Chez Panisse Café
As Alice Waters travels the world, spreading her gospel of “local, seasonal, sustainable,” Chez Panisse chugs steadily along in its two-story Craftsman-style home. Chefs David Tanis and Jean-Pierre Moulle (each cooks for half the year) keep the standards high in both kitchens: the downstairs one, which provides the nightly menu for the original 1971 restaurant; and the upstairs, which turns out à la carte dishes like chicory salad with persimmon, pizette, and wood-oven-baked lasagne Bolognese for the less-expensive second-floor café. Downstairs, your meal might center on a pork scaloppini with sage, capers, and romano beans, maybe on a cassoulet de mer, maybe on baby lamb with fried artichokes. You’ll probably have made your reservations well before the week’s menus are posted, though, so you’ll just have to trust Alice.
Tip: In the downstairs restaurant the crowd skews middle-age and older, and everyone’s dressed for a night out. Upstairs, it’s locals, often in jeans—but not ripped jeans.
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