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California Dreaming Restaurant

401 South Main St, Columbia, SC 29201-4147
803-254-6767
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Ranked #39 of 827 restaurants in Columbia
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $0 - $20
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
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.
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272 reviews from our community

74% Recommend
    109
    93
    51
    9
    10
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

Located in a beautiful building, but was disappointed inside. It was a Sunday afternoon... many servers in the restaurant. We were led to a booth, where my seat had a 1 1/2 foot rip in the seat cover. The order was for a Chipotle Chicken wrap, which was very good, chicken strips and Hot Vegetable salad - way too much... More

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

Hi Jamie, Thanks for the accolades on the chipotle chicken wrap and chicken strips. As for the hot vegetable salad, the fresh vegetables are sauteed in white wine and a hint of butter, this may have been the cause of too much liquid in your salad. Thank you for visiting, we look forward to serving you again soon. More

Greenville, South Carolina
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014

We recently ate at California Dreaming in Columbia for a business lunch group. There were around 10 of us. The quality, selection and service at California Dreaming is always good. I have never had a bad meal here and when things have not been up to standard the restaurant is always willing to make things right. I especially like the... More

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Columbia, SC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

California Dreaming is a place you can take out-of-towners with a dependable good result. Food is always very good, service is excellent, atmosphere is upscale and cheerful. The prime rib is dependably good, baby back ribs are very good. The salads are great, some of the best ever eaten.

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Columbia, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Found the food and the atmosphere to be wonderful. There was a group of us and I was almost an hour late for the appointed time. Even though I was late the party was seated and ordering when I arrived. I loved that everyone did not have to wait because I had something come up at work at the last... More

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Nashville, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

I travel to Columbia often for business, and this is one of our favorite places to take a big group. On my latest visit, I ordered a chocolate pretzel martini that was not what I expected in terms of color, but I did enjoy the salt on the rim and in the bottom of the glass. I always make sure... More

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Augusta, Georgia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

This is my favorite California Dreaming. It's in an old train station. It's beautiful & I love the atomosphere. The food is always excellent & the staff very attentive. I have never had a bad meal here.

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Columbia, South Carolina
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

Always enjoy California Dreaming in Columbia. The salads are great and the prime rib is always good.

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Campobello
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2014 via mobile

We went today (Father's Day) and I was underwhelmed. My oven baked salmon was dry, my son's NY strip was overcooked, and my salad had almost nothing resembling anything green in it (I hate white lettuce). For the amount of money my family of 4 cost for this meal ($90) - I expect more. I will be hard pressed to... More

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

I'm sorry to hear you weren't wowed with your meal. It sounds like every instance could have been avoided. In the future, please seek a manager, they will assure you leave happy! Thank you for choosing us to dine on a special occasion and Happy Father's Day. More

Beaufort, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2014

Who doesn't like a California Dreaming salad?!??!? Depending on the weather, we recommend either soup/salad combo or small salad with one of their yummy sandwiches (club or chic salad are my faves)! Great bar and steaks if you visit at night!

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Fort Mill, South Carolina
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

This restaurant seems to do a very good business because of its unique setting and in a great location to the USC campus. The food is not bad but, it is usually never what I would consider worth the price. The kitchen is open and the food feels like the kitchen looks- like it has come down a production line.

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

I'm sorry we didn't wow you with your recent experience. Every item on our menu is made from scratch daily. All fresh, never frozen premium items come at a price. Thank you for visiting. More

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