MacArthur Park - Palo Alto

3.9
1555 Reviews
$30 and under
American
MacArthur Park - An American Experience
For decades, MacArthur Park has been about bringing people together around outstanding California BBQ and comfort food in a casual yet elegant setting.
You’ll find us nestled in the heart of downtown Palo Alto, and walk back in time in to the simple elegance of a bygone era in a dining room designed by Julia Morgan in 1918.
We take traditional BBQ on a ride with the richness of California’s bounty, offering our signature Baby Back Ribs, fresh fish, meats and chicken, steak, unique salads and comfort food using local farm fresh produce. Portions are large, and there is something for every taste including vegan and vegetarian choices. Join us for cocktails and dining on our garden patio, nightly.

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Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Staff is vaccinated
  • Proof of vaccination required to dine indoors
  • Proof of vaccination required to dine outdoors
What 1555 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.0
service
3.8
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
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S
vipStacey
San Francisco
51 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent every time! Food is delicious. Service is great. Lovely environment.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Seattle
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall1food1service2ambience1

Stay very far away from this place. Lipstick on coffee cups. Low quality food !!!!!!!

AA
AndyA
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall2food1service2ambience2

I did not know beforehand that their Thanksgiving meal was a buffet or i would not have gone. The basic turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes was good but the other side dishes were not - bitter, tart cranberries, undercooked veggies and stale rolls. Salads were ok but not presented well on big platter, serve yourself style. The prime rib was chewy and lacking flavor. The better selections were the bbq chicken and ribs. The desserts and coffee were fine. Soft drinks were supposed to be free but I was charged $12 for a bottle of sparkling water. Service was spotty, our server spilled a glass of tea all over out table and took a long time to clean up. The buffet itself was sort of chaotic depending on how many people were scrambling around. Overall a disappointment, would not return.

l
lightningrob
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience4

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal at MacArthur Park. The food was excellent - no complaints there. The service was slow, I think it took over 10 minutes to get water and a bottle of wine after we asked for it. They were clearly understaffed, but this seemed to be true nearly everywhere. We would go back, but probably on a less busy day.

S
vipSuzanneh
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

MacArthur Park is the best American Food restaurant in the Bay Area. This is based on my 35 years of experience dining at MacArthur Park.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Went for Thanksgiving dinner. Buffet had many choices but food wasn't very warm. The patio was not as nice as the inside -- just red checkered tablecloths. We were seated by a heater that they knew was broken. Overall, expensive for the food and experience.

IB
vipItaliaBella
San Francisco
41 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Good Thanksgiving buffet. Roast Turkey and prime rib were cooked properly and had nice flavor. The servers were working hard to accommodate the crowd.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food3service3ambience4

We were here for their Thanksgiving Buffet. The buffet was scaled back from previous years (IMO).
Some of the food was ok. Some of it was bland tasting. They didn’t serve ham which was disappointing.
it seemed they lacked waitstaff as well.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Staff was great, we enjoyed our meals. Nikita was very cheerful and helpful.😊

RR
vipRobertR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Ate in nice outside area and felt very safe. Service was great. We enjoyed the baby back ribs and boneless chicken both very good. Price was reasonable.

KO
vipelaineKOA
San Francisco
170 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Quality of the food is very good; large portions and a reasonable price. The wedge salad has a lot of blue cheese over it. The weekend soup is their homemade clam chowder and it is delicious. We shared the grilled chicken kabobs (very moist) served with rice a lots of fresh green beans. We did not have room for the mud pie which was unfortunate because it is one of the best and large enough to share with someone else unless they have a "fast fork/spoon".

We love the ambiance in this older building with the open rafters. They also have an outdoor terrace with heaters for these warmer evenings.

The chef/owner was kind to stop by out table to say hello.

K
Katherine
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Service was exceptionally slow. Was there almost 3 hours, and toward the end, had to flag waitress over to order dessert, which was rushed, because we had to get to the airport. I was highly offended by a wages contribution of $7-8 was hidden in middle of the itemized check. I reassessed the amount of my tip. If they have to raise menu prices, OK, but don’t blatantly require me to supplement budget.

FA
FairAndBalanced
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall2food1service2ambience1

MacArthur Park in serious need of an update. Food terrible; ambience similar. Wine was okay and at least our group was able to get a table.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Service was wonderful but food was just ok. We both had the fried chicken which was fair. Potato skin appetizer was huge (we each had 2 servings & still took half home) and very good. Gelato dessert (mango & raspberry) was VERY sweet.
Haven’t been there in many years. Will probably be that long before I go back.

KO
vipelaineKOA
San Francisco
170 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Entrees are well prepared and very generous in portions. Most of the time we have to share a meal or take home half of it. The special memo features grilled kabobs of chicken or ground meat that are delicious and served with basmati rice and veggies. Some night they serve a fantastic tortilla soup and on the weekends a clam chowder, both delicious.

We have always loved the ambiance of the rafted dining room.

H
Hertas
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of those rare gems in the heart of Silicon Valley that takes you back in time. Located in a historic building designed by Julia Morgan, this gem is frequented by locals and features traditional American fare. We had the poblano peppers stuffed with a mix of cheeses, onions strings, baby back ribs with homemade marinade and a demi-glace porkchop all of which was delicious. The French 75 was to die for and the wine selection solid. We'll be back.

DC
DarylC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The patio was lovely, and we enjoyed the live music that was at the right volume so we could enjoy it as well as our dinner conversation. Our food was excellent!

HW
vipHenWeigh
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Overall very good. Great service. Nice, quiet, COVID safe indoor ambiance. Fried chicken and burger were excellent. French fries were soggy and disappointing which is why I didn’t give food 5 stars.

LC
vipLauraC
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall3food5service3ambience3

We reserved outdoor seating and were told it was unavailable when we arrived.
I don't understand the point of reserving, especially during a pandemic. The manager did not care at all.

The food was excellent and the server was excellent.

KF
KarinF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved eating on the patio!

KO
vipelaineKOA
San Francisco
170 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Lovely atmosphere whether dining inside or in the garden. The food is very good, the portions are extremely generous and the cost is surprising low for such quality. We will return again and again.

The Friday night clam chowder was served in a large bowel. We had an over sized wedge salad with blue cheese crumble large enough to share, and spinach and cheese raviolis (8 pockets) with a delicate sauce including tomato piece; we shared that as well. We met the chef/owner named Faz and congratulated him on the menu and the endurance to stay open in such difficult times. It was surprising to see s few people dinning there. Have they forgotten this wonderful place.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Horrendously bad service. We arrived on time for a 7:30 pm reservation. Although there were plenty of empty tables, it took them 10 minutes to seat us. We had to ask twice to get water. We each ordered an appetizer. Mine arrived, but my husband’s had still not arrived by 8:30 pm. Nor had they opened the bottle of wine that we brought. The “musician” was a joke and was both annoying and too loud. We will never go there again. We paid for what we did receive (2 mixed drinks and my appetizer) and left.

MM
MaryM
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice outdoor setting with friendly serving. Great for happy hour!

P
Peter
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Excellent service. Sitting in the back patio, it was quiet enough for conversations even with the live music going. The food is average. I had the full rack of baby back ribs, tasty, but a bit dry and does have the fall-off-the-bones feel.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
250 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2021
Overall1food1service3ambience2

MacArthur Park has deteriorated since our last visit awhile ago.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it! I had the ribs and my buddy had the shrimp pasta. We both started with the tortilla soup. Everything was amazing. The host was so gracious and kind, the serving staff was top notch and so friendly. It really was a great experience. I will be back!

M
vipMarshie
San Francisco
82 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Came as 2 couples for my BFFs birthday. We were here at 6:00 during happy hour so half price drinks on a small variety of them. Appetizers off the happy menu are cheaper too. The onion strings are delicious as is the calamari. For dinner, birthday girl had fried chicken which was a little dry but mashed potatoes were e cell eat. One gent had ribs which he loved (their specialty). My hubby and I had cheeseburgers with fries which were delicious. We ate in the open patio and it was lovely out there. Service was excellent. Come here often and will come again

DS
vipDinerSF
San Francisco
160 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Disappointing that they were out of their own branded wine; the number of times we had to call the server and remind him of what he was supposed to bring; all said, the food was nice. Really wanted to like it more, but between out of stock items, a wrong bottle brought to table that we had to send back since the server didn’t listen well, and server errors overall…they need to work out some issues.

WG
WG4Foodie
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2021
Overall2food2service3ambience1

My wife and I have gone to MP many times over the years. Last night, we felt the experience was not worth the effort. The service was fine, but the food was very average and nothing special. We were celebrating my wife's belated birthday. I ended up telling her I still owed her a birthday dinner somewhere better. Very disappointed and will not be returning. There are much better restaurants closer to home.

S
vipStacey
San Francisco
52 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent meal, excellent setting, excellent all around. Happy to leave with left overs too!

P
Pokey
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love Macarthur Park! The service (and our server) was wonderful, and the ambience is good (and quiet).

w
wgdm
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

It was a real find for us, with really good food and great service. The patio in back is very nice.

S
vipStacey
San Francisco
52 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Al perfect meal in a perfect setting. Highly recommend.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great staff, great service, great food!

M
vipMarshie
San Francisco
82 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Here with girlfriends during happy hour outside in their beautiful patio! Drinks were fabulous thanks to the awesome Aurilillio (I’m sure I botched that, sorry). Food was very good, service was excellent. Will be back soon

S
Simpletastes
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

It was sad to see it almost empty, as the food was as good as it has been in the 20 years I have been going there. Each time I go, I get lost as it’s easy to miss the turn. For a party of 4, with entrees at $16-18 each, soft drinks, 2 margaritas, one coffee, two desserts, the tab was $145 before tips. A tad overpriced, but still worthwhile.

SR
StevenR
1 review
Dined on July 16, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

First time to MacArthur Park. Have always meant to go. Extra impetus was live music of Paolozzi Tango Trio. Generous portions of Poblano chile, calamari appetizers. String Onions were less appetizing, a bit dry. Cobb salad was huge, should have been shared. Wedge salad was right sized for an individual.

q
quietdining4us
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food, outstanding service.

G
Gaucho12
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

attention in making the reservation and at the meal was superb, as expected... friendly attentive and with results

in contrast to the hubub on university avenue, the patio was quiet and uncrowded on this 4th of July Friday evening. the crowds have not returned, or have gone on holiday.

delightful to have an uncrowded patio seating, with no hustle and bustle.

food was prepared correctly, with attention to detail, and with art and energy

only one item i would change, reduce the pepper in the linguini prawns, to less than a 1/4 teaspoon per serving. ( or tabasco sauce) it was unnecessary and detracted from the prawn flavoring , which went unperceived.

S
Smitti
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

It was extremely pleasant sitting outside on the back patio. Our waitress was very understanding when our teen-ager could not decide on what to order for dinner. She was very friendly and helpful on suggesting was was good to eat. We certainly enjoyed our dinner and will definitely go back.

FAQs

MacArthur Park - Palo Alto does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates. MacArthur Park - Palo Alto also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (650) 321-9990.

MacArthur Park - Palo Alto is rated 3.9 stars by 1555 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

Tweets by MacArthur Park - Palo Alto