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  • Cafe Alto

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Cafe Alto
Cafe Alto

Cafe Alto Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.caferenzo.com
  • Phone: (650) 329-8300
  • Hours of Operation: Mon – Thurs:
    Lunch 11:30am – 2pm
    Dinner 4:30pm – 9pm

    Fri – Sat:
    Lunch 11:30am – 2:45pm
    Dinner 3pm – 10pm

    Sun :
    Lunch 11:30am – 2:45pm
    Dinner 3pm –9 pm

  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Jose Chan
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, High Tea, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Special Events & Promotions: Large parties, private events, and buy-outs welcome. Prix Fixe menu required for parties of 12 or more. For reservations and more details, please contact Mario@CafeRenzo.com.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Cowper St.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Cafe Alto
Italian restaurant where great food, romantic settings and passionate service results in a unique and fulfilling experience. Our comprehensive Italian menu provides something for everyone, from specialties to authentic pizza and pasta dishes, all created using Italian home made recipes and techniques.

With one of the most beautiful and well stocked bars in the Bay Area, Cafe Alto is a great place for both casual and business dining. We also accommodate large parties, special events and customized menus per request. Our wine list offers a combination of California and Italian wines that many say is one of the best in the Bay Area.

Cafe Alto is open for brunch, lunch and dinner every day. Reservations are recommended but not required.

