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About Chez Panisse Restaurant
Established in 1971, Chez Panisse was opened in homage to the comedy and informality of classic Italian films with a character of the same name. In an effort to mimic a dinner party hosted at home, Chez Panisse pays great attention to detail and creates a unique four-course meal appropriate to the season and featuring fresh fine ingredients.
The menu changes daily and no two weeks have the same menu. Guests are invited to return often and try the new and exciting dishes Chez Panisse chefs create. Some possible menu items include duck leg with savoy cabbage, potato gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms or sheep�s milk ricotta with chicories, walnuts persimmon and balsamico.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Californian, Organic, Mediterranean
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 8:45pm, Friday - Saturday: 6:00pm - 9:15pm
$50 and over
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Downtown Berkeley BART station 7 blocks from Chez Panisse.
AC Transit bus connection or taxi at BART station
AC Transit bus connection or taxi at BART station
Private Party Facilities:
The dining room can be reserved for private parties of up to 50 guests
Private Party Contact:
Jennifer Sherman: (510) 548-5066
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Celebrate Bastille Day with garlic, wine, and live French music.
Special fixed menu.
Chez Panisse Restaurant Ratings and Reviews
Chez Panisse is the best restaurant I have ever been to. Even coming in with high expectations, I still found myself blown away. Literally everything was perfect. The food was fresh and delicious, the service was impeccable, the wine pairings were fantastic. Obviously it's pricey, but it's well worth every cent.
Chez Panisse lived up to its reputation. Beautiful setting and innovative food. The chef even catered to my food allergy and the change in ingredients did not compromise my selections. This is a must do experience for foodies. Despite its reputation the service is personal and without airs. The food is innovative and the chef continues to strive for excellence. Never stuffy but always friendly.
Chez Panisse is everything you've heard it is. Spend your rent money on it. It's unicorns and puppies and everything nice. It's your long-lost parent finally coming back from the store from getting a pack of smokes 20 years ago and letting you know they've amassed your fortune and you'll never have to work again. It's one of those weird gel mattresses covered in plush faux fur with a massage underneath. It's incredible. It's amazing.
The courses will arrive, perfectly timed, and you won't know that you're slower than everyone else in the restaurant because no one will indicate a rush. We were there for over three hours. It was glorious. Every moment.
There's one menu a day, which I didn't know. I thought we were getting appetizers and choosing our mains. I am apparently a pleb.
The bread was delicious, and yet, we somehow didn't fill up on it.
The starter sparkling wine was elderflower and peach leaf and made from the cry-laughing tears of angels.
The Halibut Salmon course was delicate and so light it floated on the tongue.
The lasagna, which was the dish I was going to order, was somehow delicate and hearty at once, with truffle.
The lamb... must literally have been Mary's Little Lamb. I have never tasted anything like it.
Who knows what you'll get. It's amazing. The service is fantastic, attentive, and not intrusive.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, I've always wondered what all the fuss is about. Now I know. We'll go back every year.
Well it's Chez Panisse so if you get a chance to go to the restaurant you really should. I'm absolutely not a foodie (that'd be my wife) so I won't try to describe the meal but I like good food. What they do is incredible, the service is flawless. It's that perfect blend of unpretentious class that allows you to relax and enjoy amazing food with friends without worrying if you can pick up the bones so no morsel of that oh my god this is the best thing I've every eaten quail goes to waste (of course I did). Do it. Seriously.
Chez Panisse continues to be my favorite restaurant for a special occasion. This was my third visit "downstairs". Everything about the meal was outstanding: food, ambiance, service. The food is carefully prepared, but not pretentious. I have to admit that I was disappointed when I read the menu for the evening and the entree was duck. I have never liked duck, but after eating this succulent grilled duck breast I am a convert. The entire staff is so knowledgeable and approachable, but not overbearing. The entire evening was delightful.
This was my first visit to Chez Panisse. Very positive experience ! Exceptional quality of food.
Innovative and interesting selections of product. The dessert was heavenly !! Knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Ms. Waters was in the kitchen for a brief visit with her staff. I am disappointed that she couldn't find her way into the dining area to greet her guests.
Delicious and famous, Chez Panisse did not disappoint. My wife and I enjoyed the prix fixe menu and wine tasting accompaniment for our first month wedding anniversary. We loved it from the beginning, with the beautiful architecture and plants outside, to the final decadent dessert that was decorated with a printed anniversary note. The service staff was attentive and thoughtful and not pushy at all. We love their emphasis on freshness and variety and elegance.
Can't express how wonderful of a meal and experience it was. Never knew duck breast or a host of other ingredients tasted that amazing. Reaffirms that ingredients and sourcing of ingredients matter and in the hands of craftsman, it can lead to something special. Evening was topped off by Alice Waters giving us a few minutes of her time while we toured the kitchen. She was gracious and of course that was the creme de la creme of the night. Can't wait to return.
I've been wanting to try Chez Panisse for years now, and finally had a chance to make it there. We made reservations a month in advance, and I was so excited to see what the menu was that I checked it every week, knowing that they don't post the menu until the week before. When the Monday before our reservation came, I was so ecstatic to finally know what I'll be having, and boy, was I excited when I read the menu.
