Il Fornaio - Palo Alto

4.3
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
2362 Reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Italian
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 2018.
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details

Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Menus & Offers

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Il Fornaio with a traditional turkey dinner or your favorite Italian dish! Large parties welcome upon reservation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Start your Christmas celebration at Il Fornaio! Join us on Christmas Eve and enjoy the festive atmosphere and your favorite Italian dish.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Kick off 2020 in style! Join us New Year's Eve and toast to happiness and health in the new year. Salute!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 2362 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Filters
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome sauce! Will come here again anytime!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 2

The gnocchi was over boiled, the pesto sauce tasteless.
The beet salad was so minimal and h exciting.
Very disappointed
Our waitress was very sweet and helpful but we won’t be returning to Il Fornaio.

C
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had a very quick meal due to a mixup in our guest's plans. The order was taken promptly and food was delivered quickly, thanks to our very efficient waiter. As usual, our food was very tasty, although perhaps the need for the rush meal is why some of it wasn't as warm as it should've been. At any rate, we enjoyed the dinner and our guest got to take home pizza for a late night snack.

TL
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Authentic Italian but really slow service. Understaffed.

C
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Not happy with this visit.

1. There was a ton of noise coming from the kitchen, including loud fork clanging, and cooks and service people talking very loudly. Atmosphere was worse then a coffee shop.

2. My favorite dish has always been the roasted chicken, but no longer. It was dry and tough, and the sauteed carrots were raw.

3. The waiter was very strange. He kept running off to find out the answers to some questions we had, while we were in the middle of talking! Very frustrating. Also, he must have seen my note about my fish allergy after we ate, as he made a strange joke like “plenty of fish oil for you...!”??? Like he thought a food allergy was humorous??? Really?

4. Prices have gone up, and quality and service down. This used to be our favorite restaurant....now we are going to avoid it, unfortunately.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Too many flies. Could not enjoy the food.

RJ
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We were asked if we would like to share a bottle of sparkling water, we said yes. The server then proceeded to refill our glasses not telling us that they were opening additional bottles to the tune of $8.50/bottle. Watch for this if eating here.

PP
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Worst Service I've ever had in restaurant! Food was good, but overshadowed by an extremely poor waiter.

W
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding and the service was excellent. I'm never disappointed when I go. This is a fantastic place for either a casual or formal event.

NN
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic, gracious and professional service! Delicious food!

BB
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 1

Both meals we're subpar, service was very poor we’ll never go back. We consistently eat at il Fornaio in Burlingame which is always excellent

SS
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

We’d been to Il Fornaio twice before and had wonderful meals; so, we recommended it when meeting up with our friends. It was a totally different experience! Two of us ordered the Veal Scallopini, which was a strange recipe and terribly bland. Someone else had the short-ribs which were good, but the vegetables were cooked poorly. Service was mediocre ... got orders mixed up & rarely came around. Sitting out on the back patio was lovely, but they couldn’t get the heat lamps to work. All in all, I’m not sure if we’ll ever go back.

OT
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and delicious food!

PA
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was OK but sitting on the patio was great! Service was average.

h
San Francisco
41 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was great. Service was just ok not exceptional like it usually is.

CE
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

I thought it was overpriced for what we got. The food was just okay -- more like Olive Garden Italian. I'm half Italian (mother's side) and not a bad cook. I'd do better.

G
San Francisco
130 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Nice evening. Great wine and good food. We weren't rushed and we were able to have a good conversation.

M
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We went for breakfast had the French toast and eggs Benedict’s. The bread was delicious. Sauce for eggs different except too thin. Potatoes could be more crispy. We would go back however. Was perfect place before heading to the Palo Alto festival.

J
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

My wife and I and an old friend had a quiet Sunday dinner on the patio. There were a few other tables and there was no significant noise from the other tables. We split the beet salad, the special spinach ravioli, and the grilled meat special with potatoes and broccolini. There was a lemon sponge cake special. All were excellent as were the Falanghina and Aglianico featured wines. Ronaldy was our server and was humorous, knew the menu, non-obtrusive and smooth. He divided the salad without being requested, gave some extra bread on the way out. Very enjoyable evening and good food. We've been coming to the Palo Alto Il Fornaio for nearly 30 years. We have never been disappointed.

