California Cafe - Palo Alto
California Cafe - Palo Alto
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California Cafe - Palo Alto

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.californiacafe.com/paloalto/
  • Phone: 6503252233
  • Hours of Operation:
    LUNCH
    Monday-Friday 11:00am-4:00pm

    DINNER
    Monday - Saturday 4:00pm-9:30pm
    Sunday 4:00pm- 9:00pm

    BRUNCH
    Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-3:00pm

    HAPPY HOUR
    3:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian
  • Executive Chef: Todd Yamanaka
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: From large corporate affairs to intimate social gatherings, California Cafe offers a variety of options including private and semi-private rooms, patio seating, as well as the opportunity to buyout the entire restaurant.

    We use only the finest seasonal ingredients, and are happy to work with you on creating a custom menu. Our gracious and knowledgeable staff is committed to fulfilling your expectations so that your event will reflect your unique styles and tastes.
  • Private Party Facilities: From large corporate affairs to intimate social gatherings, California Cafe offers a variety of options including private and semi-private rooms, patio seating, as well as the opportunity to buy out the entire restaurant.
  • Private Party Contact: Nadine Goduci 8774593832

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Vineyard & Quarry ( behind Nordstrom & Andronico's at Stanford Mall )
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Public parking in front of the building as well as the rear.
A word from California Cafe - Palo Alto
Located in the charming and historic Stanford Barn, Palo Alto’s California Cafe exists to provide an escape from the outside world. We feed the senses through chef-driven creations, engaging service and relaxing ambiance. Our multicultural offerings feature seasonal ingredients with broad appeal. We are passionate about the guest experience, providing service that is friendly and knowledgeable. Our relaxing environment serves as a California-style oasis.

