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

520 Cowper St, Palo Alto, CA 94301-1823
Update restaurant details
Ranked #74 of 313 restaurants in Palo Alto
Certificate of Excellence 2013
Price range: $10 - $50
Cuisines: Bakery, Italian, Café, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Outdoor seating
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Hamilton
Transit: Cal Train
Reserve with OpenTable
The time you selected has already passed.
Write a Review

102 reviews from our community

67% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Charlottesville VA USA
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2014

This Palo Alto staple is great for a business lunch, solo dinner, after-work drinks, and weekend brunch. When I'm flying solo, I often sit at the "line" where I can keep an eye on the chefs at work. The ingredients are as close to fresh as you can get, yes it really is a wood-fired pizza oven, the pasta dishes... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cupertino, California
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2014

We went to Il Fornaio yesterday for my daughter's birthday and as always the food and service were incredible. This restaurant has and always will be one of my favorite Italian restaurant. We always go for special occasions (or not so special!).

Was this review helpful? Yes
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

I took all my guests there principally because the prices were so reasonable for the quality of food, and we found it very quiet so conversations weren't strained by outside noise. All my guests were satisfied. Breakfast and dinner menus offer great variety. Service was slightly off one night but I must say that the server's were animated and interesting... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Melbourne, Australia
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

Our first time and very enjoyable. Service was pleasant but not intrusive. Three lovely meals all served in reasonable time. We'll be back

Was this review helpful? Yes
Oakland, California
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Everything was OK, but only OK. It seemed that everything was slightly off. Service was slower than it should have been. My starter was cold - tepid and the main (pasta) was clumped together and took some separating. Nothing was bad enough to send back, but it didn't inspire either.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cornillon-Confoux, France
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

I do like the food and the atmosphere. It would be nice if it were like it is in Italy, with everyone being knowledgable about what gluten free means. In Italy it is very easy to get a gluten free pizza or gluten free pasta. Not here.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Chicago, Illinois
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

3 people, 3 entrees, 1 1/2 hours later - still no dinner!! Waiter checked with us after an hour to see if we wanted another drink, becer offered any explanation. Can't imagine anything worse than waiting an hour and half for one course!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Palo Alto, California, United States
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

Il Fornaio has one of the livelier bar scenes, especially for those over 40. Palo Alto has very few hangouts for the over 40 crowd. Il Fornaio is a pleasant place to go for an after-dinner drink, or for a light meal at the bar.

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
242 reviews 242 reviews
126 restaurant reviews
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

This has been a reliable standby business lunch and dinner location any time a last second business arrangement needs to be made. Noisy, crowded, decent food, not too over the top wine list, and in the past, good service. That last part of it has been sacrificed for a railway terminal joint turnover approach, starting with a teenage hostess all... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Palo Alto, California
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

We had a lovely experience as always. Staff was very friendly. I like that the menu changes often but wth some solid choices.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Il Fornaio also viewed

Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

Been to Il Fornaio? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Il Fornaio, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Manage your listing