MacArthur Park - Palo Alto

4.1
1562 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
  • 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
What 1562 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
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GK
GailKH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It was a new new year’s eve venue!

m
vipmeee
San Francisco
91 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience2

overall ok but the restaurant needs to do a much better job informing potential diners what is happening (we went on NY Eve) cuz it was very confusing and even the staff didn't know what was going on. it wasn't so fun being off in a side room where we were the sole diners for the first half of our meal, so much for NY Eve vibe. Also, the buffet was so far from our table that it got cold :( ugh i'd go back but maybe not for NY Eve again.

M
vipMarielena
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fab food and excellent service

F
vipFab4
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hadn’t been there in many years and it’s just as beautiful as ever. Food was excellent, better than expected!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food, people, and ambiance for Christmas dinner!

MK
vipMaryK
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience2

We came to MacArthur Park for their Christmas dinner buffet. We have come here many times for Christmas dinner, and it has been excellent most of the time, but this past Christmas was not one of those times. Most of the food was cold, and the beef was tough. The green beans were barely cooked. The three salads were excellent, however. We were seated for dinner at 5:30, and most of the desserts had been picked over by the time we finished our meal. Our waiter, I believe his name was Javier, was excellent. We spent $400 for four people, without any cocktails. As MacArthur Park is the only restaurant open on Christmas, we really have to rethink plans for next year. $400 is a lot of money for a mediocre meal.

CA
CAzxxxxxx
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall4food2service5ambience5

The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was mediocre, I’m pretty salty.

DA
DAVET
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Great choice for Christmas dinner. Wonderful food and service.

MI
MICHELLEC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Christmas dinner

Report
CE
CECILIA
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The waitress was very attentive and so pleasant. Made our Christmas meal wonderful. 😋

HT
HaroldT
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall1food1service3ambience4

Food was worse than a soup kitchen, I'll never be back. Talk about price gouging!!! Bit if you need insoles for your boots, try the prime rib. Christmas dinner was absolutely disgusting, I wouldn't subject my dog to that swill.

HH
vipHiltonH
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Lovely time.

h
hmb1
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Nice brunch buffet for Christmas; pretty standard assortment; well done

PS
vipPaulS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome as always, our go to for special occasions

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Upon booking, it said that proof of vaccination was required, but nobody checked it on arrival.

S
vipSlicey
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience3

The Christmas Lunch at MacArthur park has been a family tradition for a five or six years now. Unfortunately, the quality of the buffet continues to deteriorate. Soggy potatoes and bacon. Old eggs benedict that sat around for a while. It was all very mediocre and not worth the cost.

R
Renee
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely dinner. Sat near the fireplace - such nice ambiance in a beautiful building. Great service. Always felt safe.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

I was told at the time of reservation that there would be plenty of gluten-free options including desserts. It was disappointing to not have a gluten free menu available although staff did their best to assist with my allergies. My hunger while waiting was overwhelming.

KR
KellyRR
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Disappointed with the clientele for Christmas Eve, you’d think people would be more dressed & well mannered. Not the Restaurant’s fault.
A lot of people. Sorry pianist was not playing.
Happy New Years!

P
Peter
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We have been going there for over 30 years. We stopped when it was taken over by someone new. The food was marginal. The original owner is now providing the same level food and service as before. We always look forward during this time of year to sit in front of the fireplaces and see the very tall tree. Try the barbecue food, especially the ribs. I had the salmon & calamari which were excellent.
The only suggestion would be to add the white table cloths back.

A
A5467
Palm Springs
5 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Chris dinner with our 100 year old friend. She loved it as did we. Lamb was outstanding as usual.
Love his restaurant.

JT
JaniceT
1 review
Dined on December 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place -great staff
Service for large group was excellent
Ambiance was festive

KO
vipelaineKOA
San Francisco
173 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

MacArthur Park never disappoints. The quality of food is always good and the atmosphere splendid especially during the holiday season with a magnificent big tree decorating the hall. We enjoy this congenial restaurant.

S
vipStacey
San Francisco
54 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

OT
OpenTable Diner
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall1food1service2ambience1

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

AA
AndyA
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
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 on November 25, 2021
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 on November 25, 2021
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 on November 25, 2021
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
44 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
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 on November 25, 2021
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
173 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
173 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!

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 4.1 stars by 1562 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.

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