We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

California Dreaming Restaurant

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Get directions
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, Dinner, Lunch, 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.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 390 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 149
    Excellent
  • 142
    Very good
  • 73
    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
Very Good Place

California Dreaming is a great place to eat with family or a date. They have great salads and a unique atmosphere. The wait can be a little long sometimes but is usually not that bad. Just about everything on the menu is good.

4 of 5 starsReviewed June 28, 2015
btown0
Good for:
  • Large groups
  • Families with children
Add Photo Write a Review

390 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Your overall rating of this restaurant
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Olathe, Kansas
Top Contributor
671 reviews 671 reviews
391 restaurant reviews
221 helpful votes 221 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2015 NEW

very busy on a sunday and lots of people everywhere, but the staff handled it nicely. Food is kind of middle of the road, but its in a nice location.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015 NEW

This is one of my favorite restaurant. I like the atmosphere, the service, and definitely the food. It has a family atmosphere, and is great for a date night.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015 NEW

Each time I have visited the food is great. I have tried several dishes and each one was fantastic. I try to go at least once a month.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015 NEW

California Dreaming is a great place to eat with family or a date. They have great salads and a unique atmosphere. The wait can be a little long sometimes but is usually not that bad. Just about everything on the menu is good.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2015

The service is always incredible. No other place in Columbia, SC that can beat that! Everything is prepared the way we asked for it to be. In the event it is not exactly what one wants, they quickly change it with a smile on their faces! The food is plentiful. If the place is packed they still wait on you... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

Well I finally ventured out to this restaurant that everyone talks about. I have heard so much about it however, I can honestly say that I wasn't impressed & would not choose to go back. Overpriced, limited menu, poor customer service.

Was this review helpful? Yes
CentraArchy_CRMC, Public Relations Manager at California Dreaming Restaurant, responded to this review

I'm sorry to hear we didn't exceed your expectations, especially after the referrals you received to dine with us. Everything on our menu is fresh, never frozen and made from scratch daily in our kitchen. If there was something particular you were looking for on the menu, let us know, we can suggest it to our chef. Thanks again, I... More 

Wando, South Carolina
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2015

Well, won't ever have to go back there! The place is packed and we get seated, I unroll my silverware from the napkin and there it is, a dirty fork with the remnants of cheese still on it. I show it to the waiter who bring another set, but treats it as everyday. Service was good considering the crowd but... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
CentraArchy_CRMC, Public Relations Manager at California Dreaming Restaurant, responded to this review

Thank you for your feedback, it's important to us in delivering the highest levels of quality and service to our valuable guests. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the blackened chicken pasta, we do make it from scratch so your feedback is extremely helpful. We know that you have many dining choices and hope you will give us another opportunity to... More 

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2015 via mobile

I eat at CD in Charleston and Greenville and like both and would recommend both. But the one in Columbia has an terrible odor. I walked in and got to my table and left. I think the staff has been there so long that they do not smell the odor. I did mention this to the manager.

Was this review helpful? Yes
CentraArchy_CRMC, Public Relations Manager at California Dreaming Restaurant, responded to this review

Hi Walter, I'm so sorry you weren't able to stay and enjoy a dining experience at our original California Dreaming location! The historic train station is over 113 years old with an overall health score A. Hope you try us again very soon. More 

Jacksonville, Florida
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2015

The building is located right downtown in an old rail depot. It's near the campus on main street and was very easy to find. We had only a short wait for a table and our service was terrific. I had the California Dreaming salad and I added chicken. It was a big salad and had plenty of everything in it.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2015

I was in town for a wedding and new that I would be near California Dreaming, so I made it my business to get there. I got the California Dreaming entree salad. Mmmm! That salad was still as good as it was when I first tried it 20 years ago. For anyone who has never been, you must give it... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed California Dreaming Restaurant also viewed

 

Been to California Dreaming Restaurant? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about California Dreaming Restaurant

Address: 401 South Main St, Columbia, SC 29201-4147
Phone Number: 803-254-6767
Location: United States  >  South Carolina (SC)  >  Columbia
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
Average Prices: USD 20
Cuisine: American

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing
Improve this listing

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
1 question
Ask a question
Charlotte, North Carolina
25 days ago

See all questions (1)

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?