Mango Cafe: Get Your Caribbean Food
The Mango Cafe has Jamaican and Trinidadian food. My wife and cousin are half Trinidadian so we like this kind of food. Their jerk and curried "joints" (chicken wings) are pretty spicy, so be forewarned. Their chicken pelau was just okay, but maybe I am spoiled by the homemade pelau I get. My cousin liked the hot spicy goat but it was too spicy for me. I got the "Whole Island." It was huge...enough for three meals. The curry chicken patty had a flaky crust and was not too spicy. The curried joints were good also. I did not have room to try one, but their Caribbean smoothies looked great.
Favorite Dish: The curry chicken patty and baked plantain were excellent.
- Road Trip
P.F. Chang's: Good Chinese
P.F. Chang's is a good choice for a restaurant when you are tired or lazy to think about the portions, and just want something tasty. The selection itself is huge, as usual in Chinese restaurants, and everything is tasty, as again usual in Chinese restaurants. Nothing is spectacular, though.
The restaurant itself is large, and as most chain restaurants, lacking personal touch. The service is once again excellent, and the food comes pretty swiftly. Price is not bad either. Somehow I see having take away a better choice than hanging in the restaurant, maybe it is the non-personality of the dining hall combined with the mall surroundings.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Babbo's: Hearty American-Italian
Despite Babbo's not so welcoming entrance in Stanford shopping center, the restaurant is worth a visit to have a lunch while shopping. I would not go there as a sole destination, but it works more than well in a casual lunch or dinner joint.
The food is Italian with some American influence. Surprisingly enough, the portions are not huge, but sized right for average people. You don't feel bloated after leaving the restaurant.
We ate pastas and salads during lunch time. Pastas were great, but I cannot recommend the salads to anyone. I've never seen so weird version of Caesar salad. It was nowhere close to the normal delicious salad, but more of a new way (that didn't work) of putting the salad together from the same ingredients.
Sundance The Steakhouse: Steak Night
The guys were craving steak during our last night in SF last April2008. It was a chilly night which made us all run inside after taking the street parking.
The dimly lit wooden interiors glowed because of the fireplace. Slices of crusted bread ( complimentary) dipped in olive oil-balsamic vinegar mix immediately warmed my mouth. The red wine served was recommended by the server who quickly returned with our orders. The whopping cuts of sirloin (US$26.95/10oz), prime, ribeye and filet mignon (US$34.95/7oz)were aged to tender perfection. Since I am a seafood person, I only took one bite from my husband ribeye plate and continued melting the flame grilled northern salmon in my mouth.
I am also a dessert person but this night I was too full from the very generous slice of salmon dipped in dillcaper sauce ($22.95). I was even surprised that my husband's hefty appetite was no match for the ribeye. :)
Expect to pay $30+/person if you include the flowing red wine.
Note: On cold nights, best table would be the one beside the roasting pit-looking-fireplace :)
Favorite Dish: Grilled Salmon and ribeye.
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
- Study Abroad
Mango Caribbean Restaurant & Bar
When heading off to new towns I always try to find something unique I can't get back home. In Monterey I can get just about any kind of food I can imagine, but I never realized we don't have Caribbean food. So when planning my short visit to Palo Alto, the two or three Caribbean restaurants in town really caught my eye. Mango had the best reviews on Yelp so we decided to check it out.
We finally wandered by the restaurant just as it was getting dark, maybe at 6:30 pm. There were a few people seated at a few of the four outside tables and inside was even busier. Compared to many other restaurants we passed earlier, this seemed very lively despite its just-a-little-bit-off-the-beaten-path location. We were immediately seated at one of the remaining outdoor tables and Laura ordered a sangria and I asked for a Jamaican Red Stripe; the waitress asked if I wanted a big one or a small one, and I was confused having never seen a big bottle of Red Stripe...sure enough 24 ounces!
