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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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 1, 2011

We enjoyed the food and left feeling comfortable and happy. Thank you!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 31, 2011

Quality food, lots of choices, menu can adapt to any diet. Real Italian style cooking and service. Patio in back is one of the great outdoor spots to have a meal. I go there several times a week; if I lived closer it would be more.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 31, 2011

The seasoned flatbread on their antipasti list is terrific, with excellent olive oil, kalamata olives, and shaved cheeses, brought bubbling-hot to the table. The butternut squash soup was just okay, too thick and too sweet for my taste. It would have benefitted, I thought, by being cut by half with chicken broth to lighten it up. Also, because it was served in the customary wide, shallow soup bowl, it cooled faster than I could eat it (we were seated outside). Service and decor were excellent, and it was quiet enough to have a conversation with dining companions, always a plus! We'll be back for sure.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on March 31, 2011

It's a power scene in Silicon Valley. Hosts and waiters barely civil, food ok, but good location.

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food3
ambience4
service1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 26, 2011

Good food and a friendly helpful waiter. Il Fornaio can be noisy at times and therefore not always the best place for quiet conversation. But it was fine on Saturday night for my friend and me and we enjoyed the meal.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Notable Wine List
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 23, 2011

Excellent food and great service. Ambiance was fantastic as we were seated in a private room (not planned but a nice surprise). Great selection food, wine and dessert selection. We will be back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 23, 2011

I used to go to Il Fornaio a lot. And then we started having problems with the service. Apparently, things haven't changed. This week, I arrived at 11:15 for an 11:30 lunch reservation. It was pouring outside. I was told I couldn't be seated until 11:30. No problem. ... That is, until I noticed other people starting to be seated. I pointed that out to the hostess, and she said she'd seat me, but the waiter wouldn't come until 11:30. Fine-- except when I noticed a waiter go to another party's table. Food was great, but I'm not sure it's worth the bad feeling.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 21, 2011

We had a fine evening meal here on a Monday evening. The service was attentive and friendly. The ambiance is very nice and the buzz in the dining room was about right. Our personal menu was modest as my wife and I shared a pizza (took half of it home) and a tasty salad coupled with two glasses of red wine. (Malbec)

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 16, 2011

The service was outstanding, and so was the food.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (London)·Dined on March 12, 2011

The quality of the food was bad and it was badly cooked - microwaved, not grilled tomatoes.
The service was dreadful - starter and main course came at the same time and when the main course returned it was the same one reheated and dried out.
Never again.

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food1
ambience2
service1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 12, 2011

The hostesses seemed frazzled on our entry; each one told us that she would be right with us, only a few seconds apart. And there was only one party in line before us. However, we were seated promptly at the approximate time of the reservation.
Apart from spilling the wine the waiter was good. He answered our questions and was attentive refilling the water glasses. The only demerit: the sun-dried tomatoes seemed too large on the Conchiglie.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 12, 2011

My husband and I had the most delicious meal! My Cappellacci di Zucca, ravioli filled with tender butternut squash and walnuts with tomato sauce with brown butter, parmesan cheese and crisp fried sage leaves was wonderful! My favorite dessert of one scoop of deep dark chocolate and one scoop of vanilla bean gelato with one scoop of raspberry sorbet - I love them!

The service is very good! The room was warm and happy filled with people enjoying themselves.

Of course we shopped first for two loaves of very good bread and delicious cookies to take home!

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 12, 2011

For a first time experience, everything was great.

Tags: Good for Groups
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food5
ambience4
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 11, 2011

The second Ilfornaio restauraunt that I have ate at in three weeks and I am sorry to say that again I was disapointed. The bread was stale. The Salad salad was small and the service was not very good.

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food2
ambience3
service2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 8, 2011

We kept increasing the number of people like 10 to 15 and added 3 more right before the reservation time, but Il Fornaio accepted us very warmly. We got a kind of big room and it fit our situation because we were a really big group (we were 24 people in the end) including kids.The servers came very often, asked us food and drinks in very good timing, entertained especially kids very well and gave us nice services. We all were so satisfied. Food, drinks and deserts were very tasty.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on March 5, 2011

I ordered veal marsala, my husband ordered roast chicken. We were excited to go there for dinner but were later on dissapointed that both of our orders were bland and not flavorful. Marsala sauce failed to flavor the dish. The polenta came with it had no taste, it needs more flavors like herbs, garlic. Roast chicken is moist but failed on the taste, very bland. Our observaton on the service was slow everywhere. The restaurant needs to staff more waiters/waitresses.

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food1
ambience2
service2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 5, 2011

My birthday celebration at Il Fornaio was picture-perfect in so many ways. Ambiance was absolutely gorgeous, food was totally delish, Jesus the waiter was friendly, kind, and efficient, and the ease of making reservations with OpenTable was just a delight. I wish I could celebrate my birthday twice a month!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 2, 2011

There's something on the menu to please almost anyone so it's an excellent place to dine with a group. I was with five friends and we'll all enjoyed our meals. The food and wine were excellent. I'll definitely be back.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 1, 2011

They knew we had a business lunch, so they placed us towards the end of the restaurant where there was less noise from the open crowd. That was very considerate. Although a bit pricy for lunch, the food was very good and the portions ample.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 28, 2011

Always reliable, always delicious. Perfect for a mid-week family dinner when mom doesn't want to cook! My favorite treat is the spumoni ice cream... I don't know where they get it from, but it's the best around, and that's a classic Italian treat that's hard to find (at least a GOOD one, that is...)

