Chez Panisse Cafe
Chez Panisse Cafe

Chez Panisse Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.chezpanisse.com/
  • Phone: 5105485049x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Organic, Californian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Alice Waters
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar/Lounge, Beer, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Chez Panisse offers private party bookings in the downstairs dining room for up to 50 guests.
  • Private Party Contact: Jennifer Sherman 510-548-5066x
  • Special Events: Celebrate Bastille Day with garlic, wine, and live French music.
    Special menu.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Vine Street
  • Public Transit: Downtown Berkeley BART station 7 blocks from Chez Panisse
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Chez Panisse Cafe
The Café at Chez Panisse, located upstairs, opened in 1980 to offer an alternative to the set menu served in the Restaurant downstairs. The Café offers a moderately priced à la carte menu for both lunch and dinner. It has an open kitchen along one side of the room with a charcoal grill and a wood burning oven. The menu changes daily and is inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. Reservations are recommended. Please call and let the reservationist know if anyone in your party requires special accommodation to access our upstairs Café dining room.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Chez Panisse Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
444 reviews since May 20, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (351)special occasion (302)great for lunch (211)neighborhood gem (194)romantic (144)notable wine list (123)hot spot (49)great for brunch (37)good for groups (33)late-night find (21)kid-friendly (14)scenic view (7)great for outdoor dining (4)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Csam
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Negatives: loud, slow service with too many people serving us, food took a long time getting to table(a two hour lunch? Good thing we were on vacation), hard to find parking. Positives: Excellent food, high quality and fresh, excellent wine choices, friendly staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Always good
    Mackie
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Chez Panisse has become a staple of my visits to the Bay Area. In one stop, I can enjoy whatever is fresh, local, seasonal- reliably good. I don't know that much about wine, and have learned that the servers will steer me well, so I leave it up to them now.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Still the best in the bay!
    Local30VIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    This was our first time back since the fire and as always it was wonderful. The interiors are beautiful and the food perfectly prepared. It's always a treat to go there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not as simple as it seems
    Burgastronom
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    We had a great lunch. We really enjoyed the sea bass and the grilled quail, chicken and duck. Everything seemed simple at first, but there were details in the sauces and garnishes that showed real sophistication.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Once in a lifetime
    pierogie
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Dining at Chez Panisse has been on my bucket list and it did not disappoint. Everything was top of the line and delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Reliably Excellent
    cubbette
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Chez Panisse is where you know you will get excellent service, fresh and delicious food wonderfully prepared and presented.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food but...
    JCD519
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We went to Chez Panisse Cafe for lunch. Of course we expected the food to be excellent and it was. The ambiance was a let down. The dining room we were seated in was um.. compact and the tables were crowded in on each other. The noise was also an issue with everyone so close. Just having a conversation was difficult without shouting and this isn't some rowdy bar. The briskness of the service put me off a bit too. It felt rushed, mechanical and a bit formulaic: sit, bread and beverages, "have you decided?" "Oh, excellent choice", first course yum yum yum second course immediately after the last bite of the first. Finish that. "any desert?" "Excellent choice" again. Eat, pay bill "thank you" "Next!" That part was disappointing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wow!
