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photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Chez Panisse Café image
8.6

Chez Panisse Café

American

Berkeley

$$$$Perfect For:Classic EstablishmentDate NightBirthdays
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Chez Panisse Café serves the same farm-to-table, hyper-seasonal food that Chez Panisse is known for, which makes this place a legend just by association. Even if it wasn't connected to its downstairs neighbor, it would still be a temple of seasonal produce. This is California cuisine at its absolute best. Dinner won’t make you set your wallet on fire (like the $175 Chez Panisse tasting menu) since everything is a la carte. And every salad, pizza, and dessert that arrives is so fresh and simply prepared with pristine produce you'll swear off high-fructose corn syrup for the rest of time. We opt for the cafe over Chez Panisse for laidback birthdays, anniversaries, and even the occasional lunch when we want to feel rich.  

The atmosphere at this copper- and stained glass-filled dining room fits right in with the Chez Panisse spirit—long, communal meals where no one thinks to glance at their watch. So, naturally, get increasingly buzzed over a bottle of chardonnay, and eat all the California-style pizzas (which Chez Panisse popularized), likely topped with asparagus or broccoli at its absolute peak. The fact that you don’t have to set multiple alarms 30 days in advance just for a reservation makes a trip here feel low-stakes. Come in, order a perfect lentil soup, and be on your way. 

Chez Panisse Café image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Food Rundown

The menu at Chez Panisse Café changes often. Here’s what to expect.

Wild California King Salmon With Sweet Corn, Green Beans, And Cherry Tomatoes

Like everything at Chez Panisse Café and Chez Panisse, simplicity rules. Which means, this salmon is beautifully cooked, tomatoes are so ripe they could burst with just a loving gaze, and corn and green beans meld together on the plate like little vegetable soulmates.

Chez Panisse Café image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Pizza With Sprouting Broccoli, Roasted Red Onions, Lemon, And Feta

The pizzas are only available at the cafe, and reason enough to stop what you’re doing and sprint here. Crusts are perfectly golden brown, and whatever seasonal produce they put on top will be straight out of the garden box—and a guaranteed hit (pictured here with mushrooms). Order at least one to share.

Nectarine And Blackberry Galette

The desserts at the café are god tier. This nectarine and blackberry galette perfectly pulls off the balancing act between tart and sweet. If available, it should be on your table.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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