Il Fornaio - Palo Alto
Il Fornaio - Palo Alto

Il Fornaio - Palo Alto

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://ilfornaio.com/
  • Phone: (650) 853-3888
  • 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
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: 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 (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Off-site catering available. Please contact Event Coordinator for more details.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Hamilton
  • Public Transit: Cal Train
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking is available for $10. In addition, there is also the hotel parking lot, as well as a public lot available.
A word from 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.
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Il Fornaio - Palo Alto reviews from OpenTable diners
156 reviews since July 24, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service4
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (58)neighborhood gem (52)great for outdoor dining (50)special occasion (47)great for lunch (46)fit for foodies (40)great for brunch (37)romantic (31)kid-friendly (25)notable wine list (22)hot spot (12)late-night find (9)vibrant bar scene (4)scenic view (2)Show More
  • Great expernice
    Lili
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    We went in a big group of our family. The waiter was so gentle, kind and accommodating. He split the kid's food orders, for the adults he made all the substitutions and additional dish split without making a fuss. He was so cordial, constantly checking back at our table to see if we needed anything. He carefully explained many of the dish ingredients. All the food was absolute heaven, I tasted many dishes of my family. Their menu is varied and healthy. The decor and ambiance of the place is top notch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Late Autumn at Palo Alto Il Fornaio
    Rucky
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    It is turning cold in the dark evening now, but walk into Il Fornaio and you are greeted by a warm, caring and friendly staff. Then there is hot crusty bread in a metal tray to be dipped in the most delicious olive oil waiting for you. My pasta - Agnolotti di Fonuta ai Porcini was utterly delicious! Very good Fontina cheese ravioli in a lovely porcini mushroom sauce with white truffle oil! Mmm! I had to close my eyes and slowly savor it! I had to take a piece of bread and wipe the dish clean of the last bit of that wonderful sauce. My husband really enjoyed his Medaglioni di Vitello which was veal fillet with roasted garlic, porcini mushrooms, white truffle oil and served with roasted Roma tomato, saluted green beans and roasted Yukon potatoes. Our dessert was so good as always! I had Gelati e Sorbetti Gelati Misti which is two scoops of gelato in a deep Dark Chocolate and a Vanilla Bean with one scoop of so flavorful Raspberry sorbet. My husband loved his Affogato al Caffè which is vanilla gelato over hot coffee. A new waiter was very gracious and helpful! So we had a warm and enjoyable evening! We will be back of course!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mediocre
    Jrsmom
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Our soups, Minestroni and Potatoe Leek, were watery with no flavor. Roasted chicken was dry. Our son did not like his pizza which says a lot when a kid doesn't like pizza! Our waiter was good but the bus boy was terrible.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Service & Food
    BeverlyZ
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Our waiter was extremely courteous and helpful with making menu choices. His helper was very courteous and professional.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent lunch spot
    jimoriVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    As always, great place for lunch with excellent pasta specials, entrees, etc.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great service and foods
    aktd
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    the expectation matches to the price you pay - the quality of service and the hospitality is also great one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    I don't want to write a review. If required, I will delete my review entirely.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice! Will come back soon here
    foodbiker
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    Excellent staff great food Good ambience lovely wines perfect for dinnner dates.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love it
    ShortStuffVIP
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    My husband and I go nearly every Sunday morning - sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for pasta - but it is always great. We usually sit out in the courtyard. It's fairly quiet and it gives us the chance to talk. Highly recommended
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • No excuse for bad service at b'fast
    SherryStyleVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We've dined at Il Fornaio for breakfast, lunch and dinner previously. I booked for our 21st anniversary breakfast. While the service was pleasant enough, the execution was not. I asked for whole milk or 2% for my coffee but got nonfat plus lukewarm coffee. I asked a question about one of the ingredients in a dish on the menu but did not get the answer - just the dish. It was OK as it did not have the ingredient I wished to avoid, but some communication would have been nice. When the bill came, it was $31.60, including tax. I put $40.00 out & was asked if I wanted change. Quite a presumption! I said yes, & then I was short-changed the forty cents. The gratuity was then lowered by 1-2 dollars, as was my desire to return to this establishment.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dinner/grappa, limited lunch
    Roger
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    I ate there for dinner with colleagues and two days later ate there for lunch with a friend. The regional dinner choices are excellent and the moderately extensive wine list offered perfect matching with the dishes (except my first choice of wine was out of stock). Their choice of grappa is extensive (I counted more than ten on the shelf), the only major type of grappa missing that I like is di Brunello. Lunch was a much less enjoyable affair, the menu is too restricted for fine dining. I had the Linguine Mare Chiaro which was overcooked and my partner had the Pollo Toscano which was a little dry. We did have a great Viognier with it. I will be eating there again in the evenings but skip lunch.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Old Friends
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    It was a perfect place to met an old friend for dinner. Great food, service that was always present but never cloying, inviting ambiance, and the comfortable seating. We arrived for our Open Table reservation at 7:30 and got a great table in a corner booth. We were so comfortable that we were literally the last people to leave at around 11:00 pm. Nobody ever made us feel rushed, they just let us talk and get caught up. It's an old favorite that never lets me down.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • dnoily
