Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi
  1. Distance: 0.03mi
  2. Distance: 0.39mi
  3. Distance: 0.42mi
  4. Distance: 0.44mi

About 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.

520 Cowper Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Italian

Hours of Operation:
Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 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

Cross Street:
Hamilton

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(650) 853-3888

Website:
http://ilfornaio.com/

Catering:
Off-site catering available. Please contact Event Coordinator for more details.

Parking Details:
Valet parking is available for $10. In addition, there is also the hotel parking lot, as well as a public lot available.

Public Transit:
Cal Train

Executive Chef:
Michele Godina

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 24, 2017

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Specials

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Details

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

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Details

Kick off 2018 in style! Join us New Year's Eve and toast to happiness and health in the new year. Salute!

Private Dining

Celebrating 20 years in downtown Palo Alto, Il Fornaio offers 2 private dining rooms and a heated, covered, garden Piazza. Banquet menus for large parties features the best of Il Fornaio's authentic Italian cuisine and Chef Michele's signature dishes.

Il Fornaio - Palo Alto Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.2

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.2

service

4.1

ambience

4.1

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

86% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (25)
Great for Lunch (18)
Good for a Date (17)
See All
Business Meals (17)
Good for Anniversaries (16)
Casual (15)
Good for Groups (15)
Neighborhood Gem (15)
Sunday Lunch (15)
Fit for Foodies (12)
Good for Birthdays (12)
Notable Wine List (12)
Authentic (11)
Comfort Food (11)
Creative Cuisine (10)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Great for Brunch (9)
Disabled Access (9)
Fun (9)
Bar Seating (8)
Gluten Free Options (8)
Great for Outdoor Dining (8)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Kid-friendly (7)
Healthy (7)
Romantic (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Cozy (7)
Seasonal (6)
People Watching (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Afternoon Coffee (4)
Happy Hour (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Vibrant Bar Scene (4)
Local Ingredients (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Late-night Find (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Organic (1)
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1970 reviews
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 2 days ago

We had a dinner with the usual great service and timing-I've been to this restaurant several times in the past few years. The one thing I would say is it was very crowded in the back seating area, we were squeezed in with servers having not enough room to move and people getting blocked from entering and exiting-very noticed.

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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

 
·Dined 2 days ago

Beyond dreadful. Spectacularly incompetent service and mediocre food. Never ever again.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined 3 days ago

We had nine people fir a holiday lunch. Everyone felt the food was very good and the wine outstanding.

Tags: Gluten Free Options, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Good Vegetarian Options, Special Occasion, Fun, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined 4 days ago

Typical Il Fornaio menu with varied delicacies from Italy, on this occasion from many regions. The food was good, the service prompt. I rated the food down because the recommended wine was mis-represented and not a good choice (very harsh and bitter). Other than that, we enjoy our monthly visits to the restaurant with its ever-changing menu.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Salt Lake City)·Dined 7 days ago

Have been a frequent visitor for over twenty years, although havent been in over a year. Returned to have a business lunch but had forgotten how small the two-top tables are here. Best scenario is a table for 3 since you will get a larger table and still have room for papers, etc.

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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 10, 2017

The reservation was not honored and they promised to call back in 15 mins while we waited outside for the table. Never got the call back. More detailed review on Yelp.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 9, 2017

Il Fornaio (Palo Alto) is the restaurant I picked to take my mother-in-law out for her birthday party. She wanted Italian food and she was not disappointed. I think everyone loved the food, except my husband who got a chicken sandwich instead of an entree. His sandwich was huge and that was one of the things he didn't like. I ordered a chicken and vegetable pasta dish with a wine sauce. It was very, very good. My mother-n-law got spaghetti and meatballs, which she loved, and took home half of it for lunch the next day. The rest of our party were very happy with the dishes they ordered. Best of all, the Tiramisu was fabulous. I have spent my life collecting Tiramisu experiences, and this was right up there on the top!

Tags: Late-night Find, Good for a Date, Cozy, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Disabled Access, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service3
value3

 
·Dined on December 8, 2017

The experience was very nice. I didn't finish my tortellini and asked for a container. The waiter took my plate to put it in a to-go container and was disappointed when I opened it later because he didn't put very much of the sauce. I had the butternut squash pasta so my take home container was very dry, and I had made sure I left enough sauce to eat later.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Seasonal, Good for Groups, Disabled Access, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2017

Server responded to request for a quick meal before flight out. Food was excellent. Wine was fine. Been here many times and will continue to bring visitors.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 3, 2017

It’s a staple for us. We can always depend on a great dining experience: food, ambiance and friendly people who work there. Thank u!

