At Pasta Q, chefs roll out homemade pastas and gnocchi and douse their doughy exteriors with creamy sauces and redolent spices. Eighteen diverse pasta renditions share table space with classic Italian-style meats buffered by roasted potatoes. An eclectic selection of imported Italian wines pair with bites, and homemade desserts ease the burden of spaghetti strands trying to shape themselves into the form of tiramisu. The menu’s Mediterranean flourishes extend to the décor, with its deep-burgundy and mustard-yellow walls punctuated by mosaic-tiled benches and billowy white fabric suspended from the ceiling.
Fresh seafood and dry-aged steaks shape the menu at Scott's Seafood, which brings an elegant, marina-style setting to a sunny corner of Palo Alto. White linens swath every tabletop, their pristine hue imperiled by forkfuls of clam linguini tossed in garlic wine sauce and blackened red snapper served with salsa and lime sour cream. Roasted red potatoes and vegetables accompany Scott's Maine lobster tail, which diners splash into saucers of decadent drawn butter. Though the seafood shines, it shares the limelight with filet mignon, ribeye, and New York strip steaks—cuts of Angus beef dry-aged and grilled to perfection. Tastefully clad in white button-downs and ties, Scott's waiters make knowledgeable recommendations for pairings from the wine list, which emphasizes California vintages but also includes bottles from France, Italy, and Australia. Scott's also maintains a handsome, fully-stocked bar with mahogany-stained woodwork, leather-upholstered stools, and flat-panel TVs for watching the latest weather reports.
Creative edibles such as eggplant polpette in truffle sauce and baked cauliflower au gratin accompany classic Italian cheese platters and salami plates on this spot’s small-plate menu. With a glass of Italian wine, these dishes create a meal on their own, but are equally appetizing as a prelude to authentic Neapolitan pizza—the pizzeria has been certified as the real deal by the Associazone Verace Pizza Napolitana.
At Menlo Hub, both food and art find a place on the menu. The modern restaurant's walls are blanketed in original contemporary paintings, and on some nights, the dining space reverberates with music from live bands and solo musicians. But even on nights with performances, the main attraction is always found in the kitchen. Here, chefs design casual American dishes sprinkled with elements of Mediterranean cooking.
The menus focus on simple steaks and seafood, complemented by organic produce sourced from nearby sustainable farms. The artfully plated dishes include California sea bass, New York steaks with gorgonzola demi-glace, and eggplant-wrapped lamb shanks. While most visitors sample the cuisine in the airy main dining space, private groups eat in a secluded room warmed by a corner fireplace.
At the lively bar, flat-screen TVs broadcast sporting events as bartenders mix fruit-infused martinis and pour a range of California wines, which are made from grapes that are just thankful that they never became California raisins.
Sunlight pours through the large windows of Maltby's Restaurant, illuminating the wood accents and English-pub-inspired decor that populates the restaurant’s spacious bar and dining room. But, even as the interior screams "authentic pub," the menu slyly mouths "eclectic cuisine." While traditional pub dishes such as fish 'n' chips and beer-battered onion rings comfort tongues with familiar flavors, other dishes work with less predictable tastes. Beds of fries welcome dashes of gourmet ingredients, including grilled jalapeños, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and sea salt infused with chipotle and truffle oil. All-natural Niman Ranch beef patties cozy up to buns in each of the pub’s burgers, and large salads sport only locally sourced, organic leafy greens. The restaurant's tavern specials mix it up by serving steaming plates of barbecue baby back ribs and spicy risotto jambalaya, whereas the weekend brunch menu pairs classic English and American breakfast platters with tequila sunrises, bloody marys, and Pimm’s Cups.