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
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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

86% would recommend it to a friend

Special Occasion (28)
Good for a Date (20)
Business Meals (19)
See All
Good for Anniversaries (19)
Good for Birthdays (18)
Good for Groups (17)
Great for Lunch (16)
Neighborhood Gem (16)
Authentic (15)
Sunday Lunch (14)
Casual (13)
Fit for Foodies (13)
Comfort Food (12)
Notable Wine List (12)
Great for Brunch (10)
Fun (10)
Romantic (10)
Creative Cuisine (9)
Healthy (8)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Quiet Conversation (8)
Seasonal (8)
Kid-friendly (7)
Gluten Free Options (7)
Disabled Access (7)
Bar Seating (6)
Cozy (6)
Worth the Drive (6)
Great for Outdoor Dining (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Afternoon Coffee (4)
Local Ingredients (4)
People Watching (4)
Late-night Find (3)
Quick Bite (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Afternoon Tea (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Happy Hour (1)
Organic (1)
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1995 reviews
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·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
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 17, 2017

Our second visit and it didn't disappoint. Great food and service.

Tags: Special Occasion, Gluten Free Options, Great for Outdoor Dining, Late-night Find, Worth the Drive, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 14, 2017

We had a party of 12 adults and 2 kids. We arrived early and the table was set. They served us water and bread after 15min of being seated. No menus. One poor waiter was supporting our party and the other large party (10 people) and 3 other tables. After asking for additional olive oil and the menus, we ordered appetizers. No plates were provided. We asked for plates. Still no order for dinner. We finished our appetizers and then had to ask to place our order. The waiter was trying his hardest but they appeared to be low in staff. It continued like that - had to ask for coffee. We brought a small cake but they never asked us if we wanted dessert. Service was slow and very mismanaged. NO Fault of the waiter, again. Just bad management. Food was their saving grace. I would Not recommend this for big parties. Their staff is not equipped - even though inside it was somewhat empty.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries
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food3
ambience2
service1
value2

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on August 12, 2017

Authentic Italian food in the heart of Palo Alto. Good food, and a lovely venue. Server was a little intrusive, but I prefer it to slow service.

Tags: Authentic, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 9, 2017

Poor service - infrequent water refills, one in our party never got the (empty) plate so he should share, server brought drinks to the wrong person, and the buser tried twice to take our plates though we were not done.

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food5
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 9, 2017

Always Great!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on August 6, 2017

The food was amazing and the staff went above and beyond for me and my wife. We were celebrating our anniversary and were presented with complimentary champagne and appetizers. Great service all around. I work in hospitality (Hotel Sales) and it was nice to see a restaurant care so much about their guests. I will definitely be returning.

Tags: Comfort Food, Romantic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 5, 2017

Great service and great food. We all love Il Fornaio and 3 of the 5 of us have been frequenting the place for over 15 years.

Tags: Fun, Great for Outdoor Dining, Authentic, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

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

It was good, not great. Food is always good but sometimes the service is slow.

Tags: Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 30, 2017

Food was good and came quickly. I was dining with a toddler so that was appreciated!

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 28, 2017

Food was good. Everyone enjoyed their meals except for my dish. I had shell pasta with chicken and the dish just wasn't very good. They burnt the garlic which left a very bitter taste to the dish and the pasta was under-cooked. Wouldn't order again. Other than that everyone was happy with their meal.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Casual, Comfort Food
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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 28, 2017

This was one of the worst meals ever. I have been to this restaurant for years and it must have a new chef. It has gone downhill. The food was horrible. Pasta was under seasoned, Salmon was watery and undercooked, pizza was burnt. I think it is time to close the doors. They even offered us a free dessert but we turned it down to just get out of there.

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food1
ambience3
service2
value1

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

Wonderful family brunch here this past weekend. We were a large group (8 adults and 2 yr old).
Staff was very accommodating when we asked to be seated in the atrium area vs indoors even though they had to do a new table set-up. We received great service from our waiter, food was wonderful all around -- you can always count on Il Fornaio for good times & good food at large family gatherings!

Tags: Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 23, 2017

Food was good, just fine. Waitress was so sweet, but not really a good server. Didn't know when to approach the table to move the meal along. Kitchen was VERY slow and the restaurant was only 1/2 full at 7pm on a Saturday night in the Summer. The benefit was that the ambience was nice and it was quiet. Overall we had a nice time, but nothing about the food was memorable.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food3
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 23, 2017

I really like this Il Fornaio. I must say that I was disappointed in the food. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I expected. Sadly, I think that's the story most of the time. But, still, it was a very enjoyable evening.

Tags: Casual, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 15, 2017

We got there early, and waited for our other two friends at an outdoor table by the bar and ordered a drink ... what a wonderful atmosphere ... once they arrived, we got a table inside by the open doorway ... it was a beautiful day, and that was the perfect spot for the four of us. I have been there numerous times, and have never been disappointed with any of my selections. We will keep returning to taste their many more delicious menu choices. What a pleasant experience once again!