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 27, 2011

Aside from our "head waiter" who was more interested in taking care of his hispanic clientele than he was us, the dinner experience was great. His assistant waiters were far better than he was. I hope he doesn't take the majority of the tips because he honestly did nothing for us except to recommend an expensive appetizer plate. Then he did nothing else, not even serve us. I just hope to not see him again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 25, 2011

Food is excellent, but our server was a little slow the other night. To be fair though, it appeared they were down a server. We always enjoy our meal there.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 19, 2011

We usually love Il Fornaio but somehow the chef must have been sleeping...the pasta and other dishes were just blah! No flavor, no salt no spices nothing! Even my cooking is better than that! Unbelievable. I really feel like calling the manager and chef just to mention it. Its terrible to leave guests with that in their mind. We wont be going there again. If we hadnt had dinner guests I would have most certainly sent my dish back!! So sorry because we are huge fans of Il Fornaio....

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Notable Wine List
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food1
ambience3
service2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 19, 2011

The changing regional menus are a great idea.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 18, 2011

Appetizers were great, as was the service, but the entrees were pedestrian to awful. My canneloni, a House Special, was soupy and flavorless, also overcooked (black crust on cheese topping and stringy, overdone spinach). The Puglia special pasta dish was uninspired per 2 diners. The person who ordered the grilled seafood appetizer for an entree was the winner. The beet salad was lovely. We didn't stay for dessert.

Tags: Good for Groups
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food2
ambience3
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 18, 2011

il Fornaio Palo Alto is consistant. The chain continues with its Italian regional dishes and wines which is something we never miss.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 15, 2011

All around excellent food, service, hostess and bar. Highly recommended

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 14, 2011

The booth was nice. There needed to be more candles and romantic music. The special Valentine menu was neither inspiring or romantic. The food was disappointing. Thank goodness my date loves me and the dessert saved the experience. Bon Apetit My search for amazing Italian fare is but far from over

Tags: Notable Wine List
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food2
ambience1
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 13, 2011

Since we made a reservation, we were seated right away. Our server was nice, but not very experienced. Overall the food was great, but the wine was good by extremely overpriced. Next time we will pay a corkage fee and bring out own bottle of wine. The mark up was about 350% from purchasing a bottle in the store! I would recommend this restaurant as a place to eat decent Italian food, overpriced by its Palo Alto location.

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food4
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 13, 2011

The restaurant is very good, the service is a bit slow. as it was a Sunday night.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 13, 2011

We really liked that Il Fornaio was open all day Sunday and went there around 2 and the place was pretty crowded, so a good ambiance for us. My wife thought the salmon was good and I had the squash ravioli with toasted sage, which was great, I think it's one of their best dishes. Our appetizer, flatbread, was also very good. We've been there before and would go there again.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 13, 2011

The front desk had my reservation and we were seated immediately. The food was tasty and good portions. The only complaint was that the waiter never returned to refill our glasses or checked if we needed something else.

Tags: Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 12, 2011

Great food. Great service. Beautiful, heated outdoor patio.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 12, 2011

A cold, windy, early Spring evening and the light and warmth of Il Fornaio welcomed my husband and I out of the growing dark. A basket with a variety of warm breads came with a saucer of delicious, fragrant and fruity olive oil! Our regional entrees were so good! I had Penne al Forno - pasta tubes with the most delicious tender mini beef meatballs with tomato sauce and two cheeses. DELICIOUS!!! My husband had Stracotto di Manzo which was tender beef ribs with vegetables. My favorite dessert of a scoop of deep dark chocolate, another of vanilla bean gelato and then one of pure raspberry sorbert ended our meal. I felt deep content over the delicious food, comfortable atmosphere and very good service by our waitress Leigh. We will be back!

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Kid-friendly, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 9, 2011

The ravioli special on Wednesday 2/9 was terrific. It's a good "business" restaurant

Tags: Good for Groups, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience3
service3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 6, 2011

its so average. Il Fornaio is a chain restaurant so one would expect consistency but this one in particular is so boring. The food is just put on a plate and put on the table - there is no cuisine in it. My chicken was very dry (being the last chicken of the night). The pasta was hot, but had that "just been heated in a microwave" look - kind of a dull sheen. I've been here 3 or 4 times now

I guess my overall take on this place is that an Italian restaurant that is not staffed by a single Italian is not an Italian restaurant. It seems like everyone is just doing the minimum to get though their shift so they can go home. There is no pride nor is there any creativity in this place. Sad, because the Il Forniao in Las Vegas is quite g

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food2
ambience3
service3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 5, 2011

It's lost a little of its sheen the past couple of years. No more delicious rolls at the table, just cut bread. Also, my husband's fish came with 2 pieces of potato and an olive, despite the advertised potatoes and veg. The server who de-boned his fish said that the fish had been "broken" when they plated it, so she was having a hard time deboning it at the table. My salmon and roasted potatoes were really overcooked. Veg was not that vibrant. My son said his pasta/bolognese was a little off.

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food2
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 5, 2011

The food has been excellent in each visit to the Palo Alto Il Fornaio, and we have had similar experiences at the Il Fornaio Walnut Creek. The ambiance is very good, and the dining areas generally convey a sense of intimacy and provide a good atmosphere for conversation.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 4, 2011

Lunch for my aged uncle and his wife--table of four. Quite ambiance. Good service. The sea food salads were adequate, but the cannellini beans spread throughout were hard and underdone, which ruined the salad. The inalata di tacchino: the turkey was dry and stringy. I mentioned these to the waiter who either did not understand what I said or chose to ignore it.

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food2
ambience4
service4

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on February 3, 2011

My wife and I enjoyed our dinners. There was a slight mess up with our order, but our servers were quick to fix the problem and gave us a free dessert. We've eaten at several Il Fornaios, and this was among the best.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service4

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