“Cuisine off Campus” reviews food near Stanford’s campus. We consider what matters to college students: how close is the restaurant? How expensive is the food? And, most importantly, how tasty is it? We hope to help you find your next favorite spot!
We’ve been a fan of Souvla’s fast-casual Greek fare for years, making it a consistent stop in our occasional San Francisco escapades. So, when our friend Bella Meyn ’23 said she had found a comparable, more affordable alternative right here in Palo Alto, we knew we had to try it out. Kali Greek Kitchen did not disappoint.
Kali has a simple but expansive menu, with the entrees divided into three main sections: pita, salad and rice plate. Within each section, patrons have the option to choose from a variety of meat and meat substitute options. Most entrees fall somewhere between $11 and $15, with sides and desserts typically costing $5. Despite the relatively low prices, the portion sizes were still satisfying.
Small details, like the restaurant’s striking blue plates, elevate the feel of the casual cafe. Clean white tiling contrasts with dark wood flooring to make up Kali’s relaxing vibe. The venue is small and can feel a bit crowded if it’s busy, but generally its atmosphere feels like an oasis compared to campus dining halls. Kali even has an outdoor table area for warmer days.
Kali’s ambiance is further enhanced by its excellent service. Orders are taken at a counter and then brought to your table. The service is remarkably fast, and the waitstaff remain kind and attentive. As we ate, they frequently stopped by our table to see how we were doing.
As promised by the menu, the vegetarian pita was a deliciously savory mix of “zucchini fritters, radish, Kali greens, mizithra cheese, lemon & garlic aioli” stuffed into a warm pita wrap. The crunch of the greens and radish perfectly complemented the dish’s soft texture, while the aioli’s pleasant bitterness deepened the flavor. The zucchini fritters were moist and filling, and the dish did not feel insufficient for its lack of meat. It’s safe to say that Kali is a great option for vegetarians (and their menu has vegan options, too).
But don’t worry, meat eaters — Kali has you covered. The lamb pita was a tasty treat featuring “Superior farms leg of lamb, Persian cucumber, tomato, Kalí greens, feta cheese [and] tzatziki sauce.” The cucumber and tomato brought freshness, while the cheese and tzatziki grounded the dish with familiar, hearty Greek flavors. The clear star of the sandwich, though, was the lamb. It certainly avoided the typical lamb pitfalls of being dense or dry. Wonderfully soft and salty, it melted in your mouth.
The beef rice plate is another strong menu offering. Featuring “ground beef skewers, chickpeas, orzo, Kalí Greek salad, yogurt-dill sauce [and] pita,” the plate was a hearty, delicious meal. The orzo was cooked perfectly with a satisfying buttery flavor that balanced nicely with the tangy taste of the meat.
Kali’s appetizers and desserts didn’t disappoint either. To start, we shared an order of hummus with pita. The hummus was silky with delectable olive-oil smoothness. It was perfect with the soft pita slices, and a good topping to add to our entrees. For a sweet treat, we ordered the baklava. It was a satisfying mix of textures, and won us over with its strong honey flavor.
The establishment also has a good drink selection to wash down the delicious food. They serve a variety of Greek beers, wines and sodas. We tried sour cherry Loux Greek soda, the Kali mint cucumber lemonade and the Kali strawberry basil lemonade — all of which were fruity and refreshing.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Kali yet, we highly recommend taking the time to grab a meal there. A 12-minute drive or 15-minute bike ride from Governor’s Corner — and a nine-minute drive or seven-minute bike ride from EVGR-A — Kali is especially easy to get to from campus.
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques. If you have restaurant suggestions for this column to review, email arts ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.