We got there about 10 minutes before our 8:30 reservation (parking gods were good to us that day). When we were seated, we started with a port and crab crostini. I don't remember exactly what kind of port it was, but it was sweet and fruity. The crab crostini was just amazing, I wanted more. Our first course was a shaved porcini mushroom and endive salad with Meyer lemon, parsley and Parmesan cheese. The dressing was so light and refreshing. Next was a grilled Halibut in a fig leaf with fennel, becurre blanc, cucumbers, and fried capers. Again, the sauce was so light and refreshing. The halibut was grilled perfectly, and the fried capers really made the course come together. The main course was duck 2 ways - roasted breast and braised leg, with parsnip puree. I wasn't a fan of the roasted breast, I thought it was too chewy, but the braised leg was delicious. The meat just fell off the bone. Lastly for dessert, it was almond cake was lemon verbena ice cream and strawberries. The almond cake was just absolutely amazing, but they only served a small piece of it. I kept craving for more.
All in all, the experience was very nice. Our server was very attentive and answered any questions we had. We were allowed to visit the kitchen, which was pretty cool. There wasn't really much to look at by the time we finished, but I'm sure if you went during the rush of dinner time it would've been cool to watch the chefs prepare dinner. I would definitely recommend Chez Panisse for a special occasion.
Others have said it so many times and in so many ways that this review is likely superfluous, but Chez Panisse continues to turn out exquisite food in a warm inviting setting. A goat cheese "pudding" was meltingly delicious; poached salmon in a nage was a textbook demonstration of how simple preparation of prime ingredients can soar to great heights; and rarely have I had duck breast as perfect as the version we were served here. Service was warm, efficient and charming. The room is a temple of "arts and crafts" decor. If you can afford it pout this on your bucket list.
We went to Chez Panisse for a special occasion. While visiting my daughter, who is a PhD student at UCB. She had just been awarded a NSF fellowship and also passed her qualifying exam and it was also my wife's birthday. My daughter is somewhat allergic to seafood and when I made my reservation online I left a note regarding that in hopes they would have a different entree the night of our reservation. They called me and said they were it planning on a seafood entree that night but we're going to have crab in the appetizer, and I said that would be fine my wife and could eat her appetizer. When we were seated 2 weeks later on the evening of our reservation our server informed us they had prepared a special appetizer for her that had no crab. That was unexpected and shows the level of customer service they have.
Of course the food was very very good. The wine, cappuccino, and dessert as well. It was rather expensive, as expected. I would recommend it but be prepared to spend more than you think especially if you order wine, coffee, or other drinks.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal the other evening. My dining companion and I enjoyed the Monday menu greatly, and the wine pairings were really well chosen. The service was attentive, casual, and really great. They let us enjoy our date and not worry about service, which is always lovely. The only thing that stayed with me was the value - I had always felt like Monday evenings were a good value downstairs, but wine+menu pushed it well north of one-hundred per person, which broke a barrier for me when one considers the multitude of tasting menus in the bay area.
Of course, will be back again, but maybe just stick with a late night snack upstairs.
All four courses were really excellent but my favorites were the Dungeness crab salad with Meyer Lemon vinaigrette and chervil and the Fava bean risotto with fried sage and La Quercia ham. The interesting combinations of foods and herbs led to a delicious blend of flavors.
The service was excellent, professional, attentive yet friendly and not overbearing. Our friends eat gluten-free and they had called ahead to let the restaurant know. With each plate that was served, they were told what was left out or was substituted to make sure their dish was gluten-free, yet just as delicious.
Being a foodie and longtime admirer of the chef I was so excited to eat here. I must be honest and say it was a bit of a let down. The atmosphere and service was wonderful and the little details such as fresh churned butter impressive. The food was of course very good but not the "wow" I had hoped for. Perhaps it was our menu that night but it was, dare I say, a bit bland. Our entire group of six expected, given the restaurant's history and reputation, to have those "oh, my God" melt in your mouth moments and the meal just didn't deliver that. And when you spend $1000 for dinner one would expect it. Happy I went and experienced Chez Panisse but I don't think I would go again.
30 years ago, I was a regular (every other Friday night) at Chez Panisse downstairs. My life has changed and I seldom get there these days. But, I was delighted with the food, the servers, the ambiance last Wednesday night. It's amazing that the quality has remained that good, that long. Bravo, Alice and crew!
The food was good, but a bit (just) inconsistent. They did get me with the smoked cod salad-really good, but my quail was under cooked some. I watched the gentleman grill all the portions and he was watching, but there were a lot of them to cook.
The service was over the top amazing. They took time and understood everything, I was seriously impressed.
It was a bit pricy north of $300 for two people.
We'll definitely do it again, but this is a special occasion place.
My intent was to reserve for upstairs (Cafe), but when I arrived I was informed that my reservation was for downstairs, which is considerably pricier. Open Table declined my request for an 8 pm reservation and assigned 8:30, which I assumed would be for upstairs. Upstairs couldn't take my party for an hour, and I wasn't going to be unpleasant, but this was a snafu and would've been a deal-breaker for some people. Fortunately the food and wine downstairs were pretty much flawless and the service both impeccable and friendly. Two in our group are hard of hearing and we found ourselves next to a very rambunctious group, but that couldn't really be helped. Open Table should be clear about whether reservations are for upstairs or down. Perhaps I overlooked something -- I'll check.
Food, very simply, done well. My husband and I have been to other higher end, much more expensive restaurants in SF and Napa and they cannot even come close to chez Panisse. Although white line tables, the atmosphere felt relaxed; not stuffy or uncomfortable. The food was absolutely fabulous....presentation, freshness, etc. my husband, mr foodie himself and self proclaimed home chef, said he was so glad that we ate downstairs and had the 4 course dinner. He said otherwise he probably would not have selected some of the dishes served and was so surprised at how much he liked them. this is one of the few higher end restaurants we have gone to that my husband loved and has promised that we will be eating here frequently. His only complaint was that he felt the servers were a little too attentive.....
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