Best local places to dine out with friends

Best local places to dine out with friends

As fall approaches, the search for cozy cafes and fun dinners with your friends begins. Palo Alto offers an array of dining options whether it be for a casual brunch, a light lunch, or an appetizing dinner and dessert. Students of Paly have shared their favorite places to eat out for each occasion, from where to stop in the morning, to where your last dessert destination should be to end the night. 


Joanie’s Cafe: 

If you are looking for a big, warm breakfast in a cozy environment, Joanie’s Cafe is your destination. Senior Dora Pang said she likes to get Joanie’s to start off her slow morning or get some food after attending the farmer’s market on Sundays. 

“It has a warm atmosphere again that makes it perfect for breakfast in the morning,” Pang said. 

Comfort food, like pancakes and waffles, floods the restaurant. 

“I usually get the pancakes,” Pang said. “I don’t like chocolate, but my friends say the chocolate ones are amazing.” 

To go with the food, Pang said Joanie’s offers a variety of tasty drinks. 

“My friends and I will get a chai there, and it’s really good,” Pang said. “It’s nice for a coffee on Sunday morning or anytime on the weekend.” 

According to Pang, Joanie’s provides a perfect destination for cozy mornings, and the wait time is not bad. 

“You can usually put your name down, and it will take maybe 15 to 20 minutes even if there’s a lot of names on the list,” Pang said. 



The Greek restaurant Kali on California Avenue is a great destination for light salads topped with a delicious variety of meat and protein. Senior Milena Rodriquez said Kali is a casual, locally owned staple for a quick meal and friendly staff. 

“I really like going to Kali because it’s walking distance from my house, and the people are super friendly and welcoming,” Rodriguez said. “They’re super personable. Some workers have even given us a free baklava dessert.” 

According to Rodriguez, the menu is known for its variety of choices. 

“They have the sandwich, the salad, protein dishes, rice plates and all of that,” Rodriguez said. “I think their food is really tasty and fresh.” 

Rodriguez said the refreshing dishes offered provide an amazing light meal for lunch. 

“It’s good for a lighter option if you’re going out to eat,” Rodriguez said. “Now that Cal Ave is pedestrian only, it’s really nice to sit outside under the tent they have set up.” 

Rodriguez also said that the restaurant has a peaceful atmosphere that is great for relaxing.

“It’s nice to be outside and watch other people enjoying themselves,” Rodriguez said. “My family and I like to go there on Friday evenings or just spontaneously for lunch.” 

Among the dishes, Rodriguez recommends the vegetarian salad. 

“It comes with these fried zucchini balls mixed with feta cheese and other spices,” Rodriguez said. “It’s very satisfying, and I think it represents their Greek, home-style theme they have going.” 



Serving platters lined with meat and fish tacos in a loud and open environment, Tacolicious on Emerson Street offers a great location for a night out.

According to senior Willow Steele, the restaurant is fun to visit with friends. 

“When my friends and I want to splurge, I love to go to Tacolicious,” Steele said. “On one side, there’s a bar with sports games playing which is super fun, and then there’s seating on the other side.” 

According to Steele, the combination of a bar and a sit-down restaurant makes Tacolicious a fun place for night occasions. 

“There are high-top chairs which are really fun to sit in with friends, and there’s always loud music playing, so the energy is definitely high,” Steele said. 

As the name implies, Steele said Tacolicious is an exciting destination for a delicious plate of tacos. 

She said, “My favorite dish is the carnitas tacos as well as the chips and tacos,” Steele said. “Their great for a light dinner and you can always get more if you are hungry.”


Salt & Straw: 

Salt & Straw on University Avenue is a specialty ice cream shop offering a variety of homemade flavors . According to Pang, the delicious ice cream is great for dessert after dinner or for a late-night treat. 

“I usually go there if I’ve already gotten dinner or gone out for an occasion at night,” Pang said. 

Pang said an additional secret ingredient is what makes the ice cream more delicious than usual. 

“The ice cream is so creamy and buttery which makes it taste really good,” Pang said. 

This dessert store is also filled with ice cream flavors ranging from basic vanilla to olive oil. However, Pang said some people are hesitant to go to the store because of its strong sweet scent. 

“My sister doesn’t like it because she thinks the smell of the store is really overwhelming,” Pang said. “I will say it is very sweet immediately when you walk into the store, but they have a great variety of flavors, and there’s something for everyone.” 


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