    table4two
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Alice Waters is a hero to so many of us who love perfect fresh ingredients simply but beautifully prepared. We're from the east coast, but I've wanted to dine at Chez Panisse for years. We tend to be food tourists when we travel, and there have been several restaurants on my 'must try' list, many of which don't live up to the hype. Chez Panisse lived up to and exceeded my ridiculously high expectations. Having overspent on a dinner for extended family in wine country earlier in the week, we opted for lunch in the Cafe. What a bargain! Two of us managed to feast on 2 soups, 2 salads, wild mushroom pizza and wine for around $100. My husband now claims that Chez Panisse invented the pizza; all other pizzas were just leading up to this one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lunch 8/30/14
    ralba02
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Vibrant neighborhood, friendly staff, fresh ingredients...pizza was the the best dish. All in all, a dining experience worth having at least once. Service was efficient but I gave it only 3 stars due to the fact that they forgot to put the candle on the dessert (wife's bday) after calling in/following up on the request.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food; so-so service
    evecama
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    We were very pleased with all our dishes at lunch in the Cafe. The main dishes were spectacular. One of us had the chicken under a brick, another had the squid, and the third had the sea bass. We started with some heirloom tomatoes which were very sweet and fine and a delicious salad with goat cheese. The dessert nectarine galette and the panna cotta with peaches were also amazing. We had two complaints, however. When we entered, the hostess was very rude to us. After we asked if we could be seated on the porch, she said in an accusatory voice, "Who are you? Do you have a reservation?" After we clarified that we did, she was still very abrupt and never smiled or greeted us. Our other complaint was that the service was extremely slow.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Still wonderful
    tgarr
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    I have eaten here many times and it remains vibrant, sophisticated, warm, and transcendant. I'm mot really sure how Alice Waters does it. Chez Panisse continues to wow me.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous food, comfortable ambience
    ASHCA
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    As usual, the food was delicious, served effortlessly and flavors balanced perfectly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, kid-friendly, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointment of the day
    LovesFoodandShoes
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    I wish that I was writing a review about the delicious food that we ate but we never made it there. We made a reservation for 2:45 and unfortunately got stuck in traffic (left Santa Cruz at 1:30 on a Tuesday thinking that would give us plenty of time) At 2:30 we called ahead to alert them that we were on our way but running late. We were told that they close at 2:45! We said "but we have a 2:45 reservation!" to which the guy replied "you do? oh, yeah I see it there....sorry we close at 2:45." This was supposed to be a birthday surprise for my sister. I don't understand why I wasn't alerted that the restaurant closed at the exact time I had reservations. I've waited 20 years to try this restaurant, I guess it will be another 20 more.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Thank you a wonderful dining exerience. We love David our waiter. I'm sorry I cant remember if it was daniel or David. He made it even more memorable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • lways wonderful food
    Debbie
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Very lucky to get a reservation on short notice. Food was amazing
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious.
    ThomasTravelerVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The Little Gems was a master class in salad, with each bite revealing new flavors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ChezMonies
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Excellent, fresh and healthy. Expensive but worth going for special occasions. I wish our waiter would have let me know that their was already an automatic 17% gratuity added on to our bill. I didn't realize that I had double tipped him even though it says on the bill and on the menu in French. We were leaving and only glanced at it and didn't notice until I got home.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • chez panisse...what can you say?
    TheoswifePVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    it's perfect. beginning to end. every detail is thought out and precise. what a treat that alice waters herself sat us!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overall Excellence
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We loved our meals, the wine and the service. Only down side was feeling a bit rushed at the end…. bill came quickly once we didn't order dessert. Obviously they turn over the tables quickly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Best of the Area
    EasyBay
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    You can't leave Berkeley without coming here. While it's everyone's dream to go to the restaurant, I still loved the cafe a lot. Everything is cooked with care. The seating is a little tight but you'll get over it after the food arrives!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Classic!
    AnjaStimberg
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    My husband and I visited the café at Chéz Panisse during our honeymoon and it was such a highlight! The atmosphere was chic but at the same cosy and warm, and we felt very welcome. The food was extraordinaire and high quality, as you would expect it to be. We had wild salmon and rabbit and for dessert roasted plum tart and moist almond cake. Everything was fresh and perfect, the vegetables as a side dish we're lovely seasond and you could taste everything in its origin and togehter it was sublime. We would recommend to everybody who loves food and the celebration of it, but in a laid back atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great food and elegance
    tippi
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Legendary Chez Panisse never fails to provide a most pleasing meal with fresh ingredients and a nouvelle cuisine bent. The casual elegant atmosphere and the attentive service makes it my favorite Bay area experience (at a reasonable price).
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Outstanding food
    Pernod
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The fresh, locally grown nature of the food assures outstanding flavor. I usually find something unique ,like baked squid, and very tasty, like homemade pasta with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil. I have never been disappointed with my dining experience and will always return for special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Great produce, perfectly cooked, nothing original. Outrageous starting point for wine prices.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Off Night
    dadwtwins
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    I have gone to Chez Panisse many times in the past and I always enjoyed the food and service. Tonight must of been one of those off days. The food was ok but not great. The service was ok but not great. Eventhough it was not as of a highlight as usual for me, I still will go back hoping this was not a trend but just a off night for the infamous Chez Panisse.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food Good -- charged for olive oil
    Susan
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Overall, a good experience though at almost $200 for lunch for 4 (no wine) , it seemed cheesy to charge for olive oil when it was requested to go with the bread. I does not really live up to its long heralded reputation though the food and experience was overall good.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Everything was awesome!
