The very, very best of these, and Alice Waters’ baby, is Chez Panisse (1517 Shattuck Ave., restaurant 510/548-5525, café 510/548-5049, www.chezpanisse.com , restaurant prix fixe $55–85, café $19–24). If you plan to dine in the restaurant at Chez Panisse, you need to make your reservations early and possibly plan your entire trip to Berkeley  around the date on which you get a table.
You can make a dinner reservation up to one month in advance. (No, we’re not kidding. You should try to get a reservation at French Laundry if you think this is ridiculous.)
The desk takes phone calls 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Monday–Saturday. You’ll get the chance to enjoy some of the best cuisine that’s ever graced a plate in Berkeley  or anywhere else on earth. Waters and her successors create French-California dishes at the bleeding edge of current trends—Waters sets trends, she doesn’t follow them.
Upstairs, the café offers food that’s a bit more casual but just as good as the rarified dining room downstairs. It’s much easier to get a reservation in the bustling, energetic café than it is the restaurant, and the casual atmosphere is less intimidating for diners who are new to all this California haute cuisine excess.