What's New: Palo Alto Restos
January 30, 2019
It was a busy year in the restaurant community here in Palo Alto. Unfortunately, a few local favorites closed their doors for good. On the plus side, there bright and shining newcomers to the scene all around The Village residences. Not to mention, one lucky locale received a Michelin star. When hunger strikes, check out these brand-new places to grab a quality bite to eat.
The Michelin Star
We won’t keep you in suspense. Michelin announced in November of 2018 that Protégé would be awarded their first star. Having only opened their doors in March, that’s an incredible accomplishment. So, how did Protégé pull it off?
The restaurant features two separate area, a lounge and dining room. The dining room offers a four-course prix fixe menu featuring nothing short of the finest in luxury plates available. Phyllo-wrapped john dory, black walnut-crusted lamb loin, and Japanese A5 wagyu ribeye are just a few plates to be features on the menu. Meanwhile, the lounge offers snacks, appetizers, and entrees ranging from Shigoku oysters to Cornish game hen.
Michelin awarded the star to Protégé for their level of finesse, consistently excellent meals, and casual atmosphere. A one-star rating displays high-quality and denotes any fine dining experience as, “worth a stop.” If you haven’t given Protégé a try yet, now is the perfect time.
Relatively new and already boasting three-hour waiting times, Shake Shack is serving up burgers and fries at the Stanford Shopping Center. It’s a simple concept, one that is repeated time and again throughout America, but this burger chain adds their own twist.
Their patties are pure Angus beef, while each bun is a deliciously soft potato roll. Add in classic crinkle-cut fries, a fried chicken sandwich, and classic shakes, and you have the makings of a new hotspot. Culinary director Mark Rosati wanted to set the bar high for Shake Shack’s 202nd location (worldwide), and he did just that by delivering a high-quality fast food location.
Sure, fast food might not sound like fine dining, but this joint will leave your taste buds saying otherwise. When it comes to burgers and fries, there’s nothing quite like Shake Shack in the Palo Alto area.
In downtown Palo Alto, it’s a rare occurrence to find Ramen Nagi without a line wrapping around the block. This Japanese chain on 541 Bryant Street is one of the few of its kind, but scarcity isn’t what draws the crowd in.
Customers have four unique broth options to choose from, each made from top-quality ingredients. There’s the original tonkotsu, a black squid ink, red miso with red chili paste, and a green sauce consisting of basil, parmesan, and olive oil. From there, you can pick from a wide variety of flavorings as well as noodle firmness and toppings.
The level of customization brings a new edge to the typical ramen scene. Vegetarians and meat lovers alike can chow down on a bowl of noodles made exactly to their liking. Given that this Ramen Nagi is one of the few ramen restaurants around, it’s worth the visit.
Palo Alto is now home to two traditional Georgian food outlets, a restaurant named Bevri and a food truck called Kolkhida. This type of cuisine is new to the area, but catching on fast amongst foodies. Here are a few examples of their top-selling dishes:
- Pkhali – a mixture of spinach, beets, walnuts, and spices
- Khinkali – dumplings stuffed with meat and/or vegetables
- Khachapuri – a canoe-shaped piece of bread filled to the brim with cheese and egg
Ike Shehadeh finally opened his sandwich after three long years of anticipation. It feature’s the classic menu from Ike’s Place along with three sandwiches you’ll only find in Palo Alto. The Him Harbaugh features chicken, pepper jack cheese, and sweet chili glaze. The Mayfield is filled with salmon, avocado, and sweet chili glaze. Then there’s the “Kermit the Frog,” which offers a vegetarian mix of cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, and (you guessed it) sweet chili glaze.
Right now, the shop is only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. due to short staffing. So, you’ll have to plan your trip to the Lytton Avenue location accordingly. Expect that to change in the coming months, though.
Maum officially opened to the public last summer, moving away from its focus on private dining. The Korean restaurant has always been a high-end experience with a tasting only-menu meticulously designed by married couple and co-chefs Michael and Meichih Kim.
Their fine dining experience shines through in each bite, delivering traditional Korean flavors with a NorCal twist. Ingredients are sourced from a partnership between Maum and a private farm in the Los Altos Hills, who exclusively provides for the restaurant. If you’re looking for unique Korean cuisine with true to the region ingredients, this is the place.
These aren’t the only restaurants to place on your radar in 2019. Check out these other dining experiences guaranteed to satisfy.
- Maison Alyzee – An authentic French patisserie from thee Paris chefs
- Oak + Violet
- Porta Blu
While those restaurants breathe new life into the area, Palo Alto also lost some great names this past year. Farm-to-table experience Calafia Café closed its doors, health conscious LYFE Kitchen shut down in August, and Max’s Opera closed after three decades in business. Janta, the family-run Indian restaurant, also went out of business after a stark rent increase. While it’s sad to see these excellent locations go, at least there’s a lot to look forward to on the horizon.
The Village Residences
You can dine at these and other exquisite restaurants with your premier location at The Village. Centered around a vibrant retail experience, these residences place a vast collection of services, shops, and Palo Alto’s robust dining scene at your fingertips. Nearby Caltrain work hubs make for simple commutes, while luxurious amenities await your return. Complete with modern finishes that create comfort and an envious appeal, this is an elevated sense of living.
Welcome to a home that places you in the center of it all. Welcome to The Village.