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  1. Distance: 0.07mi
  2. Distance: 0.09mi
  3. Distance: 0.18mi
  4. Distance: 0.18mi
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Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.07mi
  2. Distance: 0.09mi
  3. Distance: 0.18mi
  4. Distance: 0.18mi
  1. Distance: 0.07mi
  2. Distance: 0.09mi
  3. Distance: 0.18mi
  4. Distance: 0.18mi

About Permanently Closed - Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto

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 support@opentable.com for a credit, or visit our website. We hope to see you at Sam’s Half Moon Bay, or at Sam’s ChowderMobile!

185 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Seafood, Fish, Oyster Bar

Hours of Operation:
LUNCH & DINNER
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am to 9:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am to 9:30pm

BRUNCH
Sunday: 11:00am to 2:30pm

Cross Street:
Emerson Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(650) 614-1177

Website:
http://www.samschowderhousepa.com/

Entertainment:
Live music on Thursday nights, which is also Ladies Night

Catering:
Catering available via large group takeout for special events, business lunches, meetings and social events.

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.

Public Transit:
When taking Cal Train please use the University stop.

Executive Chef:
Pete Richey

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.

Private Party Contact:
Kara Jankowski: (888) 986-4584

Additional:
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

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 eventspa@samschowderhouse.com.

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Sam's Chowder House - Palo Alto - Permanently Closed Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.8

Overall Rating

based on all time ratingsThis restaurant has not received enough recent ratings to display a current ratings snapshot
food

3.8

service

3.9

ambience

3.5

value

3.5

Noise

Moderate

75% would recommend it to a friend

Great for Lunch (306)
Good for Groups (225)
Fit for Foodies (216)
See All
Neighborhood Gem (214)
Kid-friendly (200)
Special Occasion (100)
Great for Brunch (68)
Hot Spot (53)
Vibrant Bar Scene (41)
Notable Wine List (30)
Great for Outdoor Dining (20)
Late-night Find (16)
Casual (12)
Good for Birthdays (7)
Creative Cuisine (7)
Good for a Date (7)
Happy Hour (7)
Romantic (7)
Cozy (6)
Bar Seating (5)
Local Ingredients (5)
Sunday Lunch (5)
Authentic (4)
Comfort Food (4)
Scenic View (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Business Meals (4)
Fun (3)
Healthy (3)
Good for Anniversaries (2)
People Watching (2)
Pre/post Theatre (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Handcrafted Cocktails (1)
Live Music (1)
Outstanding Value (1)
Seasonal (1)
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356 reviews
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vip
 (San Francisco)·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.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·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.

Tags: Comfort Food, Casual, Great for Lunch, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·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!

Tags: Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·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.

Tags: Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·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.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Worth the Drive
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·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.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 12, 2016

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

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Orlando)·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!

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·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.

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food3
ambience2
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·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.

Tags: Casual, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·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

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Pre/post Theatre, Great for Brunch, Hot Spot, Great for Outdoor Dining, Business Meals, Seasonal, Local Ingredients, Good for Groups, Sunday Lunch, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Disabled Access, Outstanding Value, Worth the Drive, Fun, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·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.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value1

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on October 7, 2016

Amazing food ! Great staff!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Chicago)·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.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·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.

Tags: Healthy, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 6, 2016

Excellent service. Great oysters.

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food5
ambience4
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 2, 2016

Despite the restaurant being half full and plenty of open tables, they sat us right by the bathroom so that was my view. Our lunch wasn't during the noon time rush, so I think they could have sat us at a table away from the bathroom. Food was good but it's hard for me to fully enjoy because of the above. I like the HMB location better anyway.

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food4
ambience1
service3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 31, 2016

Great food.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 31, 2016

Sadly, Sam's Chowder House made me wish this restaurant was still the Good Earth, which left the location many years back. We ordered several fried items including, calamari and shrimp, all had fish that was not fresh tasting and the batter was nothing special...which is must be for a fish house. My main course, Seared Ahi, was nowhere close to 'sashimi' quality and the seaweed salad mushy and lackluster. The only exception was a very tasty prawn appetizer. It's really disappointing that, after many years, the Fish Market is still the best Seafood specialist.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 27, 2016

They have really good seafood! Their Half Moon Bay location is much more popular due to it's setting by the ocean however!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Sunday Lunch, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 13, 2016

We celebrated two birthdays with another couple at dinnertime. When making the reservation on Open Table, I mentioned this in the comments. Without me having to remind anyone at the restaurant, the waiter remembered and offered not one but two desserts on the house ! The waiter was amazing....polite, attentive, and friendly. His expertise in presenting and serving the food was impressive. The food was delicious and tasted flavorful and fresh. We were very impressed with our first visit and plan to return often.

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 11, 2016

The food was expensive and we didn't get much food. I ordered $27 crab cakes and I only got two small cakes. The whole plate was mostly fries that weren't that great either.

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food2
ambience2
service5
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 10, 2016

Took 10 people to lunch to celebrate our intern's last day. The music was a little loud, but the food and service were great, and it's not too pricey (~ $250 for 10). The Ahi Tuna bowl I had was delicious!

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 4, 2016

We stopped by the chowder house after family arrived very late and after a long day of travel. Food came in large quantities and was good.

