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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
Website
Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
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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Good for:
Families with children
Large groups

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 355 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 137
    Excellent
  • 129
    Very good
  • 65
    Average
  • 13
    Poor
  • 11
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Most recent review
Professional Visit, good appetizers

We visited as part of a group presentation. The menu was pre-selected for us but was very good. The building is an old train station and was very charming. Parking was in a lot, street parking is also available. Will make a point to visit again.

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 29, 2015
Jennifer R
,
Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Large groups
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
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355 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW

We visited as part of a group presentation. The menu was pre-selected for us but was very good. The building is an old train station and was very charming. Parking was in a lot, street parking is also available. Will make a point to visit again.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2015 NEW via mobile

The building is fantastic. The food outstanding. The service? Expected from a chain - not great. Martinis are good,very good!

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Lowell, Massachusetts
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2015

My family went here on a SC trip and I was looking for food we can all have something to eat. Honey croissants a most. Salads are really good too.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

This is still a nice place to eat but I feel the food is not as good as it once was. I didn't get the value for my money from the mixed drinks to the food. They may need to step back and regroup.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2015

The restaurant is housed in the old train depot built in 1902. The California Dreaming Salad was to die for! We also had the seafood platter which was outstanding, and a burger, which was nothing to write home about, but was good just the same. Service is prompt and courteous. A must go to while in downtown, Columbia.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Richfield, Minnesota
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2015 credit card Amex Card Member Review

One of the best steak salads I have ever had. Very nice restaurant with great food and service! The location of this restaurant is a historic depot. Very cool building.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2015

My youngest son asks to come here for every birthday, and I've quit counting how m any times we've been. And he's 30. My favorite is the salads, but he loves the steaks. My husband the ribs. In the many years we've eaten at California Dreamin' I've never seen the food change . . . and I'm saying that in... More 

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Wilmington, North Carolina
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2015 via mobile

Ok when I came in and the sun was shining and things were good, but then the sun went down and they didn't turn on any lights! I was eating in a booth in the bar area with a client and I was not looking for romance. Everyone had their mobiles out shining them on the menu or what ever... More 

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COLUMBIA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015

California Dreaming has served very good food since it opened in a refurbished train depot in the 80's. Their signature dish is the house salad, with greens, diced tomato and boiled egg, chopped bacon, slivered almonds, with a hot bacon-and-honey-mustard dressing AND a warm croissant drizzled with honey butter on the side. It is wonderful. Get the salad. I usually... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2015

We have visited this restaurant a number of times in the past but never wrote them up. It goes without saying this place makes the best house salad in town. Perhaps the state and beyond. Their house dressing kicks it up another notch which makes it the best. Served with the salad is a nice, light warm crousant drizzled with... More 

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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?