Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971, started by Alice Waters and a band of idealistic friends. A neighborhood bistro named after a character in Marcel Pagnol's 1930's trilogy of movies (‘Marius,’ ‘Fanny,’ and ‘Cesar’), the Restaurant and Café are a homage to the sentiment, comedy and informality of these classic films. From the beginning, Alice and her partners tried to do things the way they would like them done at a dinner party at home. Through the years, Chez Panisse has stayed true to this original inspiration and is now part of the global Slow Food movement. Chez Panisse Restaurant, located downstairs, is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, by reservation only. The set menu changes every night, reflecting the season. Our produce, meat, poultry, and fish come from farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability. Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971, founded by Alice Waters and a group of idealistic friends. A neighborhood bistro, it is named after Honoré Panisse, a character in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s movie trilogy about waterfront life in Marseille (Marius, Fanny, and César), as an homage to the sentiment, comedy, and informality of these classic films. From the beginning, Alice and her partners tried to do things the way they would like them done at a dinner party at home, with generosity and attention to detail. The Restaurant, located downstairs, is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, by reservation only. The fixed dinner menu consists of three to four courses. The menu which changes every night is designed to be appropriate to the season and composed to feature the finest sustainably-sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients including meat, fish, and poultry. Starting May 18, 2015, prices for the restaurant are $75 on Monday, $100 Tuesday through Thursday, and $125 on Friday and Saturday (not including beverage, a 17% service charge, and 9.5% tax). Monday night menus are typically simpler and more rustic or regional than on other evenings. Friday and Saturday night menus are somewhat more elaborate. The Café at Chez Panisse, located upstairs, opened in 1980 offering an alternative to the set menu served in the Restaurant downstairs. The Café serves a moderately priced à la carte menu for both lunch and dinner. It has an open kitchen along one side of the room with a charcoal grill and a wood-burning oven. The menu is inspired by the market and changes every day. Alice and Chez Panisse are convinced that the best-tasting food is organically and locally grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound by people who are taking care of the land for future generations. The quest for such ingredients has always determined the restaurant’s cuisine. Since 1971, Chez Panisse has invited diners to partake of the immediacy and excitement of vegetables just out of the garden, fruit right off the branch, and fish straight out of the sea. In doing so, Chez Panisse has established a network of nearby suppliers who, like the restaurant, are striving for both environmental harmony and delicious flavor. Alice Waters, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients. In 1996, Waters’s commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School: a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum. By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instills the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future. The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower young people. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all public schools in the United States.
- Dining Style:
- Fine Dining
- Californian, Organic, Mediterranean
- Dress Code:
- Business Casual
- Price Range:
- $50 and over
- Payment Options
- AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
- Executive Chef:
- Alice Waters
- Private Party Facilities:
- The dining room can be reserved for private parties of up to 50 guests
- Private Party Contact:
- Jennifer Sherman: 5105485066x
- Bar/Lounge, Beer, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Special Events & Promotions:
- Celebrate Bastille Day with garlic, wine, and live French music.
- Special fixed menu.