Cuisine off Campus: Kali elevates casual fare

Feb. 27, 2023, 3:55 p.m.

“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.

A lamb pita wrapped in white paper with blue details sits on a speckled blue plate.
The lamb pita featured melt-in-your-mouth meat. Kali serves a variety of pita sandwiches, including vegetarian and vegan options. (Photo: KIRSTEN METTLER/The Stanford Daily)

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.

Cucumber salad, white orzo and 3 beef skewers sit on top of a bed of pita bread on a speckled blue plate.
The beef rice plate featured tangy meat skewers and buttery orzo. The cucumber salad brought freshness to the plate. (Photo: ISABELLA SARACCO/The Stanford Daily)

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.

A speckled blue bowl holds hummus with olive oil, paprika and an olive.
The hummus stood out for its satisfyingly smooth texture. The appetizer was delicious on pita, and a nice addition to our entrees. (Photo: ISABELLA SARRACO/The Stanford Daily)

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. 

Three glass containers hold colorful drinks. The left drink is a dark brown iced tea. The center drink holds pink strawberry basil lemonade. The right drink holds light green cucumber mint lemonade.
Kali has a wide range of drinks, many of which are from Greece. Both the strawberry basil lemonade and the cucumber mint lemonade were sweetly refreshing. (Photo: KIRSTEN METTLER/The Stanford Daily)

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. 

A speckled blue plate with baklava crumbs sits on a wooden table.
We finished all of the tasty baklava. The dessert had a tantalizing honey flavor that complemented its rich textures. (Photo: ISABELLA SARACCO/The Stanford Daily)

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’

Kirsten Mettler '23 is an Executive Editor of The Stanford Daily. She is a former Managing Editor for Arts & Life and Desk Editor for News. Contact her at kmettler 'at' Saracco '23 is a staff writer and columnist for The Stanford Daily. She loves Chicago, deep-dish pizza and cats.

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