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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
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, 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 365 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 139
    Excellent
  • 134
    Very good
  • 68
    Average
  • 13
    Poor
  • 11
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4.5 of 5 stars
Always Good

We had a great dinner here before a USC basketball game. Waitress was great. Food was better. I lover their house salad with house dressing. The ribs are very good here.

4 of 5 starsReviewed April 23, 2015
Chuck N
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Large groups
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365 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cornwall,Ont.
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2015 NEW

We arrived for lunch at 1pm on a Saturday. Busy time downtown, but we were seated quickly, and served quickly. The California Dreaming salad was perfect. Fresh, crisp and delicious. Another of our group had the Club Sandwich- was very good.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2015 NEW

We had a great dinner here before a USC basketball game. Waitress was great. Food was better. I lover their house salad with house dressing. The ribs are very good here.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2015 NEW

Me and my spouse decided to try this place out for the first time for date night, and here are my pros and cons. PROS Call ahead seating Nice atmosphere Great steak salad CONS Nasty server Too dark! I wish I could compliment more on the food but unfortunately, our server did not make us feel welcome in her section... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2015 NEW

This restaurant had a beautiful setting in an old train depot. Very unique in style. The food was fantastic. EVERYONE in our party of 13 was happy, full and satisfied. Very diverse menu features everything from a she crab soup that was phenomenal to BBQ chicken and PO Boy sandwiches. And you absolutely must have the croissant drizzled in honey!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2015 NEW

I've been to this restaurant a few times when in town. Both times I had salads and the ingredients were fresh and crisp. Atmosphere is wonderful. I think it's what I like best about the place. Servers are polite and didn't keep us waiting.The bar looks great. I have to try it some time. I would definitely return!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2015 NEW

There were lots of people there but we were seated in a more quiet area. The food was great. I got a filet that was grilled to perfection. And that says something about a restaurant when they get the steak right at the Medium Well Temperature for a larger filet without butterflying it. I was impressed. The bread rolls are... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Maryville, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2015 NEW

I've eaten at several California Dreaming locations. This one isn't really the best. I had the ribeye, and it just wasn't a very good quality. The next week I decided to give it another go, and had the prime rib. Again, disappointed. The sides are ok, and it's a neat location, so that has to count for something. But this... More 

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High Point, North Carolina
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2015

We ate at California Dreaming during a visit to USC with our daughter. The food was overall very good. I had the San Francisco Shrimp Pasta. It was good, I wouldn't call it outstanding, it was very buttery for me. My wife had the Chicken Wings which I had a sample and thought those were Excellent. They are dry and... More 

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Tampa, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2015 via mobile

Pasta with shrimp had too much butter. A reduced calorie sauce with lemon would be healthier. Taste was good but much too rich to eat more than 1/3. Grilled chicken dishes with pasta were so so. Ribs were good. House Salads were fresh. Delicious homemade blue cheese dressing.

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Cayce, South Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2015

A friend and I went there for dinner Thursday night. The meal was wonderful. Had the prime rib ,salad and bale pototoe. My date had the rack of ribs, salad and stemmed veggies. Service was great and in and out within 2 hours.. You can never go wrong with any of the entrees or just drinks

Was this review helpful? Yes

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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 0 - 20
  • Cuisine: American

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Families with children, Large groups

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

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?