Located in Palo Alto, Taverna uses an abundance of local seasonal ingredients to highlight Hellenic cuisine at its finest.
Taverna opened in March 2018 and is located in downtown Palo Alto on a quaint neighborhood corner. Founded by two longtime friends, Thanasis Pashalidis and Hakan Bala, Taverna blends rustic origins with modern refinement. Chef William Roberts serves both comforting interpretations of classic dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of Hellenic dining.
Taverna's interior, designed by Chris Irvine, reflects the old-world charm and nostalgic sentiments of Greece, where Thanasis Pashalidis is well seasoned in exploring the tastes and feelings of the everyday taverna. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the old-world when we cook for you as part of our family.
800 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, California
Monday – Saturday
Closed for family time
For centuries, a taverna has been a neighborhood gathering place where friends can meet to eat, drink and enjoy life. Taverna co-founders Thanasis Pashalidis and Hakan Bala were raised with a shared ethical compass, which the Greeks call "philotimo" or "love of honor". Family and friends are their ingredients of life, and they believe that nutrition, happiness and health are all directly correlated. Both partners have been culturally influenced by the remedies of the old world and incorporate them into the lifestyle of Taverna. Both have an "ethos" that drives them and inspires others to live fully, which they consider the flavor of life's success. They understand that life is to be enjoyed and that time is of the essence. They are aware that every day is a gift.
Taverna has been created to make people happy and feel alive.
Thanasis Pashalidis has spent the majority of his life around a table, either for recreation with his family and friends, or professionally accommodating guests. Pashalidis worked at Evvia and San Francisco sister restaurant Kokkari for eight years, before his tenure as captain server at the Michelin-starred Village Pub in Woodside and manager at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto. He has always been a representative for premium quality, healthy lifestyle and positivity. With Taverna, Thanasis Pashalidis is able to express his passion for food, wine and hospitality in addition to offering his love and knowledge of the Greek culture while having fun and sharing laughs with old time friends and new found company.
Hakan Bala draws his roots directly from the old world. He has worked in hospitality internationally in both kitchen operations, as well as honing his fine dining skills in hotel management. For seven years Hakan Bala traveled the world as a head waiter on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines experiencing and developing multiple layers of flavors to incorporate to his palate. After relocating to Palo Alto, Bala spent the past decade fostering lasting relationships within its community at Evvia. As an "ambiancier," his attuned ear for music and his keen eye for detail create an atmosphere that is vibrant and full of life. Hakan Bala has always been an advocate of healthy living, and enjoys clean eating, fine wines and family time. He now enjoys the simplicity of turning strangers into friends with a warm smile, a handshake and a hug.
William Roberts is most comfortable when in the kitchen. A Bay Area native, William graduated from the French Culinary Institute of New York City and worked in highly esteemed kitchens of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Upon his return to the Bay Area, he joined the opening team of Michael Mina in San Francisco as Sous Chef, and later accepted the role of Executive Sous Chef at the Michelin-starred Village Pub in Woodside. Further continuing his career, he assumed the Head Chef position at the Hellenic fine dining establishment Dio Deka in Los Gatos.
As the Executive Chef of Taverna, William Roberts has travelled to Greece, embracing the comfort of Hellenic cuisine. He consistently collaborates with the partners to celebrate the traditions and simplicity of a modest cuisine, while highlighting his own arsenal of culinary techniques to create exciting new dining experiences.