Our meal started with the "Mobay" appetizer, consisting of spicy fried shrimp with fried plantain and rice for $8.50; this was an excellent start to our meal as the shrimp were the perfect spiciness and the sweet plantains an interesting counter to the spice. Laura decided to try something completely different for her main course and chose the "Raggamuffin Style" which is marinated oxtail with red beans and rice and fried veggies for $14.50, and I had the "Reggae Platter" with jerked chicken over white rice or red beans & rice for $12. Both meals had very large quantities of fresh and tasty food. My jerk chicken was boneless and spicy, but not over the top. The oxtail was flavorful, but without the spicy kick of the shrimp or the jerk chicken. The red beans and rice were buttery and tasty, but the fried veggies were a little heavy on the onions, which were somewhat undercooked and raw.
Overall, this was a great and unique meal that left me wanting to visit the Caribbean!
Mango Caribbean Restaurant and Bar: Next best thing to being there...
Mango is a Caribbean Restaurant that makes you feel as if you've stepped into Jamaica for just a couple of hours. We stopped in on a Friday evening and within thirty minutes, the restaurant was packed. It seemed to be a place where a lot of groups go out for dinner as there were a number of tables pushed together for larger parties.
I enjoyed a cold sangria while Joe ordered the largest Red Stripe I've ever seen. We ordered the Spicy pepper shrimp with fried plantain ($8.50) for an appetizer. The shrimp were small, but seasoned well. The fried plantain was excellent. A small mound of basmati rice held the dish together.
For dinner Joe ordered the jerk chicken ($21) and I selected the marinated oxtail ($14.50). It was a lot of food. There was a generous helping of meat on both plates. In addition, we each had sides of red beans and rice and lightly sauteed veggies. It was too much to finish...but I tried!
To top off the entire dinner, we had great service. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. The entire staff seemed to be very on top of everything and it looked like everyone was having a good time. I would certainly dine here again.
Hours: Open for Lunch and Dinner, 11am to 10pm, Sunday - Wednesday, and 11am to 11pm Thursday - Saturday.
Favorite Dish: Try anything with a side of red beans and rice...and of course a cold sangria!
- Food and Dining
Pizza My Heart
Pizza My Heart in central Palo Alto is the perfect late night pizza spot, close to all the bars and clubs, as well as the university and many hotels. We arrived around midnight and the huge dining room was packed and the lines at the pizza counter at least 15 deep. Laura had a slice of super veggie for $4 and I had the prima pizza with tomatoes and olives for $3.75. A Diet Coke was $1.75 and a draft beer just $3.25. We stood in line for about 5 minutes, then plopped down in the second last table in the dining room. This late at night, there were at least 100 people hanging out and munching on pizza, 98 percent of them (minus us) appeared to be local university students.
Besides Palo Alto, Pizza My Heart has locations in San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Willow Glen, Campbell, Saratoga, Blossom Hill, Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterey, Emeryville, San Mateo, Mountain View, and Redwood City.
Old Pro Sports Bar
The Old Pro Sports Bar is a huge bar right in the middle of downtown Palo Alto with about 25 flat screen TVs and a huge following. It was one of the few relatively casual bars I found in Palo Alto and I was happy to spend a few hours here on a Saturday during college football season.
We arrived around noon and grabbed two of the last seats at the bar. We ordered a few cold Sam Adams beers and menus... the tap labeled Sam Adams Oktoberfest was serving regular Sam, so they were a bit confused on that one. Otherwise, the staff was knowledgeable about both the food and the sports on pretty much all of the TVs. We ordered two of the steak sandwiches, medium rare for maybe $12 each. They were very tender and tasty and came with great crosscut fries with cheese.
We stayed for about 2 1/2 or 3 hours sipping beers and watching numerous college games including the local Stanford team getting beat up by Notre Dame. Throughout the meal the three waitresses/bartenders did a great job of providing good service and changing channels and keeping customers happy.
Maybe the coolest thing about Old Pro is the mechanical bull in the corner behind the bar.
Driftwood Market: Great Sandwich!
I wouldn't usually post a review of a standard corner store deli, except that this one surprised me with the quality of their sandwich. The bread was fresh and the sandwich was so large that I didn't need to finish the other half and shared it with a friend. Definitely give this place a try if you're in the Stanford University campus area.
