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Fun Dinner Places for Adults & Kids in Palo Alto, CA

by Maria Scinto

Pal Alto is a mid-size city in the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area. This technologically advanced city, known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley, is home to a culturally diverse community, and this diversity is reflected in the variety of dining options. Kid-friendly eateries range from traditional diners to those offering more exotic choices.

Outdoor Dining

When the weather is fine, eating dinner at a sidewalk table is fun for the whole family. The Mayfield Bakery and Cafe, which was chosen as one of the candidates by the "Palo Alto Weekly" for best restaurants offering outdoor dining, uses only organic seasonal ingredients, many of them grown by local farmers. The dinner menu has a Mediterranean influence, but the kids' menu has simpler options such as pizzas, pasta and burgers. The cafe is next door to a bakery, so many tasty desserts are offered each day. Another Palo Alto outdoor dining spot is Max's Opera Cafe, where adults can unwind with a specialty cocktail, glass of wine or beer while kids enjoy sodas, spritzers and flavored lemonades. Both the kids and adult menus offer soups, salads and sandwiches in addition to pasta, meat and seafood entrees, and gluten-free options are available.

Continental Cuisine

The Italian restaurant Buca de Beppo was named by "Open Table" magazine as one of the "Top 100 Kid-Friendly Restaurants," and the local franchise has been singled out for praise by the Palo Alto Patch. This chain offers all its meals family style, with appetizers and entrees sized to serve from two to four diners. Bistro Maxine, chosen by the "Palo Alto Weekly" as a candidate for best dining with kids, is a French cafe serving sweet and savory crepes and soups and sandwiches. Coffee, beer, wine and French cider are on the menu, along with sodas, iced tea, Orangina and fresh-squeezed orange juice for the kids.

South of the Border

Kids and adults will enjoy the Brazilian dining experience at Pampas, where flame-roasted meats are offered by strolling servers and carved right at your table. Ordering the rodizio gets you all the meat you want, and unlimited access to the salad bar with its vegetables, cheeses and Brazilian specialties. Another Palo Alto restaurant specializing in South American cuisine is the Venezuelan Coupa Cafe, which uses organic and fair trade ingredients. Adults can enjoy coffee drinks, beer or a selection of Chilean wines, and kids can try several types of hot chocolate, lemonade, and Brazilian or Italian sodas. Menu items include crepes, empanadas and a Venezuelan specialty called arepas, which are cornmeal griddle cakes served with types of meat, beans and cheese.

Family Favorites

The Palo Alto Creamery Fountain and Grill has been welcoming families since 1923, and is known for its fresh-baked pies and milkshakes. The dinner menu is heavy on comfort foods such as meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, turkey pot pie and fried chicken, and if anyone prefers pancakes or an omelet, breakfast is served all day long. Hobee's in Palo Alto opened its doors in 1976, and has a menu with California cuisine including pasta, chicken, fish, burgers and vegetarian dishes. The kids' menu doubles as a coloring sheet, and Hobee's also welcomes children with free meals every Wednesday night.

About the Author

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer and researcher - I got my start writing for writeforcash.com, and this was when I first learned I could turn my talent for research into writing articles on just about any topic. Parenting is my favorite topic - I am the homeschooling work-at-home single mom of a four-year-old son. I also enjoy writing about pets (I have a Chow/Husky mix, 2 orange-striped kittens, and a hermit crab - unless he died since I last checked - and I used to have a fish but the kittens ate him), food (I like to cook, like to eat out, just plain love to eat), dieting (my metabolism isn't so crazy about all this eating), TV (my son and I are up on all the latest cartoon series). I have regular gigs writing about political questions (for askquestions.org) and all things Virginian (for Northern Virginia Magazine) and also work as a fact checker, web editor, and data annotator.

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