Nearby points of interest
Restaurants you may also like
Nearby points of interest
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
There is no doubt that as a nice fine dining place, Chez Panisse provides good service. But the food is absolutely amazing. Far beyond a place which puts lots of focus on the ambience or decoration, Chez Panisse clearly knows its identity as a restaurant. All the dishes are nicely designed and prepared with love and passion. I love them!
To dine at Chez Panisse has been a dream for both me and my husband. We just happened to be on a conference in San Francisco which overlapped with our 20th anniversary. I quickly decided a month ago to make reservations. This trip is most likely a once in a lifetime - Chez Panisse was an absolute MUST. There was no let down from the build up that we both felt ever since we saw a special on Alice Waters. Our waiter made us feel special and comfortable at the same time. We aren't wealthy people and to our surprise we were put at total ease with selecting a wine in our price range. The price for dinner, I thought was well (did I say well?) within budget for a once in a life-time, 20th anniversary, and foodie heaven experience. Thank you for an outstanding meal from beginning to end (which included an Anniversary wish on our dessert) and for creating a place where wonderful, whole food can be enjoyed by all.
Getting a dinner reservation here is difficult, but worth the planning! They only book 28 days in advance. This was our first visit, but hopefully not our last. I did not realize it was going to be a fixed menu. A bit pricey, BUT every course was delicious and bursting with flavor. The staff was very attentive. We brought wine with us, only because we had been wine-tasting the day before. They charged a $30 per bottle corkage fee. Chez Panisse is a special place and worth visiting.
Dinners experiences at the downstairs Chez Panisse can vary widely depending on the menu and the server. In the past we've had amazing meals, but we've also had some mediocre ones, often due to the frosty, impersonal demeanor that seems prevalent among many of their staff.
We hadn't been back in awhile for this reason, but we ended up having a pleasant time this time. The spring menu was delicious -- lots of morels and fava beans, and our waiter -- a Chez Panisse veteran -- was wonderful (though we had some limited interactions with some of their frostier staff, so they seem to still be around!) The nice thing here is that portions are reasonable, so you won't leave hungry, but you will still be able to get to dessert and enjoy it.
The only real issue I had was the temperature. They gave us a seat right against the kitchen behind the grill, and they don't turn on the air conditioning very high, so I was very uncomfortable for most of the meal. It got so hot that I had to fan myself with my menu. If you can, I'd probably request another table.
Overall, we enjoyed the experience, but we probably prefer the upstairs space where dinners and the service is a little more casual.
Our dinner was ok, but had several mistakes, like the waitress knowing my wife (whose birthday it was) eats fish but brought out an egg instead. And my salad wasn't made correctly. Just little things that determine wether the experience was forgettable, amazing, or the worst, being I'd rather forget it. The wine was great, but overall, definitely not worth the $700 we paid.
We came from New York to eat here as a celebration for our birthdays and business success. Chez Panisse is the ultimate mecca if you love and cherish fine fabulous and thought out dining. It is above the 'foodie' experience. The beeswax candles are the top of the experience. Who is that in tune to create such an atmosphere? Only Alice Waters and her beautiful people. We enjoyed the wild foods dinner on April 9th. We thank you so much for this experience and will return again and again.
We finally made it to CP after 23 years in the Bay Area. I got lucky on OpenTable one night and found the exact rez I wanted (don't give up, they pop up unexpectedly). My expectations may have been lowered after reading many dissatisfied reviews, so we just went for the experience and ended up loving it. I loved it because I could get a little dressed up and eat like an adult (downstairs), with no badly behaved children scurrying about to kill my chill. From the moment we got there, the service was outstandingly professional, as if these folks have been doing this a LONG time. Not stiff, not formal, just right. Food was great - as is often the case, the appetizer outshined the main, but both were great. We went on a Thursday, set menu was $85 and we did the wine pairing for $40. One thing I wasn't crazy about was that the wine pairing includes only 1/2 glass with each of the three courses. No way that's going to hold me! But we were able to buy more (of course). If you want to get there early, there is a small bar area upstairs in the cafe where you can have a drink while waiting. I think it's open only to dinner guests. They run a tight ship, and it shows.
The diner feels well taken care of, which is important for a special occasion. However, I prefer the cafe where a diner can compose his/her own dinner. For a prix fixe menu where the chef has the chance to focus on a handful of dishes, I'd expect them to be superlative. The bread was not warm, the crust not crispy, nor was it delightfully chewy. You need the bread, because there wasn't much food. Each dish was beautifully composed but not particularly well seasoned to highlight the ingredients. The portions are more appropriate to be called a tasting. Each ingredient was listed on the menu but when the dish appeared, you have to look for them carefully or you'd miss them.
