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“Fantastic Dining Experience”

Tamarine Restaurant
Ranked #5 of 361 Restaurants in Palo Alto
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $40
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Tasso & Webster
Description: Tamarine is a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant that features the light but flavor-intensive culinary delicacies of Vietnam. The restaurant offers a menu based on small plates, promoting the Vietnamese tradition of the 'shared' meal in which food is shared and enjoyed with those close. Tamarine's small plate entrees are enjoyed with the pairing of a variety of aromatic, flavor infused rice, designed to be mixed and matched to create a truly unique flavor experience. Along with culinary delicacies of Vietnam, the restaurant showcases the works of emerging artists from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.
San Francisco, CA
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Fantastic Dining Experience”
Reviewed June 9, 2011

I went with a group of seven for a birthday celebration dinner and everything was fantastic! Arrived on time and the table had a birthday card from the restaurant. That was a first. We started with drinks. Half the group had Whiskey sours that were quite strong and good. I had a special of the house Mojito which had mango juice – very good but a bit too sweet for me. We started with a few appetizers. The plain garlic noodles were really delicious. We also ordered the crab and garlic noodles also – very good but could have used a bit more crab. We ordered the traditional shrimp spring rolls without pork, and they were excellent with a great hoisin dipping sauce. The green papaya salad with the beef on the side was also very fresh and great dressing. The last appetizer was the salt and pepper calamari, which was very tender, nicely crispy.

For the main dishes we ordered the clay pot cod – which was delicious, a lot of sweet sauce and fresh fish. The shaking beef was really great – very tender beef, great sauce. For me the best dish of the evening was the Tamarine prawn dish, served over soft rice noodles with a fantastic tamarind sauce. The chili eggplant was good but not stellar like the other dishes.

The wine list was extensive – a bit pricey but nothing outrageous.

The service was impeccable – there when you needed them, not when you didn’t want them. There was constant attention to filling water glasses, removing plates. We dined for a few hours, no one rushed us.

The place was very busy for a mid week night. High energy but not over the top noisy where you couldn’t carry on a conversation. The bar was also quite active.

I would highly recommend this restaurant. Everything was fantastic including our dinner, the restaurant, and the service.

  • Visited June 2011
    • Value
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1 Thank worldtravellerruth11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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331 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Los Angeles
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Snooty service”
Reviewed March 15, 2011

The worst part of the experience is the arrogant and snooty service. Their main interest is to have high turnover and they try to rush you through. Price is quite high for the small portions. This place is so pretentious. We would not come here again as there are so many good places to eat in Palo Alto with good attitude and gracious service. We would not recommend this place.

  • Visited March 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank LosAngelesFoodlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
palo alto
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“nice atmosphere, good food”
Reviewed July 18, 2010

tamarine came recommended from a few friends in the area - so we tried it out shortly after moving to palo alto.

overall the food was good, although small in portion for the price

shaking beef was the most memorable dish of the evening - chicken, rolls, and salad were all good, but not as memorable.

service was clean and efficient, not super friendly though

would go back

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jclouies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic atmoshpere and food”
Reviewed February 7, 2010

I love the shaking beef. Everything is outstanding at this asian fusion gem.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank Richba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boulder, co
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Tamarine's idea of Vietnamese cuisine is insulting.”
Reviewed July 20, 2009

Although the decor was strategically hip and the concept was ideal, the execution of Vietnamese / Fusion dishes left us with nothing to think but "blah..."

We started the meal with the scallops appetizer (Seared Hokkaido scallops served with a truffle creamed corn pudding & tobiko). Once again, the concept was nice, but the reality of the dish came off as flat. Between the creamed corn pudding (which really was a creamed corn with no hint of pudding texture or truffle aroma), and the under-seasoned tepid scallops, the dish lacked real satisfaction. We mused that just a squeeze of lime or lemon rind would have added a much needed dimension. My dinner partner claimed even a salt shaker on the table would have done the trick...

Next on our Tamarine adventure was the "Mixed Green Spring Salad," which although playful in nature came to our table looking a little old. If you overlooked the browning Spring greens, the salad could have been pleasant. Switch the out- of -place olives for some crunchy almonds and the combination would have been a success.

Our entree was the Honey & miso pan roasted duck breast served with forbidden rice & a citrus-butter sauce. The duck was cooked m-mw (it was supposed to be Mid-Rare) but delicious nonetheless. The skin was crispy, fatty and paired nicely with the nutty forbidden rice. I am still unsure why the forbidden rice was mixed with a white grain rice, but the citrus butter sauce made me forget my confusion. I would have liked to have seen some of the fresh herbs so defining of Vietnamese cuisine added to the dish somewhere...but I had learned at this point in my meal to let go of my preconceptions that Tamarine was a Vietnamese restaurant.

A huge plus: the interesting rice combinations set to please any palate. We tried the sticky rice which was a joyful combination of ginger, leek, garlic and soy sauce. By far the best dish we ordered all evening.

Another plus: the servers, although busy, very kind and accommodating.

Overall, the food at Tamarine was edible, but uninteresting. Call it American Fusion, call it Asian Fusion, but to calling it Vietnamese Cuisine is to imply that the food was fresh, interesting, exciting, and complex...at which it failed.

I would ONLY eat here again if I was planning on drinking a lot of wine before/during the meal so I wouldn't be so offended by the establishment's interpretation of Vietnamese Cuisine.

    • Value
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    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank luluboulder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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