Tags: Bar Seating, Great for Brunch, Sunday Lunch, Disabled Access
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on December 3, 2017

The food was good but the service was horrible. We sat with empty cocktail and water glasses and had to ask several times for a brottle of wine. We were seated on the patio where the heaters were either way too hot or had to be turned off and then it was freezing cold. This restaurant might be better in the summer but they definitely need to improve on their staff.

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food4
ambience3
service1
value3

 
·Dined on December 2, 2017

It was early Saturday Morning after our Christmas party.
There was no almond milk for lattes
Waiter was excellent but surprised that everything had jusy gone ala carte. We were surprised by the limited breakfast choice.

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food3
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 27, 2017

Even tho Il Fornaio is a chain, it excels at Italian cuisine. We dined at various locations, and they havcen't dropped the ball on any of these visits. We met old friends on a Monday night, so the place wasn't jammed as it is on week-ends. Our server was delightful, a gal from Mexico (although we first thought Italian). The seafood mixed grill was a REALLY good, and I would recommend it when it is on the menu. Everyone was quite pleased with their entrée. A winner!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 25, 2017

Nice place for dinner in an elegant ambient. The service was great and friendly.The best thing are wonderful deserts .My friend ordered tiramisu and it was really perfect. We enjoyed the wine too
The place is maybe a little bit too noisy. I would recommend this restaurant always. The complete experience is worth the price. We will come again

Tags: Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Fun, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 24, 2017

Great food. Great job on Thanksgiving dinner.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Delicious Thanksgiving feast. Home away from home for the Holiday.

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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 23, 2017

My dad and I went for a late afternoon Thanksgiving dinner at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. It was a very good turkey meal, 4 courses including soup, salad, main course and dessert. The food was quite good considering it was a holiday, where you don't usually get good food. Our waiter was very attentive, once we caught his eye to start off our service. The ambiance was visually nice, but very very noisy, the music was much too loud unfortunately, making it very difficult for my dad and I to talk. Other than that we had a great time and a very good meal. We left happy and satisfied with our Thanksgiving dining experience.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 23, 2017

We had our family Thanksgiving dinner for six at 2:00 PM. Since some family were coming from the south bay and others from the north bay, we met in the middle at Il Fornaio.
Most of us had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and several had food from the regular menu.The food was exceptionally delicious given they were cooking for a lot of people on that day. Though the restaurant was filled, it seemed relaxed and our waiter took good care of our party of six. I have always enjoyed the food at Il Fornaio, have been to all their restaurants over the years, I especially like the ambiance of the Palo Alto location.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving dinner. The service was great and food well prepared and nicely presented. The wine and proseco could have not been better. We always go there e for our special occasions

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 22, 2017

The food was very good as well as the service, which was particularly good. This was not a new
dining experience for us at an Il Fornaio. There is one closer to where I live and it, too, has
a very good reputation. We would go there again. Also, a bonus, they have valet parking, which
is wonderful in Palo Alto because of the parking difficulties there.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Bar Seating, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 21, 2017

food was very average. waiter was not attentive. and they were not busy. ex. I had to ask for water refill several times.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 20, 2017

one of the rare places where the food is great, reasonably priced, and you can have a business conversation...i'll keep coming back

Tags: Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Afternoon Coffee, Healthy, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 15, 2017

always a good choice, very good food and ambiance.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 10, 2017

I have been going to Il Fornaio almost since it opened. I can't say enough good things about it. I have NEVER had a bad meal at any of their places I have been to: Palo Alto, San Jose and Carmel, all in Northern CA. Great, affordable regional cuisine from Ital with an ever changing menu.

Their salads are to die for as is their Pizza Margarita. They were one for the first places to bring good, thin crust Pizza to CA. Growing up in NYC, I'm very picky about Pizza; Red Hat, Papa Johns and the like just don't cut it.

This trip I had green spinach raviolis stuffed with veal under a chopped tomato Brushetta-like sauce. Simply fantastic. A glass of wine with a well made cappuccino afterwards was a wonderful lunch.