JL
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Birthday brunch for my wife, children and grandchildren. Food was very good. Atmosphere always pleasant. I did make reservation noting it was to celebrate my wife’s birthday. No mention was made by wait staff about the birthday or having a candle on her ice cream. A bit disappointing. Otherwise all went well.

A
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Slow service and quality of food has gotten worse over the years

JK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took a friend to breakfast for a celebration and the waiter couldn't have been more accommodating, helping make the experience very special. Food came quickly and was delicious.

l
San Francisco
43 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Our dinner at Il Fornaio was good - i feel like I can rely on Il Fornaio for good food, nice variety of menus for a big group and fair prices. I have 2 complaints

-it was hot - insufficient air conditioning
-the waiter approached our group when we sat down with two open bottles of mineral water flat and sparkling and then offered those choices before asking if we wanted bottled water or tap water. I don't believe any in our party would have ordered bottled flat water and this is a big waste and environmentally unsound.

T
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good taste,good service,everything is good.
I would like to go there again.

FZ
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food and ambiance was excellent but service was so so. I was a little disappointed as I usually love this location.

g
Yosemite
2 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were celebrating a birthday. The food was delicious. We had a 2016 Pine ridge Cabernet that was fantastic. It was a great evening.

OT
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great dinner, Ezra was fantastic

HR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

John Carlo is the wonderful manager of this restaurant and made us feel so welcomed and well taken care of. He adds so much to the customer experience.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

LR
Vancouver
6 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a small family gathering and enjoyed the delicious Italian cuisine and the hospitality of the staff. This is one of our favorite Palo Alto restaurants

m
San Francisco
54 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

This is the first time I have been disappointed by the food. We all ordered the New York Steak from the Day' Menu. Portions were generous, but the meat was tasteless as if it had been frozen and recently thawed. The steaks were perfectly cooked. The porcini mushroom sauce didn't taste like porcini and contained what looked like sliced crimini mushrooms. Too bad! Perhaps we should stick to the pasta.

Service was excellent.

CM
San Francisco
43 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

We did not have our best experience at the Palo Alto Il Fornaio this time. The food was over-priced and the service was not so good. The caprese salad was OK, but it was $16! My Zuppa Pesce ($30) was just OK (the tomato sauce was uninspired), and there was not a single scallop in the dish and that was one of the reasons I ordered it. Besides that, there was no dish provided into which to put the mussel shells or the soft shell of some unidentified seafood item. My husband's lasagna ($24) was likewise just OK (likewise the tomato sauce was uninspired), and it was not served until quite some time after my dish had been served, ever after a reminder to the waiter. And last but certainly not least, the check was not handled correctly. I had brought two gift cards, one for $10 and one for $20. When I received the bill, the $10 had been deducted but the $20 had not been; and it took quite a while, and the help of a manager, to make the correction. I will have to think about going back.

B
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Good for neighborhood getting together casual outing. Food is fine pasta and salads bread all good, service is fine nothing outstanding will go back for casual eats

AB
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 3

Late lunch for a group of 10. Seated in the back, place was empty. It felt very strange. My team was disappointed with everything.

HL
Central Coast
37 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Nice ambiance, but the food was average

BS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Service was extremely poor.
Server got the order wrong and meal took forever.
Restaurant manager should have comped the entire meal.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good standard of food. Service was excellent

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent, as always. And so was the service.
It was a warm day... I wish I had requested a table that was not in front of the kitchen area, where you feel the heat of the beautiful oven.

DR
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed the mixed antipasto and our excellent entrees at our quiet table by the garden. Our server was attentive and his suggestions valuable. The other waitstaff were friendly and courteous. Access and parking easier than many Palo Alto locations.

b
San Francisco
64 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

This is an OK go-to restaurant if you want to get what you pay for. In my opinion there are other restaurants nearby that have better service and food. I've found the Il Fornaio in Santa Clara to be a better location for better food and service. Don't understand why the one in Palo Alto is so middle of the road.

1
2
3
60

Tweets by Il Fornaio - Palo Alto