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    The food was very good and the service was good as well, however the noise level was too high to carry on a regular conversation despite having asked for a quiet table. Perhaps we should have been seated on the patio where there were less patrons.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lombardia
    KensCuisine
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    This was one of our passport dinners. We enjoyed the food very much. I had short ribs and they were delicious with no knife required. My date especially loved the cannoli for dessert. The servers at this location are always excellent and this was no exception, I am sorry I did not get his name but he provided an excellent dining experience.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Il Fornio - mille gratzie!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    The outdoor patio was a perfect place to eat in the early evening. The staff and the service personnel were pleasant and helpful. Food arrived in a well-timed way. The waiter was informative about the daily specials and answered our questions clearly. The waiter gave us a complimentary box of pasta to take home. Prices are reasonable for the kind and the portions provided. The location is easy to get to and the parking is very handy since the ample garage is across the street from the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • consistenetly good Italian
    ErikaVIP
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We go there often and never disappointed. They do a Italian regional food, and the 3 course meal has a great value . They have good gluten free pasta for my daughter. my squash soup , tagliatelle with mushroom sauce, and chicken special was delicious. Their home made pasta is always good .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • PickyEater
    PickyEater
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Very pleasant experience with consistent good quality italian food.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Early Autumn at Il Fornaio
    Rucky
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    The food was so delicious! The service was friendly, calm and very professional. I bought something to take home too and that was utterly delicious for my lunch the next day. I enjoyed the bread slices included with my Take-out. She remembered to bring my Take-out at the end of my meal. It is often forgotten. You must close your eyes and savor the food. Smell it and enjoy it! Our dessert was good as always! A real treat!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Jeff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    My wife and I came here for our anniversary and were given complimentary glasses of champagne which was a nice treat. We love to sit at the bar and watch the food preparation. We have been there a number of times and and have favorite dishes like the sea food pasta or squash/sage ravioli. I would definitely recommend it, but I am always selective about choosing on the menu, ask the waiter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    Great service and food.....They were great when I called them and said we were a bit late.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What happened?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    One of our party did not get dinner until some time after the other eight people. No explanation. No apology. That's unsatisfactory.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great value for the money!
    sushipanda
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    This place is always up to standard, food quality and service is very good, no surprise, tasty, proper portion size for the money. This time I had their capino and was happy as always ... real pieces of fish, not only soup (like in many other places) .. probably the best capino in bay area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • FussyDiners
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We had a birthday dinner. Our party comprised of people who came from all over the Bay Area. This restaurant was a central location for all of us. The restaurant was busy because it was a Friday night. Despite that, we never felt rushed. There were two large parties going on while we were there, so service was a bit slow and our food took a while to arrive. But once we got our food, everything was delicious. The pasta dishes were especially good. Our waiter was very pleasant and accommodating despite the crowd. We enjoyed our evening.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    JEMB
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We have eaten at this Il Fornaio relatively often over the last 5 -6 years and usually have a very pleasant experience. The service is always impeccable with attentive and friendly servers and other waitstaff. The regional special menus with wine pairings are interesting. However we have increasingly been disappointed with the food - mediocre flavoring/spicing, watery sauces and inattentive presentation. My fish was overcooked with a mishmash of garniture, the sauce of my husband's cannelloni was thin and not very flavorful and my brother-in-law's favorite dish, lasagna, has been omitted from the menu. It is a shame that the food no longer matches the great service and ambience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Superb!
    OptimusDinerVIP
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We had just seen "The Trip to Italy" so naturally we came here for Italian food as did the older couple who say next to us and when we saw them leaving they recognized us and said that was why they came! We have been here many times, have tried many different dishes and can highly recommend this place for the good food, super-great service and wonderful ambiance - a superb restaurant.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Brunch
    Mary
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We celebrated a special birthday and everyone raved about the food and service. We went at a time when it was not very crowded so it was nice and quiet. The food was delicious. Everyone enjoyed what they ordered. I had a calzone. It was my first but it will not be my last. It was so large I brought half home and had it the next day. I can't wait to return for another meal.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always Great
    Jeff
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Been to a few of these in various California cities, and the quality, service, and atmosphere is always great.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good, not great
    Jules
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Our pork belly was over cooked, probably the last pieces they had, so I'm betting the earlier portions were better. Zablizone (sp?) dessert was the highlight - delicious!