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California Cafe - Palo Alto reviews from OpenTable diners
  • Good Food
    BrianVIP
    Dined on 12/24/2013
    The longtime Palo Alto restaurant manages to put out good and reliable food. Service staff is young and enthusiastic although they can dissapear for extended periods of time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Quiet, excellent staff - attentive
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 12/21/2013
    Quiet, excellent staff - attentive but not rushed, food was well presented and served. Will go back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but slightly disappointing
    Kathleen
    Dined on 12/20/2013
    We decided to eat here at the last minute on Friday and we were surprised that there were plenty of tables available. We had the Organic Greens and the Spinach salads which were delicious, the Mahi Mahi, Roasted Vegetable Napolean, and the Scallops. They were out of scallops so I ordered the burger (well done.) Salads were delivered in a timely manner, however the entrees took a long time. When they did arrive the Vegetable Napolean was cold, the Mahi Mahi was fine but the burger was under cooked. Waitress never returned so a bus-person helped. (it wasn't medium well, but the flavor was good!) Then we waited for a check. A bus-person brought it to us and apologized for being so short staffed. The restaurant was far from full.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty food, loud dining room
    Diane
    Dined on 12/18/2013
    I went to lunch here with 8 coworkers for a holiday meal. We were seated in the middle of the main dining room. It was really loud in there. The menu has a lot of different choices for both carnivores and vegetarians. Prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food. I had a trio for $15.50 - my selections were macaroni and cheese, sauteed chard and fish tacos. The standout was the chard. It was cooked in a very fragrant, almost nutty tasting oil with lots of garlic. Everyone at my table took a bite and enjoyed it. The fish tacos were very tasty as well. The macaroni was ok. I would return, but ask for a table in the corner where it's not so noisy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I have been a customer of
    cheryl
    Dined on 12/17/2013
    I have been a customer of the Cafe for over 15yrs now, &up to recently been happy with the food &service. 2 eeks ago I had lunch on the patio with a friend &our service was terrible. Our waitress never came to our table, we had to stop another waitress to get service. & t went down hill from there. She wasn;'t pleasant, barely brought the lunch, never came back to see if everything was alright or ask if we would like another drink, dessert or coffee. & she dropped our check off & walked away. On 12/17, our waiter Fabio, did bascically the the same thing,. It took him forever to come back to the table & tke our order for lunch, then to come back &take our drink orders. It took forever to get our lunch, & he also never came back to
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • tad bit more attention needed
    foodiegoodie
    Dined on 12/15/2013
    I had reserved the day for a special occasion, my daughter's birthday. It was a rare occasion for three families to be together for this occasion. However, although the host had told me that if I brought a birthday cake, attention would be given to cutting and serving it, someone forgot and as a result, my birthday daughter had to leave before we had the cake. If I had not mentioned it to the waiter, we would have forgotten the cake. It was quite expensive $40! and we did not get to serve it nor eat it for the occasion.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great for Group Functions
    PanebVIP
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    We had a group of 10 for a celebration while family was here who live abroad. The guest list kept changing and they were very accommodating about expanding the table. Things were promptly taken care by the staff (they amazingly kept up on all the drink orders!) and dishes were cleared quickly so you didn't have plates in front of you. Our waiter Andrew was really amazing. Food was excellent as always; we were able to order from the menu unlike the last time (when our party was much larger). Everyone enjoyed themselves. Having a semi-private room was nice, so people could visit
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ordinarily I enjoy anything
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 12/13/2013
    Ordinarily I enjoy anything on their menu but this time the Caesar was drenched in dressing. It was really unappealing. In all the years I've been eating here, both lunches and dinners, I've never been disappointed. My lunch companion did enjoy her pasta and the dessert was excellent. I'd be careful next time and ask for the dressing on the side.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hard to get a server first
    christina
    Dined on 12/12/2013
    I made a reservation through OpenTable so it wasn't a problem to be led to my reserved seat. However, I had to wait for over 15 minutes to have a server to take my order for a drink. He arrived only after I had to wave to any server passing by me. Even then I had to wait. It wasn't that crazily busy but I don't understand why server wasn't sent to me after I was seated. As usual, grilled mushroom sandwitch - my choice all the time - and butternut squash soup were good.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ladies' lunch
    jkchristmaslunch
    Dined on 12/12/2013
    This was the perfect place for a ladies' Christmas lunch. The restaurant gave us a large table where we could put out gifts for exchange. Service was great as was the food. We did not feel rushed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely holiday luncheon choice
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 12/9/2013
    A perfect spot for a holiday celebration with girlfriends. We were shown to a nice booth and were felt most welcomed by our servers. I appreciated that they had some dishes with two sizes and my smaller sized chicken penne was the perfect size and absolutely delicious. We did a wine flight which was fun and beautifully presented. An added bonus is that it's so close to Nordstrom for a chance to walk off a few calories!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 12/5/2013