The black cod in the first course was good but I could not taste the Meyer lemon.
The farfalle was delicate but there were only 3 little wisps of pancetta. One diner at the neighboring table requested to hold the pancetta and another asked that it be brought for him on a separate plate. I secretly chuckled because the little strips could hardly be seen on a bread plate! The sauce was too thin to adhere to the farfalle, while the beauty of the variety of pasta shapes is their ability to hold the sauce. That is why specific pasta shapes are particularly suited for certain sauces.
The lamb was particularly disappointing. Usually for a main course, you need 3 ribs to constitute a "rack". There was only one, tiny one, and several very thin slices from the leg. The best part of this dish was the vegetables, and in particular, the pickled green garlic salsa which the server called "mustard" greens. The cabbage and peas were also tasty, but I could not taste the mint, maybe overpowered by the garlic salsa.
The Ginger Tortina was good but I've had better. However, the tangerine sorbetto was a delightful accompaniment.
Lastly, none of the wine paired with the courses was local. How disappointing when the restaurant is located so close to our premier wine country !
After waiting over 30 years to try Chez Panisse, we finally went last week for my birthday! Everything was wonderful! Our only disappointment was due to a very loud table of 6 next to us, who seemed to be having a great time, but were unconcerned about affecting those around them. I chose a Monday night, which serves 3 courses and $65/person. The number of courses and the price increase on consecutive nights in the week and this was a good way to try it out. Our menu: Grilled Cannard Farm asparagus with herb salad, mustard blossoms, and Parmesan; Sonoma County duck leg braised in red wine with potato gnocchi, sweet peas, and roasted radishes; Crème caramel with kumquats and Page mandarins. It was all beautifully presented and tasted as wonderful as I had hoped. We will return and maybe try another night (or not -- this was great!).
We came here for my boyfriend's birthday as we like to treat ourselves during what we consider the holidays. The food was exceptional the drink selection was great. They had a large wine list as well as a wine pairing with your meal. The staff was older than I expected and in many ways better because they were seasoned servers with a vast knowledge of food and amazing customer service. They offered to hang up our backpacks which looked odd in the setting and made us laugh.
The setting was intimate with only about 40-50 seats with groups ranging from 2 to 8 people. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood.
The other part I was thrilled about is that is was only a 15 minute walk from BART.
I'm a fan and would love to come again.
My mother, sister, and I ate at the restaurant, which has a prix fixe menu. The menu is unique every night. Our server let us share a flight of wine. Chez Panisse is classic, rooted in French cuisine, but casual and unafraid of the new. I love that diners can see back into the kitchen, and even take photos of the chefs at work!
I think the meal was one of the best I have had to date. The food in all of our courses (3 total) was delicious and prepared very well. The restaurant is very well kept also. I think Chez Pannise is somewhere everyone should try at least once if not many times!
The food and the wine were very good.Unfortunately we were disappointed by the service. They were friendly, but they were all the time rushing on us to finish our plates and keep on going with the menu. This is very unclassy and a real no-go. I wouldn't mind so much about that in a cheap restaurant, but they pretend to be the best or one of the best in California, so I really expected much more. It's actually a pity, because i am sure what we ate was very good, but we had to eat it in such a hurry that I don't really recall it anymore. It was supposed to be a romantic occasion, but the waiters made us feel unconfortable. Also, I would have expected that the chef or the waiter (at least!) would explain the menues more.
Tried Chez Panisse restaurant for the first time for my birthday. Was debating for a long time whether to splurge on a Chez Panisse meal, or dine at one of my favorite, less pricey, restaurants. I'm immensely glad I chose Chez Panisse. The food lives up to its excellent reputation. The seating area is a bit small/crowded, and the overall ambiance is above average but not amazing. The food is the star, and is worth splurging for. Every dish was fresh and delicious with great flavors and textures. I would dine here regularly if my pocketbook allowed.
It was such a uniquely different experience to dine in the Restaurant compared to the Cafe. Totally different vibe, in a good way, and what a meal! Although on certain nights you might feel confined by the prix fixe, the meal we had was positively perfect. Fried shave fennel with truffles, homemade pasta with shrimp and game hens. Each course exceeded the last which is an accomplishment that I find most restaurants can't manage. How many times have you tried fine establishments and the appetizers take the prize. Not at the Restaurant. In addition, the wine list is filled with affordable bottles and the staff was outstanding at making suggestions. The Restaurant feels like a special occasion place but in a good way. I can't wait to go again the next time I am in Berkeley. Loved it!
