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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, 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) 548-5066
  • Special Events & Promotions: 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.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "This is where it all started. a respect for food and for the people who labor to make the best. A care and concern what we put into our bodies. I ate lunch here often when I worked & lived in Berkeley. I left Berkeley to marry & move to Sonoma County in 1990, lunch at Chez Panisse was then only a few times a year. The creativity of food often surprises me, but I have never been disappointed. It's always a joy to bring friends to Berkeley to dine."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Chez Panisse. The food was of unparallelled freshness - the dishes wonderfully prepared. My rabbit was moist and tender. The avocado, beet salad was surprisingly delicious. Service was perfect,"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "This was my 2nd visit after 20 years to Chez Panisse Cafe and 1st visit for my family. We were traveling to the US and San Francisco area for holidays and I definitely made sure that we would have lunch here. The reservation through OpenTable was very simple and convenient. I had a very fond memory of the cafe (and of the restaurant). Our table was ready at reserved time. The service was very attentive and excellent. The food, yes, was definitely the star and really worth the cafe's reputation. We had several starters, entrees, and desserts. All were nicely prepared and the taste were really excellent. We would love to be back again especially to have dinner at the restaurant downstairs. Thank you very much."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Late night dinner at the Chez Paniesse Cafe is a great option for those nights when it is late, you don't want to cook, and you yearn for a delicious meal in a relaxing atmosphere and great service. We've gone twice this spring and will be back again in the summer - very affordable for the quality of the food (on a weeknight)."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "We had a late reservation, after 10pm. When we got there Steve attempted to seat us near the front of the restaurant but the table was not ready. He took us to the back and sat us next to the loudest person you will ever hear in a restaurant. He had been drinking quite a bit and at the beginning we thought, "this is going to be awful". After a while he and his friend engaged in conversation with us and were quite entertaining albeit, obnoxiously loud. Steve kept coming by looking rather worried. I appreciate his concern, for if it were my restaurant, I would also have a hard time telling a patron to shut up. We have been to the cafe' many times over the last 10 years and the food never disappoints as well as the service."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "The food was fantastic and our server was super. She made our anniversary dinner special - she was very attentive, helped us celebrate by acknowledging our anniversary and taking pics for us. The wine list was fun, we had the wine made especially for the restaurant and it was delicious. The menu is limited, but everything was delicious. Our favorite was the salmon, super fresh, minimal preparation to bring out all flavors. The pizza app was also really good!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Eclectic seasonal menu, fresh ingredients, great atmosphere, wonderful host."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "The food here is good as always but the haughty attitude of the server detracted from our experience."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "Our lunch at Chez Panisse was a wonderful experience. Each dish we ordered contained items that were seasonal and perfectly prepared. Our fig, yellow wax bean and sage salad was absolutely superb. The mushroom pasta contained freshly made pasta and had the most wonderful mushrooms and sauce. A simple grilled chicken grilled and seasoned perfectly. The nectarine gallete had the most perfectly ripe nectarines encased in a wonderful pastry crust. Finally, the strawberry/blueberry short cake was simply beautiful. Lastly, our waitress overhearing that this lunch a gift for our daughter being accepted to UC Berkeley, kindly delivered the nectarine gallete with small decorative item worded "Congratulations"."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "Top on food, service and atmosphere. Warmly recommended."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "We haven't been here in several years, but the food still empresses. Simple, sophisticated without being fussy, fresh tasting and exquisitely presented."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "It's always such a pleasure to dine here. Everything about Chez Panisse is consistent and of the highest quality: food, service, aesthetic."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "This was my first visit to celebrate my birthday. We went for lunch. I highly recommend the restaurant for special occasions. The service was extremely attentive and the vegetables must have just come from the garden. The whole experience was 5 stars!"
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "We each had three course and everyone was on it. I can't recall the last time we were even pleased with 4 out of 6 dining out. It had been quite awhile since we'd been there and now will be very eagerly returning."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "as good a lunch as I have had. they are asking for fifty characters."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "I have been going to Chez Panisse for more than 35 years. I love everything about it. It is always beyond delicious and is truly elegant in an understated way."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "A must if you consider yourself a foodie. Did not disappoint. Marvelous flavors....wishing for more now. The nettle and goat cheese pizza was the best ever."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "I will pay top dollar for a good restaurant experience. When I made reservations online, unbeknownst, the establishment is divided into two sections, a "restaurant" and "à la carte" dining, my bad. When we arrived, a host stood at the restaurant's entrance. He looked on his list and could not find my name, he realized I must of made reservations for the cafe. He chuckled and smiled (I ignored his borderline offensive behavior) and he gestured for us to walk up to the top floor. The seating felt a little cramped. The starter was oily, my salmon dish was over salted. Dessert consisted of two 1-½" sized scoops of ice cream with sauce drizzled on top for $11...one word, gouge. Great company, but so-so food which for me is not worth going back."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "A rare restaurant where attention to detail shows in every aspect -the décor, furniture, service and food. Discrete wait staff don't hover, food is bright and flavors are well balanced. You never knew shelling beans or tomato soup could taste so good. Each dish becomes the keystone to which all future dishes will be compared. I wish I could afford to go more often. The single point of confusion -we didn't realize until too late that the 'Service Charge' is not the same as the tip."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Patrons at a recent lunch seemed oh-so-very pleased with themselves for dining in such a famous place. But if you overlook the pretentiousness factor, it's a great place to eat. The entrance is beguiling, and immediately puts you in a happy mood. The food is excellent, the size of the portions just right. The service is attentive, though the hostess has a bit of an attitude (that is, they are doing you a favor by letting you dine there). The restaurant's website says that it is "convinced that the best-tasting food is organically and locally grown," and I'm not sure that is an accurate description for clams from Puget Sound (650 miles from Berkeley), but the clams were neverthess extremely good. Would gladly go back every day."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Great food, great service, noisy when we got there (2:15), got better after a while (fewer people in the dining room)."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Beautiful place,lovely atmosphere and excellent food and service!! We were even greeted in french which was a nice touch!! Would recommend it any time! Nicole Baillargeon"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "I grew up in Berkeley have been to CP Cafe many times over many years, often with delightful, scrumptious meals. Food this time good if not extraordinary and unfortunately was diminished by the wait service and the older woman "hostess" who was a real sourpuss! The younger people who delivered the meals were delightful, however, so maybe it is time for some staff turnover. There is really no excuse for less than friendly, gracious service at such an iconic restaurant. Sad."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "The experience at Chez Panisse Cafe was memorable and everything it should be in a dining experience. We loved our waiter and the food was excellent, and we didn't feel rushed in the least bit, and we even were visited by Alice Waters, who my dining companion had written about in her book (and had left a gift that night for Alice.) It was wonderful to meet her briefly and unexpected."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "You won't be disappointed. Chez Panisse's reputation is well earned."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "The food is nice, it is in season, it is prepared and presented with great skill and attention. It is good, expensive food - that's my issue. The price is fine because the name Chez Panisse can demand it, and for a special occasion this is totally acceptable. However, for this price I expect EXCELLENT food. Moreover, the sides were disappointing. Simply boiled vegetables drag the whole picture down, there is so much more that can be done with them. It's a bit like if I turn up in a designer suit, wearing dirty sneakers. The desserts were great: well done, well prepared. The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about food & drinks. The biggest issue is the bathroom. Clean, but there is only one for the lunch area. Expect long lines."
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "Our meal was a little disappointing, surprising for the restaurant. I thought the salad had too much salt, and the halibut brandade on the pizzetta was just too fishy for our taste."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "We have always wanted to eat at Chez Panisse and a recent business trip gave us the opportunity to visit the cafe for lunch. It was a delightful experience. Wonderful food and service in a lovely setting. Hard to believe that a simple salad can taste as good as it did. It exceeded our expectations for the "little sister" restaurant and has made it a definite that we will make the effort to get to Chez Panisse itself on a future Bay Area trip."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "We celebrated our son's birthday at Chez Panisse Cafe. As usual, everything was perfect -- wonderful, professional service, great food and wine, happy ambiance. Thank you!"
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "We had lunch there last Monday. The waiter was very patient and knowledgeable. The food, from first course to dessert, were just so tasty. The price, though a bit high, is reasonable, considering the quality it serves up. We had to give it a 5 stars as there were no negative comments from my family. That's a rare occasion in itself."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "After receiving a $100 gift card, I finally got the opportunity to try the famed Chez Panisse and was disappointed. My ten-year-old son and I made a reservation and went with expectations. At first, all was well. The service was smooth: friendly, efficient, and unobtrusive. The ambiance was fine: mildly formal without pretension. The food.... That's where things went wrong. To be fair, the salad I had (fennel, greens, and radish) was light and flavorful, and the desert, despite lacking a strong apricot flavor, was delicious (and my son lived the strawberry shortcake), the main dish was barely edible. We ordered the salmon with jalapeno butter and mixed veggies. The fish was fresh, but underdone and drowned in butter and salt. Ugh."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "Once again we enjoyed another wonderful luncheon at Chez Pannise cafe. For our starters my wife had the cucumber and beet salad and I had the baked goat cheese salad both were fantastic. For our entrées my wife had the salmon and I truly enjoyed their version of a steak sandwich. Everything was absolutely delicious. Service was prompt without being overbearing."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "I am glad Chez Panisse is not far from my home and the 5PM reservation is often available. The food is very fresh and healthy. The service is excellent as well."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "We travelled from PA to travelthe We travelled for a week up the coast of CA, and Chez Panisse was the culinary highlight of our vacation. I have never had a piece of fruit as delicious and fresh as the apricot in my dessert nor pasta as perfectly cooked as my rigatoni with eggplant and ricotta salata. The service was understated yet excellent and the room was lively and warm. We wish Chez Panisse we're not 3000 miles from home."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "We used to live just down the street but hadn't made it back to Chez Panisse in over 20 years. Our son has been accepted into Cal, so we finally got a chance to spend some time Berkeley. I goofed on date of reservation and we showed up a day late (MY BAD!), but the host accomodated us walk in in spite of it being a very busy night in June. Every bite was exceptional, service was flawless, and Alice Waters even dropped by the next table to say hi to some firends. Another reason to visit our son often over the next 4 years!"
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "The simple salad with the freshest baby greens and baked good cheese is also good. Try the strawberry rhubarb spritzer- refreshing. Excellent local king salmon that melts in your mouth. For dessert, the local fresh fruit in season is always a satisfying way to end the meal without the extra calories or fat you get from other desserts."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • " Chez Panisse Cafe, what else can I say...food and service were exceptional. Especially enjoyed an iceberg lettuce salad, the presentation was beautiful with assorted colored beets and tarragon dressing...."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "Excellent waiter and food. It was our anniversary and they gave us a very nice, quiet table. Apricot Gallant dessert was tasty and the best."
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "This restaurant earns its reputation day in and day out, year after year. What makes it so special is the incredible staff. The service here is perfect--elegant & professional but also friendly. Make you feel like family; special family."
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "We have never had a bad meal here, Everything here is perfect!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014