    Have been to California Cafe many many times -- this visit was not typical. With a reservation, we had to wait almost 45 min. for a table -- we had reserved a booth. Then the service was horrible. No one seemed to know we were there. After 30 min. we had to ask hostess for water and then had to ask her for menus (both times the waitress was a no-show). Then, we waited another 45 min. for our salads. We arrived at 12:15 for our reservation, got out after 3:00. We were not on our server's radar at all even though we were seated right in the middle of the room.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Geat for dining near Stanford
    LocalVIP
    Dined on 11/29/2013
    With the parking issues at Stanford, it is great to be able to walk to a nice place for visiting guests at Stanford or special outings. They have gluten free options which is great since two out of seven people in our party were gluten sensitive. Server very attentive.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Thanksgiving dinner
    FoodAddict
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    Buffet set up in small, drear, not very inviting back room. Presentation of dishes not very attractive. Lots of salads, all basically somewhat similar, but tasty. Turkey was delicious, sausage dressing disappointing--just big chunks of bread and small pcs of spicy sausage--not much flavor. . Disappointed in sweet potatoes mixed with apple sauce- but not a traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato dish. Dining room could have been decorated with a lot more holiday cheer. Sitting in a booth with a big piece of black tape covering a tear in the upholstery--maybe time for a renovation! Desserts weren't very appetizing either--pumpkin pie overcooked and too heavy with the pie spices, bread pudding dry and should have been served with a sauce.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Thanksgiving somewhat out of sorts
    avercampVIP
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    Our first experience with a thanksgiving buffet. At least half the appetizers were not available when we went in the first time. The main courses were available but some of the side dishes were missing or empty. The food was freshly prepared and tasted good. However the overall impression was not very professional. We would much prefer ordering from the menu.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dissappointing Thanksgiving Buffet
    MTMT
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    The 2013 Thanksgiving brunch was disappointing. There was an 11-3 buffet and a 4-8 buffet. At 4:15pm as we started the buffet we found they had not replenished many items from the morning. The buffet tables did not have enough serving utensils and sauces were in the wrong place for their course. Some food had been sitting since the morning buffet. They had run out of several items from the morning and we were told there was no more (oysters on the half shell, the persimmon salad, and the mashed potatoes.) One of the main reasons we had picked the buffet was for the oysters. For $38, we ended up getting a meal that was nothing special at all. Our server was fabulous and did everything he possibly could to make up happy.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • thanksgiving!
    twokittyknitter
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    A special treat to have Thanksgiving dinner at California Cafe in Palo Alto. this was our second year and we find it a delightful experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special Place for Holidays
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    First timers at the California Café. Really enjoyed the Thanksgiving buffet -- food was excellent and quite a variety to choose from. Only complaint (and it's a minor one) is that there wasn't anything that was chocolate! The family has to have its chocolate fix!! Wait staff was very helpful and observant; very cozy atmosphere. Will recommend to friends and come back in the near future. Thanks!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, notable wine list, kid-friendly, late-night find, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing Thanksgiving Dinner
    VGDiner
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    This is the third time I've eaten at California Cafe for Thanksgiving. The two previous times were outstanding experiences; this time, the food offerings and the presentation were significantly lacking. The quality of the food itself was quite good; the turkey was perfectly seasoned and moist. However, there were no mashed potatoes at all, and there was an apple/yam dish instead of a traditional yam casserole. I appreciate California Nouvelle on most days, but not on Thanksgiving. The quantity of the food was also limited; I appreciate the difficulty in keeping a great deal of food fresh and hot, but even the cold salads seemed skimpy. I want my Thanksgiving Feast to feel like a cornucopia of deliciousness, and this completely missed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Thanksgiving
    Robert
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    Not sure if my assessment is typical as it was a Thanksgiving buffet meal. Food was delicious. Appreciated the nice touch of having a kid-friendly table of mac and cheese, mini corn dogs that they loved. Very nice variety of foods offered.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dunner better than lunch
    Randi
    Dined on 11/26/2013
    Have been here many times for dinner and love it. This was my first time for lunch and the menu wasn't all that interesting
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently satisfying
    GrayHairedDiner
    Dined on 11/24/2013
    Open on Sundays, convenient parking, spacious, good food and attentive service. All the ingredients that make a restaurant a fine choice for dining with friends or adult family members.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food and low key
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 11/24/2013
    I have been here for brunch twice in the last 2 months. Well thought out menu with enough selections without being overwhelming. Food is fresh, just be sure to ask that they hold the salad dressing. The small baked goods are a nice touch instead of bread, but they run out early. We came at 1 pm on a Sunday and the pastries were gone.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not very impressed
    AngelaC
    Dined on 11/22/2013
    Nothing horrtible, but just OK all the way around.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing
    anoymousVIP
    Dined on 11/20/2013