Finally got a reservation (1st time EVER) and it was lucky that our 25th anniversary was on a Tuesday. We were able to reserve thru opentable.com for a 6pm sitting. GREAT! Was surprised that the ambiance was so vibrant on entry. Expected more of a "French Laundry" experience. However, the food was excellent. And let me recommend going for the wine-paired meal. It takes the guess work out of what to choose for yourself. I'd love to return. I wish reservations were easier to attain. I'm sure you hear that A LOT!
Everything was just about perfect. Great service. Wine pairings were perfect. Ingredients were perfect. Only flaw was my lamb came out and looked way different than my wifes. Not evenly cooked through. And mine was plated a bit sloppy. Rare on one side of medallion and med well(over in my opinion) on other.. For the price of this place everything should be perfect.
Very good. Beautiful restaurant, great service, full of dot commers. Wine by glass selection ran toward the thin, not floral or fruity.
Salad was amazing. Filet of sole had one piece poached one piece breaded and deep fried served in a beurre blanc. Fried fish in butter sauce?
Pork was full of chewy fat and white stuff, tasty but far from mind blowing. Dessert was tasty but did not look particularly attractive, not unattractive but not a wow presentation. Cheese was amazing.
We had a great meal. Really enjoyed ourselves like we always do at Chez Pan, but food could have been a little better.
We went to Chez Panisse walking from our sons dorm at Cal. A nice short walk. It was a perfect meal- not too loud, great service that did not make the meal too slow or rushed, great food and a nice wine list- (we ordered a wine suggested by the waiter, made by one of the cooks, which was very very good).
I loved the open kitchen concept, and our server invited us in for a closer look at the chefs hard at work. The food was delicious- yellowtail (app), risotto, QUAIL, and the best dessert: Zinfandel-drenched pear with almond cake. I loved the butter that came with the bread.
My wife and I just had a Wednesday evening reservation. Nothing was nothing truly wrong about either the food or the service, and if this were any old restaurant I would be gushing with enthusiasm. But this is Chez Panisse. I was expecting fabulous and we received merely good. The best food item was the chard gratin, a delectable combination in which neither ingredient overwhelmed the other. Otherwise nothing stood out. For example, the bread is Acme, which is fine, but better options exist (including baking it onsite). The salad was uninspiring (except for the dressing). The service was attentive, though not quite as personable as one would expect at a fine dining establishment. In short, the experience was not worth the $300+ tab.
"I love the relaxed feel of Chez Panisse. The ravioli soup was amazing and the garden lettuce salad was refreshing. The squab thought it was great in every way. My Lady loves everything. Service was well-timed and friendly, wines were very refreshing and smooth."
The maître d' was intimidating, no smile. Staff in charge of our table were very nice, and handled their mistake very efficiently. I was not so impressed by their dishes this time. They used to provide us at least one pleasant surprise on how they treat seasonal ingredients, especially vegetables. But not this time.
The food is very simple, clean, classic and no frills. Great local ingredients and a lot of care in developing a new menu every day. I had built it up in my head so much that maybe that got in the way of being completely blown away by the food, but I have no regrets! Simplicity is refreshing sometimes. Service is excellent and the ambience is super cozy.
Wait staff & food - superlative. But the Maitre D' set an officious tone that killed the fun. We had a 5:45 reservation, & because my husband is blind, we usually come a little early because we are slow...when we arrived at the desk, we were the only ones there. The MD pointed out that we were early. Then some others arrived, w/ 5:30 res. He sd he needed to seat the 5:30 people "who came before you" (we were the first arrivals). Now people had to squeeze by us - we couldn't go back due to disability - it's dark now. At one point I sd,"If you just seat us, we'll sit patiently, & we'll be out of your way." No. No smile. He seemed to take pleasure in making us feel uncomfortable, & in keeping us "in line." In fact, we felt unwelcome.
My first Chez Panisse experience was over 25 years ago and it was even more special to bring a dear friend from the Bay Area to dine in the newly renovated front dining room with its five cozy tables and beautiful warm wood finishes. Every course was a delicate and delicious experience with the entire menu balanced with sweet and savory dishes. The wait staff was warm and friendly taking our photo just inside the kitchen/grill area as we were departing. We especially enjoyed the wine pairing menu with each coarse to enhance our overall dining experience. Starting our evening off up on the second floor for a champagne toast and then down to the first floor dining room was a great way to start the evening. What a memorable and beautiful dining experience.
Please sign in to record your input. Thanks!
Report this review as inappropriate?
If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.