taste. I have had better experiences in the past. This most recent dinner was a disappointment.
Had the worst lasagna dish ever (tough and doughy)
This is a beautiful and convenient location. I have had a few fairly good meals there in the past but this evening will keep us from returning. I can't believe a chef in that prominant location cannot cook a lasagna properly. My pinot grigio was warm and sweet. I should have returned it all for something else, but didn't. Never again.
Was disappointed that first 2 choices of bottles of chardonnay to order were out of stock. Said it was because a private party was ordering a lot of chardonnay, but would have thought it could have been anticipated and avoided.
It is a very relaxing place to dine.
I ordered the pizza not what I expected. The whole pizza platter was placed in front of me, and a plate was not brought to me. My husband enjoyed his dinner of seafood pasta. The first two wines we ordered they were out of but made up for it by bringing a very nice bottle of wine and charged us same price as the first two bottle of wine A friend of ours works at this restaurant and told the waiter she would cover our dessert, well he charged us for it. We did not say anything we paid for it but did not tip the waiter for the dessert.
Very pleasant experience
Had dinner at another Il Fornaio last year so i was very happy to find one in Palo Alto. Although the menu looked a bit simpler than my last time, we found many good selections and had an excellent dinner. Service was really exceptional. Food came nice and hot and it was overall a great business dinner. I would recommend to enhance the wine menu with a larger variety of Italian higher end wines. But it was all good and loved the experience.
They have tried to cram too many tables ...
They have tried to cram too many tables on one side of the room divider. The waiter had to pass by me every time to service other tables and I had to scoot in each time because he could barely fit, not to mention the distraction with all the close traffic.
We had marvelous service, wonderful wine and excellent food in a comfortable private room for a family birthday. The room was recommended when confirming our reservation as having good acoustics for an elderly person and this worked out beautifully. One person was disappointed in the capellacci di zucca as doughier and just not as delicious as on previous visits, but the other 10 of us were very happy with our meals. Our solicitous waiter was unflappable and offered good advice on both wine and menu selections. We all had a great time, but most importantly, the honoree enjoyed herself thoroughly.
We really enjoy eating at your restaurant - Great food and service.
Consistent, dependable and reasonable
Have enjoyed professional dinners here often through the years. Always a dependable go-to location which offers convenient parking and easy access to the core street (University) of downtown Palo Alto. Consistently good food and helpful servers. Only nit: wish there were a few more roundtops as opposed to two seat tables. Latter is a tad small and makes you feel like a diner as opposed to professional business tables.
Worked out really well for a large party ...
Worked out really well for a large party. Service was good, fast.
FIrst time at this establishment. I've ...
FIrst time at this establishment. I've heard a lot of good things, but didn't hold up to expectations. Food was OK. Thought they might have a special fixe Easter menu, but didn't.
Hit or Miss
I like Il Fornaio. We have been to Palo Alto and Carmel locations multiple times and will continue to go. Food is generally good but not consistently great. We went on a Sunday this time and I think we got the "B team" in the kitchen. Fish was outstanding but potatoes were not properly drained and sitting in their own cooking water. Risotto was not properly cooked, more like a rice pilaf. Server was nice and fairly attentive.
Consistently good food with very good service
This was the third time we had gone there; once for no good reason, once for Valentines Day, and this time was because the other times were fairly successful. The service is always good; the first time was exceptional, which is why we came back. Also, for the squash ravioli, which is always quite good. The first time, my wife had the chicken, and was not impressed, but loved my squash ravioli. So, the next time, on Valentine's Day, she had a special squash ravioli, and she liked it a lot. This last time, my daughter and her friend ordered the Vodka pasta and the bolognese. Both could have used a bit more sauce, but the flavors were good. The service was good this time as well.
Quiet and quaint ambience
I treated my family to brunch for my 50 th birthday celebration. The service was mediocre as the staff appeared overwhelmed. There was a large group dining in the patio area. The salmon omelet was flavorful, but the potatoes were bland. The food, overall, was of average quality. I would have appreciated a more attentive waiter . Loved the ambience!
The service (waiter) was great!
The service was excellent. We food and and wine list by the glass had diverse selection.
The servers didn't get my special request over open table. I was very disappointed that nothing was done as to the bday. We ere served w tiramisu w candle in the end. But no one conslyanted w me before hand. My husband, the birthday boy, can't have tiramisu!!!
The worst salad either of us has ever had ... and that is saying something from two seasoned business travelers. Don't order the Ahi Tuna Salad! we both ordered it and it was terrible. weird with Couscous dumped on top.. served with a hard boil egg.. which sounded fine.. but they halved the egg.. removed the yoke and filled the space with two strange tasting dressings.. enough said.. yuk~ and $21 each!