    I really wanted to rate the establishment higher, the food was very good. The bus boy was great, however the waiter was not on his game that evening. He did not inform us that the entree came with kale and allowed us to order a side of spinach, we would have appreciated the heads up and then not have ordered that particular side. When we brought it to his attention he said he thought we "would have read it". I get the customer is not always right, but really was that comment necessary? Also, after our dinner entrees were cleared we waited and waited and still waited, thinking he would come back and offer coffee and dessert, but instead he offered us the bill. Not the experience I expected at this place. That was very disappointing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Redecorate!
    Bailey
    Dined on 11/17/2013
    While California Cafe has been a mainstay near the Stanford Campus, it obviously needs a little money spent on refurbishing. The banquette we sat in had "leather" seats that were totally ripped on both sides. One hole had been covered with duct tape, the one on my side was just an open hole with stuffing popping out. Not a good first impression! Food was fine, except they had run out of french toast (how does that happen on a Sunday at noon?). Aside from that, no complaints about the food but the place looked as though it will be closing and they simply aren't spending money to keep it fresh.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This was a wonderful surprise.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/16/2013
    This was a wonderful surprise. I was visiting my son at Stanford and we looked up nearby restaurants on urban spoon. California Café was highly recommended so we gave it a try. It was perfect! The ambiance was wonderful and relaxing, the service was fast and friendly, and the food was very fresh and tasted delicious. The menu was varied, as well. I will definitely come back to this restaurant everytime we are in town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • it took 13 minutes for the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/14/2013
    it took 13 minutes for the waiter to take our order, then 30 minutes for our food to be cooked. then when the food arrived it was overcooked
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Brilliant for groups!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    We did an evening meal with 7 adults and 5 kids (all 6 and under), it was perfect. They put us in a side room, the kids could run around, we were able to enjoy a really nice meal the kids got to choose their bento boxes - with health things (finally a place with out fried chicken nuggets!) All the parents were really happy with the options for their children and felt it was healthy and the children were excited about the presentation - so they ate it!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice Solid & Dependable
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2013
    Had' N't been here for a while, but now will return more often. A new cheff is in charge, and he's making changes for the better. We had a great server, and the whole evening was wonderful. Moderatelly priced, too. Highly recommend for couples night out dining!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Stanford Favorite
    Marty
    Dined on 11/6/2013
    Love the food it is always so fresh and flavorful. Excellent service. It is Stanford University's best places for lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderul
    abcde
    Dined on 11/2/2013
    Super place for groups! Ours met there from all over the Bay area, and ended up with two more than our reservation stated. They accomodated us by moving us to a larger room, and served all meals all at the same time. Terrific evening for all.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent service. Most of
    jamieVIP
    Dined on 10/27/2013
    Excellent service. Most of the food was tasty and well prepared. The salmon was perfect, but the accompaniment was bland.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service was very slow. The
    EastBayDiner
    Dined on 10/19/2013
    Service was very slow. The first tipoff was when we were seated and no one came to wait on our table for a long time. Someone finally came to take our order. 5 minutes later, another waiter came an apologized for the wait and said he'd be taking our order. Not a good sign when they couldn't keep track of who was serving which table and who had already been taken care of. It took at least half and hour for our order to arrive. After that, no one ever came back to check on us. We noticed we were not the only ones that this was happening to. As for the atmosphere, the restaurant felt dated and not at all upscale. The lighting was uneven throughout the restaurant. We sat under bright lights. The two tables next to us sat in the dark.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pass on this CA Cafe
    Foodie1VIP
    Dined on 10/14/2013
    The service was truly awful. The waitstaff was awful!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • For the family
    Parents
    Dined on 10/12/2013
    A nice private room for family time! Very attentive staff.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • solid Stanford faithful
    tertiarydogVIP
    Dined on 10/9/2013
    Great restaurant and the service was very good. The mussels were great and so was the romaine salad. The salmon was really great; although a small portion. I would suggest that the restaurant pair the salmon with a different salad as it was wilted and didn't pair well with the salmon. Overall pretty good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We were visiting a patient
    Shel10group
    Dined on 9/13/2013
    We were visiting a patient at Stanford Hospital and took time to get a bite to eat. Very friendly staff, good food and good service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not as good as in the past
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/10/2013
    The same food wasn't quite a tasty as it used to be. Service not as crisp and thoughtful. Disappointing, as it was always a great place for lunch.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Poor Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/7/2013
    We took friends out for a pre-football game dinner, which was also supposed to be a celebration for a birthday. I called to confirm the birthday information the day of the reservation. The last 15 minutes of the meal, our waitress was nowhere to be found, and then it was too late to get the promised birthday dessert. It's hard to complain when something "free" isn't provided, but the service was still very poor. There weren't a lot of people dining at that hour, so it's hard to understand why.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.