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Chez Panisse Cafe
Chez Panisse Cafe

Chez Panisse Cafe Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.chezpanisse.com
  • Phone: (510) 548-5049
  • 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: Californian, Organic, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Alice Waters
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar/Lounge, Beer, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, 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) 548-5066
  • Special Events & Promotions: Celebrate Bastille Day with garlic, wine, and live French music. Special fixed menu: $55 for three courses and hors d'oeuvre.

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.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "Citrus salad was best salad I've ever had. This whole meal was amazing. Delicious wine. Gorgeous view. Great service."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "As always we had a wonderful dinner at Chez Panisse"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "I have long dreamed of coming to this cafe/restaurant and found it to be pleasant, elegant and also homely. The food was seasonal and fresh with a light touch, flavours delicate and well balanced. Like the best home cooking from a dream kitchen garden, it was well presented without being too cheffy or fussed over. I suppose I expected the whole place to feel as inspirational as its reputation, and to have a slightly more unusual and quirky or contemporary ambience. It was quite plain and conventional, and a just a tiny bit gloomy and staid, with dark wood dining booths, mirrors, and starched white cloths. But all clean and smart. Our waitress was fabulous, chatty and ready to give honest opinions about what was worth eating that day."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "We always dine at chez panisse when we visit Berkeley;) the highlight of our visit! I have never been disappointed."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Hi Chez Panisse, When I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, my Aunt Barbara used to pick me up at North Gate (I was a Geology student at McCone Hall) and take me to Chez Pannisse Cafe for lunch. At that time (1979-1981) things in the foodie realm were not so common. Since then I have lived and loved food everywhere! I live in Sydney now, but now working back at the ALS now and then, I can come down and enjoy the Cafe again. What a pleasure. It was even better than I remember and wish my Aunt was there to join me. All my best, Tracy"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Returned after several years to the Chez Panisse Cafe for lunch. Overall a very good experience. Appetizers were very good to excellent, but entrees were fair (chicken underdone and a bit rubbery, and sauce thin, and fish not so flavorful). I found the vegetable ingredients to be very good to excellent (e.g. beans with chicken, salad greens, etc) and the sauce flavors to be very good. Soups we had were also very good. Dessert was tiny but excellent (mousse). Coffee was excellent. Service was attentive and effective. We had wines by the glass and the selection was a bit small, but the wines were very good. This is a rather pricey restaurant and one tends to expect things to be consistently outstanding, which they did not quite achieve."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "My wife and I have been fortunate in that we have eaten at some of the best restaurants in he world...the food does not compare for innovation like El Bulli, nor for 3 star food as in France...it is simple, very fresh food, lovingly prepared.....great ambiance..pleasant people, as my wife said it was leading edge maybe 30 years ago when it opened.... the receptionist was especially charming...we would happily return."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "I phoned that we would be a little late and they held a nice, private corner table for us. The French champagne by the glass was excellent. Our first course Italian-ish bean soup and composed salad were complex and excellent. We both had the leg of lamb - perfectly cooked and deeply flavored. The pureed vegetable accompaniment looked like potato but wasn't. Whatever it was it tasted great. I forgot to ask what it was. For dessert we had the ginger cake with kumquat and a highly refined semi-sweet chocolate pudding. The espresso was as good and concentrated as it gets. The service was attentive without being overdone. Overall it was as nice a dinner as I could have hoped for. Even though the tables are close it was easy to talk privately."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "I still haven't tried the full restaurant, but I see nothing special in the Cafe's food.... they'd run out of the one dish that intrigued me, and I didn't think the ingredients on one of the items I ordered (pizza with arugula and fresh sardines) worked well together. Yes, all was fresh, but fresh ingredients are no longer a novelty."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "I don't do a lot of fine dining so I was worried about visiting a place as iconic as Chez Panisse because I really didn't want to screw up. I was thinking like the hoity-toity places from the movies. When my friend and I arrived the host was incredibly welcoming and the entire staff made us feel like we were at home. I thought I was going for the food, but I realized that the purpose of the restaurant was to feel the comfort of "home". The environment was warm, the staff was peaceful but attentive, and the food was incredibly comforting. I was most impressed by the complex, underlying flavors behind each dish, so memorable. For anyone going in the future, I encourage you to not think about food but as the experience of coming home."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "Chez Panisse Cafe has been our famiy "go to" restaurant for special occasions. We were disappointed by our most recent meal there. The salad was fine, but nothing special. The clams were fine, but boring. The tart was superb, as was the service. However, as more and more innovative restaurants open in the Bay Area, sadly, Chez Panisse becomes a less interesting option."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "I've been hearing about this restaurant my whole life! We finally got there and it was worth planning the whole trip around this dinner! They did not disappoint in any way! I was intimidated about making a reservation, because I'd heard stories of a "year in advance" -- not true! I called a week in advance when we decided to come up to Oakland for an event. We'll come again! Also a very nice neighborhood..."
