About Il Fornaio - Palo Alto
Palo Alto, CA 94301
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, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, 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 love Il Fornaio. We have gone there ...
I love Il Fornaio. We have gone there many times for family celebrations. It saddens me not to rate this experience highly. We went for our 49th anniversary and hoped for a leisurely delicious meal, not one that I had to prepare for a change.
As it turned out, there was a computer glitch which lost our order as well as others. Our waiter, who, on his second day of work, was working hard but was overwhelmed by the problems the glitch caused. Our dinner took forever to be served and did not feel like a celebration, but like a day at the office.
Not happy with the service. After sitti ...
Not happy with the service. After sitting at the table, found there was a hair on the small side plate. Indicated this to a waiter (or auxiliary waiter) and he reacted as if annoyed, picked up a plate from adjacent table and replaced ours without even mumbling a "sorry sir".
I ordered the special, which was pasta w ...
I ordered the special, which was pasta with lobster and mussels in arrabiata sauce. The waiter explicitly recommended against ordering it, which I thought was strange, but since I seldom have the chance to order lobster I decided to get it anyway. The dish was a big disappointment. It was a whole lobster, split down the middle, which I knew ahead of time. This would have been fine if the restaurant had had the correct implements to extract the meat. It took them a while to find me a cracker to open the shells, and they had no small/thin fork for pulling out the meat. By the time I had extracted the meat (practically with my bare hands), the rest of the dish was cold. Although the description said the sauce would have mussels, the kitchen must have been short because it was a mix of mussels and clams. The sauce was bland and, although the waiter assured me it was made fresh in-house, the pasta tasted just like dried store-bought to me. For $35 I expected much better. I can recommend, however, the zabaione alla gritti dessert - it was very good.
Regarding service, our waiter was friendly, but he seemed rushed. We had a very long wait for them to bring the food. We witnessed a bus-boy spill a container of unwrapped toothpicks on the floor and then just pick them up and put them back in the container on the table next to us.
We've been coming to this restaurant for years, and every time I've told myself it will be better next time. I'm ready to give up and move on, though.
We like Il Fornaio in other locations, s ...
We like Il Fornaio in other locations, so went here for late lunch as were in the area.
Food was very, very good as expected. Our waiter admitted to being "new" and had to be prompted several times by me for assistance (getting the coffee to the table I'd ordered 15 min before and then I had to ask for a refill later; not completely clearing the shared salad plates and utensils before entree was brought. Finally other than bringing the food, he never checked with us again on his own initiative.)
My husband has to go Gluten Free on pastas and pizza. Our waiter checked with the kitchen and then told us there was no gluten-free pizza. Mmmmm I thought I recall ordering GF Pizza Margherita at the downtown San Jose location. Maybe I'm wrong on this; can't recall but my husband and I both looked at each other? "Don't they have GF at San Jose?" we both said to each other, so why wouldn't Palo Alto have it too. We shared GF pasta dish instead.
Otherwise, lovely atmosphere, great food and we'd definitely go back.
We were there on New Year's Day for brun ...
We were there on New Year's Day for brunch. There were 20-25 in our party, originally our reservation was for 15. They did accommodate with a long table. We were there quite literally for an hour and a half with no food served. At that point 2/3's of our party left. The five of us who remained, our food took another 20 minutes, and it was barely warm. We had attended a wedding the night before, in the adjoining hotel. There were other smaller parties eating brunch, and they too experienced long waits and cold food. So I can't attribute it to the size of our party. The manager did apologize and comped our meal. But the delays were really above unreasonable and the service was not what I would have expected for such a nice, and established restaurant🙁
Our Christmas Eve dinner experience at I ...
Our Christmas Eve dinner experience at Il Fornaio was the worst in approximately 30 years of eating there. We were "greeted" by an unfriendly, poorly organized reception staff and a crowd of unseated diners jamming the entrance and surrounding the reception desk. The excuse for the disorganized scene was that a “large party" had overstayed. Forty-five minutes after our reservation time, we were perfunctorily seated after many new arrivals had come and left in disgust.
Then there was the meal. The waiter was pleasant, but did not know much about the menu offerings. The wine and antipasto were served quickly and enjoyed. The entrees, other than the pizza, were all a disaster. One entree was no longer available after the order was placed. A substitute order arrived late without any chicken in the chicken pasta, so the replacement was late as well. The salmon entree arrived cold and was sent back to be reheated. Even hot, it was disappointing - bland and unattractively presented. The risotto entree was served like a lump of brown dirt piled on the plate with no garnish. Grated parmesan was not offered and had to be requested after all the other issues were resolved.
The experience seemed to be the result of poor management: poorly trained, insufficient staff not committed to hospitality, especially on a holiday evening.
This meal was an expensive “total fail” and will cause many of us not to risk eating at Il Forniao again.
Did not disappoint with Italian menu--I ...
Did not disappoint with Italian menu--I had a special with thinly sliced veal and mushrooms over polenta and it was delicious.
The one HUGE caveat, is there is outdoor patio seating with heat lamps and they do NOT disclose that when you make a reservation. It was a freezing December night and they originally had put us outside, but I refused and fortunately, we were put in another room (Siberia) but it was at least warm. Make sure you notify restaurant of where you would like to sit when you make a reservation!
