Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi

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.

520 Cowper Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Italian

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

Cross Street:
Hamilton

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(650) 853-3888

Website:
http://ilfornaio.com/

Catering:
Off-site catering available. Please contact Event Coordinator for more details.

Parking Details:
Valet parking is available for $10. In addition, there is also the hotel parking lot, as well as a public lot available.

Public Transit:
Cal Train

Executive Chef:
Michele Godina

Additional:
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

Private Dining

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 Michele's signature dishes.

Il Fornaio - Palo Alto Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.1

ambience

4.1

value

3.8

noise

Moderate

83% would recommend it to a friend

Business Meals (23)
Great for Lunch (21)
Special Occasion (19)
See All
Good for Birthdays (19)
Good for a Date (18)
Wood Oven (18)
Authentic (18)
Comfort Food (17)
Casual (16)
Cozy (16)
Great for Brunch (15)
Good for Groups (15)
Good for Anniversaries (14)
Quiet Conversation (13)
Open Kitchen (13)
Creative Cuisine (12)
Worth the Drive (11)
Sunday Lunch (11)
Neighborhood Gem (11)
Great for Outdoor Dining (11)
Fun (10)
Fit for Foodies (9)
Romantic (9)
Notable Wine List (8)
Family Style (8)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Happy Hour (7)
Healthy (5)
Kid-friendly (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Afternoon Coffee (5)
Private Room (4)
Disabled Access (4)
Modern Decor (4)
Handcrafted Cocktails (4)
Gluten Free Options (3)
Outstanding Value (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Seasonal (2)
Fireplace (2)
Local Ingredients (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Organic (1)
Great Beer (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
People Watching (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Spicy (1)
Tapas (1)
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1861 reviews
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 (Philadelphia)·Dined 3 days ago

This is such a departure from what Il Fornaio once was, that you should skip it. The food was not good.

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food2
ambience2
service1
value1

vip
 (New England)·Dined on May 22, 2017

We had the Festa Regionale specials. My wife's fish was delicious, but at $30 for a small piece with potatoes and vegetables, seemed over-priced. When I ordered the pasta dish, one of the specials, the waiter informed us the cook had run out of the shrimp (part of the dish). When we called his attention to the fact that another non-special dish had shrimp, he checked again with the cook, returning to tell us it was the 'special pasta' that was no longer available. I asked that another pasta be substituted--it was--the meal was somewhat soggier than expected, and not 'special'. Also a bit over-priced (but, of course, we are in Silicon Valley).

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food3
ambience4
service3
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 21, 2017

We have enjoyed the Regions of Italy dinners. They feature authentic dishes with ingredients from Italy. We hope that they continue to offer these.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Bar Seating, Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 18, 2017

Historically, Il Fornaio has been our choice of restaurants in Palo Alto for a meeting place for dinner with friends and/or business. While the food was well prepared for everyone, the level of service was unattentive from our server. I asked if the restaurant had a black napkin and we never received any word. I had to repeatedly request my garnish for my sparkling water and a guest at the table had to repeatedly asked about her cocktail. Our waiter seemed put off when the table was not ready to order due to our lively conversation and then when we did order, he seemed to rush one guest that was investigating the menu. Once the food was served, no one checked to see if all of us had utensils and we had to ask another server, who clearly seemed like we were bothering her.
As mentioned, this service was uncharacteristic for Il Fornaio. The food was delicious so we didn't let the service that evening dampen our camaraderie.

Tags: Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service2
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 17, 2017

My husband and I had a breakfast. I ordered open omelet , the toppings were spinach and tomato very cold. I was very disappointed and could not even eat one third of it. We always enjoyed their pasta and pizza for lunch and dinner. It was our first time disappointment at this restaurant.

Tags: Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 14, 2017

We had a party of 8 and I had reserved a table outside in the garden/patio area for Mother's Day. When we arrived they had our table set up inside in the back against the wall. Not the ambiance I was looking for. The rest of our party was so hungry they didn't want to move but it did put a damper on our lunch. Food and cocktails were great!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Handcrafted Cocktails, Tapas
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 14, 2017

We let our waitress, Sara, that we were scheduled to make an 8 PM theater curtain, and she made sure our orders were served promptly - the appetizer was set on the table as our guests arrived, and main courses were served with time to meet our schedule without rushing. Food was good, recommend the risotto with shrimp and scallops!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 14, 2017

Hadn't been to Il Fornaio in 20 years. We were not disappointed. The food was very good and our server, Karen, was friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. We will return again soon!

Tags: Casual, Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 11, 2017

Perfect place for business meetings - breakfast and lunch. Always great food and friendly, attentive service.

Tags: Business Meals, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 11, 2017

John was an excellent waiter- food was very good and the garden is the place to sit.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 11, 2017

This place is an old standby - been coming here for years. Took my parents for their 53rd anniversary the other night - I had the seafood mixed grill, which I hadn't tried before. It was super simple and perfect - the potatoes had a nice crunch, the broccolini was still a bit crisp and the seafood was great with a squeeze of lemon. The waiter was attentive and friendly but not overbearing. All in all a fun night.

Tags: Private Room, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Open Kitchen, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 5, 2017

This restaurant was a disappointment. Food was mediocre, they messed up order for one of the guests. The service was poor, overall not a very good experience.

Tags: Quick Bite
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 30, 2017

Service at dinner at Il Fornaio Palo Alto is ALWAYS sub-par.

Tags: Wood Oven
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food5
ambience3
service2
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 30, 2017

Past was poorly cooked and sauce was completely out of proportion. Typical lousy Italo Americano food

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food1
ambience4
service3
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 28, 2017

The servers had not been trained and they started clearing before all were finished eating. That is not good. Also, they kept coming to us asking if we were ready to order. Although I believe there was a party in a private room, the rest of the restaurant was empty.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service1
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 25, 2017

Not as good as the Burlingame restaurant. The salad was late and the ravioli was under cooked.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 25, 2017

Both food and service is amazing. Enjoyed a very please family dinner. Thx

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Houston)·Dined on April 23, 2017

We got the worst table. Was it because we made our reservation through Opentable?

Tags: Comfort Food
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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 19, 2017

The food was amazingly delicious, happy ambiance, our waiter was great and very patient with us ladies taking out time and we'll definitely come back.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Good for Groups, Private Room, Spicy, Wood Oven, Sunday Lunch, Tasting Menu, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 18, 2017

Il Fornaio Palo Alto is always terrific. Been dining there for many years and the service is great and the food delicious. The staff is professional and friendly.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Sunday Lunch, Happy Hour, Casual, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 17, 2017

We are here at Il Fornaio as we do every April 17th or thereabouts to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

We got married in 1999 and had reception in Garden Court Hotel.

Server Kenneth was great, attentive, funny and knew when to approach to serve, check on us etc.

Tags: Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Good Vegetarian Options, Kid-friendly, Quiet Conversation, Open Kitchen, Local Ingredients, Healthy, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Family Style
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 16, 2017

Came here for Easter brunch. It was nice that this restaurant had a Easter menu; I didn't find any others in the area that did. It was very busy so it made it hard to have attentive service, and the omelette i ordered was slightly overlooked. But it was overall a good place for a special brunch!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Great for Brunch, Sunday Lunch, Good for Groups, Seasonal
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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 16, 2017

Service sucked!! We have been to this restaurant several times and the service has been what you expect at this type of restaurant. Waiter started off with getting our drinks wrong, then forgot to bring our salads out before the entrees arrive. Then for dessert, we just ordered gelato, he forgets to bring it to our table. When I reminded him, he brings it to our table completely melted. We had to request new desserts. Will have to think twice before going again.

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food4
ambience3
service1
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 16, 2017

We went for Easter, the food took a little longer, however our waiter was great, very attentive with beverages, bread etc. Everyone was happy with their food.

Tags: Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Family Style, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Healthy
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 15, 2017

Visitors from Denmark were our guests for this meal. When we arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation we were told that in their computer our reservation was for two persons only and we would have to wait a long time for a table for four in the restaurant proper. We were offered a table on the patio. It was not warm out there and the access was through a door used also by servers, therefore if any of us needed to use the restroom we had to edge by waiters with trays, etc. The person who greeted us and denied us a table inside was not polite or apologetic in any way. When told she was wrong about the reservation she said adamantly -- WELL THAT IS WHAT OUR COMPUTER SAYS!

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food4
ambience2
service2
value2

vip
 (New Mexico)·Dined on April 15, 2017

My wife and I have been dining at Il Fornaio at regular intervals for over 10 years, with relatively consistent, if not entirely refined, food and service. Unfortunately, our experience two evenings ago failed on many fronts. While our server was friendly, service was unusually slow and intermittent. Our cocktails, while generally well-made (although how hard is it to make a gin and tonic and a dry martini?), were small and shockingly overpriced. The calamari appetizer (our one semi-positive experience of the evening: it was free with the use of a Yelp coupon!), was tasty but not any more impressive than something I might purchase from the frozen food aisle at my local super market and heat in my home oven. Our second appetizer, chosen from the seasonal Calabrian menu, was a plate of grilled vegetables and proved to be inexcusably small and very poorly prepared. Two very small pieces of eggplant, two slices of zucchini, a piece of red pepper, a slice of fennel, a few spears of asparagus, and half of a plum tomato arrived on an unadorned white plate; all vegetables were barely cooked (as if they were passed over the flame for about 20 seconds), and had no flavor or visual appeal. We of course returned the dish as asked that it be removed from our check; our server was more than happy to comply. As for our entrées, neither was overly appealing: my wife's black cod special was barely cooked, with soggy skin and swimming in an ocean of tomatoes and olives; and my mixed grill of fish was passable but entirely unexciting and rather bland.

A brief visit to the men's rest room was even more unpleasant; it was very unclean and lacked both soap and paper towels. I reported the bathroom deficiencies to the manager, who immediately pounced on one of his employees to solve the problems, in a somewhat chastising tone.

I'm sorry to report that we will no longer be patrons of this establishment; competing local restaurants offer far better experiences.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 14, 2017

Great lunch and great service

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 14, 2017

Il Fornaio is one of our go-to restaurants for Italian. The only downside for Palo Alto location is that the parking can be challenging, but it is a nice restaurant, great food and service.

Tags: Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Sunday Lunch, Disabled Access, Wood Oven, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Business Meals
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 12, 2017

The server was very attentive and kept the water glasses full. She was always smiling despite how busy she was. The food was better than expected. This was the first time in 25 years we had been back and it was as good now as it was then.

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 10, 2017

Service was excellent. The style of Sicilian cooking was a little different than what I am used to but taking that into account we were satisfied with our meals. The spinach/shrimp ravioli was very good. Level of saltiness was probably normal but we are used to low sodium fare. Lots of olive oil.

Tags: Casual, Cozy
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 3, 2017

This trip to one of our favorites - Il Fornaio - was perhaps our most intimate. We requested seating in the back, and the soft lighting made for a cozy atmosphere. The pennoni alla vodka was delicious, as always.

Unfortunately, the service was a bit sub-par, as I often waited for my coffee cup to be filled, or bread to be replenished.

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food5
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 2, 2017

Came here for a Sunday evening meal with my mother. We had a reservation, but the place wasn't fully packed. I generally don't like waiter that is overly attentive. This was not the case. It felt like he gave us the time to settle in before taking the order.

Atmosphere was conducive to good and slow conversation. We were there for almost two hours.

The food was great and priced very fair. The wine list was a bit expensive, but you can ask for wine by the glass for much cheaper price, albeit more generic.

Highly recommended overall.

Tags: People Watching, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Open Kitchen
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 1, 2017

a reliable standby that I wish I could go to more often. love the food, service is reliable, lots of great options. bread pudding dessert was excellent and worth the calories!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Casual, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Great Beer, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Fun, Great for Outdoor Dining, Family Style, Comfort Food, Private Room, Bar Seating
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on March 31, 2017

As an out-of-towner, I found that this recommendation made my trip. The food was fresh, ample, delicately cooked and of the best Dover soles I have ever had!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Healthy, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 29, 2017

We had wonderful conversation, food and outstanding service from Aaron

Tags: Authentic, Great for Lunch, Casual, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 28, 2017

Great Mediterranean food as usual, nice atmosphere for business conversations.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Healthy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 22, 2017

My girlfriend recently moved to Sacramento and came into town for business and when we agreed to meet for dinner and i asked her where she wanted to go and without any hesitation she said "Il Fornaio" so we went. We had fabulous and very friendly service, great and delicious food, an energetic ambiance and an absolute good time.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch, Romantic, Kid-friendly, Comfort Food, Fun, Good for Birthdays, Modern Decor
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (St. Louis)·Dined on March 19, 2017

It was a birthday celebration. We had 2 young children with us. It took over an hour and a half to get our food. We had to have it finally bagged up to go and it was not very good. Very disappointed.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 18, 2017

My breakfast was not up to my expectation from a past visit. Plus it was for a special birthday for a family friend. I will not be going back to this location soon.

1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 18, 2017

Fantastic experience. Server was funny and friendly, outdoor patio was cozy and refreshing.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Cozy, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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