Something new (to eat) under the sun | News | Palo Alto Online |


Something new (to eat) under the sun

Summer sees spate of new dining options on the Midpeninsula

Nobu opened its first Northern California location in Palo Alto in July. Photo by Michelle Le.

Summer is always a busy time on the restaurant beat, and 2017 has been no different.

The Midpeninsula has seen a host of exciting openings, from the uber high-end (private dining concepts and $37 toro tartar with caviar at the new Nobu in Palo Alto) to the low-brow (dumplings and fried chicken), and plenty in between. Here's our roundup of the summer's new eateries, plus updates on restaurants slated to open later this year.

Palo Alto

Nobu: A restaurant that needs little introduction, Nobu opened its first Northern California outpost in July on Hamilton Avenue, joining locations in cities such as Malibu, Las Vegas, Milan and Ibiza. The high-end Japanese eatery is serving the general public as well as guests at The Epiphany Hotel. Starting Oct. 2, the hotel will also be managed by Nobu Hospitality. Nobu Palo Alto serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

180 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto;

Maum: Is "private dining" becoming a thing on the Midpeninsula? An online job posting for Maum, which opened quietly on University Avenue this summer, describes it as an upscale, private Asian restaurant "serving an exclusive clientele searching for the highest quality of cuisine, drink and service." Owner Patrick Tsui comes with experience as the general manager of the Michelin-starred Frances in San Francisco and a stint at Asian street food eatery Spice Kit. Maum's opening followed that of Hiroshi Steakhouse in Los Altos, where dinner is limited to one seating of eight people each evening and dishes such as Wagyu beef and uni are flown in weekly from Japan.

322 University Ave., Palo Alto (Contact information not available.)

Dumpling City: For those weary of the upscale openings, look no further than the $5.95-for-12 handmade dumplings deal at the new Dumpling City, which opened on El Camino Real last month. Watch employees in the no-frills restaurant's open kitchen make a range of traditional dumplings with fillings such as pork, chicken, shrimp, lamb and vegetables as well as dim sum dishes such as five-spice marinated beef and tofu salad.

3487 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 650-272-6715

Fast Tony's Chicken: An unusual addition was made to the tony Town & Country Village in June: Fast Tony's Chicken, serving up Southern-style fried chicken with traditional sides like pickles, rolls and macaroni salad. There's also baked chicken, wings and a fried chicken sandwich featuring Duke's Mayonnaise, a 100-year-old cult-favorite mayo made in South Carolina. The takeout-only restaurant is the brainchild of Tony Nethery, a local chef with family roots in the South and the first participant in a new mentoring program launched by Asian Box.

855 El Camino Real, suite 162; 650-321-8669

Kali Greek Kitchen: Kali Greek Kitchen has breathed new life into 451 California Ave., a space that sat vacant for three years following the closure of Uzumaki Sushi. At the fast-casual Greek eatery, diners order at a counter, get a number and their own utensils before their food is brought to their tables -- an increasing popular restaurant model throughout the Bay Area. Caglar Vural, who owns neighboring French restaurant Cafe Brioche, is behind Kali. The menu includes pita sandwiches, salads and rice bowls with rotisserie-roasted meats and locally sourced ingredients.

451 California Ave., Palo Alto; 650-272-6950

Mountain View

Bonchon: Fans of Bonchon's Korean double-fried chicken have been eagerly awaiting the chain's opening on Castro Street, which came in July. At Bonchon, you can get Mary's Organic Chicken in the form of fried chicken wings, drumsticks or strips with your choice of soy-garlic sauce, spicy sauce or both. There are also Korean and Asian-fusion dishes such as kimchi pancakes, bulgogi, bibimbap and Korean tacos. Bonchon, which means "hometown" in Korean, first opened in Busan, South Korea, and has expanded to dozens of locations across Asia and the United States.

260 Castro St., Mountain View;

Sweetgreen: For the health-conscious, popular fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen opened on Castro Street in June. There, salads are made to order in front of customers -- much like at a Chipotle or other fast-casual restaurants -- with seasonal, locally sourced vegetables, fruits and whole grains from local small and mid-sized farms and companies that are delivered to the restaurants every morning, according to Sweetgreen.