The service and food were both horrible. ...
The service and food were both horrible. It took forever for us to get bread and water let alone order. Eventually our meal came but they forgot our salads first so we ended up cancelling them. Horrible dinner and even worse service!!
Six of the 8 of us ordered crab benedict ...
Six of the 8 of us ordered crab benedict however they made regular with ham instead so had to redo. It was delicious. Overall service was slow however we were feeling leisurely so it wasn't a problem on this day.
Service poor by being slow, dishes being ...
Service poor by being slow, dishes being improperly explained, wrong wine being served, dinner slow being served, dishes not done at same time, one dish not being served warm. Just a terrible experience to have with two grown daughters being home for Christmas and friends visiting from Washington.
Only Il Fornaio in PA can get away with ...
Only Il Fornaio in PA can get away with delivering poor food quality and keep existing. How can you allow the kitchen at an Italian place to be continuously unable to prepare the basics? Pasta undercooked, Potatoes basically raw, food cold. With this performance any other place would get out of business and finally make way to an offering that deserves to be paid for.
There four of us for lunch -- all forme ...
There four of us for lunch -- all former co-workers in a Silicon Valley high-tech company. This was a great choice for an informal lunch. Service was excellent and the overall atmosphere was conducive to our conversations. The menu had something for everyone and all were pleased with their selections. Two of us requested changes to the entrees as described on the menu and the kitchen met our requests perfectly.
We will be back.
I normally rate Il Fornaio at least Very ...
I normally rate Il Fornaio at least Very Good but last night we went later than usual and they were out of some dishes (and tried to suggest some lame ingredient substitution) and one of the dishes we ordered wasn't prepared as described. But what we got was as usual very good!
The food was fantastic! They even have ...
The food was fantastic! They even have quite a few gluten-free options. The only issue I had was that it was before 5 pm when we ordered (and not busy at all) and it took about 45 minutes to get our food. Once we got it, however, it was delicious!! I would definitely come here again and highly recommend it.
I love Il Fornaio's. The food is always ...
I love Il Fornaio's. The food is always fresh and tasty.
Unfortunately, this last visit was not enjoyable. I am afraid there was an issue with the reservation. Mine and others were not really managed properly it seemed. The staff did attempt to work it out. I appreciated that.
Then, unfortunately again, the main courses took about 30 min to arrive after the appetizer. Service was polite and pleasant as always. The restaurant was busy and that is understandable this time of year. The slow service was unacceptable though.
Our waiter was a bully - hovering over u ...
Our waiter was a bully - hovering over us, acting put out when we didn't order the pricey bottle of wine he suggested and even more annoyed that we didn't order a second bottle of the one we chose. There were four of us - we didn't want to get a dui Dude!
Food portions were small and not that good. Too bad as it used to be a go/to place but no longer.
For our party of 10, the food arrived fa ...
For our party of 10, the food arrived fairly much at the same time which was great. The service was very good for this number of people with drinks refills, timing of courses etc. The one disappointing thing was that the dishes were so very small for the price. Other than the portion size, everything was good.
Sophisticated dining without being pret ...
Sophisticated dining without being pretentious. Took our grandchildren there in the evening and they were taken good care with children's menu and supplies. Ample bread to start with and good Italian choice in the adult menu. Pizza was upper class in quality and waiter readily facilitated the shared pieces among us.
I have been coming to this restaurant fo ...
I have been coming to this restaurant for years -- decades, actually -- and perhaps that is the problem. I have watched it go steadily down hill. My dining experience on Wednesday (a birthday celebration) was a huge disappointment. Despite a reservation, we were seated in a distant corner of the restaurant which would have been better suited for storage space. Our waiter was disinterested in us and the food was mediocre at best. My entre tasted like it had been left over from the day before, then reheated and promoted as the daily special. I've given this restaurant more than enough chances to prove me wrong, but I keep leaving disappointed with all aspects of the experience. Now I think I've finally learned my lesson and will no longer be dining here. Sad.
To begin with we set a reservation for 8 ...
To begin with we set a reservation for 8:00pm and arrived on time. We approached the maitre de and his assistant and informed them that I had an open table reservations for 8pm. As usual I asked for my open table reservation and announced who I was.They both looked at us as though we were aliens newly arrived from Mars. Before they even responded another group came in after us for a party of six and they greeted them with acknowledgement and sat them down. Then they came back and talked about us right in front of us about where they could seat us. Then I piped up where is our table they asked us if we wanted to eat outside- I said no...5 minutes later they take us on a trip to the very back of the restaurant and there we sat for ten minutes watching the table of 6 who was seated before us get a waiter and bread etc...my wife was finally able to flag down a server who had not been assigned our table but nevertheless took care of us...he did a good job and we ordered and was served our dinner. However we noticed the Maitre D come back to our area with water to personally serve water to an adjacent table...he never came over to ask if we were ok and did we need anything? Incredibly bad service and rude to say the least. We also witnessed a a server bring back a tray of steaks etc. to our small area and perseverated over who to serve it to -never asking us if this was for us...this went on for over 5 minutes until this server figured out it was for a table in the back. This was supposed to be our thanksgiving dinner and a fun night out. And this restaurant was supposed to be highly rated? I don't know about that... and will never go back.
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