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food3
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 31, 2016

My husband and me came here for our Wedding Anniversary. Terrible service all around. Our appetizers were forgotten. Our server was more aloof than apologetic the whole time we were there. We saw another table get scolded because they tried to get bread by themselves after not being offered any. We almost never got ours either. When we were ready to leave, the hostess asked another couple she was seating if they were there for any special occasion. We weren't asked that question at all when we were seated. (Again, we came there for our Wedding Anniversary, sad face.) It wasn't even a full house of customers, and was more on the slow side, yet service was incredibly and painfully slow. Management and staff seem disinterested towards us, and we felt un-welcomed during our whole stay. I would not recommend this location to anyone!

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food3
ambience2
service1
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 24, 2016

Absolutely amazing, a totally wonderful, delicious experience, enhanced by our excellent server, Jose, and the food was delicious! Could not have asked for more!

Tags: Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 22, 2016

I have eaten at Sam's in Half Moon Bay and enjoyed that experience - albeit more than a couple of years ago now. The Palo Alto version seemed out of place - kind of cheesy in ambiance ... trying to be coastal but not on the coast - and I thought the food was overpriced and mediocre at best. Our waiter was also overly-friendly - the kind that makes you uncomfortable because they're too cheery. I would not go back to this Sam's especially with so many other great choices in Palo Alto.

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food2
ambience2
service3
value1

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 21, 2016

Excellent seafood options. Great flavors. Lobster roll was fantastic! Just like my east coast vacation.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 19, 2016

Greatfood, great service. Don't order a full lobster, though, very expensive and not much meat to it. Soups are usually fabulous. Shellfish, terrific.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on July 15, 2016

If bar tender hadn't remembered my guest, he would not have realized we had stopped in for drinks the night before after dinner elsewhere! It made a nice start to a 45 minute wait for our friends.
I had the salmon, which was more medium than rare but ate it after the long wait for our friends. My friend had the shrimp fettuccini which he thought was fabulous. Our guests had the sea bass which was the hit of the meal. Steven, our waiter was on top of everything.
Look forward to a return.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 13, 2016

Good recommendations from our waiter!

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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 13, 2016

Overall good. Service was ok. Had to ask for additional service when normally wait staff typically should be more proactive. Food was very good. So for that reason alone, I would dine there again.

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food3
ambience3
service3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 10, 2016

Food was good however portions very small. A $25 plate looked like the size of a Happy Hour plate. We had to ask for bread twice! I asked for drink about 10 minutes before the main meal and did not receive until after I finished my meal. Person bringing food to the table not the waiter very rude, kinda just dropped the food and utensils! I'm a big fan of. Sam's in HMB but won't be back here anything soon. Way overpriced!

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food2
ambience3
service1
value1

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 9, 2016

Very reasonable priced seafood menu. Much to choose from.
The place is bright and cheery with good food and good service.
Go and enjoy.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 4, 2016

This place is understaffed. We were there on Monday evening, not a super super busy day. However, we sat there for over 10 mins, no one greet us until we asked our busgirl to take the order. Through the entire meal, our server never showed up!!!
Very disappointed! We will not bring guest to this location again!

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food3
ambience2
service1
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 3, 2016

Had a reservation on a Sunday at 11 am for a birthday. Even with 2 older family members, the boss lady wouldn't let us sit at our table at 10:45 am because the restaurant opens at exactly 11 am. Clam chowder came out a little cool in the middle and had to send it back to reheat, but fortunately the staff was more than kind to us. Actually, the staff was terrific and made up for the above.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 23, 2016

It was my first time visiting the PA location- i've only ever been to the HMB location. I thought the place was cute but lost it's beachy old town feel. The menu here was smaller and not impressive. I've been to the original so many times and the lobster roll I ordered along with another person tasted funny. Tasted fishy to be more clear. The not good fishy smell.

I actually got sick later that night but let's not point fingers.

*I would highly rec only going to the original one in HMB.*

Tags: Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 19, 2016

The food was just okay. The service was incredibly slow at 5pm on a Sunday when ours was one of few filled tables. It took 10 minutes before someone came by to tell us they'd be back soon to take our drink order. No apology for the wait. By the time our drinks arrived we had been seated for 30 minutes. The waitress blamed the bar being backed up but didn't apologize for the delays. We had been looking forward to coming here after loving their Half Moon Bay location for both food and service, but were sorely disappointed in the food & service at this location. Will not be going back or recommending it to others.

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food2
ambience4
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 19, 2016

We arrived 15 min before reservations and were told they are on time. Then, we waited a total of 35 min upon being seated. There were empty tables around by the time we sat down. Then, we waited longer for our meal to come out. The hostess made us wait too long and service was so slow, thus we were disappointed. There was no point of making reservations.

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food4
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 19, 2016

Service was extremely slow. We were sitting next to the table with the CEO of yahoo and of course we got terrible service because they got priority. We sat down before them and ordered before them and somehow they got their beverages and food way before us. The servers were nice but I think management is the one to blame. The manager was cold. As for the food, my shrimp was completely tasteless. And they forgot my avocado in my wrap and when I asked for it, they didn't believe me. I won't be going back.👎

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food2
ambience2
service1

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