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Chez Panisse Alternatives for tonight?

My husband and I were planning to eat at the cafe tonight for a special occasion, but seeing as how there was a fire there, obviously that won't be happening. Any suggestions for alternatives? I'm hoping for similar type of food (we are mostly veggie, but do eat fish, prefer wild-caught) and atmosphere. Preferably not too loud and a nice, slow dinner would be great. Prefer East Bay but open to other places. Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Special occasion and quiet, back room at A Cote (front is noisy) or Haven.

    1. Call Chez Panisse. They should have someone helping those that had reservations get another one somewhere else.

      1. Rivoli and BayWolf are another couple of options.

        There really aren't many good restaurants that are quiet on a Friday night. Ajanta and Riva Cucina, but they have a different style of food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I never heard of Riva Cucina, will have to take a look at that for another time, thank you! I do like Ajanta also.

        2. Thanks guys. We thought of BayWolf too but just had takeout from there a couple times recently, so not that eager to go tonight.

          We thought of Jardiniere, not East Bay but maybe close enough to what we're looking for overall.

          Another choice, that is kind of out there was Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa. Never eaten there but might make for an interesting night?

          Very sad about Chez Panisse. Hope it's fixed up soon. I'm glad the damage was limited at least.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bythebay

            Went to Bull Valley last night and it was awesome--but not a lot of veggie options for you, if I remember correctly. Definitely an interesting excursion- solid food and cocktails, nice atmosphere.

            1. re: kmah

              Thanks. That's where we ended up. Wasn't bad actually for veggie options, although we did have fish for the entree. I agree with you definitely was interesting!

          2. You could try Meritage at the Claremont. Also, maybe someone can chime in with a recent experience.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Scott M

              I ate there once and was underwhelmed but it was many, many years ago. Would be great to hear of a more recent experience. Thank you!

            2. Have you considered Toast in Rockridge? The fairly new chef came from Zuni Cafe and features a lot of veggie small plates and salads as well as fish and a veggie pasta on the limited menu of larger plates. I've been there once for dinner and once for lunch and thought the flavors were light and fresh. At dinner, I liked the candle-lit atmosphere inside, and it wasn't noisy when we were there. The service was good both times, too. Another plus is that you can order wine by the glass or taste, and the latter is a generous pour.

              2 Replies
              1. re: amydeastbay

                Never heard of it, will look it up now, thank you!

                1. re: amydeastbay

                  I like Toast but it's noisy when full and the atmosphere is more neighborhood cafe than special-occasion restaurant. There's a photo on their site:


                2. How about Fonda on Solano or Oliveto? Rivoli would be nice too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wontonsoup

                    Fonda and Oliveto are both noisy at peak hours.

                  2. I really enjoyed Wood Tavern in Oakland recently, though it gets pretty packed and loud on a Friday night. Commis in Oakland is my favorite dining experience in the entire Bay Area and definitely fits all the requirements, though I'd call ahead to inquire about how veg and fish friendly they are tonight (if there's availability) as it's a single daily menu, though unlike anywhere else! I've always wanted to try Hudson, À Côté, and Plum in Oakland as well; they've all been on my list for many months and would probably surpass CP in overall quality. My one experience at Chez Panisse (the dining room and not cafe) was really mediocre and I would never go back. I found the food entirely boring and no longer relevant.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: OliverB

                      Commis is quiet, relaxing, and elegant, and the food's great, but it's at the opposite end of the style spectrum from Chez Panisse. I saw almost no actual cooking in the two and a half hours I sat a the chef's counter.


                      Hudson's out of business. It was the second attempt by Garibaldi's owners to revamp that space. Surpass Chez Panisse in overall quality? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Go to Marzano or Garibaldi's in SF for a reality check.

                    2. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. We settled on Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa. Since it was a special occasion we decided it would be nice to do something a little different and save the more local suggestions for later.

                      It definitely wasn't quiet, but once we adjusted to the loud, full dining room, it was really nice. They had a lot of vegetarian sides and they serve family style so we were able to share all our dishes. We had a really good wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, apple fennel bisque, whole branzino, brussel sprouts and the best ever pound cake with homemade honey ice cream.

                      The honey is local to Port Costa and really made the dessert. I also had a "bees knees" cocktail with that same honey, really really good. The fish was fine but my least favorite part of the meal. Overall, it was a really nice experience, I'd definitely go back. Thanks everyone for the suggestions, keeping them on my list!