Calafia in Palo Alto for Fresh & Fun Vegetarian Dishes


Before a theatre production in Palo Alto last month, I met up with vegetarian friends at Calafia in Palo Alto California whose art comes from Chef Charlie Ayers. Formerly with Google, Charlies says that Calafia is the manifestation of his long-term vision to ‘go public’ with the concept he created at Google. It will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from students to busy professionals and parents looking for wholesome, affordable fare for their families.

Below is a sampling of some of the dishes we tried on our somewhat rushed evening as we had seats for a musical waiting for us a few miles down the road.


To give you an idea of some of their dishes, creative appetizers alone include sesame udon noodles with rice wine vinaigrette, black and white sesame seeds, scallions, roasted shiitake mushrooms, tempura fried vegetables, papas con ajo, which are crispy shoestring fries tossed with garlic, parsley, and Calafia spice blend, served with Special Red Sauce and a tofu rojo & black bean tostada, served with chipotle-scented black beans, cabbage, cilantro, red onions, chili-lime vinaigrette, avocado, Wildwood organic firm tofu and a crispy white corn tortilla.

If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, try the fresh ground duck, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, scallions with sake and sesame oil. It is served with a yummy dipping sauce. While we’re talking duck, the Wolfgang’s Pizza is scrumptious. Imagine a pizza with duck confit, pumpkin-hemp seed pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese.

I tried the grilled flat iron steak marinated in Chinese five spice, watercress, sunflower sprouts, daikon radish, fennel, red miso aioli and crispy shallots (pictured above) although my second choice was their arugula salad served with salmon, warm quinoa pilaf, rice wine vinaigrette, house-made pickled vegetables and wakame. They also have a number of burgers to choose from as well.

An example of one of their pizza dishes.

If you’re not on a diet and want to skip all things healthy, go for the boneless Marin Sun Farms beef short ribs braised in aromatics, port wine and veal stock. It is served with sauteed Spring vegetables and cauliflower puree. While I didn’t try it, the dish sounded delicious.

While we’re talking about no diet dishes. Take a look at this dessert on the menu, but that’s only if you’re not gluten or dairy free, which btw, they have a wide range of choices to choose from. A two thumbs up for this little eatery on El Camino Real.



Town & Country Village Suite 130

855 El Camino Real (at Embarcadero Road)

Palo Alto California

(650) 322-9200