We have been going to Il Fornaio for over 20 years and it is consistently very good. We love the atmosphere too. Fun to sit at the counter and watch the cooks. Great for a date night or a group event.
classic Palo Alto
as usual service, food and atmosphere is outstanding.
Italian special treats
The Liguria specials were very good. Much better than the last Italian special in San Jose. The service was also better. The artichoke soup had too many little coke parts in it. Other wise everhything was great.
This should not be an Il Fornaio Restaurant
I had booked a table for 4 for a special occasion and since I knew other Il Fronaio Resaurants (Beverly Hills, Burlingame) I thought this was a no brainer. I never went to this location in Palo Alto but I saw the outside patio and it looked good to celebrate with the girls . I called into the Restaurant and told them about the Birthday celebration and when we walked in I spoke to Management again, but after all of this we still got poor service. We sat down and got menus but still after 20 minutes no one approached us....we wanted to order some champagne but I had to get up and walk to the hostess stand to alert service. Soon after that a waiter came out and approached us in a weird way. Asking that we needed to settle down and perhaps we should order some drinks right away. During the service he rubbed us the wrong way making inappropriate comments, also we hardly could understand his poorly spoken English. This seemed like a bus boy turned waiter situation....believe me I am all for advancement as I am an immigrant to this country myself and worked many years in upscale restaurants but this service you should not expect from an Il Fornaio. Palo Alto needs to beef up the level of service it is not nearly as close to Burlingame's & Beverly Hills Il Fornaio. The icing on the top was that they brought out the desert with out the candle which I had asked for on 2 occations, I was simply embarrassed towards my group of friends.
Waiter was unattentive. Sea bass was fu ...
Waiter was unattentive. Sea bass was full of bones and burnt.
A Good Celebration Spot
It was my son's birthday ( in his sixties), so I took him and his wife to dinner. The ambience and service at Il Fornaio were outstanding, as expected. The artichoke soup and the calamari appetizer were somewhat disappointing. The calamari needed to be cooked longer (we all felt) and the soup was not very tasty. My beet salad was excellent, however. I am not sure how they felt about their entrees. It is still a wonderful place to celebrate special occasions and I will do it again.
We Had A Private Room
Would just mention that we were able to get a private room at Il Fornaio, and I would highly recommend it for that feature as well. It meant that we were able to enjoy all the qualities of the restaurant even more.
Lunch with business associates
Go to lunch here quite often...Service is always good, atmosphere a little noisy but expected, food generally good..This time food was substandard...Fish overcooked, pasta cold...must have been a rushed or bad day...Need to maintain quality control a little better..Appeared to be under new management...
Fun eating in Italy
Il Fornaio is noted for changing its menu regularly to feature the cuisine of different regions of Italy. This makes it fun and interesting to revisit often to sample different Italian food, well prepared. We went on a night that Umbria was featured, a cuisine we are not as familiar with. As usual, we ordered the "tasting menu" where we ate an all-Umbrian dinner, matched with a recommended wine from the region. The white wine was a good and different choice. The soup was undistinguished—very bland. The pasta was not as good as expected and rather skimpy. The main dish was already out of the lamb, but the duck was excellent with a delicious sauce. We decided to eat an Umbrian dessert and it was devilishly rich and delicious. Our favorite item of the evening was an excellent attentive server.
Great service and nice food.
Thank our server for attentive but not fawning attention. No one interrupted a conversation. No one failed to fill waters and wine. Nice evening for a crowd that did not know each other well.
Our favorite place
We have been going here for years and it is our favorite special restaurant. Wonderful food, very often space available, fantastic service, and, although it is a nice and somewhat expensive meal, it is reasonably priced for such an amazing meal.
SERVICE POOR May not come back. Jose was rude, slow, not attentive. Not friendly water guy either
Everything about our recent lunch at Il Fornaio was great. From the gentleman who greeted us and seated us to the wait staff. The salmon salad was perfectly prepared, and my friend said her seafood dish of Prawns, and calamari was excellent. Our waiter was attentive, yet was careful not to interrupt us when we were in the middle of a conversation. I am always happy with my meal and the service at Il Fornaio. I'll be back.
Il Fornaio - Attractive but Bland
A very nice place and the best service ever. Our waiter was the perfect combo of attentive and helpful. Sadly, the food, although expensive, was mediocre. I had salmon on a bed of artichokes with a potato on the side that had been sliced horizonally, then given a topping. The salmon was good, flakey and tasty. The artichokes were slivered, but tough and fibrous and not at all flavorful. The potato was just that, a potato. It had some brown topping which tasted like crumbs, perhaps, but which was as bland as the artichokes. Disappointing, especially since the meal was a birthday gift .
Always great, always fun, always one of ...
Always great, always fun, always one of the best "go to" places in Palo Alto!
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