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1517 Shattuck Ave
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Chez Panisse : Restaurants, Berkeley, CA
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by Lochardil at Citysearch
You can fool some of the people some of the time, but...
can't believe why people fall for this place, I left here feeling completely conned.I have two theories:One is the old ""King New Clothes"" theory that no one wants to be called out as an ignoramus and everyone is pretending that the real basic food they charge a fortune for here, is actually gourmet. The other (and please don't be offended, American friends) is that 90% of of the people that eat here have never been to France or eaten in a real French restaurant, so think this is worth all this the money to eat in a ""French Restaurant"". Believe me everyone, and I speak as a European guy who has family in Paris who is often in France, this has as much in common with even an average Paris restaurant as the imitation Paris in Las Vegas has with the real Paris.Whoever runs this place seems to think that if you give a restaurant a French name, have some waiters with European accents, make your guests wait forever between courses (in genuine French restaurants you never have to wait this long) that equals a French restaurant, and this allows them to mark up their really poor food by huge amounts. Well, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you are not fooling me.The service was slow as a glacier, we arrived bang on time for our 6pm table, but it was not ready, so were told we had to wait in the bar. The staff then forgot about us, so at around 6.15 we had to ask them what was going on and were told our table was ready. After about a ten minute wait, they brought olives, after about another ten minutes they brought bread. It took around another 30 minutes for a really basic starter to arrive. Then unbelievably around an hour for the main course. Now here was where the biggest disappointment was. Before the main course arrived I was still slightly buying the line that if you wait a long time you get something special. Boy was I wrong! I'm a vegetarian, and was promised a ""vegetarian dish"". What I got was exactly the same as what my wife got, but mi
This is cheflucca's TrustRating, which is based on both the number of reviews cheflucca has written, and how many other people have voted those reviews as "helpful." It's a way to quickly to determine the value of any single review or reviewer, because it's based on how helpful cheflucca has been to the Kudzu community.
Posted on 11/16/2009
institution gone by the wayside.
Yes, it has after all managed to garner a fine reputation and once upon a time, it may have been all that.
Sadly though, through the years, I am sorry to report that the quality of the food and the servers at the restaurant has gone severely south.
The dishes my colleagues and I had came out flat, close to tasteless, and having very, very little proper seasoning.
I would appreciate if the restaurant can try to get back to its old standards. I really would hate to see this institution go by the wayside.
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by choukung at Citysearch
I would hazard a guess that it has been a while since Alice visited her restaurant. If she came, I doubt she would recognize some things. First of all, the maitre'de was officious, making us go upstairs because our table wasn't ready, even though upstairs was overflowing. (By the way, only one bathroom for all those people is a little strange, no?). He wasn't there when we left, for good or ill, so we learned how to use the revolving coat hanger system, which was pretty cool (why it got 3 stars instead of 2).Although the leek salad was very tasty, the ravioli in a weak soup was similar to a common wanton without soup. Very strange. The pork was not too bad, but certainly nothing to write home (or anywhere else) about. The service was also common, making it obvious why they force a 17% gratuity on all the checks--one gets the feeling that we were not the first to question what kind of tip we would have to give them.Interestingly, one of the servers spoke with a heavy European accent--until, that is, he started talking with one of his bros from a nearby town, when suddenly the accent vanished.It seems some regulars get good treatment, but we will not be among themI recommend Alice come visit her restaurant, in disguise, to get a real view. Then again, maybe she would not need a disguise....
by ccknippart at Citysearch
Still good; some choices unsuccessful
\rAperiti:, because we don't drink, they poured us a Navarro Vineyards Gewurztraminer grape juice, a pleasant surprise, if dubious for a recovering alcoholic, which one of us was. \r\rThe service was not slow as some have complained, though at times it obtrusive.\r\r The caviar and smoked fish (steelhead in both cases, we guessed) with the watercress salad all tasted quite fresh. The buckwheat blinis--why does Chez Panisse always have buckwheat something on every menu and has had that for decades--were soggy; but still went with the caviar. And there was creme fraiche ( not mentioned.) \r\rThis was a decent crab cake, but it broke up too easily. The braised Belgian endives with Meyer lemon--they called it Meyer lemon ?salsa,? an odd use of words-- had an acrid taste; an unusual but not happy choice. \r\rThe duck breast slices came with a tiny, loose patch of risotto--again with Meyer lemon, and too lemony. . The duck breast slices with a light ""reduction sauce,"" a sort of nouvelle cuisine effect, were not miraculous, but freshness without interference. \r\rThe desert was conventional, but delicious, delicate yet rich. The vanilla-walnut ice cream came with the ""chocolate fondant,"" which one of my companions said was the wrong word. The young girl who made up the deserts said ""fondant"" was used on this menu just to mean warm cake. \r\rThere was some spice with the cake and ice cream, like cardamom, that was lovely, just a dash, a surprise. And then, afterward, candies: a chewy caramel, and??Meyer lemon thumb prints.? But this time, the Meyer lemon read only as lemon, and was not acrid or invasive.\r\rI found the waiter?s insistence on our touring the kitchen made me feel treated like a tourist.\r\rAlice Waters has been a great spokesperson for slow food and fresh food, but she steals all the credit for things she did not invent, and that includes Chez Paniesse itself, of whichw she has never been the principal chef.\r\r
by DoubleDawg at Citysearch
Top flight resto
Definitely a Berkeley legend I heard Bill Clinton always stops by here whenever he is in town. Anyway, the menu is always different, menu du jour french style wine is excellent. Pricy yes, but it is worth memorializing your special moments....
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