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California Dreaming Restaurant

401 South Main St, Columbia, SC 29201-4147
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Ranked #43 of 825 restaurants in Columbia
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $0 - $20
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
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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276 reviews from our community

73% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

I am 35 years old and grew up in Columbia. Many of my family and friends have eaten here and sing there praises. My grandmother turned 79 today so we decided to surprise her with a late lunch at this restaurant. When we were seated our table cloth was filthy!! I was so angry because the hostess actually laid menus... More

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Cape May, New Jersey
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

Within easy walking distance of USC this place feels like being in another area. The large windows look out on a grassy knoll while the 2 bars keep the place lively. Food was decent and not overpriced. Good pulled pork sandwich. I will be back.

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Acushnet, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
72 restaurant reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 via mobile

This will be a unique review. We had dinner here while visiting USC. The atmosphere was fine, the food was fine, the place was busy on a Sunday night which should say something. I have to comment on our waiter. The shirt he was wearing was white, long sleeved, buttoned down. Dressy. And stained. Very stained. Everywhere. It was disgusting.... More

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

We don’t always succeed, and we appreciate your feedback. Thanks for visiting. More

Columbia, SC
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

We recently at dinner at California Dreaming in Columbia. Service was excellent, food was good, restaurant was clean. Manager even came by to check and make sure that everything was okay. The atmosphere is great also (this used to be an old train station that was refurnished). I highly recommend this restaurant.

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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
67 reviews 67 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
23 helpful votes 23 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

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Columbia, SC
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 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
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 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
32 reviews 32 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 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
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 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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