Cafe Alto
Cafe Alto

Cafe Alto

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.caferenzo.com/
  • Phone: 6503298300x
  • 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: 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.
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Cafe Alto reviews from OpenTable diners
21 reviews since June 22, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (9)great for outdoor dining (8)romantic (4)good for groups (3)great for lunch (3)fit for foodies (2)vibrant bar scene (2)special occasion (2)hot spot (1)great for brunch (1)kid-friendly (1)late-night find (1)Show More
  • Good Food; Marginal Service
    LA94022VIP
    Dined on 4/27/2011
    We were celebrating my husband's and teenage daughter's birthdays with my dad and my in-laws. It was a bit loud for them but did have good energy. The service as poor. My kids and my parents ordered drinks while I was parking the car. It took 20 minutes for the drinks to arrive. And then when my husband and I ordered our drinks we had to remind them twice before they arrived. The appetizers and salads took a long time to arrive as well. My husband had to get up and tell the waiter to get us better service. It did improve but he had lost us by then. Food was very good tasting but the presentation wasn't anything special.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Beautiful restaurant with
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 4/24/2011
    Beautiful restaurant with lots of options, great food, and service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, good bar, spacious
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 4/20/2011
    Good food, good bar, spacious seating. This is our second visit and it will be on our regular list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • So friendly, and when the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 4/13/2011
    So friendly, and when the front walls are open you feel like you are both part of the pleasant interior and also part of the people on a stroll. The insalata Mediterraneo with hearts of palms keeps bringing me back for lunch.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Italian in Palo Alto
    oenophile59VIP
    Dined on 4/10/2011
    was on a business trip and needed a place to eat that was on the way to our hotel so booked Cafe Renzo and was happy I did. Really excellent food, moderate prices and great selection of Italian Wines. The Calamari had 2 outstanding dipping sauces and wonderful Burrata. Home made pastas were excellent as was the dessert. M Only negative for me was the kind of weird shaped booth, made it crowded and had to lean forward too much to eat which made it a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps some cushions to get you closer to the table.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Third time eating at renzo.
    FaraVIP
    Dined on 4/9/2011
    Third time eating at renzo. Overal is a great casual neighberhood hang out. I had veal Marsala last time. The veal was hard and chewy... tasted like rubber! Pizza's and pasta's are better than meat dishes. I think they should use better quality meat or improve the way they preaper them.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and delighted to
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 4/8/2011
    Great food and delighted to have Mario as our waiter.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful rabbit cacciatore
    DevErnLAHVIP
    Dined on 4/8/2011
    Wonderful rabbit cacciatore and other Italian specialities. Great Italian and Calif. wine list. Noise level, however, especially in the back section where large groups are, is deafening and way over the top for any normal dining experience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Got the special, which was
    DawnC
    Dined on 4/8/2011
    Got the special, which was the sole, and wasn't terribly impressed with it. Too much sauce and the side dishes were also covered in butter.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Second time back
    Susan
    Dined on 4/3/2011
    Our second time back, we went for brunch. Service was a little slow this time, but the waiter was pleasant and we weren't in a hurry. Food is delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I give it 3.5 stars. Staff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002
    Dined on 4/2/2011
    I give it 3.5 stars. Staff is friendly and prompt. Food is better than average overall, though not spectacular. The bread rolls they give should really be served with butter, not the olive oil dip. Or they should switch to sliced rustic bread. We started with the caprese salad. The bufala mozzarella was not quite as flavorful as others I've had, but still nice. My entree was the spinach ravioli, which I liked quite a lot. The tomato sauce was tangy and the pasta itself was nicely done. My wife had the cornish hen which she also enjoyed. We finished it off with the chocolate souffle. It was closer to a lava cake than a souffle, though. The chocolate ooze in the center was very sugary. Not a bad place to eat, certainly better than Madison & F
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good, maybe and okay I guess
    BigNightVIP
    Dined on 4/1/2011
    If it were possible for this restaurant to have Outstanding food it would become a favorite spot. But it doesn't. The service is okay, but the hostess station is awkward in that you approach it and you feel like you are waiting in line at Target. The hostess can be busy or not, and looks up as if to say, "And your name is?" The place seems like it needs a really good chef to bring it into contention for my return. Otherwise, it's a maybe.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food here is always good and
    Jules
    Dined on 4/1/2011
    Food here is always good and consistent. I'm Italian and have high expectations for my Italian food - I am never disappointed. There's alot to choose from on the menu. Beautiful place and the waiters are fantastic! Very friendly and attentive.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Quite low prices. Real home
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 4/1/2011
    Quite low prices. Real home recipes (and cooking, when Renzo's mother is in the kitchen).