Don't miss it if you have not been here yet.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Business Meals, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Great restaurant, with great food was recommended by a colleague at work. Highly recommended to dates, birthdays, or just a nice meal with friends and family. The food was tasty and the atmosphere was great. Great place for a nice conversation, not too loud, noise level is great.

Tags: Romantic, Notable Wine List, Authentic, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 5, 2017

While my overall experience was OK, I was a bit disappointed. I booked via Open table and was notified we were a "no-show". Not sure what happened but we were there and spent a fair amount of $$ and left a healthy tip. BUT no one acknowledged our anniversary. Not sure where the dots didn't get connected but I was left with overall unhappy opinion.

Tags: Casual, Good for a Date
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food3
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 5, 2017

My gnocchi with rabbit ragu was good but everything else was terrible. Watery minestrone, flavorless salad, gummy risotto, childish chicken scallopini.
Our clearly inexperienced waitress was nice when she was around, which was rare, but seemed to have little knowledge of food.
The space is pretty, that's the one positive.

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food2
ambience4
service2
value2

 
·Dined on October 29, 2017

Enjoyed a simple Margarita pizza, garden salad, and a nice glass of Chianti, seated at the bar. Great ambiance, service, and value.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Best ravioli I've ever tasted, in terms of pasta texture, filling taste and texture, and bright, fresh tomato sauce.

Bread pudding was a bit dry and doughy, but the gelato that came with it was terrific.

Tags: People Watching, Good for a Date, Fun, Pre/post Theatre, Authentic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Comfort Food
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
·Dined on October 25, 2017

They took us to the table just next to the bathroom even though there are many available seats. Not a good service.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu
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food5
ambience3
service2
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 22, 2017

We took my MIL, grandmother-in-law, and an aunt here before they left town for several months as an early evening goodbye dinner on a Saturday. Food was very good, but the service was great.

One of our guests uses a walker, and when the staff saw that, they made sure we had a table that was close to the front door with a clear path for her to use. Our server, I believe she was named Ellie, quickly realized that Spanish was the first language of several at the table and she switched easily between English and Spanish depending on each person's preference. It was really impressive. Ellie also paid attention to the small things like when an elderly patron dropped her napkin, Ellie quietly picked it up, folded it neatly and returned it to her side without causing a distraction or drawing attention. I noticed other servers in the dining room doing similar work for other patrons.

We were very early diners, and the bread took a little extra time coming out, but staff were apologetic. I suspect it was still being baked/heated! Everyone enjoyed their food and at that time, the restaurant, despite having hard floors, wasn't too loud, even as our section filled in over the course of the meal. We were able to have normal conversation at the table.

Tags: Good for a Date, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Pre/post Theatre, Sunday Lunch, Business Meals, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Il Fornaio is a good choice if you want to be able to have a conversation. The food is good,but not great. The cost can get high, but is probably less than many on University Avenue.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Casual
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food3
ambience3
service3
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 13, 2017

Excellent food and service but noisy
We were seated in the rear near a space where a large group gathered to wait until their special room opened. Difficult for us to have conversation. We were compted with dessert which was very thoughtful.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience3
service4
value5

 
·Dined on October 11, 2017

We are really sorry we were late for our reservation and they are really accommodating, thanks guys

Tags: Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Great dishes, great service, and great ambience. The manager's stopping by the table was a very nice touch. We had 3 course meals. It was a lot of food. 4 of us just nibbled the 2ndis. which was a shame since they were all delicious!

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 8, 2017

Excellent food and service. A genuine place doing things well.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Authentic, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Healthy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 8, 2017

A bit more expensive than the quality of the food would justify. The service was very good, the particular wine I was looking for was available. An average menu with expensive prices.

Tags: Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5
value2

 
 (Salt Lake City)·Dined on October 6, 2017

Entire staff was so attentive. Manager came to our table to check in on us.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 3, 2017

We really enjoyed our time at Il Farino. Food was good, and the service was very good as well. My little one, really enjoyed looking at the lights. We were seated in the courtyard.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Kid-friendly
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 2, 2017

Pretty outdoor garden. Good food nicely served. It was easy to carry on a conversation. Many choices and good variety on menu.

Tags: Comfort Food, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

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