463 S. California Avenue, Palo Alto, CA | Directions 9430637.425459 -122.145168
Lunch: Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 2pm; Dinner: Mon - Thu, 5:30pm - 9:30pm; Fri, Sat, 5:30pm - 10pm; Bar: Mon - Thu, 5pm - 11pm; Fri, Sat, 5 pm - midnight
Neighborhoods: Evergreen Park
great for small business meeting – As an out of town visitor, I find La Bodeguita a great place to entertain clients. It consistently has a great neighborhood feel and is never stuffy. There are many choices on the menu and eveything is great.
I always start with the santiago cooler and empinandas, which come with a savory slaw. For dinner my favorite choices are the paella, snapper or tierra y mar. I always have a side order of the boniato potatoes (TO DIE FOR...)
Although they are walk-in friendly, it's best to have a reservation for the dining room. The bar is a great casual place to meet for drinks and appetizers, dinner if you'd like.
The back room and patio are great for drinks and smoking, even though I don't smoke. My guests have always enjoyed themselves and the staff is always friendly and compitent. I highly recommend La Bodeguita for friends or business.
Not good for a group – We tried to have a group gathering here several months ago, but the bar was much too crowded, we were pressured to buy entrees while seated at the table (we were having drinks and appetizers), and the service was poor. I've boycotted this place ever since.
A great place for Cuban food – Went there for dinner with my husband. We're both Cuban and found the food to be pretty authentic although a bit pricey. If you want to save a bunch of money (our tab was $80 for 2 drinks, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and 1 dessert), come over to my house and I'll feed you proper Cuban food! It has a very nice ambience and very good service.
Rum or Tequila? – The guitar player was drinking tequila the evening my party dined. He set the ambience--time for great food with good friends.
It is so difficult to find a restaurant that serves delicious food nowadays. La Bodeguita definitely fills my palates desires. The snapper and spicy pork were delicious; All elements on the plate melded deliciously together and stood alone well on their own.
Bartender was friendly and not over attentive. Cuban Sidecar was the clear winner; Mojito lacked some depth maybe due to mass production; Santiago Cooler was not balanced (too fruity). The waiter was good but a little ditzy.
Great dinner place! – I met a couple friends here for dinner. It was recommended by one of the friends joining me for dinner and I was really happy with it. The Mojitos were delicious, tart, and fresh. The food was delicious.
Stuck up and snobby – Maybe La Bodeguita del Medio has been in Palo Alto too long, perhaps it's the length of time it's been on the hot list, or maybe the wait staff was just having a bad night; but from the start to the finish this place annoyed us. It started with them telling us they were making a "special exception", which they could only do with manager approval, when we wanted to add another friend to our spacious 8 person table. It ended, after poor service all night, with them adding an 18% service charge to the bill and then taxing the whole thing!
Editorial Review – Cuban is king at this California Avenue mojito and empanadilla joint.
Not GREAT Cuban, but Decent – Being Cuban, I thought Bodeguita did a good job incorporating basic Cuban culinary elements into its menu. Unfortunately, I didn't find the food to be super-authentic; however, if you don't know what Cuban is supposed to taste like, you'll might be happy with the food.
For example, the Arroz con Pollo did not taste anything like "real" Arroz con Pollo. Bodeguita's arroz tasted like it was made with Minute Rice. Also, it wasn't garnished with the traditional peas and pimentos on top that make the dish more colorful and delicious.
On a more positive note, the sandwich Cubano was very good. The bread was toasted to perfection, there was lots of pork and ham in the sandwich.
Lastly, the mojitos that Gilda made for us were excellent. The restaurant itself is gorgeous, airy and the ambiance is romantic and great.
Great place for a woman dining alone – OK, I've also been here with friends and on dates, and have never been disappointed, but I want to emphasize the solo dining experience. I would rather not sit at a table by myself, so I've never tried it here. But having dinner at the bar is pleasant and comfortable. When I've been the only solo diner, even with a packed bar, I've never felt out of place, and there've usually been others eating alone (usually men). It's not a pick up joint and people are friendly but will leave you alone if you don't strike up a conversation. The bartenders are friendly and discreet, and if you're not in the mood for conversation, there are magazines at the counter. The food is excellent and well-priced, and the drinks are great (check out the Cuban cocktails). Try the Ropa Vieja (a signature dish)--you won't be disappointed.
Ridiculously Poor Customer Service – I have to say that the I had the WORST time making reservations here and the mgr was both rude and condescending. Their reservation system consists of leaving a message on an answering machine and hope they get back to you before 5pm. We MADE res'v for 8:30pm, called back at 11am and left message to confirm only to have them call back at 5:15 to say they could ONLY accommodate our party at 6pm. Ridiculous!! To top it off, the mgr was ambivalent to the situation she put our party in and rather than work out a solution, insisted that she had "been on the phone too long already." Regardless of the food and ambiance at this place, I will not spend a dime here and will be sure that unless this establishment understands basic customer service practices, will tell everyone I come in contact with.
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