Discover Los Altos

Words by Johanna Harlow

Words by Johanna Harlow

Sleepy Los Altos is stirring. This tranquil town rooted in an agricultural history of apricot orchards and idyllic summer cottages is blossoming into a lively destination. Home to the world’s first consumer flying car showroom and birthplace of Apple (AKA Steve Job’s garage), it has seen its share of innovation but maintains its small-town charm with scarcely a chain store in sight. The downtown hosts a number of charming events, like First Fridays and a pet parade every May featuring residents’ dogs, cats, chickens, turtles and even worms.

Fancy Fare

With a thriving foodie scene, Los Altos boasts a bounty of fantastic restaurants. ASA serves upscale American fare in a sophisticated space where schools of metal fish swim across its rippling, textured wallpaper. Start with a craft cocktail and ruby-red slices of satisfyingly marbled jamón ibérico while you strategize mains. Try the Argentine steak, thick and tender with an understated chimichurri sauce, or the coq au vin, a half-chicken braised in a rich red wine so tender the first bite will make you melt.

Photo: Sara Scroggins / Cover Photo: Courtesy of State Street Market

Perhaps you’ve already heard the buzz about State Street Market, a food hall for elevated street bites. With something for everyone, diners choose from smashburgers and salads to ramen and ravioli to curry and kebabs. Live music and merlot flow on “Wine Down Wednesdays,” when Murdoch’s Bar sells bottles of vino at half-price. If you prefer a sit-down dining experience, check out its anchor tenant, Cetrella, serving Mediterranean and California coastal cuisine.

Tableside travelers will love the hot new Greek spot Barbayani Taverna down the street. Its whitewashed interior with brilliant blue accents and wicker lights whisks guests off to the shores of Santorini. Or sample an array of small plates at sushi spot Sumo Japanese Restaurant, which sends food sailing down a conveyor belt in little gondolas.


+ Aurum: Innovative Indian cuisine in a brightly-colored space.

+ Pho Cabin: Cozy up to piping hot bowls of soup in a woodsy interior.

+ Hiroshi: Luxury omakase restaurant serving rare ingredients.

+ Urfa Bistro: Classic Mediterranean food in a dining room adorned with tapestries.

+ State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria: Run by a family of pizza enthusiasts. Winner of World’s Best Non-Traditional Pizza.

+ Rustic House Oyster Bar: Seafood in a rustic-chic space.

+ Red Berry Coffee: Homey coffee shop featuring local artists and live music.

+ Amandine: Swanky cocktail lounge with travel-themed drinks.

Shop Talk

Time to hit the shops. If your meal inspired you to whip up your own culinary masterpiece, stock up on cast iron pans, cutlery and culinary gadgets at Cook’s Junction. But if you’re more ardent about fashion than filet mignon, enter Alys Grace, a cheery women’s clothing boutique full of floral dresses, velvet blazers and swishy satin skirts.

 Photo: Courtesy of Cranberry Scoop

For accessories to match your new ensemble, stop by Smythe and Cross Fine Jewelry. Offering elegant pieces shimmering with jewels for the ladies, they also stock suave cufflinks and Tateossian leather bracelets for the gents. For a different kind of stone, His & Her Rocks sells a geologist’s treasure trove of citrine, agates and crystals as well as wooden animal sculptures imported from Bali.

For the kids, find toys and stuffed friends at Cheeky Monkey or that next great read at Linden Tree Books. Plant parents will want to stock up on pots and ponytail palms at Chinelo Design, while those looking for stationery and seasonal home décor should find their way to Cranberry Scoop, a local institution since the 1970s.

Wonder & Wander

Take time to engage your artful side at MADSEN, a collaboration between sculptor Oleg Lobykin and Byington Vineyard & Winery. You can sip chardonnay and admire Oleg’s organically shaped stone sculptures, but in Los Altos, art flourishes outside gallery walls as well. Downtown features a number of murals, so you never know when you might turn a corner and encounter giant peonies or monarchs the size of people.

 Photo: Courtesy of Christian Pizzirani & Los Altos Stage Company

How about a performance? Let Los Altos Stage Company entertain you with one of their latest productions. The 99-seat Bus Barn Theater is the kind of intimate venue that allows the audience to truly enter into the world of the characters. You can take in nature’s show at the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve with six acres of trees, observation decks and a rose garden.

If you’re interested in learning about the town’s past, let Los Altos History Museum fill you in. It’s a great way to find out about the many inhabitants who’ve called the region home—from indigenous peoples and Mexican land grantees to early California settlers and apricot growers. The property also boasts a preserved windmill and the J. Gilbert Smith House, a historic Craftsman-style farmhouse turned gallery.

Photo: Courtesy of Enchante Hotel

Stay a Spell

Want to make a weekend of it? Enchanté Boutique Hotel doesn’t offer cookie-cutter rooms. Instead, each abode at this French chateau-inspired destination has a personal touch. With themed rooms ranging from Madame Curie to Marie Antoinette, Musique de l’Opera to Tour de France, the hotel curates artifacts to match. Expect framed sheet music, old world portrait paintings, tapestries, a myriad of chandeliers and exceptional attention to detail. Campagne One Main, the Napoleon-themed bistro and bar downstairs, displays handpicked artifacts from the French military including an authentic bicorn hat. Hotel guests recieve a complimentary glass of wine and appetizer plate in the evening and a made-to-order breakfast each morning.