Palo Alto update 2021

You will forgive a ‘greater Palo alto’ update. We seem to have achieved a post covid stabilization.

Alpine inn, with it’s massive outdoor update, is going very well, that is, very popular.

Bistro Vida is much bigger now, but we still go to Left bank. Barrone opened for dinner starting two weeks ago. Farmhouse kitchen is very popular.

New kid is The Mandrin in the old black pepper space. Write up in the Palo alto paper is favorable, Yelp is favorable, menu is pedestrian, looking forward to trying it.

Finally did killeny kopitam. Very low key place, fittingly, liked, didn’t love. Joya is not open yet, which is a surprise. Ettan is great, rooh is great. Bevri is in high rotation. Very excited about the newish bar at Zola. Had a great time there a few weeks ago, it solves the space crunch that always kept us away from Zola proper.

CA ave seems dominated by terun and zareens. I hope zareens takes over the world. They are so good at a reasonable price.

In the northern direction, I recommend Capella’s bbq near Sigonas. The bbq is legit, they have been running a successful truck, but they are adding a beer garden. Rwc generally is about like normal, with a larger drink / party area in the block where Blacksmith is on Broadway. That section hops till midnight most nights, regrettably the only food choice is the underwhelming rock n wraps.

Overall, it is interesting, many places are still on reduced menu, and I think it is good for them. Some places like nola are now a bit too small in menu to be interesting, but they brought back some cornerstone dishes I was missing, and what they do, they are doing well.



Yes, that block of Broadway in Redwood City is indeed hopping. Friends asked us to dinner last week at Vino Santo. Sat in their back patio, very pleasant & quiet. Food IMO is meh. They obviously are understaffed, so service was seriously lacking. Menu includes Veal Scallopine, hubs fave, he ordered it ala marsala. When server arrived he asked who has the chicken? None of us ordered chicken.
He said its scallopine, so hubs said ok. He said it was ok, but the point is he should have been told about the substitution when he ordered. Probably won’t return…

Had no idea about Capella’s. Near Sigona? Inside the mall?

What type of meat at Capella’s do you recommend?

Its actually Capelos, is on Middlefield Rd. Redwood City, near Costco, couple blocks South. Its Texas Hill Country BBQ…

1 Like

Funny about Vino Santo. I also found the food Meh especially as Vesta is a few doors down (although they never really adjusted to Take Out). Donata Enoteca, in the “lower bar”, is not too stuffy, and their sister restaurant, CRU, has a nice bar and good light eats. Everyone likes LV Mar and the food is good, but it’s just a little glitzy for my taste - we prefer the original La Viga, or even the very new sister San Agus in Palo Alto (open lateish).

Yes, “original Sigonas”, and quite right about the spelling, sorry across from the Costco as mentioned. Since it’s hill country BBQ one goes for the brisket. They slice with some fat and some lean and don’t give you the choice, which is offputting, but it’s still good Q. Their pulled pork is OK too, haven’t tried the chicken or links, and the selection of sauces includes a carolina style and a memphis style that aren’t bad at all. The sides are OK but not overjoyous. I keep getting the beans and the slaw. Jawed with the owner a bit a few weeks ago because of the whole “yo sell us a beer” “no we can’t, insurance” thing, although he was full of platitudes and low on other information.

They had a really nice beef rib on special last time I was there, we split it 6 ways as an appetizer. Would recommend if they have it again, but it’s a lot of food for even 2 people.

About the block away there’s a curious Mexican / Sushi mashup “Sushinaloa” about two blocks up. I haven’t tried that.

Last night I hit Isarn Garden again. Daaaang that’s great thai food. I got one of the dishes 2-hot out of 5 and it was almost too much. So much with the fermented things, and the roasting on the hot peppers is sublime. Or, my gut isn’t what it once was (my mouth says more but my gut has problems, these days).

1 Like

Tried Bar Zola again. Very much my kind of place. Hint: order your own favorite cocktails and don’t bother with what’s on the menu.

