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

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

4.1

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.0

ambience

4.1

value

3.8

Noise

Moderate

83% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (27)
Good for Birthdays (20)
Good for a Date (20)
See All
Business Meals (18)
Good for Anniversaries (18)
Great for Lunch (17)
Good for Groups (17)
Authentic (15)
Sunday Lunch (14)
Fit for Foodies (13)
Neighborhood Gem (12)
Comfort Food (12)
Casual (11)
Notable Wine List (10)
Romantic (10)
Great for Brunch (10)
Creative Cuisine (9)
Fun (9)
Kid-friendly (8)
Disabled Access (8)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Bar Seating (7)
Healthy (7)
Gluten Free Options (6)
Seasonal (6)
Cozy (5)
Quiet Conversation (5)
Worth the Drive (5)
Afternoon Coffee (4)
Local Ingredients (4)
Great for Outdoor Dining (4)
Quick Bite (4)
Tasting Menu (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Late-night Find (3)
People Watching (3)
Afternoon Tea (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Great Beer (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Organic (1)
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2012 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined a day ago

We picked il fornaio because we wanted good food which could meet the diverse needs of our group and would accept a reservation. We did not want to wait in line! We found instead excellent salads, the best meatballs my 16 year old son says he ever had, table bread so fresh, flavorful and tender that I was hard pressed to only have a taste after the clamor arose about how good it was (and we had some French bread snobs in our group) great salmon, pizza, pasta and... the desserts! We are coming back soon! Seriously, I’m salivating as I type!

Tags: Fun, Quick Bite, Authentic, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Great for Brunch, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Creative Cuisine, Sunday Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 3 days ago

This was for Valentines Day +1. Great service.The servers are well trained. I had the rack of lamb and it was delish. My wife had the special ravioli with butternut squash and it also was very tasty. We will return!

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Romantic, Good for Groups
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 4 days ago

Consistently pleasant and enjoyable.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 4 days ago

Excellent food, service and atmosphere.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 12, 2018

Karen, our server was great. Food great as usual. The only issue we had was that we had a table near the door.. Every time the door was opened, there was a cold draft. So, all four of us were not really comfortable the whole dinner. Too bad, Il Fornaio (Palo Alto) doesn’t put up some type of curtain, or something, to block the inflow of a cold wind onto their diners

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
·Dined on February 11, 2018

Waiter did not bring bread to the table. He rolled his eyes every time we asked a question. We've been coming here for years and this is the first time we had issues with the service.

Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service1
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 11, 2018

This was a very "off night" for Il Fornaio Palo Alto. Usually, the food and service are remarkably consistent. Waiter was absent, took a long time between seating, ordering, dessert, bill service. Food was off. Disappointed that the tasting menu was gone. Salad (speciality--farro and greens) was under-seasoned with not enough acid. Small portions for main courses (speciality, salmon) and for the pasta course. I had from the regular menu (seafood grill), so portion was sufficient. I am not sure I would return even though we have been good customers for several years.

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food2
ambience3
service1
value2

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on February 9, 2018

Quite noisy.

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food4
ambience2
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 30, 2018

I LOVE IL FORNAIO!!!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Toronto)·Dined on January 27, 2018

There were only two of us so we couldn't sample a lot of the entrees. We ordered the butternut squash ravioli which was quite nicely made and tasty. The letdown was with the Margarita Pizza which was very soggy, cold and lacking in basil. The bread was average. We had to get up and go get our own balsamic vinegar to add to the olive oil because the waiter put so miniscule a dab. If I were to go again I believe I would stick with the pasta entrees.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 27, 2018

It was a family oriented restaurant and definitely I am bringing my husband again here for a date night for the dinner. I wish they had gluten free pizza as I rally craved for a pizza but couldn’t enjoy it because they didn’t have gluten free pizza on the menu.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 24, 2018

We use to eat at Il Fornaio a lot however moved further away from Palo Alto therefore this was our first time back in a number of years. We've always be pleased with the restaurant and service. We were celebrating our relatives wedding anniversary

Since this was lunch time service was a little slow due to a lot of people. People were nice and polite.

The food was good and we most likely will be back.

Cranes

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

The entrees were simply terrible. One ravioli entrée was cold, overly sweet, and mushy. An expensive veal entrée had nice veal cutlets covered with shredded sour artichoke pieces. On the same plate were some greasy, garlic-leaden, cold roasted potatoes and nearly raw over-garlicked green beans and raw carrots. What a mess.
I won't be rushing back.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food1
ambience3
service3
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

We went for a birthday dinner with my grandparents, and the food and service were fine, but with the open kitchen it was so loud that my poor grandparents couldn't hear a word all night, which was a little upsetting. The restaurant and staff handled our group of 7 very well, so I would recommend this location for groups of people with great hearing!

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food3
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

Consistently good quality food and great service. Our server, Chris, was outstanding. The executive chef deboned my seabass. Everyone loved their food. We have been coming here for a couple decades and glad it's still going strong.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 20, 2018

Very pleased with food and service. Will return soon.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 17, 2018

Good food, good service, modest portion sizes.

