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California Dreaming Restaurant

Certificate of Excellence
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401 South Main St, Columbia, SC 29201-4147
803-254-6767
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Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Voted “Best Salad” 12 years running, by Free Times and Columbia...
Voted “Best Salad” 12 years running, by Free Times and Columbia Metropolitan, “Best Date Spot, Best Overall Restaurant and Best Place to Take your Parents” by USC’s The Daily Gamecock. Enjoy giant-sized fare from the California Dreaming kitchen; start with the Barbecue Chicken Nachos, then slow-cooked Prime Rib or a hearty pasta dish. The restaurant also features late night bar bites; large party carry-out and catering; live music and seasonal patio dining. The historic landmark building, Union Station, is located steps away from USC.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 419 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 161
    Excellent
  • 154
    Very good
  • 78
    Average
  • 14
    Poor
  • 12
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
A Cut Above the Rest

Servings are ample, great salads (love the warm croissant) and the food is above the average chain restaurant. I usually go with the large dinner salad either with the grilled ahi tuna or chicken tenders but the marinated steak and chicken is tasty. The atmosphere of the old train station is nice... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed August 23, 2015
Mike B
,
Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Good for:
  • Large groups
  • Families with children
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419 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2015 NEW via mobile

The setting of the restaurant is very nice.The food was ok and the service the same,nothing to write home about. I would have liked to have tried another restaurant after eating here.If there is another place on your list try it first.

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Raleigh, NC
Level Contributor
155 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2015

Hats off to the Centra/Archy Restaurant Management Group for turning the old train station into California Dreaming Restaurant. Found this restaurant on TA while researching Columbia area restaurants to visit when we moved our daughter in at Columbia College. The restaurant is located across the street from University of South Carolina. The atmosphere is great. Large dining areas, large open... More 

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Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
51 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2015

Servings are ample, great salads (love the warm croissant) and the food is above the average chain restaurant. I usually go with the large dinner salad either with the grilled ahi tuna or chicken tenders but the marinated steak and chicken is tasty. The atmosphere of the old train station is nice but can be a little bit noisy depending... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
41 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2015

California Dreaming is one of the most amazing architectural spaces in which you will ever dine. A former train station, the interior and exterior detail creates a wonderful atmosphere for lunch or dinner. Five of us had lunch today at California Dreaming. I spent as much time admiring the architecture as I did the menu. We started off with an... More 

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Cape May, New Jersey
Level Contributor
99 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

A must stop in Columbia. Always a pleasant atmosphere and the food is good. Burgers, salads, chicken. Located next to USC it gets crowded with locals and visiting parents and their children and roommates. A full bar is available and has been crowded during my visits. I will be back during my next trip to Columbia.

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Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2015

Waitress should be trained to pay attention to the tables that they are serving. Our waitress kept chatting with another table and forgot to take care of our group, she was very distracted. When we asked another of her peers to help us , she responded that she could not do anything ( removing the dishes......) and she could not... More 

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CentraArchy_CRMC, Public Relations Manager at California Dreaming Restaurant, responded to this review

Hi Julio, Making our guests feel welcome and well cared for is our highest priority and I am very sorry that you did not experience the level of service. Thank you for taking the time to bring these issues to our attention. Despite this experience, we do hope you'll give us another try soon. Thank you. More 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

Recommended to us by a local family we met while traveling, we had lunch here. REstaurant accommodated special requests, salads were great. The potato soup was exceptional, even better with the she crab added. Large venue, but quite popular at the edge of the USC campus. We happened to visit on move in weekend, so luckily we arrived early for... More 

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Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2015

We stopped here for lunch when dropping out son off for college. I remember it being a cool place to eat when I went to school a few years ago, and it still is. The salad and croissants are delicious. Our party also enjoyed the chic Parmesan, fried shrimp, chicken sandwich and a burger. All were received well and large... More 

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Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
159 reviews
95 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2015

I have eaten here from time to time for over 20 years and they have always gotten thing right. Great for lunch or dinner. A definite can't go wrong spot. And yes the salad is big enough for two

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Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2015

They have a HUGE salad that is great...I've eaten there several time and ALWAYS get the standard salad.....it is very good. The service is also good

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 401 South Main St, Columbia, SC 29201-4147
  • Location: United States  >  South Carolina (SC)  >  Columbia
  • Phone Number: 803-254-6767

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 20
  • Cuisine: American

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Large groups, Families with children

Description

Voted “Best Salad” 12 years running, by Free Times and Columbia Metropolitan, “Best Date Spot, Best Overall Restaurant and Best Place to Take your Parents” by USC’s The Daily Gamecock. Enjoy giant-sized fare from the California Dreaming kitchen; start with the Barbecue Chicken Nachos, then slow-cooked Prime Rib or a hearty pasta dish. The restaurant also features late night bar bites; large party carry-out and catering; live music and seasonal patio dining. The historic landmark building, Union Station, is located steps away from USC.
Open Hours
Sunday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Monday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday
11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of California Dreaming Restaurant and other visitors
2 questions
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Greenville, South Carolina
1 month ago
Charlotte, North Carolina
2 months ago

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Questions? Get answers from California Dreaming Restaurant staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?