    Hepburn
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    I have been into organic food since last year, and I wanted to have lunch at your restaurant because I am a huge fan of Ms. Alice Waters. Food, space, and people... Everything was just awesome!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Worth the wait to score a reservation. Terrific food and first class service. Highly recommended
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a bit over-rated
    1outoftowner
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Had an appetizer, a soup and an entree. Everything was *good* but the only real "standout" was the chicken entree (on the lunch menu.) I was expecting stellar food at this price point.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • from the first call...
    edblum
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    even the reservationist is great. Then comes the hostess who recognizes you and calls you by name the 2nd time you meet her. Hard to beat that. But then there's the ever helpful wait staff, topped only by the first rate meal. Great formula. Keep it up people.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty, but not that special
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Solid meal as always, but the spicy gulf shrimp stew wasn't that spicy, and you couldn't much tell that the polenta was sweet. The Buttermilk fried chicken was solid, but not 25$ solid. The Nectarine Galette was good but not memorable. They've got to raise the bar even though it's just the Cafe. You can't just rely on good ingredients and good wine.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently fabulous
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    This is where you come for a reminder of how good food can be. The flavors are allowed to speak for themselves, not hidden in kitchen alchemy. Fresh, local ingredients prepared with sound simplicity, served thoughtfully in an elegant setting, and accompanied with a splendid wine. Nobody does it better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A perfect anniversary dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    We arrive directly from Laguna Beach we were 20 minutes late but fortunately we were accommodated and got our table. The food was delicious and served with Grace. Fresh locally sourced ingredients make such a difference and nobody does it better than Cez Panisse.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food
    Indianfoodie
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    As one would expect at an Alice Waters restaurant the food was excellent. This was my second visit and I love the food. However the salads are very pricey for the small amounts they serve. I also found the desserts quite pricey so my husband and I shared one. I also don't quite like the 17% gratuity they tack on to the bill automatically. The service is good but nothing extraordinary and with the food already so expensive, 17% can be a substantial amount. But then I guess you have to pay all that for the privilege of eating there. Would I come there again? Of course I would, but I probably won't order a salad and may have to split the dessert again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Margo86
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Having been to Chez Panisse a number of times over the last 30 years my last experience was "blah." No originality in the food; very bland; overpriced. I looked for imagination and originality as well as local and organic and the first two were sadly lacking. Last time I ate here there was lavender ice cream--original, delicious, surprising. Not so this time. The service was excellent. The noise level was LOUD but that's not unusual in crowded places in San Francisco
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • PinzimonioVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    fantastic food. And very knowledgable service. A great dinner. Second time and I'll be back again when I am in the area :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • GustavVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Our food was fantastic and our server was one of the best we have ever had at a restaurant and we have been to Chez Panisse several times.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Iconic Restaurant
    zerokilometers
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    We were going to be near Berkley and wanted to dine at the legendary restaurant. The food was interesting and delicious. We like what Alice Waters is all about - using organic and locally grown food. We belong to Slow Food. There aren't many restaurants in Oklahoma City that follow these ideas. We would definitely come back.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Chez Panisse lunch review
    luvtodine
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    My duck breast plate was less than satisfactory. The portion size was meager consisting of 5 extremely thin strips of duck(doubt that it is an entire breast). The natural jus was too watery and had no depth or mouth feel. Salad on the side was too acidic and did not balance the duck as the duck had no richness. Gem Lettuce salad with creamy cesar dressing was mediocre as the cherry tomatoes were extemely small and a bit acidic. I would have expected a sweeter tomato. Wood fired pizza lacked any smokiness or char. I have had much better at A16 or Tony's. All in all, a rip off entree for 26 dollars. Would never go back when there are so many more dining options around.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent
    willreturn
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    The food, salmon and duck which my friend and I ordered was delicious and fresh. The presentation was simple but inviting.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.