Time to slide in is about 9:30, a little later, the bar will have people but there’s probably a spot. Chatted with the manager, they’ve got “full menu” (it’s still a very short menu) until 10, then “bites” until midnight (manager said he wanted meatballs only until 11 but he was “outvoted”), which means fresh pretzels and olives and fries, but most importantly, late night meatballs, so you can have something closer to an actual meal. I quiped that it would be two months before they stopped that foolishness, because so many places in the mid-peninsula try to go late but realize they can’t support it — he says it’s going great so far, with a LOT of people coming in between 9 and 10 ordering full meals. We’ll see!

They had a new #2 bartender guy (the main bartender recognized me and said “challenge him”), and he improvised a really nice cocktail, kind of a “naked and famous” mashup but taking it back to Gin instead of Mescal, and going with some kind of strawberry liquor which makes it closer to the original Last Word but I had requested something with Absinthe, so he did an absinthe wash, which put the sweetness of the strawberry in perspective. For an improvisation, it was extraordinary.

If this was a more popular forum, I wouldn’t mention how good they are :slight_smile:


Well, “it’s over”. Bar Zola has now become popular with the technocrati, last time I went in, the guy to the right was the direct technical advisor to the NVIDIA CEO, and I saw my old CEO his new VCs. At least you’re warned.

I think San Agus up toward Alma is less tech industry. Seems more like young party people, and they don’t have the same bar scene. The food’s very tasty and they mix a good drink. It’s the Las Vigas people’s foray into Palo Alto. Food is to a decent hour.

I seriously hope we can get a few more late night joints, I’m ending up at Los Gallos (food really till 11pm) way more often than I’d like. Los Gallos is pretty good though - the cash only joint next to Freewheel brewing sharing the patio - the Al Pastor is what I get, usually in regular burrito form, wet. Their salsa bar is pretty kicking, although the red molido sauce is better at the Gruellense’s. Nice to get in and out of a bay area joint for twenty bucks including a beer ( I think it’s usually 30 bucks for me and my SO because she eats light for dinner, a coupla tacos ).

Maybe now I will hang out in the bar to find out which stock I should buy, lol.

I’ve pretty much given up looking for proper food after 10pm. Everything closes so early around here.

You can do worse than the meatballs and a drink at the Zola bar, until midnight. Not a proper meal.

Where’s my late night these days?

Zareen’s is at least open until an honest 10pm when they say 10pm.

Taquerias. Los Gallos in RWC is my current default, they shut down at 11pm, and I think they make food till 10:45p. The indoors area doesn’t have much air flow and there’s no masks at the bar, but they have outdoor seating even late.

San Augus, the new LV mar place in Palo Alto, is claiming 11pm on Fri, Sat. Service there was a little slow when we went, but the food’s tasty for “refined” mexican. I’d only go if I was in the mood for cocktails though.

Eureka! mountain view is reasonable though. Now-fairly-standard high end burgers and beer, right, but 11pm Weds Thurs and 12pm Fri Sat probably kitchen closes 15 minutes before and reasonable outdoor seating.

Rock n Wraps in RWC is open late, but the food’s pretty miserable. I’ve been there a few times when all the places in RWC that say they’re open are actually closed. If you go there, they do make a kickin’ Harissa that the owner’s quite proud of. It is HOT.

The Sandwitch Spot down in RWC is actually open till midnight most nights, and is lively. It’s also a hooka (are we spelling it that way these days?) joint.

San Mateo’s got the usual nothing (they must have a permit issue… there’s never been late night there).

I see a new-to-me place called ‘Bayroot’ Lebanese, near the freeway end of Broadway burlingame, listed as a hooka spot till midnight - but no statement about kitchen, perhaps worth a call.

East side of the bay near the dumbarton I see “Fairwood” HK-ish food, Sia Fusion. Wonder if there have been reports on them.