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Better than average Italian
    garys
    Dined on 3/26/2011
    Better than average Italian food in a downtown Palo Alto area full of Italian restaurants. My eggplant calzone was large and very good; I could only eat 1/2 of it. Any pizza on their menu could be made into a calzone at no extra charge. The others in my lunch group enjoyed their pizzas and paninis. Nice atmosphere. When I arrived at 11:30 for Sat lunch, I was the only one in the restaurant and very quiet. By noon, the place was filling up a became vibrant. Service was attentive but not overwhelming.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fresh Pasta and good for the family
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 3/25/2011
    I love this place. It is amazing food and the waiters are from Italy and very fun and friendly. We take our kids and they are very welcome but it is a step above a kid restaurant so we are dining well with them.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • some yummy pasta
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 3/25/2011
    would be nice to have a waiter who speaks English well enough to communicate with me. i'm just sayin'.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Italian Restaurant
    OptimusDinerVIP
    Dined on 3/17/2011
    Great Italian food served hot to the table and delicious to the last bite - we sat outside and "people-watched" on University Ave - a great dining experience. Service was excellent - I went there my cousin whom I had not seen in 6 years so we had a lot to catch up on and the waiter was amazingly attentive and make sure we ordered food and drink and not talk the whole time. In fact, the whole staff was very professional, from the person at the check-in desk to the people who cleared the table to that amazing waiter. You will not be disappointed with Cafe Renzo.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mario was great! The mozzarella
    MitchgirlVIP
    Dined on 3/13/2011
    Mario was great! The mozzarella was very good on the caprese. The pizza was good and the pasta (sauce) was okay.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Even though we made a reservation
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 3/12/2011
    Even though we made a reservation using Opentable, I had to wait 15 minutes for my table. After being seated we had to wait another 15 minutes until we being served/ asked for some drinks. Other then that Renzo's is worth a visit and the food was awesome.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Don't bother, marginal quality
    U520383
    Dined on 3/12/2011
    Don't bother, marginal quality food and terrible service.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Went there for my 36th birthday
    AllyVIP
    Dined on 3/3/2011
    Went there for my 36th birthday dinner with girlfriends. Food was awesome! Service was great! Will be back when it warms up for your patio.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A group of 6 guys met for
    eatlocal
    Dined on 3/2/2011
    A group of 6 guys met for dinner and thoroughly the food, service and surroundings. We all thought it is a very good value for the quality of the food and location in downtown Palo Alto.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food at Cafe Renzo was
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/19/2011
    The food at Cafe Renzo was delicious! My friend loved the Cioppino, and I really enjoyed the bolognese sauce-it was amazing! I will definitely be returning to this restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A big delay in getting our
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/19/2011
    A big delay in getting our main course to the table, allegedly due to an oven malfunction. Otherwise a good evening.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious food, excellent
    Susan
    Dined on 2/18/2011
    Delicious food, excellent service. We enjoyed our dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • First Time Find!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/14/2011
    First time here and plan to retun soon. Very friendly hostess(s)and a menu that has something for everyone. Leave room for dessert. You have to try this place.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This is a huge improvement
    DisappointedVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2011
    This is a huge improvement over the past efforts at this location. Unpretentious, and really good food. I loved the gamberi spinach salad with goat cheese and prawns. My wife enjoyed her ceasar salad. My seafood risotto was bold, flavorful and hearty. My wife's spinach ravioli was light and tasty. We particularly appreciated that they didn't skimp on portions of each of these.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The waiter was wonderful and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/14/2011
    The waiter was wonderful and made the evening very enjoyable. The food was good not spectacular. Will try again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OK meal but not a fave place
    tracykVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2011
    The food was OK, but nothing to rave about. A spinach salad came with spinach and one grape tomato cut in half...that's all. Wild salmon piccata was tasty but over salted. Crab tagliolini were rich and good, though the waiter pushed parmesan for the top -- a no no in Italian cooking where they do not use cheese with seafood. Prices seemed fine, with about $19-20 per entree. Not so special that I would return, however.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The restaurant had no record
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 2/5/2011
    The restaurant had no record of our reservation. We were sitted right next to the bar, where the servers order/pick up drinks. It was distracting and felt like we were in the way. Service was spotty at best. Food wasn't anything special. My pasta was served luke-warm.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent food. They make
    Jules
    Dined on 2/5/2011
    Excellent food. They make a fantastic chocolate martini, too! I've been twice now and had great service both times.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate