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: 7:00am - 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

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, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Menus & Offers

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 24, 2017

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Menus & Offers

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Details

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

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

4.0

ambience

4.1

value

3.8

Noise

Moderate

86% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (26)
Great for Lunch (17)
Good for a Date (16)
See All
Casual (16)
Business Meals (15)
Good for Anniversaries (14)
Sunday Lunch (13)
Authentic (12)
Good for Groups (12)
Fit for Foodies (11)
Comfort Food (10)
Great for Outdoor Dining (10)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Neighborhood Gem (10)
Good for Birthdays (9)
Creative Cuisine (9)
Notable Wine List (9)
Fun (8)
Great for Brunch (7)
Romantic (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Healthy (6)
Pre/post Theatre (6)
People Watching (6)
Kid-friendly (5)
Cozy (5)
Gluten Free Options (5)
Seasonal (5)
Bar Seating (4)
Disabled Access (4)
Happy Hour (4)
Tasting Menu (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Late-night Find (2)
Local Ingredients (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (1)
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1948 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined 4 days ago

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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
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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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
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
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 27, 2017

Consistently good food. Pleasant ambiance. Arrive early for best parking . Valet parking is available.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

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

We always enjoy Il Fornaio. Great food, atmosphere and service.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Gluten Free Options, Seasonal, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, People Watching
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 18, 2017

We revisited your restaurant after many years of being away and we were glad that dinner was excellent as we remembered. Our waiter was very attentive and accommodating. The whole staff seemed to be always checking us to make sure we were all taken care of and enjoying our meal. Made the evening experience very nice!

Tags: Special Occasion, Casual, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 17, 2017

We went to celebrate a birthday, the service was poor to begin with. Except for the hostess, no one even had a smile on their face. We had to keep calling the server, to take the order, to refill oil & balsamic (had to ask three times), to refill water, plates for cake, everything! To top it all, another server crashed a tray near our table, glass pieces flying all over the place, injuring couple in our party, no on even came to apologize, or to clean up, or to even inquire if everyone was okay. Very very bad experience, will never go back. Manager was as bad as their staff, when we expressed our disappointment, he was like, OK. Very, very unprofessional.

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food2
ambience2
service1
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 7, 2017

Excellent. Well taken care of, and good dishes.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 3, 2017

This is quite possibly the worst meal I have ever had at Il Fornaio. Granted it was the hottest day of the year and the AC was failing, but the food was not prepared well. I had the mixed grill of fish. The three shrimp were tiny and overcooked, the three scallops were tiny and overcooked and the small pieces of seabass and salmon were just ok. The worst were the shriveled reheated small pieces of potato which I couldn't even eat. i won't be going back there anytime soon.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 3, 2017

I love this restaurant but today was just horrible. It was 90+ degrees outside and just about as hot inside the restaurant. For some reason there was no a/c and they didn't even bother to set out fans to at least keep the air moving around. And the food was only ok because my pasta dish came out so hot it took a very long time to be able to even eat it. and we ordered drinks and one certainly did not have any alcohol in it and the other drink we ordered wasn't made properly but the bar wouldn't admit a mistake was made.

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food4
ambience1
service4
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 3, 2017

They need to get air conditioning. It was really terrible. A restaurant trying to save money at customer expense!!

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food1
ambience1
service3
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 2, 2017

It was a very hot day outside and the restaurant in Palo Alto didn't seem to be air conditioned. It was very hot for everyone, cooks servers and customers alike. I saw a couple of people get up and leave because it was too hot.

The food was good as usual, but due to the heat it was not enjoyable. Probably due to the heat, the service was very slow and unusually poor.

All that said, we love the restaurant and will return.

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food4
ambience1
service2
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 1, 2017

Il Fornaio was a great choice for a cool lunch on a hot day. It was not over air-conditioned and we were seated in an area that was quiet. Wonderful selections, especially the salmon. We will be coming back soon!

Tags: Authentic, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 1, 2017

I have been to Il Foranaio numerous times , usually Sunday brunch and dinners. Almost always excellent (4-5 stars). This time was for a business lunch. Food and service were great. But expensive and uncomfortably hot - not a great experience and value this time.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience2
service5
value2

vip
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on September 1, 2017

Always Excellent! Authentic Italian and Delicious!

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, People Watching, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Handcrafted Cocktails, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Disabled Access, Pre/post Theatre, Gluten Free Options, Hot Spot, Bar Seating, Romantic, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Fun, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options, Notable Wine List, Authentic, Local Ingredients, Kid-friendly, Good for Birthdays, Great for Outdoor Dining, Healthy, Sunday Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 29, 2017

An overall very good restaurant with everything covered. Service always good, and food very satisfying.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Happy Hour, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

I was disappointed in the food. Our dish was not as described in the menu and the waiter did not inform us of substitutions. The food has been better when I ate there before. Definitely a sub par brunch. Would not go back again for brunch.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Business Meals, Disabled Access
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2017

I had a group of 11 people. The staff were very nice in putting tables together so we could all sit as a group. the bill, however, was a mess. Rather than ask if we wanted separate checks, the bill came as one large bill. I was charge for 4 glasses of wine and I only had one. I think the waitress got confused in splitting out the bill. I was too tired to deal with it all and just paid it. Normally, this is one of my favorite restaurants for sitting at at the bar with friends. I do not recommend bringing a group here however.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating
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food3
ambience4
service1
value2

 
·Dined on August 24, 2017

Disappointed by the service. We booked a private room for 13 people and only had one waiter waiting on us, doing his best but with one waiter the service was not at the level of the price we paid. I wouldn't recommend it for a private event. The reservation team did a great job, but the service and the quality of the dining experience wasn't there.

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food4
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 24, 2017

The restaurant staff, greeters to waiters, et al handled their duties professionally and efficiently. They were also friendly. The 2 hours complimentary parking was very helpful, especially when one of the friends forgot to bring the disabled placard--less rush eating his lunch. Good place for friends get-together.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

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

The place was quiet and a great place to meet and talk. Service is there and at a discrete distance.

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food4
ambience5
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 24, 2017

Did not celebrate a birthday even though I posted it online.

Tags: Casual
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food2
ambience4
service2
value3

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

Lovely dining room, very good wait staff, but the food was at best ok. We've had better Italian food on the peninsula and for less.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 19, 2017

Il Fornaio has a wide variety of selections with very good pasta options. Its food is prepared well, well-seasoned and fresh. A very enjoyable meal.

Tags: Authentic, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 19, 2017

Reliable service and food. Construction in the neighborhood but it should be finished soon.

Tags: Cozy, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Authentic, Good for Groups, Romantic, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Sunday Lunch, Great for Brunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

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