Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe
About Chez Panisse
Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971, started by Alice Waters and an assortment 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. The restaurant, located downstairs, is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, by reservation only. The dinner, served in two seatings from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., has always consisted of only one fixed-price menu, of three to four courses. The menu changes every night, designed to be appropriate to the season and composed to show off the finest ingredients obtainable including meat, fish, and poultry.
Prices for the Restaurant are $50 Mondays, $65 Tuesdays through Thursdays and $85 Fridays and Saturdays, not including beverage, a 17% service charge and 8.75% tax. Monday night menus are generally simpler and more rustic or regional than what the restaurant serves on other evenings. Friday and Saturday night menus are somewhat more elaborate.
The Café at Chez Panisse, located upstairs, opened in 1980 to offer an alternative to the set menu served in the Restaurant downstairs. The Café offers a moderately priced à la carte menu for both lunch and dinner. The Café hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30am to 3pm and 5pm to 10:30pm, and Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 3:30pm and 5pm to 11:30pm. It has an open kitchen along one side of the room with a charcoal grill and a wood burning oven. The style of the menu is inspired by the market; consequently, the menus change every day. Reservations are recommended.
Alice and Chez Panisse have become convinced that the best-tasting food is organically 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 largely determined the restaurant's cuisine. Chez Panisse has tried for years to make diners here 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 stitched together a patchwork of over sixty nearby suppliers, whose concerns, like the restaurant's, are environmental harmony and optimal flavor.