Chef Melasio Campo abides by the rules of Tuscan-style cooking at this longstanding Italian restaurant, which has attracted locals for nearly 30 years. You’ll find all the steak and seafood classics here, along with expertly made pastas and a dining room that’s often crowded but always welcoming.
A scattering of sidewalk tables introduces passersby to Zara Mediterranean Restaurant. Inside, large, spacious windows and opposing mirrors frame booth seating and dining tables, accompanied by a wood-accented bar set with high stools. Another outdoor space, an umbrella-covered patio, bookends the dining realm. But at all of these place settings, patrons feast on the same authentic Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Lunch and dinner menus catalog selections such as ali nazik—marinated cubes of tender beef atop a purée of grilled and spiced eggplant and bell pepper—or imam bayildi, a vegetarian mélange of eggplant, bell peppers, onions, pine nuts, pistachios, and raisins with or without sunglasses. In addition to the restaurant's ample in-house seating, they also offer free delivery to anywhere in Palo Alto on orders of more than $15.
After ten hours of slow-cooking, the barbecue ribs at Joe’s American Bar & Grill land on tables tender and ready to fall of the bone. Served with fresh-made coleslaw, these ribs are the centerpiece of a menu overflowing with upscale comfort food. Chefs cut potatoes by hand to accompany bacon cheeseburgers topped with aged cheddar and bread-and-butter pickles made in-house rather than flown in by a talking stork. Grilled pizzas are made fresh to order and never frozen, and hefty sandwiches and hand-cut steaks stack plates with sustenance. On the weekends, brunch dishes come out of hibernation to sate guests with made-to-order omelets and specialties such as eggs benedict and prime-rib hash. Diners enjoy the fresh air on the outdoor patio or cluster around the bar to keep track of sports scores or find out who really got married on Days of Our Lives.
When they’re not blending imported leaves into 120 tea varieties, the tea gurus at Tea Time lead tasting classes that empower sippers to explore the 3,000-year-old beverage’s origins, aromas, and health benefits. The classes reflect Tea Time’s mission to make its tea room a welcoming community hub. In the shop’s “sniffing corner,” staff members help customers sift through 150 glass jars of tealeaves in search of their ideal blend. Free WiFi, bamboo tables, and a menu of French-style pastries and English-style sandwiches furnish tranquil afternoons, and a slew of teatime accessories line solid oak shelves.
Baklava's owner showcases his Turkish roots and passion for the country's cuisine with a sumptuous spread of tasty meze, colorful sauces, and juicy marinated meats. Starters of flaky pastry and flavorful baba ghanoush spread out on white tablecloths to prime appetites for Old-World Mediterranean flavors before patrons skewer beef, lamb, and chicken or joust for their date's honor with kebabs. A cosmopolitan m?lange of flavors and textures peppers the palate, with creamy yogurt accentuating meats and veggies alongside aromatic spices and rich tomato-based sauces. Baklava's captivating d?cor envelops guests in a rustic aura with murals of Turkish landscapes on the walls and high ceilings of timber beams, and an open kitchen invites diners to discuss Ottoman history with hardworking chefs.
Sitting at his mother's knee in his home country of Vietnam, Chef Hung (John) Le learned to love the simplicity of fresh, local ingredients prepared with exciting spices, a joy that later would lead him to open the doors of Three Seasons' first location in San Francisco's Marina District in 2000. Whether served in the incandescent glow of the original location’s intimate chandeliers or beneath the stone archways and playful murals of the Palo Alto location, John’s recipes remain based on family recipes modified to fit the organic ingredients at hand. John posts favorite concoctions—such as the tamarind-soaked prawns with pineapple—on the restaurant's website for ambitious cooks to imitate at home or open their own single-dish eateries.