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Permanently Closed - Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto

356 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Great for Lunch
  • Good for Groups
  • Fit for Foodies

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This restaurant is permanently closed. Permanently Closed - Sam’s PALO ALTO has now been SOLD - our last day of operation was Sunday Dec 11. Thanks for voting us “BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT IN PALO ALTO” two years in a row, and to our great staff for their excellent food and service. Many of them will be joining us at our Half Moon Bay Sam’s location. Watch for exciting news early next year about new, smaller Sam’s café locations, coming soon! If you have an unused Open Table gift card, email for a credit, or visit our website. We hope to see you at Sam’s Half Moon Bay, or at Sam’s ChowderMobile!

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Seafood, Fish, Oyster Bar
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Hours of operation
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am to 9:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am to 9:30pm

Sunday: 11:00am to 2:30pm
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Phone number
(650) 614-1177
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Pete Richey
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Private party facilities
Sam's provides a fun atmosphere perfect for any occasion. With our fresh and delicious seafood, extraordinary wines and friendly staff, your guests will enjoy an unforgettable experience. Sam's can accommodate a variety of different sized groups up to 140 guests. Contact us for more information.
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Private party contact
Kara Jankowski: (888) 986-4584
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Catering available via large group takeout for special events, business lunches, meetings and social events.
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Cross street
Emerson Street
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Parking details
Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto is located on the corner of Emerson and University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

Parking is available in the city lot directly behind the restaurant,
and in the High Street and Lytton Street garages.
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Public transit
When taking Cal Train please use the University stop.
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Live music on Thursday nights, which is also Ladies Night
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Special events & promotions
We offer a number of private dining options, including our Clipper Room, which opens out to University Avenue, for "al fresco" dining. For private dining and catering events, please contact the restaurant at (650) 614-1177 and ask for the Manager, or email
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Gift Card
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 356 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.8  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
75% of people would recommend it to a friend
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vipleww (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on December 9, 2016

I had to go and dine at the Palo Alto location one last time. I didn't want to wait until the last day and deal with the crowds - I'm sure there were crowds. I liked this place - they do seafood right. It's relaxed/casual and the service was always just right.

vipRWBucklin (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on December 9, 2016

First time to the Palo Alto location. Really wanted the clam crowder and the bowl literally fed 4 of us. Not too creamy/heavy and nice and savory.

The seared ahi tuna salad was delicious, as was the tuna poke. My husband's sea bass could have been better. It was a little lack luster for the $. Standard burger was fine for my non pescetarian son.

Good cocktails, friendly staff.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on December 3, 2016

We had dinner here Saturday - the Tuna Poke appetizer was generous and very delicious. The oysters were also very tasty!

DineAboutTheWorld (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on November 25, 2016

Sam's Chowder House is always a great meal. Their clam chowder is spectacular and their menu offers a lot of different options for even the pickiest of eaters. Definitely worth trying out once.

Victoria (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on November 18, 2016

Great service and great food every time! We go there for birthdays, anniversary's and family get together to just enjoy each others company and visit in the fun atmosphere while having great cocktails and the best calamari ever.

vipJDRLV (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on November 16, 2016

After a day of exams at Stanford Medical Center we decided to go for a celebratory seafood dinner. Sam's was near our hotel so we decided to give it a try. A great choice. We were greeted warmly at the door and shown to a nice table by the window. Our waiter Steve was attentive and made some great suggestions. My wife had the Crab Stuffed Shrimp special and commented that it was one of the best shrimp dishes she has ever eaten. I was steered toward the Fisherman's Stew as a less spicy alternative to the Chioppino and found it to be great. Lots of mussels, shrimp, clams, and a large piece of white fish in a mild broth. For desert we shared a pumpkin pane cotta with ice cream. And to make things even better we were there on Wednesday evening and could take advantage of the half price bottles of wine. A great meal at a fair price with fish market ambience. We will be back when in Palo Alto.

vipOpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on November 12, 2016

The manager and wait staff always treat us amazingly well! And the food is outstanding! Love the lobster roll!

vipOpenTable Diner (Orlando)
5.0  Dined on November 9, 2016

Was able to get an outdoor table for dinner, had terrific service, great food (had a prawns/bacon/brussel sprout special) and 1/2 off bottle of wine on a Wednesday night. Will definitely be back!

SueBee (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on November 8, 2016

VERY limited menu of salads and sandwiches. Not a lot of choices if you're feeling like more than that.

bp01 (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on November 6, 2016

Food was good overall, but service was lacking. We waited 15 mins for a server to even notice us, eventually we had to flag someone to get the attention of the wait staff.

Fabulous (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on October 30, 2016

We celebrated our friend, Dick's, 90th birthday with his wife, Carol - and Sam's could not have been more wonderful! Not only did our favorite server, Jose, provide us top-notch service, the food was excellent - thoroughly enjoyed by all (oysters, cioppino, fish & chips, hangtown fry). And the dessert crowned with the "90" birthday candles was the penultimate finish! We had a quiet table (essential due to Dick's poor hearing) and shared stories & memories over the hours. A most memorable and wonderful afternoon. With many thanks, Liza

jvhiii (San Francisco)
2.0  Dined on October 25, 2016

It's overpriced for the quality of the food and drinks. My wife ordered the sea bass, and what she got matched the dish she ordered (it had the lentils and delicata squash) the fish was definitely not sea bass. It looked like it was trout. I had the petrale sole, and my SIL had clam chowder and a beet salad. None of the dishes were bad, but none were really that flavorful. I also had a manhattan before dinner and thought they used a low quality rye. I feel like there are restaurants in the neighborhood that charge the same prices but give better tasting food.

OpenTable Diner (Seattle)
5.0  Dined on October 7, 2016

Amazing food ! Great staff!

CAChicago (Chicago)
5.0  Dined on September 21, 2016

Pretty excellent seafood restaurant. We ordered the paella, risotto, and seafood stew. They were somewhat all similar, but all were pretty good. The New England clam chowder was also excellent.

vipBFFweekend (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on September 15, 2016

A good place for seafood lovers. It was perfect meeting spot for business dinners. My boss enjoys it every single time.