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chez panisse attire?

One of the few things I miss about the east coast is that people often dress up a bit for dinner.

My partner and I are headed to Chez Panisse Friday evening for dinner and I'm curious to know the appropriate attire. While we aren't celebrating any specific event, this will be a special night out for us, and I do like to dress up.

Do men commonly wear jackets? Dresses for women? Any suggestions or experience would be much appreciated!

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  1. One evening while parking near the Gourmet Ghetto I saw an unusual sight for me. A couple, he coat and tie, she dressy dress. As I assumed, they were going to Chez Panisse. It happens. If it make you feel good, do it. Do not, however, be surprised at what other people consider proper dinner attire at a world renowned restaurant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      Excellent advice. My answer to these questions is always: If you think you should get dressed up, do so.

    2. Berkeley attire is whatever you feel like wearing, and Chez is no exception. If you're going downstairs, then I'd wear a sportcoat, but it's truly a casual restaurant - dressing wise....

      2 Replies
      1. re: jeffyd

        Harris Tweed sportcoat with suede elbow patches, if you will.

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          LOL!

      2. It seems like people dress according to the occasion, at least downstairs. I usually see jackets and dresses, sometimes a tie, full suits not so much...full wall street suits, I've never noticed.. As mentioned, if you think you should dress up, you should. You won't be out of place. Upstairs in the cafe is where you'll see a wider variation of dress.

        1. Please notice that the downstairs vibe is far more formal than the upstairs vibe; OP, you don't mention which you're going to.

          I would feel uncomfortable there without a jacket, but I've been with people in simple collar shirts. I think I asked my girlfriend to put on regular slacks instead of jeans, but that's berkeley.

          CP downstairs is about as formal as it gets around here. French Laundry, Gary Danko, Masa's, what else would be on folks' list?

          2 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            I've heard (but of course would have no way of knowing) that full business attire is the mode at Perbacco.

            1. re: Xiao Yang

              While I've seen "full business attire" at Perbacco (especially at lunch), I wouldn't say it's "the mode" or expected. It's comparable to most restaurants -- collared shirts, nice slacks or dressy jeans is the standard. Some dress up from there, some down.

              Susan

          2. When I went to the downstairs, I wore khakis, a nice collared shirt, dress shoes and a nice sweater. I did not feel underdressed.

            However, like many have said, if you wore a suit, you would not be overdressed. So it's all personal preference.

            I personally would not wear jeans, shorts, t-shirts or sneakers.

            What I liked about Chez Panisse is that despite being one of the fancier restaurants I've ever eaten in, it did not feel pretentious at all. I didn't feel like anyone there was judging or even noticing what I was wearing. It's all about good service and good food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dave MP

              To clarify - we went to the downstairs restaurant, not the upstairs cafe. I ended up wearing a dress and my partner wore a collared shirt, khakis and a navy sport coat. We were on the dressier side, but not alone - many other men wore jackets, though I don't believe I saw any tweeds with sueded elbow patches :)

              I agree with Dave MP - there was no feeling of pretentiousness, and the food and service were excellent. We really enjoyed our evening.

            2. I thought of this post when I ate at CP downstairs so I checked out the attire-- most men wore nice shirts with collars but no tie, less than half also had jackets (sports coats) on though some of the others may have come with jackets but taken them off to eat. I noticed one guy with a tie and a couple of others in dark jackets who looked from behind like like they might have ties on.

              Not that you have to dress like everyone else, but that's a sample of what people wear on a weekday night.

              1. California's dress code is:

                No shoes, no shirt, no service. Period.