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 - 11:00 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, Breakfast, 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 376 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 142
    Excellent
  • 139
    Very good
  • 71
    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
Cool setting

Not only was our meal very good, but the atmosphere of the restaurant, an old train station depot, was a unique and fun experience.

4 of 5 starsReviewed May 27, 2015
Kimberly S
,
Columbus, Georgia
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Large groups
Add Photo Write a Review

376 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Knoxville, TN
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2015 NEW

This is a real treat when in Columbia. I normally avoid chain restaurants, but I make an exception with this one. The food is excellent, but be prepared to wobble out of the place due to the portion sizes!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbus, Georgia
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015 NEW

Not only was our meal very good, but the atmosphere of the restaurant, an old train station depot, was a unique and fun experience.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015 NEW

The restaurant is in an excellent location...the California dreaming salad is huge and delicious. ...The servers took a long time to acknowledge us and only checked on us once...the restaurant felt a little stuffy but maybe. That's because it's an old train station

Was this review helpful? Yes
Rochester, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2015 NEW

California Dreaming is a mandatory stop for us while we are in Columbia. Whether its for lunch or for dinner, the food has always been excellent and the service has been great. The prices are very reasonable for what you get and the portions are very generous. Partial to the shaved prime rib sandwich and the nachos are delicious!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Clearwater, Florida
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2015

First of giving this an average for some of the things "missing" here for the customer. Wine list very limited and just mainly California wines? Not sure what's with the areas addiction to the honey covered croissant you get with your salad but really? That's a breakfast thing, need something savory here, like some sourdough baguette and something like olive... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2015

The food is wonderful. Great salads. Wait staff could use some more training at times. We have been there for lunch and dinner. Lunch was great. Dinner was very very dark could not even see to go to the restrooms really bad. Plus the main floor was very slippery don't know why because it was too dark.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Columbia, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015

Even on a Friday night, our food was delivered very quickly. You can never go wrong the California Dreaming house salad. My date got the sirloin and it was excellent, seasoned perfectly. Waitstaff was attentive.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Vienna, Virginia
2 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

Noisy, and food was just average. The building is nice but otherwise not impressed. It was recommended by 2 different people, so maybe it was an off night for the food staff.

Was this review helpful? Yes
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015 via mobile

Very nice place. Host and waitresses are very professional and they have great customer service. The only thing that I am concerned about is when you are on the wood floor it is very slippery. I asked around after I ate there and many people also stated it's the type of floor they have. I am 8months pregnant and slipped... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cape May, New Jersey
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2015

Arrived Friday at 5 on graduation weekend expecting a big crowd. we managed a quick seat and the service was fine. we had the nachos along with the marinated steaks and the shrimp San Francisco. Steak was slightly over cooked but tasted fine. A 10 oz. piece came with spinach as my side. My son had the same but potato... 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

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: 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?