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for special occasions
    ggincalif
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    I have come on and off to Il Fornaio as part of corporate parties, with friends and families. They have always been very gracious and do not rush you through the meal. Wonderful wine list according to the people in my party who drank wine.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Early Fall at Il Fornio
    Rucky
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    It is a wonderful restaurant! Good service and David is the best waiter! Enjoy his bread trick and warmth! Our entrees were delicious! The gelatos and sorbets are so good! We always have a good time! The filled tables in each room is proof of people enjoying themselves!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service Lacking
    StevenFVIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    We like this restaurant - the food is good, it is not too noisy and we can usually get a table. This last visit was not good though. The waiter was nice but rushed. The bar could not make my drink. We waited too long for our drinks. Another waiter dropped a glass bottle of olive oil behind me. We couldn't get our oil and vinegar refilled timely or correctly. We will give it another try but may have to cross Il Fornaio off our go to list.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Love Il Fornaio
    gpaulgrayVIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Il Fornaio is one of my go-to's for business lunches and dinners. Great location in Downtown Palo Alto, close to a parking structure, great service, great food, amazing ambiance out on the patio, AND the happy hour, with (if I recall correctly) $6 woodfired pizza and $5 glasses of wine, is one of the best in town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for company lunch
    jaybee
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    We booked a table for 8 and did not have to wait to be seated. Service was spot-on and the food came quickly, even for such a large group. Everyone liked their food A LOT (which is saying something for a group of that size). The prosciutto and truffle oil pizza was fantastic. Definitely worth the price.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A disappointing Il Fornaio
    Lrbg
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Dined on Sunday evening and ordered from their special menu-- described as "ribbons of tagliatelle pasta with wild boar meatballs." Imagine our surprise when the waiter plopped down plates filled with seashell pasta that looked like a kids meal. When we pointed out the pasta problem he seemed bewildered--- he had no idea what we were talking about. He returned them to the kitchen with no apology offered and brought out our "ribbons" of pasta 10 minutes later, again with no apologies, after the rest of the table had finished their dinners. No offer to comp a dinner or offer a glass of wine. Amazing the kitchen doesn't know their pastas--- nor the waiters. Will not come again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bummer of a dinner
    Unhappy
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    My family of 5 went out to celebrate my husband's birthday. Our waiter was impatient and rude to us much of the time. When my daughter wanted to know what they had to drink, he rolled he eyes. When she took a moment to decide, he left! I saw him give the specials and be very engaging with other tables. It was really strange. He pretty much ruined our dinner. Our entire family felt his negativity. My husband had wanted wine with his meal but gave up on trying to engage with our waiter. Truly a sad night on what was supposed to be a fun outing.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always outstanding and predictable
    LoveToEat
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Haven't been there in years since we moved south to Los Gatos, so decided to go back to celebrate a very nice meal for our anniversary. We were not disappointed. Service and food outstanding, a real class act. We had the seafood on spinach and it was perfect - seafood with a slightly crispy savory outside and juicy inside and slightly spicy from chili flakes. Wow!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food
    LinS
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Service a little slow but the food was very good. Good place to go with friends.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice place, stay for dessert
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    The food was average considering the restaurant. Our waiter didn't seem like he wanted to be there, the bus boys were way more helpful and friendlier. Luckily when the dessert came out, now that was worth waiting for!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never Disappoints
    Skkyup
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Went for an early rendezvous dinner with family from San Francisco and Campbell. As always, the food was excellent from the roasted beet salad, fresh baked table breads, capellini with fresh tomato basil and the pesce misto. Our service was a bit off that Thursday but not enough that a little wine and some affogato al caffè couldn't cure.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Have had better experiences
    EastmeetswestVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Our experience was totally based on our server. We arrived before 5pm and inquired about specials. Was told not available until 5pm which was understandable. But his service was so slow that we hadn't placed our order yet by 5pm. And when we asked again he basically ignored our request. Brought a bottle of wine we wanted with dinner, and told him as much. He didn't bother to offer us cocktails before dinner, we had to ask. He seemed hurried and distracted although the place was fairly empty. Am sure if we went back we would have a better experience but it was disappointing for our first visit to this Il Fornaio.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.