Tags: Healthy, Quiet Conversation, Kid-friendly, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays, Disabled Access, Fun, Cozy, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Good for a Date, Romantic, Casual, Authentic, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 15, 2017

Horrible service.. no doubt. Long delays in between courses and asparagus appetizer clearly overcooked and shriveled. I have never been to a restaurant where the appetizers came out separately, just like they were separate courses! At least a 10 minute delay between courses and no check-ins from the manager, even though he clearly was walking by our table frequently seeing us all on our phones.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Last minute choice as we needed somewhere open later to celebrate my daughter's 15th Birthday after a change of plan. Her request was somwhere that felt special that she could dress up to go to, it cerainly fit the bill. Definitely worth the drive across the bridge from the East Bay. We will be back ☺

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 9, 2017

Service and food quality have really gone downhill at this location over the past few years.
The Service mostly......very sad

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 8, 2017

The service and the restaurant overall was great! Five stars for their service, but the pasta was a bit underdone which made it heavy. Their sauce was good though and the appetizer, salad, and bread were all good as well.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Romantic, Scenic View, Fun, Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on July 7, 2017

We had been to Il Fornaii two weeks ago and the food was great. The mussels were the best ever and I looked forward to having them again but they weren't on the menu. This time dinner was disappointing. The appetizer (calamari fritta) was OK but too salty. The pear ravioli was swimming in a rich sauce that was way too much for the dish. The pasta bologanese was not good to look at and was just OK, the seafood stew was nicely presented and was the best of the three entrees.

The waiter was very helpful and attentive and the wine was good.

Tags: Happy Hour, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food2
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 4, 2017

A well established location of the Il Fornaio family of restaurants, with its own unique flair and character reflected in every aspect. A very well laid out floor plan from the bar area, to the kitchen, interior dining, and patio dining. The very friendly, knowledgeable and capable staff. Attention to details from recipes, food preparation, plate presentation, table service, decor, and cleanliness. Top scores all around. Bravo!

Tags: Romantic, Great for Lunch, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Happy Hour, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 1, 2017

Pasta was undercooked, both the fresh and dry pasta. Appetizers were alright, but the waiter tried to put in an order for 4 appetizers ($30 each) for a party of 4 adults and 2 kids, total upsell. He also didn't speak English very well and was difficult to understand. For the money, I would expect better food and a better service.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 26, 2017

Always welcoming and friendly. My favorite restaurant in Palo Alto.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 24, 2017

Food was delicious and David, the manager was great!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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

We each had pasta, and we're very pleased. A very good Palo Alto dining experience

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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 23, 2017

I have always enjoyed Il Fornaio in Palo Alto, but haven't been there in many years. Last night's special risotto dinner was not very good and especially for the price, it was not very tasty. The cannolli dessert was also very bland. I don't know why the food here isn't as good as it used to be, but I'm sure there's a reason. Hopefully the food will improve in the future.

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food2
ambience5
service3
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 21, 2017

Il Fornaio has a practice of changing a menu every month to feature a different region of Italy. We go for the changes in cuisine and always order the tasting menu to get several offerings of food usually new to us and we normally add the wine flight for the same reason—we try wines that we would never buy in a store just to see if there is a winner (usually not). A delightful evening most times—this time with better than average service but a more limited special dessert menu.

Tags: Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Fun, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, People Watching, Tasting Menu
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 20, 2017

Apparently our reservation never reached them. This will be the last time I make a reservation online.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value1

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Food was reliably high quality. Portion sizes are generous. Service tonight was uncharacteristically slow and erratic. For our party of 7, he took 2 drink orders and left. When he returned, I placed my drink order but no one else's. It took 4 separate orders to get our 7 drinks. Actual placement of food violated every rule I ever learned as a server. Reaching across people, not between. Placement of drinks on wrong side of a place setting. Placement of soup where bread plate normally sits because he hadn't removed the service plate (and never did remove it). All very odd. Perhaps it was this guys first night, but still, it was good food and very poor service.

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food5
ambience4
service1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Restaurant was busy, and seemed servers were stretched a bit too thin. Sat out on the back patio given it was a warm night and the restaurant inside was very warm. It is usually pleasant in the back. Unfortunately, servers starting setting up for a party not long after we were seated, so it extremely noisy. I wish the restaurant had warned us.

First course of soups and salads came out before the wine and other drinks! No chance to savor the wine. My husband had to ask about his glass of wine several times before it appeared. Enjoyed the regional tasting menu except for the sea bass...so many bones, couldn't eat it. Was the worst fish dish I've had at il Fornio, and likely won't order fish there again.

Kids enjoyed their pasta dishes, and gelato afterwards.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 16, 2017

Nice location with a variety of dishes and helpful staff

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 15, 2017

Has been better. Is becoming a just ok hotel restaurant

Tags: Kid-friendly, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals
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food3
ambience3
service2
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 13, 2017

Dessert was fabulous. Serving staff was very kind, and very politebut not as attentive as they could have been. Food was good, not great, but good.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

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