440 Castro St., Mountain View;

Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill: The Village at San Antonio Center has a new dining option: Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill, offering what its website describes as "a unique fusion of Japanese and Korean flavors." The large menu includes salads, appetizers such as yellowtail tartar and wagyu tataki, sushi rolls, nigiri, sashimi, udon and entrees such as miso black cod, beef bulgogi and teriyaki. This is the third location for the Asian fusion restaurant, joining outposts in San Jose and Tustin in Southern California.

2590 West El Camino Real, #13, Mountain View;


Village Bakery & Cafe: Woodside residents got a new spot for food, drinks, baked goods and coffee on July 24. The Village Bakery & Cafe, which replaced the Woodside Bakery & Cafe, comes from Bacchus Management Group, which owns the nearby Village Pub, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto and Spruce in San Francisco, among other restaurants. An opening menu includes dishes such as little gem lettuces with an anchovy-herb dressing; lumache pasta with summer squash, prosciutto, pecorino and black pepper; and the "Bakery" burger -- two grass-fed beef patties with cheddar cheese and dijon aioli. The restaurant is open for dinner nightly from 5-9:30 p.m. Nab fresh-baked bread and pastries as well as coffee from Bacchus' Oakland-based roasting company from the bakery daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

3052 Woodside Road, Woodside;

Menlo Park

Octopus Japanese Restaurant: It's the summer of Japanese cuisine in sleepy Menlo Park, where not one but two new sushi restaurants (with a third on the way) have opened in the last two months. Octopus Japanese Restaurant opened under new ownership in June in the former Akasaka space on El Camino Real. The menu includes numerous classic and special sushi rolls as well as nigiri, sashimi, udon soups, entrees and appetizers.

925 El Camino Real, Menlo Park;

Kyosho Sushi: Kyosho Sushi followed on Octopus' heels, with a soft opening in late July at a space just blocks away. The owner is Thomas Wu, who has run Bay Area food truck We Sushi since 2011. Kyosho Sushi is a "contemporary" Japanese restaurant, per an online description, serving both lunch and dinner. The menu includes traditional Japanese dishes as well as special sushi rolls and entrees such as duck breast and Wagyu beef tataki. Diners can also opt for omakase (chef's choice)-- six courses for $60 or eight for $80.

605 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park;


Palo Alto

Protégé Restaurant: The two French Laundry alums behind Protégé Restaurant were able to finally start building out the space for their highly-anticipated restaurant after securing City Council approval earlier this summer. The metal bones of a restaurant -- which the owners, former French Laundry master sommelier Dennis Kelly and chef Anthony Secviar, have described as "world-class" -- are now emerging inside the California Avenue space. "It's been a long and bumpy road, but we are eager to put our delays behind us and focus on the future as we build our restaurant," Kelly and Secviar wrote in an update to email subscribers last week. Design, construction and branding companies who have worked on well-known Bay Area restaurants from Leo's Oyster Bar in San Francisco to Comal in Berkeley are "working hard to mold our vision into a unique, neighborhood-friendly space," the co-owners wrote. They're aiming for a late 2017 opening.

260 California Ave., Palo Alto;

Wahlburgers: Palo Altans will have to wait a little longer to nosh on burgers made at a restaurant owned by the famous Wahlberg family. A franchise of Boston-based burger chain Wahlburgers was supposed to open this spring on University Avenue but has been delayed. "They are nowhere near opening," a company spokesperson said in late July. Wahlburgers was started in 2011 by the Wahlberg family, including celebrity actor-producer Mark Wahlberg and his brothers Paul and Donnie (also an actor).

185 University Ave., Palo Alto;

Joe & The Juice: Joe & The Juice, a Danish juice and coffee chain that immodestly bills itself as a "beacon for millennials and urban trendsetters," will open an outpost in downtown Palo Alto this fall. Joe & The Juice serves fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, sandwiches and coffee and is aiming for a mid-November opening, according to a company spokesperson, who said the company is in the "final stage" of finalizing a deal on a space.

