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Is Chez Panisse still good (great)?

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My wife and I are looking for an anniversary dinner, something local and comfortable. Just a pleasant, relaxing time together with great food (sans baby). CP is close by and perfect. However, my last couple of meals some years ago were just above mediocre and the service was off. So, would you say it's better than that these days?

BTW I would love to do a search for recent posts on CP, but the Chowhound search engine seems to be missing the sort by date capability, a sad oversight in this day and time.

Thanks.

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  1. It's one of the best restaurants in the country, some would say the world. Consistently rates at or near the top of any list. Recently received a Michelin Star (among much controversy for not earning more, for what that's worth). Go.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sgwood415

      I just checked and they are closed on Sunday, the date of our anniversary : (

      1. re: andrewt

        Sorry to hear that! We went to the cafe a little over a month ago and had a great time. Desserts were merely good, but appetizers and main were spectacular. If you can get the night to yourselves, I suggest you two head out some other time just for a fun date. It is definitely worth it.

        1. re: andrewt

          Some Berkeley/Rockridge options then . . .

          Oliveto: http://www.oliveto.com/

          Lalime's: http://www.lalimes.com/

          Sea Salt: http://www.seasaltrestaurant.com/

          Rivoli: http://www.rivolirestaurant.com/

          Cesar -- both in Oakland (Piedmont Ave) and Berkeley (Shattuck) -- is LOUD, and not necessarily the most romantic place on the plantet. I love it there, but wouldn't go on a "special occasion" night.

          I hate A Cote, so . . . .

          Jason

          1. re: zin1953

            Out of that list Rivoli is closest and probably one of the better options. A bit away is jojo which is very romatic to me with very good food.
            http://www.jojorestaurant.com/

            1. re: rworange

              Sadly, Jojo is closed on Sunday. I would have said Rivoli as well, but on a similar recent thread someone wasn't too happy with it. I'd go Oliveto or Sea Salt. Lalimes is a bit cramped, tables too close together...

      2. Sundays are tough, especially in the East Bay. If you're comfortable with the prices, Oliveto is an option. It's not really cozy, but the food is excellent (if you're into the rustic, all about the ingredients approach). Tonight's menu is here: http://www.oliveto.com/dinnermenu.pdf

        At a lower price point (and with a more casual room), I'd recommend Sea Salt. We had a great dinner there a couple of night's ago. Here's the menu: http://www.seasaltrestaurant.com/menu/ The last two items under "sides" were very good. This is not fancy food, but it is very tasty.

        Also casual (and loud), but lots of fun is A Cote. Not a formal sit-down dinner, mostly small plates. Really nice mussels w/ Pernod. Fab cocktails, if you're inclined that way. Menu: http://acoterestaurant.com/menus/dinn... If you tell them it's your anniversary you may be able to get one of the alcove tables, which are more private/romantic.

        Cesar is another option in the same vein as the above, but I think it can be a bit cramped at the Berkeley location. You might be better off on Piedmont Ave., but the Berkeley location is probably more convenient to you. Still, I think I'd go w/ A Cote over Cesar for the occasion. Menu: http://www.barcesar.com/shattuck/tapa...

        If it were me, I'd do Oliveto, but I'm a big fan of what they do, and I don't mind paying in the $100-125 per person neighborhood for it (for salumi plus 3 courses, inc. wine & tip).

        1. Thanks everyone! I made a reservation at Rivoli becasue we can walk there. We've been there periodically in the past and always enjoyed it; often sat at the front. Last week we made 3 trips to SF for dinner and events and it made us a bit weary. So somethng close to home sounded like just the ticket.