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

$$$
Bakery, Italian, Café, Wine Bar
Improve this listing
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
Today
7:00 am - 11:00 pm
Open 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
Breakfast/Brunch
Reservations
Late Night

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 142 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 38
    Excellent
  • 56
    Very good
  • 33
    Average
  • 10
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Most recent review
Monthly "Trip to Italy"

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... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed February 18, 2015
Mary G
,
Menlo Park, CA
Good for:
  • Casual Dining
  • Outdoor seating
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
Add Photo Write a Review

142 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Menlo Park, CA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 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
21 reviews 21 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
96 reviews 96 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
52 helpful votes 52 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
Redwood City, California
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014

Went here yesterday 12/2/14 for the happy hour menu and it was average. We ordered the meat pizza and also calamari. The thin crust pizza was very soggy in the middle and not very favorable.The calamari was lightly battered and good. They didn't have a really good selection of red wine to choose from the happy hour menu. They only... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2014

Only for those addicted to chain restaurants. Unimaginative cuisine. Caprese salad had tasteless tomatoes and cheese, the latter a minuscule portion - at a big price. Veal was tough and slathered in a greasy sauce. Wine also overpriced. Avoid.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Sunnyvale
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

We will order to-go at least once every two months. The food is very good and we like the convenience of take-out.

Was this review helpful? Yes
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
107 restaurant reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2014

We had a new waitress but she worked through everything well. Food was excellent. Veal tender, seafood pasta tasty....Caesar salad excellent. Dessert tray was impressive..too full to try it.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Palo Alto, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2014

This is a popular restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto, with a busy, happy vibe & great service. I just wish the food were better! On several occasions the salads I ordered were wilted and/or overdressed, and the pasta dishes clumpy & starchy, rather than delicate & flavorful. If you do go, I would suggest ordering something like rotisserie... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
SF Bay Area
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2014

One of several locations for this place, all basically good, albeit a bit too corporate in style, with excellent food and good service.

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?

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: Bakery, Italian, Café, 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?