University Avenue, Palo Alto;

Mountain View

Icicles: Thai-style rolled ice cream took San Jose by storm earlier this year and it's set to do the same in Mountain View this fall. Icicles, which serves fresh rolled ice cream at several locations throughout the Bay Area, is opening a new outpost on Castro Street. At Icicles, employees pour ice cream bases onto a flat, cold surface, mixing in desired add-ins, scraping and chopping it repeatedly and then rolling it into scroll-shaped servings for each customer.

282 Castro St., Mountain View;

QBB: The owner of Palo Alto Brewing Company and the former general manager of Scratch in Mountain View are teaming up to open a new venture: a Mountain View restaurant focused on bourbon and barbecue. Kasim Syed, who owns Palo Alto Brewing Company, The Rose & Crown and The Tap Room in Palo Alto, and Jon Andino of Scratch are behind Quality Bourbons & Barbecue (QBB for short) at 216 Castro St. They took over the space from Syed's family, who ran Pakistani restaurant Shezan there. Expect "simple, classic, traditional barbecue" like pork ribs and collard greens along with an "expansive" bourbon list," Andino said. With a final inspection scheduled for the end of August, they're hoping to be open "as soon as possible," Andino said.

216 Castro St., Mountain View

Menlo Park

Camper Restaurant: Greg Kuzia-Carmel, who has cooked in the kitchens of notable restaurants from Per Se in New York to Cotogna, Quince and Outerlands in San Francisco, is opening a restaurant in Menlo Park, he confirmed this week. Kuzia-Carmel is behind Camper Restaurant. He declined to state where he plans to open or to provide further details about the restaurant concept. Photos on Kuzia-Carmel's Instagram that tag the restaurant or include the hashtag "camperrestaurant" hint at the kind of dishes Camper might serve, from a lemony cured Marin Coast halibut with Persian cucumber, kiwi and quinoa to roasted chicken with brown rice and spinach cooked in the schmaltz. "I promise it will be a worthwhile trip from all points of the Valley when we get it all finalized," he said.

Menlo Park;

Los Altos

ASA Restaurant: The owner of the forthcoming ASA Restaurant in Los Altos describes his cuisine as "American by default, with lots of Spanish and Italian influences." Owner Andrew Welch will replicate philosophies in place at his longtime Saratoga restaurant, The Basin, including sourcing all meat and seafood and breaking them down in-house. Welch is aiming to open ASA Restaurant (named for his first son) in mid- to late August.

242 State St., Los Altos

State of Mind Public House: State of Mind Public House, a homage to California beer and food (with a focus on hand-tossed, thin-crust pizza), is set to open in Los Altos this fall. There will also be pub food and an arcade with games. Palo Alto native Lars Smith, former co-owner at The Tap Room in Palo Alto, is opening the restaurant with his brother, Andrew, also a former Tap Room co-owner, and Amy Betz, a former Tap Room manager. The team has stayed busy as they've worked through the permitting process over the last several months, taking home first place in the non-traditional division category at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in March. Smith is currently competing for a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team (yes, that's a thing). Smith said he hopes to open in October or November.

101 Plaza North, Los Altos;

The Post: Expect "comfort food you can feel good about" at The Post, says owner Vickie Breslin, who hopes to be open this fall. She's in the midst of a total remodel of the two Main Street spaces she took over after Estatements Luxury Consignment and First & Main Sports Lounge closed. Breslin, who grew up on the Peninsula and lives in Redwood City, wants The Post to be a family-friendly restaurant with a strong "community feel," serving locally sourced, sustainable and approachable food -- plus craft cocktails.

397 Main St., Los Altos;

For the latest local restaurant news, head to Elena Kadvany's Peninsula Foodist blog at

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:22 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

Fast Tony's Chicken is really great - that whole section of T&C now has the delicious smell of fried chicken in the air. Hard to resist..

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Pluto's appears to close after more than two decades in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 14 comments | 7,017 views

What Local Teens are Saying
By Sherry Listgarten | 19 comments | 2,820 views

Plastic vegie bag ban: Pragmatic? -- or simply politically correct?
By Diana Diamond | 35 comments | 2,097 views

Edible Education – Free Course - UC Berkeley Online
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,334 views

Letting Christmas Linger
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 542 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.