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“Exceptional food, cafe great value” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709-1516
510-548-5072
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Ranked #2 of 598 restaurants in Berkeley
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: Californian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Cedar Street
Transit: 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
Vernon, Connecticut
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Exceptional food, cafe great value”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

We have dined in the cafe 5 times over the last 30 years and always have enjoyed fresh local food prepared well. Goat cheese with garden greens salad is always a hit, home made pasta, exceptional meats and fish, always fresh. For the quality and comfortable dining experience, I think a great value. Book a month ahead.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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551 reviews from our community

81% Recommend
    349
    100
    53
    32
    17
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Focus on your food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

I'm glad I've dined at Chez Panisse, though I doubt I will again. If you're at all engaged with your dining companion(s), you can easily miss the glory of the ingredients — and that ephemeral experience is what Chez Panisse is about. The dining room is beautiful, the service was great, the meal was a pleasure — but I have this feeling I didn't get the experience I thought I would because I was talking. Hmmmm....

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“delicious unplanned lunch in the cafe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

We had an extraordinary lunch at Chez Panisse yesterday. We walked in without reservations and the gracious hostess was able to seat us when a party with a reservation failed to materialize. We started with a super fresh green salad with perfect vinagrette dressing then both hand the rockfish with baby turnips and spinach. The wine list was managable with variety and good range in price. Perfection!!! This was a return visit and I was not disappointed.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Lisbon, Portugal
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Overpriced and a bit over rated”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

We had a reservation but got Chez Panisse a bit early, so Maitre sent us to the bar on the upper floor to wait. Didn't quite like his fake french accent, but I'm picky about fake stuff.
On the upper floor we've asked for some wine glasse and the barman mixed wine from different bottles on all of our glasse: he started pooring from one bottle and poured a bit on every glass and then topped all three glasses with a new bottle.
We've then were called downstairs.
We started by nibbling on some flavourless radishes and then we had a persimmon salad that was actually quite good. The wine (Coenobium) we had with the sallad was so bad sugar started cristalizing on our glasses.Then we had some dungeon crab raviolli in fish broth, with no seasoning and with the broth flavour overwhelming all the rest. With the raviolli we had a Muscadet (Amphibolite Nature), slightly better than the first wine.
After that we had the star of the night: lamb, perfectly cooked and paired with a Zinfandel with a raspberry touch. These guys have an almost perfect french technique, failing just slightly on the flavours, but not with the lamb, it was almost perfect. The meal ended with some quinces based dessert and some late harvest (my personal choice was a delicious Sauternes).
Overall it was a good meal, although the place is a lot hyped if you ask me. And definitely overpriced. The service was ok, if you don't mind having your wine made into a mess and having Maitre and waiters talking with you with a french accent that's lost whenever they are talking with each others (that actually adds a bit of laughter to the meal the momment you started making fun of it)

  • Visited December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Rochester, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Not pretentious at all, just good!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

We had a business dinner there after an all-day meeting. When I had heard that this was a well-known restaurant founded by a famous chef, I was a little concerned that they may take themselves just a little too seriously. You know, the cliche of the tiny portions and rude service. Really, I was very pleasantly surprised. The service was friendly and efficient, the atmosphere comfortable and all the food was fantastic. I had the fish and shellfish brodetto (which to me, is stew), the homemade ice cream and the mushroom soup to start. The food was much lighter than many French cuisine meals I have had, and the flavors were subtle and really tasty. Okay, now I can see why Alice Waters is a famous chef and why this restaurant is so well-known. It deserves its outstanding reputation, and I'm a fan.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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