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A Chez Panisse question

Hello everyone
I will be going to SF for the weekend in March. I am thinking about making a reservation for Chez Panisse. Is there really much of a difference between the upstairs cafe and the downstairs restaurant? Also, does the restaurant "live up to the hype?" Any inside thoughts, advice would be appreciated!

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  1. I think the menus make the difference clear. Here's some broader discussion that's still valid:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/36216
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/44367

    8 Replies
      1. re: italiana3

        Hi Robert. I read through the posts you suggested, and it is clear that I should visit CP. One question: I want to visit Zuni, and Perbacco on this weekend as well. Would you recommend CP for lunch on sat?so that I could visit the other two places for dinner? Any advice would be appreciated . You seem like an expert on the subject!

        1. re: italiana3

          If you do CP for lunch, that means the Cafe, since the downstairs restaurant is only open for dinner. I personally wouldn't do both Zuni and CP Cafe, as they're too similar.

          1. re: italiana3

            It's all good. If you go to Chez Panisse Cafe for lunch, you can check out the Cheese Board. The downstairs restaurant is more different from Zuni than is the upstairs cafe.

            1. re: italiana3

              Personally, I like going to Zuni for lunch, when their awesome burger is available. And when that burger is available, I find it hard to pass up.

              1. re: italiana3

                If you are going to do both CP and Zuni, I would go to Chez Panisse downstairs for dinner and Zuni for lunch.

              2. re: italiana3

                I also vote downstairs over cafe for Chez Panisse. The only place of the three you mention that serves lunch on the weekend is Zuni. So Zuni for lunch, Chez Panisse and Perbacco for dinner. Enjoy your trip to San Francisco!

            2. huge...a la carte upstairs..wood fired pizza .....informal..

              downstairs...no choice menu...no pizza...more expensive more elaborate...both deliciously consistent...no lunch downstairs

              9 Replies
              1. re: bwaks

                Thanks everyone! I tried out the "judy" bird dry brine technique made famous at zuni (it is always in the la times at Thanksgiving)...so I am dying to try out Zuni too! But now I have a slight issue. I have been reading about Pizzeria delfina, and that looks amazing. I am also a transplanted Brooklyn-ite living in So Cal...so I am curious about the pizza. It looks great!
                I think this will be my plan: Perbacco friday night dinner, pizzeria delfina lunch, dinner downstairs at CP and then lunch at Zuni on Sunday. We have a late flight on Sunday night..so I think we will be set.
                Thanks for all of your great tips!!

                1. re: italiana3

                  Pizzeria Delfina is good, but it's not in the same league with Zuni or Chez Panisse.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    When I tried the pizza at Zuni the crust was insubstantial and soggy and I do normally like thin crust pizza. The flavors were good but Zuni pizza didn't compare to Pizzeria Delfina.

                    1. re: finchycocoa

                      I agree. Pizzeria Delfina's pizza is first-rate, one of the best pies in the area.

                      Zuni is one of my five favorite restaurants in the area. but not because of their pizza--which is pretty decent considering they don't have the right kind of oven but not a must-try dish there.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Thx everyone. I am really looking forward to me visit. I already have s reservation for perbacco. What is the best way to secure a reservation at cp restaurant , open table or call? I know I have to do this a month to the day in advance .

                        1. re: italiana3

                          I think that they only release a few tables to Open Table, so it might be worth trying OT first (before the telephone lines are open), and see what you get there, and then calling if seats aren't available or if you get a time that you don't like.

                          1. re: JasmineG

                            Thanks jasmine . I will give it a try!!

                            1. re: italiana3

                              Which pizzeria delfina is better in terms of atmosphere? Is there also a location in pacific heights? Or should I stick with the one at mission? Thanks!!!!

                              1. re: italiana3

                                Mission is really tiny space, a few tables and a few counter seats. Great pizza, have ice cream at Bi Rite down the street.