Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto
Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto

Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.samschowderhouse.com/
  • Phone: 6506141177x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Mon-Thurs:
    Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
    Dinner: 4:00pm-9:30pm

    Friday:
    Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
    Dinner: 4:00pm-10:00pm

    Saturday:
    11:00am-10:00pm

    Sunday:
    11:00am-9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, American
  • Executive Chef: Robert Holt
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Special Events: For private dining and catering events please contact Shani Dahl at shani@shgevents.com or (650) 712-1766

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Emerson Street
  • Public Transit: When taking Cal Train please use the University stop.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto is located on the corner of Emerson and University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

    Parking is available in the city lot directly behind the restaurant,
    and in the High Street and Lytton Street garages.
A word from Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto
Sam’s Chowder House in downtown Palo Alto offers a casual and authentic seafood experience reminiscent of a New England style seafood house.

The menu includes daily fresh fish, live Maine lobster, fresh local crab, an Oyster Bar and more. As well as signature items such as clam chowder, Sam’s famous Lobster Rolls, fish and chips, and new dishes exclusive to the Palo Alto location, such as: Jumbo Scallops Wrapped in House Pancetta with Truffled Cauliflower, Celery Root Puree, Tuscan Kale & Grilled Leek Vinaigrette.

Private dining and Lobster Clambakes will also be available. Follow us on Facebook for more info. www.facebook.com/samschowderhousepa
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Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto reviews from OpenTable diners
84 reviews since July 2, 2014
Overall Rating3.5
  • Food3.5
    Service3.8
  • Ambiance3.4
    Noise LevelModerate
69% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for lunch (27)neighborhood gem (20)fit for foodies (15)kid-friendly (13)good for groups (9)special occasion (7)great for brunch (4)vibrant bar scene (4)notable wine list (3)hot spot (3)late-night find (1)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Go to Half Moon Bay Instead
    Hiphome1
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    The only thing going for PA is the lobster roll. Menu is limited, service was lacking, apps came with meal. We were in & out in 45mins. Won't be back. Will continue to Half Moon Bay location.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Pretty good, really
    GirlsNightOUtVIP
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Sam's has a lot to recommend it. Unfortunately a lot of the food for me is an "almost", with one ingredient mixed in that kills some of the items for me (that is my problem, not the restaurant). The most frustrating thing for me is the lobster ... when you order the whole lobster they don't prep it for you at all (I asked). That makes it incredibly difficult to eat, more than I want to go through when semi-dressed up for dinner. I wish they would change that because it means I go away disappointed every. single. time.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Try the HMB location
    Jeaniet
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    The PA location doesn't have the view or charm of the coastal location, of course. But the food wasn't as good either. Just doesn't translate well to downtown PA. Lots of better options.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Sam's
    KatsuyaVIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    I love the Sam's in Half Moon Bay. I was disappointed in the atmosphere and restaurant was extemely small. The roasted cod was great. The other diners were disappointed in the lobster roll as it was dry and needed sauce. The waiter brought tartar sauce and it definitely helped. The clam chowder soup was amazing and the Bibb lettuce salad was refreshing. I will have to return to try more dishes.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 3rd times a charm
    Zwenge
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    This was my third visit to Sam's Chowder House. Twice in Half Moon bay and once in the new location in Palo Alto. Great little spot, although I was expecting more of a romantic feel, rather than a close quarters dinner style. The seatings needs work and the tables were wobbly. The food is has never disappointed me, but the Clam Chowder should come with a bread bowl as optional.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, indifferent service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    Food was good. Excellent lobster roll -- though potato chips are chintzy compared to fries -- and good rock cod and captains platter. Service was just OK. Food came quickly but server disappeared after that, never refilled water which would have been welcome.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • food is just correct not special
    FogoFanVIP
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    very plain i felt as if they just covered their requirements.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • NorthstarVIP
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    I lived in Boston for four years, and NOBODY puts as much pepper in New England clam chowder as this. Consistency and contents were desirable, but the over abundance of pepper ruined the dish. I guess they must sell a lot because it is in the name of the place, but I certainly wouldn't order it again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • lousy service and food
    lynnieVIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    horrible service and food not good. too bad as it so bad as we love to find places close to home. we have given it several tries but this is the last we think.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fish and Chips
    SteveVIP
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    Sam's Fish and Chips were outstanding, with a crunchy batter coating that was not too oily.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Seafood
    cookie2monsterVIP
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    Excellent seafood overall. I was especially impressed by their steamed whole lobster that they get shipped fresh from New England. We had the clambake for two; fun and delicious and a generous portion. The only dish that we didn't enjoy was the grilled octopus that seemed too chewy and too heavy on the lemon dressing. I was impressed however, that the waiter made a point of asking how we liked the food and when we mentioned that the octopus was not to our taste, he removed it from the bill. Definitely, shows a commitment to customer satisfaction!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great, Except for the Beet Salad
    ChowhoundVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    The beet salad didn't have all the ingredients listed on the menu and was not very exciting. All the rest, though, was great.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed.
    CAEdgar
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    Had been really looking forward to a lobster roll. But the lobster roll meat tasted old and fishy, not right. The whole thing was really dry even though it was greasy with butter. Had to request mayonnaise to make it edible. The toasted roll somehow didn't even taste right either, like they forgot to butter it before toasting it. N.E. clam chowder was OK. Shrimp scampi pasta was fair, and only had a small amount of shrimp. Service was friendly and fairly good, until time to get the bill we had to wait a long time. Disappointed they don't serve lobster bisque...didn't the Half Moon Bay site used to have it? Restaurant was very loud, especially the room straight ahead from door. Asked for the room on the left, which was better.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great meal!
    OnTheGo
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Sam's was very accommodating when we wanted to change our reservation time at the last minute, on a Saturday evening no less! Food was outstanding - great Fish & Chips, Mussels were excellent!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food too salty fries!
    Betty
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Really wonderful chowder and fish but the fries were too salty, we asked for no salt on the potatoes, but the waiter told us they come already salty. (I don't think so, they sprinkle them with Old Bay, could be less) Otherwise as always a good place to eat.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fresh and delightful
    mvdenizen
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    If you have a seafood craving, Sam's Chowder House is the place to be. Not a huge oyster selection, but the ones they do have are so fresh, they taste like the ocean. Salmon ceviche was good, though the flavors were not as interesting as I'd anticipated. Freshly steamed lobster totally hit the spot. Super meaty and sweet. Drinks were well-made, service was quick and friendly. Definitely my new favorite seafood restaurant in the South Bay.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great option in Palo Alto
    Luvfood
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    With so many wonderful eateries in Palo Alto, it's good to have a restaurant that is fish centric. I took my elderly parents here on Mother's Day. The staff was very helpful and understanding. My only suggestion would is that they need to train their waitstaff a bit more. Our's was very junior, and didn't know how to pronounce our wine maker, and came back to our table to ask how it was before we even got a bite. Overall was what we expected, as we have eaten at the HMB location, and from their food truck.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and service
    sfdiner
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    The food was good and our server was friendly. Would dine there again.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fishy Tale
    iolavolaVIP
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    We ordered the lobster rolls for $22.95 each. I was very disappointed since I was comparing it with the lobster roll one get's at Sam's in Half Moon Bay. Their roll was filled from top to bottom with wonderful claws. In fact, I had to take half of them home. The ones we ordered here in Palo Alto had about 3 or 4 claws on top and underneath were very small pieces of lobster. Certainly not for $22.95. They should take a lesson from Half Moon Bay.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A little bit of New England
    Luv2stealrecipiesVIP
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    The decor of Sam's reminds me of the seaside restaurants in New England. With that said, some of the dishes are true to that character i. e. fried seafood platter, others definitely west coast-- ahi poke, cherrystones instead of soft shell clams. The food was generally good, however the $23 lobster roll, billed by the waiter as "best in the country" was not. As a New Englander I know lobster and this was over cooked and rubbery or just plain cooked and frozen. While I was hankerin for a great "lobsta roll", I should have made it myself, steer clear.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Food
    JohnMartinVIP
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    Enjoyed a fantastic dinner with several friends! The Lobster Rolls were delicious and beyond our fondest expectation. Your maitre'd and wait staff (Matt) were exceptional! Thanks for such a friendly dining experience!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Make the trip to HMB
    goldbloodedgrillerVIP
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    After dining at Sam's HMB numerous times & palo alto a couple of times, I've decided it's worth the trip to HMB, for better food preparations, atmosphere & service. The servers at palo alto don't seem to know the menu thoroughly and they dissappear for long periods of time. The lobster rolls in HMB seem to be better prepared
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Almost as good
    JuanLoco
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Sam's in P.A. is still good with food, service, & although it's downtown & can be intimidating, there's lots of free parking. BUT....it doesn't have the view like the Half Moon Bay Sam's. If you don't feel like a trip to the cooler coast & fighting traffic/parking, then P.A. Sam's is the place. If you go early to HMB on a weekday, then do the ocean view place; maybe sit outside (they have heaters).
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Fit For Foodies, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good seafood restaurant
    Gurs
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Good food and beer. The lobster roll was fresh but could have been better with more lobster inside the roll. The oysters were very fresh and well presented. But there should have been french fries instead of the store chips. The cod my husband had was also fresh and good. Overall, it is good to have a seafood restaurant in downtown Palo Alto after many years.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Dinner and Service
    Wayne
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    This new seafood restaurant is a great addition to Palo Alto. It includes a large menu and excellent service. I especially liked the clam linguini, and the other seafood dishes looked great. The service was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Late-Night Find, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OK but nothing special
    dsfnsfVIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    We came for lunch to try out this new Palo Alto branch of Sam's Chowder House. We have enjoyed the original in Half Moon Bay and looked forward to having easier access in Palo Alto. We have nothing bad to say about the restaurant....but we have nothing particularly good to say either. The food was OK but not special. Nothing was unique or particularly tasty. The service was fine, a little slow but not bad. All in all, with so many interesting and yummy places to eat in Palo Alto, we probably won't return for a second visit for quite awhile. There was nothing special to draw us back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • What' Different?
    Billiam
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Thought it was going to be an upgrade from Sam's on the coast, seemed essentially the same. Manhattan chowder was way too salty. Waiter(s) were nice people but very unprofessional. Fish and chips were average , at best. Oysters were the size of a fifty cent piece. Music was too loud and really awful stuff.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lob-stah-licious!
    DrHowFunVIP
    Dined on 4/14/2014
    We have driven over an hour to Half Moon Bay because we craved the Lobster Roll at Sam's Chowder House. It's great to have them closer in a great atmosphere. Of course, it doesn't replace sitting on the beach in HMB, but the ambience is great and the location is ideal. The Luncheon Lobster tacos with slaw and soup is excellent. Perfect lunch special.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Your service told us the only
    chat
    Dined on 4/11/2014
    Your service told us the only times available were 5:00 and after 7. We wanted to go to a 7:00 movie so we took 5 (reluctantly) We were the only dinners in a good sized room. Waiters were dusting chairs and window sills as we ate When we left, there were still plenty of empty tables. Why couldn't we make a reservation for 6:00?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • mmmm
    Shims
    Dined on 4/6/2014
    Beats driving to Half Moon bay for their signature lobster rolls :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Manhattan Chowder is delicious
    Alex
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    The portion was a bit too big but I couldn't help but finishing it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good casual seafood restaurant.
    DaveV
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Good casual seafood restaurant. Always dependable whether for lunch or dinner. Lunch can be a bit pricey, but good quality.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good enough
    FoodForThot
    Dined on 4/3/2014
    My friend and I were curious and excited to try a restaurant that looked very seafood directed. The caesar salad and Keylime pie were really delicious. However, found food items selected were disappointing. Although the food presentation was really nice, the foods were not very flavorful. The steamed clams lacked a richness in taste; watered down in flavor, Poke appetizer awful. The raw fish looked a day old; lacked full red richness that you find with truly fresh sashimi. Had to ask for soy sauce to make it less dry. Clam chowder was ok. Raw oysters were ok. We also ordered some cocktails. Our bill came to over $200 and for that price, I expect a dinner to be superb and it wasn't. I plan not to go again.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food was lackluster! I
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    The food was lackluster! I don't think this place will be here for very long. Nothing negative to say about service, but nothing out of the ordinary either!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lobster Rolls = LOVE!
    Jacqueline
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    My gf and I were planning to have dinner in DTPA after catching a double feature at The Stanford. I haven't been to University Ave in years and was thrilled to find that a Sam's Chowder House was right down the street from the theatre. Having told my friend (who spent time on the East Coast) about their fabulous lobster rolls, we decided to catch dinner there. We shared the crispy polenta fries--delicious! and had our own lobster roll which, at $21.95 might seem like a lot, but the lobster meat was fresh, as was the bun, and it was just amazing! I've visited Sam's at HMB, at the Moveable Feast in Willow Glen, and at their food trucks, and the food is consistently GREAT every time. It's a must-visit kind of place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great service, food misses
    PAFoodLoverVIP
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    This was the second visit. This is one of those places you really want to work. It could have a great niche in Palo Alto, but the food doesn't match the price. Also, the timing on the food was off.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • STAY AWAY!! Not Like HMB Location
    LoveTastyFood
    Dined on 3/19/2014
    We love the Half Moon Bay location and we love Sam's until we tried the Palo Alto location...... STAY AWAY until they improve their standards and serve the same as their Half moon Bay location. We ordered the Cioppino which is our favorite and we are usually overly stuffed when we leave the HMB location. However, the Palo Alto location Ciopinno was so dissatisfied. They served this "soup" in a very shallow bowl. There was barely any broth that my piece of bread pretty much soaked up the broth leaving me nothing to sip on.... This is not soup!!!! Also they gave very little seafood meat nothing compared to the HMB location. We left pretty hungry and dissatisfied.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Boston Clam Chowder & Lobster Roll
    frequentDinerVIP
    Dined on 3/17/2014
    Best ever Boston chowder. The cup is the size of a bowl. This place is pricey, but I hane not found better or equal. The roll at the Creamery is good too, but the chowder here is not to be missed. The only negative is the seating which is hard. The lobster rolls in both places beat those in Bangor.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Looking for Lobster
    richfrickVIP
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    We had a craving for Lobster. We found what we were looking for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sam's Chowder House the first time
    DickVIP
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    Not great and not bad. I particularly liked the fish and chips. Welcoming place with a good wait staff. It edges toward the pricey side. I'd eat at Sam's again maybe limit myself to oysters and chowder.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.