Private parties and specialized menus also available.
Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "We had a great dinner here Saturday evening. Bruschetta was beyond excellent."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Good service - authentic and fresh Italian food! Bruscheta with whole tomatoes - wow. Mario is a wonderful asset to this restaurant!"
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "The restaurant is very cute. It has alot of seating. Didn't offer booths for 2 people. The tables were way too close together. The music was way too loud, however, we couldn't hear anyone else's conversation. Our Server took our order, our food was brought by other Servers, so was our bread and beverages. I did not like how close the tables were and that one side there weren't any chairs but a long booth that ran the length of the wall. The food was excellent! I would definitely eat here again."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "We had a wonderful pre-theater dinner on a Saturday night. We explained when we needed to leave and our dinner was timed perfectly with drinks, a wonderful pair of entrees ( pasta with prwns and baranzino with vegetables) and dessert. If we had had more time we would have split a salad or appetizer as they sounded great. Waiter was knowledgable, friendly and attentive. I wish we lived closer so we could go more often."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Great little restaurant. Second time here. Open air wall so you can sit and watch folks pass by. I am not a foodie so I always have the warm prawn spinach salad"
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "This restaurant has changed names at least three time now since I have been going to it. The food remains good, although I sense not as good as it used to be. This is a subjective judgment of course, but I tend to order pretty much the same thing, and I just have noticed I enjoy less than I used to. My guests at the last outing were unimpressed with the food, whereas in the past my guests would always comment favorably. The staff do remain as attentive and accommodating as always."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Once again we came here and were pleased. The waiter was helpful and made a good recommendation from the wine list when our chosen wine was not available. More than enough food so we left with leftovers which are still delicious and remind us of a pleasant evening. "
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "This was our third trip to the restaurant, we were trying to like it. The appetizers were ok, we had a ceasar salad, a spinach and shrimp salad, and one that looked like a Greek salad. The first two were ok, the third was really good. I ordered the special, which was veal culottes with veggies and potatoes. The veggies were cold and soggy, and the potatoes were burnt - actually charred. The pork was just mediocre, no flavor. My friend ordered a pizza that was not good at all. My husband's seafood pasta was ok. Will not be going back, which is too bad, since it is charming. It didn't help that there was a baby screaming for most of the meal. Not the restaurant's fault, but unpleasant."
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "Simply superb. Actual Italian food. Not like many wanna be italian spots. Fluent Italian staff to boot. "
    Dined on 5/19/2014
  • "Set on the busy downtown Palo Alto. The front wall opens to the street just like in Europe. The staff was super nice. They spoke Italian well which made it fun. The bar is old world style all in wood with tall shelves to the ceiling. I am not a foodie so don't ask me about food . I am all about the atmosphere. I will go back with friends next time. It was Mothers Day need I say more."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "We were there Monday celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary with 3 other couples. The hostess was pleasant to the eye and kind in her actions. The waiter was professional and gracious in his servitude. The food was excellent and superceded any expectations! We came from San Jose and will probably go again later this year for another special occasion. "
    Dined on 4/21/2014
  • "Our party of five had a wonderful dinner. It was kind of a special event for family and and an out-of-town friend. Everything went well, from the greeting, to the bar service and the friendly server at dinner. All five meals were delicious. We will be back."
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "We took a group of 10 friends to Renzo (Real French, Italian, German, Chinese and American). Burrata cheese, Cappacio, Portabello mushroom were fantastic. Wine was great (4 in total) Pizza, Spaghetti cabonara, pasta with spicy sausage, osso buco, sole, etc are very very tasty too. The owner "Mario" is a very animated person. We had a good time teasing, comparing notes and laughing then finished off with lemocello, Italian dessert wine. The meal was 100% approved by the group :) Will return and for sure and highly recommended for folks who like pretty authentic Italian food. Hey we are not in Italy, we are realistic."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "First the good: the rigatoni was the best I have had, and the Caesar salad was great. The bad news was the sound system was so loud that it was difficult to hear others at the table."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "I live a few blocks from Renzo and there are many choices in downtown Palo Alto, Renzo's is consistently friendly and serves very good I talian food. Great bar. I have been many times and plan to go again."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "We were one of only four 1-4 person groups in the whole place. But the four or more waiters spent more time talking to each other and two guests then they spent with the tables. Took 10 minutes just to get water; another 15 to take the wine and food order. To top it off the food was simply average despite ordering their specialties."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "From the time we arrived till we left the staff was attentive but not overly so. We needed a relaxing night out and we were not disappointed by the food (ok, the carrots were a bit undercooked but who eats carrots), the service and atmosphere, down to the small detail of the cream for our coffee being served hot. Both my wife and I had the New York Strip, cooked perfectly. The manager, Mario, was marvelous when we had a question the server couldn't answer and when he overheard me toasting my wife on her birthday our desserts were compt. Though the restaurant was busy this Saturday night we never felt rushed or neglected."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I booked here at short notice for a table of 11 for a birthday meal. The restaurant has a nice ambiance, we were seated on a large table near the back. The restaurant was busy, but it was quiet enough for conversations around the table. I ordered the homemade ravioli, which was really good. It took a while to order and receive the food, but we weren't in a rush. For dessert I had the special red wine and chocolate cake, which was slightly disappointing. I had been there before and had the chocolate soufflé, which was divine. Unfortunately they forgot to bring one of the guest's their coffee, but did bring everyone a complimentary limoncello. Generally everyone was pleased with the restaurant and food and I would go there again."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Just a wonderful and enjoyable place... ambiance is very silicon valley, food and wine are great. Service was impeccable (and pleasant and friendly) for us -- even on a crowded Saturday night. We'll keep coming back for more!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Good food with reasonable prices. Restaurant is nicely designed and the team is friendly"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "We wanted to go to an Italian restaurant in Palo Alto to celebrate our anniversary. Cafe Renzo has a good looking interior with Italianish murals and a large attractive bar area which had a happy after work kind of crowd. As far as the food goes, the pricey main course of pasta with seafood was overcooked and just didn't taste very good. The mushroom risotto was okay. The creme brûlée had a great flavor but no satisfying cracking through a layer of carmelized sugar because that layer was super thin. The chocolate soufflé was undercooked. Overall, the food was a disappointment and we will look elsewhere for our nice Italian restaurant food fix. Maybe next year I can talk the husband into just going to Italy for our anniversary..."
