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Chez Panisse Cafe
1517 Shattuck Avenue (near Cedar Street)
Hours: Mon-Th 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Payment: Credit cards
Parking: Difficult street parking
Atmosphere: Upscale, lively
Chez Panisse remains the benchmark for fresh, local, and organic foods. Alice Waters' unwavering commitment to these concepts is reason enough for any vegetarian to enjoy a meal here. There is always at least one vegetarian appetizer and one vegetarian entree, and the staff is happy to adjust items to suit vegan requirements, too. (Downstairs, with its prix fixe menu, is more difficult, expecially for vegans, but if you do find yourself dining downstairs, they will accommodate you.) Upstairs is livelier and less expensive, and the menu, which changes frequently, offers many enticing choices. Pizzas, from the wood-fired oven, are outstanding. Anything with peaches is a good bet, as Waters has a unique passion for the stone fruit and serves them only at their perfect moment of ripeness. The garden salad with chevre and croutons launched a culinary revolution.