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If you were in Berkeley for one night,

and could not get a reservation at Chez Panisse, where would you go?

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Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. Oakland. Seriously, although there are many good restaurants in Berkeley, the restaurant scene in Oakland is much more exciting these days.

    But it would help to know what kind of dining experience you're looking for -- something similar to Chez Panisse, or something more casual with delicious food. Oh, and when you said you couldn't get a reservation at Chez Panisse, did you try for a reservation for the Cafe at Chez Panisse as well?

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    Chez Panisse
    1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I think the Cafe is a pale imitation of the restaurant.

      1. re: Michael Rodriguez

        I strongly disagree on both counts: it is neither an imitation of the Restaurant, nor a pale one. I have enjoyed my meals at the Cafe more than those downstairs, and I've seen that opinion shared by others here and elsewhere.

        1. re: JasmineG

          It is a totally different restaurant and different experience.

    2. I would try to get a counter seat at Commis... on the border of Oakland and Berkeley

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      Commis
      3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

      2 Replies
      1. re: rosiella1

        On the border? Commis is nowhere near the Oakland/Berkeley border, but I would definitely put it on the list, along with Pizzaiolo and Plum, other of the East Bay's best restaurants.

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        Pizzaiolo
        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Commis
        3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        1. re: rosiella1

          You are all beating me to it!

          Berkeley proper? I'd consider Rivoli probably first. Otherwise, I'd be looking around Piedmont Ave. Don't forget to check CP within the week of your dinner, because there are frequently cancellations prior to the penalty period once the menu is posted, and you can, from time to time, get a short-notice reservation.

          The Commis counter? Yes and no - depends what kind of mood you want - if this is romantic "I want to look at you while we eat" dinner, then no.

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          Rivoli Restaurant
          1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

          Commis
          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        2. Ippuku! a very cool izakaya on Center Street. Or Oakland.

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          Ippuku
          2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

          1 Reply
          1. re: scicchetti

            I was also going to recommend Ippuku but worry that it's not really the "fancy" kind of food the poster is looking for. The atmosphere is relaxed (and smokey with sake soaked neighbors...) but if that works then I recommend it too!

            Conveniently located right by Berkeley BART.

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            Ippuku
            2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

          2. My husband says (and this really IS on the Oakland/Berkeley border) Wood Tavern.

            As for me: if a less fancy restaurant would fit the bill, I'd agree w/ other post-ers that there are some uniquely great Asian choices in Berkeley.

            Mine would be China Village (and here we're talking the Albany/Berkeley border).

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            Wood Tavern
            6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            1. I went to Revival recently and very much feel it's the East Bay's equivalent of NOPA; the familiar farm to table comfort food, artisan cocktails, open kitchen, casual service...not as big or a spot for the latenight crowd though.

              3 Replies
              1. re: vulber

                On the latenight side nothing beats Cesar Shattuck.

                I think my one-night pick would be Commis or Plum. I really like what Plum is doing. I would take either of those over CP, as well.

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                Commis
                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                1. re: bbulkow

                  There were recently a lot of staff changes at Cesar. Might be fine anyway, but I haven't seen any reports yet.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I was there about 4 weeks ago and had some great dishes. Since then, changes?