    Dined on 3/17/2014
  • "On a Saturday evening we took my daughter and her family to Renzo's. We were a party of 7 with a teen age granddaughter and 2 preteen grandsons. Everyone was delighted with the ambiance, the service and the Italian menu. The calimari was delicious and was scoffed up quickly. My Osso Buco was especially good. I look forward to a return visit to Renzo's."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "The room itself was nice, with a beautiful bar area, high ceilings (making it a little loud), and booths. The booths looked cozy but when seated you seemed so far away from the person across from you. Our waiter was great. Very friendly,and gave a great recommendation on wine. The food was just ok. The halibut special was overcooked and dry. The gnocchi was ok. There were chunks of mozarella in the dish which didn't add anything to it. The branzino filet were the size of a small trout and swimming in the lemon sauce. Too much for me as it masked the fish's flavor. Chicken masala was overcooked and dry as well. The wine was very nice though! The other servers were to the point. No smiles, no small talk - bam there was your food."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "Ive eaten here a few times - its not "fancy" food; but its all well-flavored, and the service is outstanding - not cheap but worth it"
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "We had a wonderful meal at Cafe Renzo - food was fresh, creative, beautifully presented and delicious. Drinks were unique and perfect. But the most outstanding factor for us was our server, Gilmar, who was not only attentive and prompt, but warm and friendly and just a lot of fun. We enjoyed his personality and our interaction with him throughout the evening was just great. My husband asked him to recommend a dish and to pair a wine to it ("surprise me!"), and both the dish and the wine he selected were perfect. His sense of humor and our interactions with him made the evening particularly memorable for us. The only glitch in our evening was being seated at a terrible table right by the door. Had to really push to be given a better table."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Cafe Renzo was just fantastic! A reservation helped us get right in. The waiter seemed to be too busy at times to help or return and ask if we needed anything else. The food was amazing - the atmosphere was super!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "I like the indoor-outdoor feel and the high ceilings. The risotto was so rich from tons of Gorgonzola but it was so good! Cheerful, friendly waitstaff."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "The options were very few for Valentine's Day. They were out of spinach which was the main side for my dish."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "pre-defined Valentine's day menu left something to be desired"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Soup and main course were bland, bland, bland. Ravioli was tough. We had to reject the coffee because it tasted old, or maybe the coffee maker machine needed cleaning."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The food and service was amazing. I was very pleased with my dining experience. It was my girlfriend's birthday, and I wanted to treat her to something special. I let the server know it was her birthday, and they treated her with a birthday surprise."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Cafe Renzo is an attractive Italian restaurant with food that did not disappoint. Our group enjoyed the linguine with clams in a white wine sauce, the sea bass, and the generous lamb chop which were well-seasoned and delicious. No open kitchen here, thank goodness. However, there is a bar in the room and depending on the crowd, it can be noisy."
    Dined on 1/14/2014
  • "Coming to Renzo for many time already we are always confident food will be great. Just keep in mind, if you are in ahurry, this may not be a place for you. They keep a certain pace to the service and do not speed up."
    Dined on 1/5/2014
  • "I have eaten here several times for dinner, which I love, but finally got a chance to enjoy a Sunday Brunch. Although it is not known for a wide selection of brunch foods, what they do have is wonderful flavorful and just down right yummy! I have always love the staff here, and no matter what they never disappoint. They know when to check on you, never rush you and yet always keep an eye on the ever present champagne or wine glasses. :-) I will definitely come back for another brunch outing in the near future."
    Dined on 1/5/2014
  • "I'm happy to report that the service was much better than my previous visits. It was slow but I'll give the credit to the waiter. My open table reservation, I requested a table for 2 outdoors. I was quite pleased that a table was available for us. again, it was slow but I'd liketo give credit to the host for honoring my table request. Cafe Renzo has been a meeting spot for my dear friend and I so we were quite thrilled that our "special occasion" was delightful. Thank you!"
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "Dined here on New Year's Eve for the first time, and we really enjoyed it. The restaurant was full, but service was reasonably attentive. Everything we tasted was excellent, from bruschetta (an unusual version with one large tomato wedge per piece) and lentil soup to a perfectly moist branzino and an awesome cheese ravioli. We tried two deserts as well, pana cotta and the chocolate mousse. Both were very good. We'll definitely go back."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "I've been to Cafe Renzo, for lunch, but dinner is even better. The caprese and caponata appetizers really whetted our appetites, followed by well prepared and presented lamp shank (special, and it was) and osso buco. A well made traditional cannoli finished the meal. The service was attentive but not oppressive. Well stocked wine list, with many good Italian choices. Very odd this was not full on a weekend night. Definitely one of the best spots on Univerity Ave."
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "This is a wonderful local Italian restaurant. The manager, who might be the owner, is always on site checking in at every table in a warm non obtrusive way. My wife is a hand made pizza person. Recently our favorite place closed down. We searched lots of small local restaurants until we found Cafe Renzo. I love hand made pasta dishes and they have a great selection plus specials. The bar knows cocktails and the aforementioned manager/owner really understand his Italian wine list. If you give him a price limit he will find a memorable Italian wine for you. We have been here at least 8 times and have not had a bad experience. You can't go wrong with Cafe Renzo give it a try."
    Dined on 12/20/2013
  • "Brought my entire team to Cafe Renzo (where Niebaum-Coppola used to be) and had a superb dinner. Great cocktails (try the Lemon Drop), delicious appetizers and really great main courses. The dessert plates appear to have been licked clean by the time we left. Couldn't have asked for a better dinner or service."
    Dined on 12/9/2013
  • "Food was delicious, server was great!! Reasonable prices, we will be back!!! The note at the bottom of the menu was a little odd: Only one credit card per check (looks like they dont like splitting the check in two credit cards???) Maybe they are not good at math?? It also says: For parties of 8 or more, reservations are required....."
    Dined on 12/1/2013