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food3
ambience3
service4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on January 13, 2018

I was at Il Fornaio on 1/13/18 with 3 friends to celebrate a birthday. After enjoying our soup/ salad, we had to wait for more than one hour for our entrees. we expressed being unhappy with the long delay. our waitress and manager apologized for the delay giving us different reasons for the delay. In the end , we were generously compensated and walked out thanking the manager for taking care of us . we look forward to going back in the future for dinner.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 12, 2018

Consistent food quality and service. Nice ambience and friendly staff.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 12, 2018

Soup and Pizza good the fish very bad , pasta ok the desert excellent

Tags: Casual
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 12, 2018

We had a great team dinner for our organization at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. The person who helped us set it up was very accommodating and even swapped out an appetizer last-minute for our vegan team member. The food was delicious, and we had our own small private room. I highly recommend the restaurant, and we will be back!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Groups, Gluten Free Options, Business Meals, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 9, 2018

Excellent choice for our business lunch meeting.

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food4
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 7, 2018

Service was very good. Our waitress was very attentive. Though the grilled seafood combo I ordered was a bit over cooked and dry.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 6, 2018

The food was OK but not great. Attentive service. Nice ambiance and location

Tags: Romantic
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 6, 2018

Good food but not much of it. Caprese salad OK, nothing special. It was served on a hot plate which I thought was weird. The venison was tasty. The spinach concoction, what little there was of it, was OK. At least it was all expensive. Service was very good.

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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 6, 2018

We used to frequent Il Fornaio several times a year but haven’t been in several months. Not sure I will go back. Our recent dinner was very disappointing due to horrible service and I mean horrible. The waiter was rude, you know the kind that makes it seem like an inconvenience out to serve you? My food was cold but we waited so long that I ate it anyway. I asked the manager to bring me an item but she never returned. Unfortunate as it used to be better.

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food4
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 4, 2018

I have asked repeatedly for help in that my Iphone 10 cannot use your app to indicate that I had a passport dinner. I am thoroughly disappointed.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on December 31, 2017

One of the worse Italian restaurants we have ever been. The food is bland and the service mediocre and inattentive. We returned the crustini because it arrived soggy and the salmon was overcooked and without flavor. Pasta was generic and the pizza was Pillsbury doughy. The cocktails ere bitter and too strong. A total amateur job.

With all this, the prices were typical Palo Alto: too high but with poor quality food.

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food1
ambience2
service2
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Il Fornaio is a very good restaurant that has been in business in Palo Alto for a long time. Dec. 24 was a special abbreviated menu so not the usual long list of many regional dishes. The staff are very pleasant and helpful and the service good. The food is much more authentic than in most American Italian restaurants so it is quite a bit more like being in Italy.

Tags: Fun, Comfort Food, Kid-friendly, Authentic
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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve dinner. The restaurant was packed and on a busy night like Christmas Eve, it will always take longer for dinner to come out from the kitchen. Service was attentive however and we all had a wonderful time.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 24, 2017

We attended Il Fornaio for Christmas Eve dinner. We were able to snag a back booth for 2. It was a lot quieter than most of the tables in the restaurant, it tends to be noisy there much of the time. The food was great, a good-sized meal, not too big, not too small, just right. Good salad. Overall service was great. We really enjoyed the ambiance and the food was really good. A bit on the pricey side, only for special occasions for us, but overall a great restaurant for holiday dining.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Late-night Find, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

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

Great meal, wonderful service and very friendly staff

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date, Seasonal, Casual, Local Ingredients, Good for Groups, Business Meals, Notable Wine List, Sunday Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Brunch, Fun, Afternoon Coffee, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 23, 2017

Felt rushed by the kitchen staff, main course came along at the same time than the appetizers.

Waiter was good.

Oh, I was about to forget and this isn’t fair: really nice gesture from the manager, he sent us 2 glasses of champagne upon our arrival because we were celebrating our anniversary.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value3

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

We had a party of eight for dinner and we were seated in an area in the back, but it was nice because it was quieter back there. Service was excellent but the food was not hot. The bruschetta calda was garlicky and full of tomatoes and was very tasty as were the calamaretti Fritti. The beet salad was also flavorful and full of beets. I recommend the penne with vodka sauce, but not the butternut ravioli. The seafood risotto was good, but lacking in seafood. The steaks were also very good. We were given a complimentary homemade dessert which was like a bread with a cream sauce that was very light and tasty. Overall, it was a nice dinner, but the food needs to be hotter.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Romantic, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Groups, Authentic, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 23, 2017

Overall good, consistent with what Il Fornaio chain is all about. Great for Pasta and wood fire Pizza always great.

Tags: Cozy, Sunday Lunch, Disabled Access, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Minestrone and Caprece made a great lunch. Host was gracious to let me wait at the table, while waiting for my biz lunch counterpart.

Tags: Healthy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Food was ok. Place needs a redesign as it is very dated.

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food3
ambience1
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 21, 2017

Food was bad. Not what I ordered. Usually they are awesome.

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food1
ambience2
service4
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 19, 2017

The food at Il Fornaio is always wonderful tasting and beautifully presented. One never feels rushed to make a decision, finish a course or leave the table which is refreshing in an area where so many restaurants seem to want to turn over tables as quickly as possible.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Authentic
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food5
ambience3
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 17, 2017

Six of us gathered for brunch/lunch. We were all familiar with Il Fornaio so we were expecting a lovely meal. My friend that sat next to me ordered the same omelette as I did. It was barely warm & very dry. The waiter was terrible. He never brought one person’s tea and wasn’t even apologetic when this was brought to his attention. He wasn’t at all attentive to our table & didn’t check back with us until he came for the bill. Very disappointing! I hope you pass this on to the restaurant.

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food1
ambience4
service1
value2

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