Chez Panisse Cafe - Berkley

I really do not know how to start this post. Aside from not having written one in, what feels like, ages due to the lack of a kitchen on my stay abroad in the US, chez panisse was such an unique experience which basically made me question all the food I have had before in my life. It's a magical, mystical place with its own charm. It's easy to miss if you don't pay too much attention to the shops on the road. But once you do notice it, your taken by its understating exterior and its name, of course. You are intrigued to step in.

Greeted by nothing but a vintage interior and a familiar scent you will notice unset tables with empty chairs (if you visit during lunch time - and the restaurant downstairs is not yet open) and look for directions. Once you do make up your mind to go upstairs your eyes will detect the kitchen - at the back of the room. Light dims and the absolute silence are the things we noticed first, then the food on the table and the amount of people that worked in perfect agreement. It was breathtaking to watch them prepare the food in peace and complete silence. We headed upstairs to the chez panisse cafe and were seated by the host with today's lunch menues.

The waiter who looked a lot like the butler from dinner for one (and I have to admit this resemblence could also just be a product of my sometimes vivid imagination) came and took our orders: a fennel and citrus salad with cress and black olives and grilled rockfish with spinach and new potatoes for mum, and the baked goat cheese with garden lettuce and the grilled bn ranch beef for me.

I won't do the food any justice in descibing it with overused words such as incredibly delicious. But it truly was the case of a revolutionary experience.
The food fest started with homemade sour dough bread and butter and the two salads which independently were confusingly rich and tasty. With neither of us being big on fennel we were surprised and proven oh so wrong how delicious the salad was.
The grilled cheese, oh well. It was soft, melted in your mouth within seconds and had the tastiest crust in the world. And the entrées just threw us off, with the intense but suttle tastes and most amazing ingredients. To top it all off we had some of the offered clay's chocolate and stracciatella ice cream with caramel sauce and coffee in press pots from sightglass coffee company.

In case you missed the hype around chez panisse, check out these search results on huff post or this blog post by Cafe Fernando.

What are you waiting for? Get on your phones, make a reservation and book ayour flight to Oakland!

1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkley CA
The restaurant and café are situated in North Berkley just 20 min. from San Francisco city. The restaurant downstairs opens at night and the cafe has varrying opening hours, so I suggest to make a reservation before hand.


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