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“Still the best”
Review of Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse
Ranked #2 of 707 Restaurants in Berkeley
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
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
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Still the best”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

After about three decades Chez Panisse still serves some of the best meals anywhere in the world. It's all in the ingredients and letting the flavors speak for themselves. It's all rather simply prepared with a good deal of restraint to create a tasty and tasteful dining experience. The only drawback downstairs is that you have to make a reservation before you know what the menu will be for the night. If that doesn't work for you, stick with the upstairs cafe, with a full ala carte menu.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank WorldTravelerJJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,170 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Managua, Nicaragua
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Massive disappointment”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Eating at Chez Panisse had long been on our bucket list. What an astonishing waste of money. The food was bland, the service indifferent and the overall experience was a terrible disappointment. I cannot fathom how this restaurant continues to receive so many accolades. The only bright spot was the lovely older couple seated at the next table with whom we struck up a conversation . We are returning to Berkeley in March but will steer clear of this restAurant. If you want a superb dining experience I suggest you head up to Barndiva in Healdsburg!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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2 Thank Deanna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Still great food and service”
Reviewed January 21, 2013

If you can get a table in the cafe at Chez Panisse, the food is still seasonal, regional and excellent. It has a very nice wine list with reasonable prices. Parking is a problem, but it is worth walking several blocks to enjoy the food.

Visited October 2012
Thank QueenOfTheR0ad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level 6 Contributor
190 reviews
123 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Great service. Delicious food.”
Reviewed January 20, 2013

As I was virtually a walk-in because traffic out of the bay area was terrible, I was lucky to get a table upstairs at the cafe - the more casual dining.

One of the pioneers in the US re fresh, seasonal foods, I had wanted to come to this restaurant for decades.

The wait staff was just right - perfectly attentive filling my water glass, suggesting good dishes (subtle salespeople as I only originally wanted one course but had two plus dessert). In fact, the waiter said the portions were small expecting people to order three courses including dessert. He was right. But the prices were for full size portions.

In any case, I'm glad he talked me into an extra course, as the portions are small and it turned out I was very hungry.

As to service: I almost had to refill my water glass once - :-). And at the same time, they were not disruptive.

I had a salad to start, I think roasted beet. I didn't realize how hungry I was - it was delcious.

And then the goat cheese souffle with mushrooms and something else (forgot). It was light and almost perfect. I say this because it was barely hot which was fine to start eating but meant it didn't stay warm by the time I was halfway through eating it.

I considered asking them to reheat it but it was still good and I couldn't stop eating it was so good.

The Maitre D' was helpful to me re seating. As I was engaged in my meal, though, I saw him politely kick out the couple next door - he needed their table. They had finished their meal about 5-10 minutes before and were chatting over the last of their wine and coffee. He asked them if they had enjoyed their meal. The one customer said Oh you're kicking us out -need the table? The Maitre D' did not respond verbally but pulled the table out so they could get out.

I had understood he was there to make money but on the other hand, this was not a fast food restaurant, in fact was very pricey so I think they paid for the right to linger over the last of their wine and coffee.

The bread was very good as well.

For dessert, I had the apple, huckleberry tart. One had to look very hard to find any huckleberries - I think I found five very, very tiny huckleberries - or I was guessing those tiny blue dots were huckleberries. I had ordered it more for the huckleberries than the apples. It was okay, not great.

I may go back - maybe try the downstairs but it may take too much planning. But if I go to the cafe again, I'll go with a little more knowledgeable and more willing to ask them to re-heat. I'm fairly certain if I let them know what happened this time, the issue would not recur.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Adventurer2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Simple and wonderful”
Reviewed January 19, 2013 via mobile

I was very happy to eat at the Cafe for lunch. The food was very pure and fresh. I very excited about cooking some of these recipes. The staff is excellent and very knowledgable. I would certainly return.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 101travelled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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