    Dined on 9/26/2013
  • "Great for vegetarian and non vegetarian diners. Lovely presentation. Flavors and textures perfect."
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "This is such a great restaurant for friends, romance, whatever. Food is delicious and service is stellar. Last December, between Christmas and New Years, my lifelong best friend and I finally celebrated our Big Birthday year, with lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe. We had a 1:00 reservation and did not leave till the dinner people were coming in, a little after 5:00. Great food and wine, great friend and great conversation! An afternoon does not get better than that . And, tonight my husband and I will celebrate our milestone anniversary at Chez Panisse Cafe, perfect place for us to dine."
    Dined on 12/28/2013
  • "One would expect for Chez Panisse to be magnificent and it's so nice when your expectations live up to themselves. It was wonderful across the board. Table was ready when we arrived, service was spectacular as was every bit of food. It's a bucket list restaurant to get to."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "really enjoyed my visit to chez panisse - i'd heard great things from one of my hometown favourites, mr ottolenghi, and wasn't disappointed. ambience was lovely, upmarket but not at all stuffy, the server attentive, and most importantly, the food was a joy. our cauliflower soup was light, and paired beautifully with the dense, crusty bread we were brought, baked goats cheese rich and textured, and the fava bean, chick pea and ricotta appetiser was one of the best things we ate all week. my lady's pea ravioli was delicious though a little on the wet side, and my pork loin was succulent, with lovely crispy onion rings. ginger cake for afters was solid, if unremarkable - i wished i'd gone for the bowl of mandarins instead - and coffee was good"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "What a delight to eat at the birth place of sustainable California cuisine! I suggest reading about the Edible Schoolyard before heading over for your special dinner so you feel that much more connected to this wonderful place!"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "We've been to CP Cafe a number of times, usually for lunch. This time the food was stellar -- all four dishes were memorable. Great job, Chez Panisse !!"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "My experience at Chez Panisse lived up to high expectations. The cafe was packed but service was impeccable and food faultless. It is hard to make a bad meal out of such fresh and well-sourced produce, but the dishes managed to be simple and impressive. The meal was memorable for its well-executed harmony of delicate flavours. I hope to be able to return at some point in the future!"
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "I'd heard about Chez Panisse for years. When I finally visited, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I had just flown in from Seattle and drove directly to the restaurant for lunch on my own. The food is legendary but what may be less well known is the wonderful service at Chez Panisse. From the moment I arrived (late!) I was warmly welcomed. The wait staff is very knowledgeable but more importantly they know how to make the experience right for each person. I can not recommend Chez Panisse enough! You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned much about the food-- it was all excellent! There's no way you can go wrong! Whatever you choose will be delicious and the service will be excellent! Enjoy!"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Great food in the Cafe. Noise is a little much but not unbearable. Crowd is lively and the service is good. We'll be back!"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "I have eaten at Chez Panisse on special occasions over the years. I no longer live in Berkeley and felt it was time to revisit an old favorite. I still miss the wood fired oven and the calzone."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Forgot just how wonderfully delicious the food is. A number of years have passed since our last visit..don't ask me why. Beautiful ambiance to complement the innovative fare. Parsnip soup delightful on the cool rainy day Beet salad and pasta...delicious! Apple tart ...yummy. Must hurry back!"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Thanks so much for a memorable dining experience. My brother from Hawaii was visiting. - we had one of the best seats in the upstairs dining room. We were seated in the newly built balcony area. The food was excellent and the wait staff friendly and courteous."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "Chez Panisse is one restaurant that I've wanted to go to for many years . It is worth the wait! Wonderful to finally get the chance and every morsel was delicious. So comforting to know that their menu uses local, fresh, and mostly organic sources. Wish I could dine like this every day. I now know why Alice Waters is a hero in the foodie world."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "We were lucky enough to have a day in Berkeley on our recent trip to the Bay area. 'Able to get a table for lunch in the Cafe, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! It was a perfect experience from beginning to end!"
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Dining at Chez Panisse Cafe was like coming home for me. Hadn't been in a while, though I've been dining there for years. Despite the spate of wonderful new restaurants in the East Bay, Chez Panisse Cafe is still, in my opinion, the most consistently excellent, in food and service. The waitstaff is attentive and friendly, without being overbearing. The food was outstanding-- not a single less-than-wonderful dish. The quality of the ingredients and the care taken with the presentation of each dish distinguish this restaurant; the fact that they have been doing this consistently for so many years is especially impressive."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "It's not often that I get to go to Chez Panisse, but it is always spectacular. Each dish that came to our table was creative, balanced, and of the freshest, most perfect quality. The staff make it warm and inviting, not up tight and humorless the way many upscale restaurants can be. And I love the beautiful interior with windows looking out to the bay at sunset."
