Latin cuisine at Joya in Palo Alto, CA

After a month of enjoying excellent home cooked and wedding food, I got back to the Bay Area last week. And just like that, I am back to reviewing restaurants. This time, I had the opportunity to meet some old co-workers for dinner at a popular tapas place in Palo Alto, Joya.

We arrived on a weekday evening around 7:30pm. We were told that the wait would be about 30 minutes and we had a lounge to relax. In about 5 minutes, we were told there was going to be space available and promptly seated. Happy as we were that we were seated so soon, the wait logic didnt really make much sense. Anyways, the place offers a pleasant and fancy ambiance that warrants a few looks. It is dark but for the umpteen candles and dim lighting in the place. The look and feel is decidedly upscale and in a good way.

We were a party of four of which I was the only vegetarian. We had decided to just order tapas until we were full. I got to pick all the vegetarian options. For the table, I chose guacamole and new world chips which was pretty much your taro root, sweet potato, regular potato assortment of chips with a bowl of guac in the middle. The guac was tasty as were the different chips.

I also ordered over the course of next 2 hours, I also ordered yuca fries which were thick cut and fantastic with the accompanying chipotle aioli and a melon salad  with cheese that looked as good as it tasted. I also had a couple of cups of pineapple juice while the rest of the table sampled what I was told was some really good wine.

Overall, Joya made for an excellent eating experience. It definitely is pricey befitting its location and ambiance. The tapas was tasty and unique and but for the artisanal cheese sampler and mayan hummus, I had tried all vegetarian options. There are a few salads listed on the menu that appeared to be vegetarian friendly also.


Ambiance: 9/10. Feels very cosy and inviting. I would caution though that it is not necessarily child friendly.

Service: 8.5/10. Service was prompt. The lady who served us seemed to be hard of hearing but cant really blame her given the incessant sound of people talking all over.

Food: 8.5/10. Tasty food. Interesting selections and flavors.

Price: 8/10. On one hand, it is definitely pricey. On the other, it is not trying to be otherwise.

Restroom: 8.5/10. Clean and usable.

Overall: 8.5/10. A recommended location for a romantic date or a meeting with friends after work. Not your family gathering spot with kids running around but a good fit for all other types of groups.