Favorite Dish: Sandwich
Indochine (formerly called The Mint Leaf): Great Thai curry
This restaurant is a little off the beaten path and was opened in late 2003 or early 2004 I think. The food is mostly Thai and some Vietnamese, with a few tasty vegetarian options. It is in a small, unassuming building next to a pizza place and a hair salon. The decor is nice and minimal, with nice ambient lighting and artwork. It usually has quite nice music playing too. Here is a link to an online review: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/2003/2003_11_28.mintleaf28.html
Favorite Dish: My favorite dishes are the spicy seafood soup and the green curry eggplant. The spicy seafood soup has coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, and lots of really high quality seafood in it including large scallops, shrimp, and well-cleaned mussels. Very tasty and piping hot! The green curry eggplant also has some spicy green peppers in it, coconut milk, and basil. Very delicious!
Evvia: A little bit of Greece in Silicon Valley
Evvia is a great choice for upscale, very authentic Greek dining. I've eaten here several times now, each time in celebration of something special. My favorite was to go is with a large enough group to sample many of the special things on the menu.
If you have eaten in downtown Palo Alto, you know that parking can be a real challenge. One of the nice things about Evvia is the valet parking. There is a city lot across the street, but good luck getting a spot. The valet option however is a no brainer.
The restaurant is beautifully appointed with interesting decorations combining a feeling of warm old country elegance with modern appointments. On the last visit we were seated close to the grill and the wood burning created quite a heat. The air conditioner kicked in and it immediately became more comfortable.
Service is perfect; the right balance of friendly and observant but not overbearing. My wine glass never got very empty (could be why we ordered a second bottle) and our server was good about making recommendations. My only real complaint is the chairs, woven seats and wood frames, much like the typical seats you find in a Greek seaside trattoria. Not at all conducive to sitting in comfortably for hours.
Favorite Dish: On this last visit we had an assortment of starters; lamb meatballs (deliciously seasoned), stuffed grape leaves, a filo stuffed with cheese and eggplant, and some fried cheese dish. I coveted the roasted asparagus with bits of feta and garlic in olive oil that I saw at the next table. That is certainly easy to prepare at home. :-) We shared a traditional greek salad. Two of the party had musaka and I had the braised lamb shank with orzo. My daughter had the right idea, though, with the grilled lamb chops. They were excellent! The Sicilian red was a great accompaniment.
Cool Cafe: Light Meal With Your Art
If you are on the Stanford campus and want a light meal, try the Cool Cafe at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts. They have good soups, salads and sandwiches. You can eat inside or on the patio. The same owners have the JZ Cool Eatery in downtown Menlo Park.
Favorite Dish: We just had Arnold Palmers (iced tea and lemonade) and enjoyed the beautiful weather on the patio overlooking the Rodin Sculpture Garden. Not bad, huh!
- Museum Visits
- Hiking and Walking
La Bodeguita del Medio: Great Cuban Restaurant
I have only eaten at La Bodeguita del Medio once but it was one of the best meals I ever had. Starting with the appetizer of yuca and plantain chips with black bean salsa through the dessert of Havana bananas (caramelized sweet bananas, walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla ice cream), everything was delicious and well presented. If you are into that sort of thing, there is a cigar room in the back; I'll pass on that though. You will need to make reservations. Even though it is expensive, it is a very popular place.
Favorite Dish: The fish special with marinated yuca and brussel sprouts with horseradish was wonderful, but the Plato de Vegetales with black bean cakes, malanga mash, maduros, grilled vegetables, red pepper sofrito, and black bean muneta was great too.
- Road Trip
Krung Siam: Excellent Thai Food
I have only eaten at Krang Siam once and it was excellent. Many people like it though. You may read their comments.
Favorite Dish: Som tom and gai yang (grilled beef and pork too) with sticky rice
- Road Trip
Andalé: Just okay Mexican fare
Andalé is a small, but busy Mexican restaurant on University Avenue in Palo Alto. The food is basic tex-mex food with some hints of authentic Mexican cuisine (read: beans in every portion -- you can ask your meal without them, too).
The restaurant itself is very noisy, so the smallish patio facing a public park is much better alternative. You can watch the people passing by while enjoying your meal.
The place gets filled quite fast during lunch hours, so try to avoid the busy hour.