    Dined on 3/24/2014
  • "Highlight of my Bay Area visit. The actual experience lived up to my anticipation. Wonderful, inventive plates, knowledgable servers and the Rose' was just ideal."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Simply the best. Alice Waters is a treasure. The food, service and overall feeling is unmatched."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Chez Panisse can be counted on for flawless preparations and seamless service. First disappointment in many years: Ordered same fish entree; overcooked on edges. Veg. accompaniment an uneven portion on each entree. Plating was messy; impression veg. hurriedly added. Plus 20 min. bet. starter and entree. Timing is usually spot on. Hope this experience was a one-time glitch."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "I think that Chez Panisse and the Chez Panisse Cafe are both good restaurants. But the hype they receive is ridiculous and undeserved. I have been to any number of restaurants in the East Bay that I would rate higher than either the restaurant or the cafe. The food is good, not GREAT. The atmosphere (upstairs) is average. Haven't seen downstairs since the fire, but pre-fire, it was nothing to shout about. The service is fine. The prices (upstairs) are reasonable. But I only go there when somebody else is DYING to go to the iconic Chez Panisse in some form or other. It's apparently heresy to say this in Berkeley, but I think that the gourmet ghetto Chez Panisse spawned is far better than what the restaurants themselves are."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Chez Panisse Cafe has the cache that creates its own gravitational pull. Never having been there before, it was a place that I knew my wife would enjoy. She did. Had a good time with daughters too (who are both adults)."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I went to several of the top restaurants in the bay area over the past week, I always try to blend the old guard with the new press worthy hot spots, always searching for something special or a new classic.. The last night I went to Chez Panisse, It was just better, food, service, vibe.....After all these years the food continues to be a revelation, the service warm and professional, the room comforting, as is the total dining experience there. Look no further.....................On my next trip to the area, I am going to start at Chez Panisse and also end there."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "We lucked out getting a 5 o'clock reservation the day of. It turned out to be a good time to go as we were the 2nd or 3rd table to be seated. Service was excellent and waitress was knowledgeable about menu items and wines. The only semi-iffy thing for me was the baby lettuce/crab salad which we shared. There didn't seem to be much crab there. The other dishes were excellent, and the apple/cherry galette was perfect."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "The staff were really lovely and we were warmly received but the food was overpriced & precious. We are seasoned travelers & live in the Bay area & were entertaining guests from London who HAD to eat at Chez Panisse Cafe. As my son said 'the smaller the portions the more you pay !!" Our 1 guest stopped later elsewhere for tea & a pastry as he was hungry after his small salad starter and 2 oz of lamb. My beet & cauliflower salad was under whelming fluffed up with parsley . There were some high lights, the sand dabs, fried chicken & soup were good but the entire meal for 5 was not good enough to bring us back !!! I love Alice & what she stands for & will forever be a fan but the Cafe did not live up to the promise - sadly."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Alice Waters is the Godmother of all the amazing food we eat in the Bay area and actually in the country. But, somehow our experience at Chez Panisse Cafe fell short of what I was hoping for. Maybe it's all about expectation vs reality? Lovely warm and welcoming staff did not make up for the very mediocre appetizers. These apps were so terribly mediocre that they are bringing my review stars down to good. Just "blah" over vinegary salads...that all seemed to blend into each other. I almost want to take it down to "fair" The entrees were delicious, but not anything very special and were just a bit short on the portions. Desert was very good."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "The day-time host needs to have a complete attitude adjustment. He is down right rude and unwelcoming. I hesitate to write this about someone (we all have bad days) but it is the second time it has happened. My husband is partially paralyzed and has difficulty walking. After making the effort to climb all those stairs he was not met with a friendly smile, bur rather a brusque "what do you want?". The host got colder, and more unfriendly after that. We felt so unwelcome we will not, unfortunately, be coming back. I say unfortunately, because our waitress Liz was super friendly, warm and delightful, while the food was as usual superb."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "Chez Panisse is a great restaurant and great restaurants get away with charging a lot for very little. I'm a fan of this place and go fairly often so it's no surprise but I was a wee bit taken aback at the $20 starter of fresh veggies - no whole beets there - just 3 thin slices, 4 tiny leaves of baby lettuce, and not much else. For $20 one would not be wrong to expect whole beets? But, as I say - such is to be expected there. The little bits that were there were delish! And the main course was very adequate. Ginger cake was very special. I'm so glad they rebuilt to the original ... it was perfect the way it was and still is."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "I've been here more than a few times now, and every experience has been incredibly pleasant. The wines are great, the food is always superb and very delicious, the service is top notch, and I always look forward to dining here. Highly recommend."
    Dined on 3/15/2014