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.

“Lovely”
Review of Il Fornaio

Il Fornaio
Reserve with OpenTable
Il Fornaio is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #25 of 361 Restaurants in Palo Alto
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $50
Cuisines: Italian, Cafe, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Hamilton
Transit: Cal Train
Palo Alto, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Lovely”
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.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank WEATHERGRL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

238 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    68
    99
    50
    13
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington, DC
Level 6 Contributor
872 reviews
568 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 240 helpful votes
“Okay, but nothing memorable”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

I will admit to not being a big fan of Italian restaurants, so you can discount my review if you like. Nothing wrong with Italian food, but you have to work harder to impress me with it. If I haven't seen it all, I've seen a lot. If you are a bigger fan than I, you will probably like Il Fornaio well enough. My dishes were decent, but there was nothing that stood out. A mixed antipasto, a salad, a risotto were average but not memorable in any way. I wasn't unhappy, but I wasn't thrilled. A sorbet dessert was too icy. Service was adequate to good.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jxx9595
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Droitwich, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
417 reviews
246 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Outstanding Italian Cuisine and First Class Service”
Reviewed August 12, 2013

Italian food outside Italy tends to be a tricky proposition. Not many so-called Italian restaurants are up to the task of duplicating what one expects from a really good restaurant in Italy. Il Fornaio could very well be in the heart of Florence or Milan. The cuisine is perfectly Italian -- wonderful -- the subtle flavors we expect in Italy, pasta done just right, unobtrusive but outstanding service. This place is not cheap -- but it is very much worthwhile.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Edward B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
Level 6 Contributor
325 reviews
205 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Love the atmosphere”
Reviewed August 12, 2013

This is a fun restaurant to visit. You walk in and can see the ovens and grill stations and the chefs busy at work. The restaurant is deceptively large with a large main room plus additional patio seating in the back, and at least one more room. So you have your choice of being in the bustle of activity up front or can have a more cozy, quieter meal in the back of the restaurant. The waiters are all wearing white jackets, but the atmosphere is not stuffy. We went on a Sunday evening and there were plenty of families with small children. The menu has all the expected options (pizza, pasta, grilled meats) plus they do special menus that focus on the cuisine of particular regions of Italy. The meal starts with a very good basket of breads/rolls plus olive oil and balsamic. Our waiter was very attentive, but the kitchen let him down a bit. Our daughter ordered roasted chicken and the grill station was a bit behind and her meal came about 5 minutes after the other meals. The restaurant wasn't crowded - perhaps that was the problem - the chefs - which we could see from our table - were goofing off a bit and dancing around at their stations. Which was fun to watch, but they might have been just a little unfocused. Hey, Sunday night! The portions are good sized, but not huge. Calorie counts are included on the menu. My husband and son had the tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce and devoured their bowls. I ordered the stuffed pasta and it was good, but unbelievably rich. I could only eat half. My other daughter had cappellini pomodoro. It was a bit heavy on the garlic, but good. The roast chicken was moist and came with roasted potatoes and green beans. There is a kids' menu as well. For dessert my son and husband shared a chocolate torte/mousse dish that was delicious and a welcome change from typical chocolate desserts. We usually go to Il Fornaio for special events (birthdays, graduations) as it is a bit pricey for a family of five. The wine list is good and there is a full bar as well.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Colleen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cupertino, California
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Italian Food!”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

If you like Italian food this is the restaurant for you! I love their cozy atmosphere, and as soon as you walk in the wonderful smell makes you want to eat everything in their menu. I highly recommend it!

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank Nicole_Gunther
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Il Fornaio also viewed

 
Palo Alto, CA
 

Been to Il Fornaio? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing