HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Is there an equivalent to Chez Panisse Cafe in NYC?

It's a place I go once a year for the past three years. I have yet to find something that is near it. Any advice?


I have not been to the restaurant yet. I have never loved what they were having the days I was there. The cafe has not disappointed. Ever.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Always liked Union Square Cafe. Sit at the bar, eat great food, talk to other patrons. Food, in its own way, is just as great as CP in Berkeley. Both are top notch restaurants, in my opinion and have been for a long time.

    1. Two ingredient-driven NYC restaurants are Tocqueville and Blue Hill. Both serve a full menu at the bar, though neither has a separate cafe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: meatme

        Second Blue Hill, which has a similar vibe with the whole farm-to-table thing. It's tough to find any place quite like Chez Panisse on the east coast. Their location gives them better access to a wider variety of fresh produce at much lower prices.

      2. For me, the allure of Chez Panisse, and Alice Waters in particular, is the quality of the food. Her commitment to using locally grown (and seasonal) ingredients revolutionized the culinary world. In that regard, Union Square Cafe is not a complementary choice (In my opionion, it's the most overrated restaurant in Manhattan. I live around the corner and yet prefer going to all the other Danny Meyer eateries).

        I have seen Alfred Portale, the chef/owner of Gotham Bar & Grill, described in print as the East Coast version of Alice Waters. I think his restaurant is fantastic and a consistently excellent experience. However, my vote is for Blue Hill. The chef/owner, Dan Barber, owns a farm upstate (which also houses a restaurant) and apparently get most if not all his ingredients from there. Another consistently excellent experience.

        1. I would say Blue Hill or The Tasting Room, which are both slavish to quality, local ingredients.

          1. The Tasting Room is one of my favs. I have never been to Blue Hill. I was just on the Chez Panisse Cafe site to see what they had this week. As usual, I was mesmerized by how simple but amazing their dishes read. They taste even better. I am calling Blue Hill immediately. I won't get out to NorCal this year because I am getting married. We are going to Newport, RI for the honeymoon. We really debated going out to CA again. But next year! Definitely!

            1. I just looked on their site and the Blue Hill in Bedford looks more of what I am looking for. The way that Chez Panisse can make a salad or a pizzetta can almost not be duplicated, in my mind. But I will try!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Brigita

                It's not in Bedford, but Blue Hill at Stone Barns is what you are most certainly looking for. I went for the fourth time 2 weeks ago and was, again, blown away by the meal and more particularly the quality of ingredients. There is no dining experience to rival it in NYC...though the food part of the equation can be had at the Blue Hill NYC location (see Wednesday's NYTimes - Bruni - review...

                1. re: dkstar1

                  I just read the Times. Missed it this week. It's always nice when a restaurant matures. I will see what I can book there.

                1. re: Nehna

                  I have read all the raves about Hearth and it seems more likely I will try as the fall unfolds. I want to try the rabbit (i think) and the homemade cider donuts. From what I remember from my readings..

                  1. re: Brigita

                    I have been to both numerous times, i.e. CP restaurant and cafe and Hearth. Hearth dishes approximate CP downstairs restaurant more in terms of execution, presentation, price and quality. However, Hearth's dishes has that Mediterranean Italian/French touch to them. But, I like Hearth more than CP downstairs.

                    Imho, Chez Panisse Cafe is so very N. California that it is difficult to approximate here in the north-east. BTW, the chicken in Hearth's very good roast chicken dish comes from Sonoma.

                    1. re: RCC

                      It is, and that is what makes it worth it. I had a gypsy peppers and fresh herb pizzetta there that changed my life.

                    2. re: Brigita

                      If its on the menu when you go, definitely have the cabbage stuffed with sweetbreads. It's one of my favorite dishes anywhere.

                  2. Definitely Blue Hill at Stone Barns-actually a superior restaurant to Chez Panisse-this is a great time to go as well, esp. if you're a tomato fan-I went last year in August and had the best meal of my life.

                    1. I know what you mean about not being able to get out of the cafe. The restaurant was never so inviting or interesting. I recommend you try Savoy.

                      1. In my opinion, there are many restaurants in NYC that are reminiscent of CP downstairs, and that are as good or better. But there is no place in NYC that reminds me of CP upstairs -- certainly none of the upscale places.

                        I have to be a dissenter on Blue Hill and BHSB, although BHSB is a beautiful room in a beautiful setting. The food, with a few exceptions, has been downright dull at both, especially given the provenance of much of the food.

                        1. Definitely Blue Hill and BHSB. I have had three perfect meals between them. Advice: put yourselves in the chef's hands. You will have a more soulful experience with many little lagniappes.