We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Il Fornaio

$$$
Italian, Café, Bakery, Wine Bar
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Get directions
520 Cowper St, Palo Alto, CA 94301-1823 (Hamilton)
Cal Train
650-853-3888
Website
Improve this listing
Today
7:00 am - 11:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Thu 7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 7:00 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Good for:
Casual Dining
Outdoor seating

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 148 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 39
    Excellent
  • 60
    Very good
  • 34
    Average
  • 10
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Very Good Food in a Beautiful Setting

I recently dined here with colleagues while visiting Palo Alto for business. I was impressed with Il Fornaio from the moment I walked in, the restaurant is beautifully designed and has a great outdoor patio dining area. I met my colleagues at the bar before our reservation, moving around the bar... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed March 18, 2015
Counterweight
,
Austin, Texas
Good for:
  • Outdoor seating
Add Photo Write a Review

148 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Basel, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015

I ate lunch at IL Fornaio. It was a solid performance of Italian food but with a little bit more effort it could have been so much better... They have freshly baked bread and serve olive oil and acetone with it. Nice. However I prefer only olive oil and was not even asked I have any preferences. The Minestrone was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
252 reviews 252 reviews
143 restaurant reviews
497 helpful votes 497 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

I recently dined here with colleagues while visiting Palo Alto for business. I was impressed with Il Fornaio from the moment I walked in, the restaurant is beautifully designed and has a great outdoor patio dining area. I met my colleagues at the bar before our reservation, moving around the bar was a bit tight but our servers were friendly... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

The atmosphere at this large, flagship location continues to be charming -- not too stuffy and still trendy. While the entres are not stellar, they provide a solid, satisfying meal, ranging from fresh fishes, pastas, filets. The bread continues to be a highlight. I dined with a large group and the waitstaff did a great job of keeping it all... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
California
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2015

We dine at Il Fornaio at least once a month. Love their Festa Regionale program, which lets the diner sample the food and wine of a different region each month. Most recently, the menu featured Liguria, and we especially liked the Beet Ravioli and the Seafood Risotto. Restaurant staff are friendly and service is exceptional.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
294 reviews 294 reviews
168 restaurant reviews
145 helpful votes 145 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2015 via mobile

Couldn't stay long enough to finish my terrific arugula salad with raisins, couscous, avocado (could have been more ample), red onions with lots of grilled salmon on top in a light vinaigrette...very nice; my companion hd the butternut squash ravioli which disappeared within minutes and looked as lovely as they tasted; and my other companion had a caesar with shrimp,... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
richmond va.
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2015

Consistently good restaurant that we have enjoyed for both breakfast and dinner while staying at the garden court hotel. Breakfast is superb. Great service and food every time. Dinner is always surprisingly good with great service and food in a busy place. Somehow remains calm and quiet inside with professional waitstaff. Really no complaints on multiple visits and good value.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Menlo Park, CA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

We love the monthly regional menu at Il Fornaio, and the Palo Alto restaurant is the quietest place in town for a pleasant dinner. No piped-in music, just voices conversing at a normal level. The regional specialties have a good variety (from soup/salad through pasta, main courses, and a special dessert), paired with wines from that part of Italy. Try... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Diego
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2015 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Had a business lunch there. I ordered a small portion of one of the pasta dishes (conchella with something) - food wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. Boring. Somewhat tasteless. Service was friendly.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Benalmadena, Spain
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2015

Same internals. Same kindness at the door but something's different and it's not the noise of a full room. Service was less personal and the food was less divine. Sauces were too rich and creamy for 'real Italian' - and I think it reflects the changes in Palo Alto - American overkill. (I've lived 30 years in Italy so I... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Chico, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2014

I stayed at the Cowper Inn and ate at Il Fornaio, not once but three times. I really enjoyed the food and the service was fast. There is an excellent wine selection. And be sure, to leave room for desert. They are wonderful.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Il Fornaio also viewed

 

Been to Il Fornaio? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing
Improve this listing

Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 520 Cowper St, Palo Alto, CA 94301-1823
    (Hamilton)
  • Public Transportation: Cal Train
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Palo Alto
  • Phone Number: 650-853-3888

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 10 - 50
  • Cuisine: Italian, Café, Bakery, Wine Bar

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Good for: Outdoor seating
Open Hours
Sunday
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Monday
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday
7:00 am - 11:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Il Fornaio staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?