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Ratings and reviews

RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

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PRICE RANGE
$5 - $25
CUISINES
American, Bar
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
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Reviews (1,508)
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Traveler rating
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100
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Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

This place is an embarrassment. It used to be the busiest restaurant in Chas. Not any longer. This place is doomed to be exactly like red lobster. Wait staff is incompetent. Do not eat here. Too many options in Chas.

Date of visit: October 2022
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We have been here twice and love it each time. Every time the food and service is great and we never have a complaint. The croissant rolls are amazing!

Date of visit: September 2022
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Reviewed August 24, 2022 via mobile

Low country boil is way overpriced for just shrimp and it’s so spicy it’s almost inedible, told our server and he said-yeah some people say it’s too hot, never offered to get something else. Shrimp and grits were very good. Sirloin is very sweet from...the marinade. Just ok, too pricey for the quality of food.More

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed August 22, 2022

I dined at the Charleston, SC location on August 21, 2022 at about 4:30 pm. I ordered the French Dip, and then was told that they were out, so I then ordered the Ribeye with a Caesar salad and a baked potato. The Caesar salad...came out first and it was extremely soggy, so I sent it back. The 2nd one was much better. We waited almost an hour for our entrees to come out. My boyfriend's cheeseburger was well-done when he ordered it medium. On top of that, my Ribeye was well-done and I ordered it medium. So, I sent mine back. 20 minutes later (after my boyfriend finished his entire meal without me) the ribeye came out, and it was even worse than before. I even took photos of it because I was shocked that this was happening. I tried to eat it and could only get a couple bites in because it tasted like rubber. I sent it back and we left because I wasn't even hungry at that point. I was pleased at the service of our server and the manager who took care of us. However, the kitchen staff need to learn how to cook meat. On the menu, it even says the what it looks like according to the temperature. We will not be returning.More

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed August 20, 2022

Staying in Charleston and went to this restaurant on advice. Arrived at restaurant and was told 45 minute wait. 1 hour later we inquired and were told it would be another 20 minutes to 45 minutes. After that time expired we inquired again and was...told it could be another hour because they take walk ins but keep pushing them back when reservations walk in Even people with reservations were waiting over an hour. I understand that reservations come first but if you are going to institute that system, then you need to be honest with the walk-ins. Not let they sit around and tell them things that are not true. I come from a large metropolitan city where a restaurant that operates like that would be out of business. AVOID THE HASSLE. EAT ELSEWHERE.More

Date of visit: August 2022
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Reviewed July 16, 2022 via mobile

came here for my birthday as I do every year (and have always been able to have a large party) with a party of 9. we were sat two tables of 4 and 5 right next to eachother with the same waitress (who was new...and an angel) and we asked to move our tables together since it was a birthday celebration and she said yes. In the middle of taking our orders, we were rudely interrupted and forced to move the tables before we could even finish ordering. we proceeded to move the table back and continue our orders. as someone as we finished ordering another woman came over and said we had to move the table exactly the way it was so that we could not see each others faces at the separate tables. I understand the restaurant policy no longer allows for tables to be moved, but this rule is pointless in my opinion and should not have been instated. The manner in which we were approached and spoke to on both occasions was extremely condescending and rude — even though we moved the tables with permission from a worker initially and were not trying to cause a disruption. I have never experienced such hostility, lack of flexibility, and overall rudeness to both customers and their own staff at this establishment. safe to say I will no longer be returning for my birthdays.More

Date of visit: July 2022
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Reviewed July 2, 2022

We were staying right alongside the California Dreaming bar and restaurant (at the La Quinta Riverview), so this was the closest bar/diner to us. We went to have early evening drinks, and sat on the terrace at the back, on stools, watching the water and...gazing out at the bird life etc. One thing to be careful about - the biting flies and midges descend, and if (like me) you're a bit susceptible to bites, beware. Wear long-sleeved shirts, avoid shorts and slap on the mossie repellant. It's a good place for a drink. There's a little makeshift cocktail bar out back, outside the main restaurant, for basic drinks. It's all quite homely, and as long as you stick to very basic cocktails (gin and tonic etc) you're fine. They don't have the scope for anything exotic, so it's really just simple drinks in plastic glasses, or beer. Our two cocktails - a G&T and a Margarita - came to $18, incl tax and tip. The loos are inside, in the main body of the restaurant, which is usually very busy. The bar/restaurant is built in a grim old fortress, but it certainly has a feeling of solidity about it.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed June 18, 2022

Had an appetizer for lunch, the seafood nachos. There was so little seafood topping on the numerous chips, it was ridiculous for $14.95. Needless to say that I was disappointed is an understatement. Yes, they were very crowded, as they always are. C.D. has become...nothing but a tourist trap. One and Done!!More

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed June 10, 2022

When we lived in Charleston back in the late 80's when this restaurant was new, it was one of our favorite places to eat. We were bringing back our son who was born in Charleston and just had to come here for a meal. Kind...of surprised it was still open; it didn't look aged at all, very clean. Great atmosphere. No bad tables or views. We did register online for "priority seating" which they make clear is NOT a reservation, but as soon as we arrived we were seated ahead of many people who were already there waiting. (I felt guilty, but hey, look at the website in advance). The salads were stellar as usual and I had to get the basket of croissants but was disappointed that they don't seem to have the honey butter drizzle on them anymore, or maybe they just skimped on our croissants. Still yummy. I was burned out on seafood by our visit, although I remember they had wonderful seafood, but I got a delicious baked potato and filet mignon that were both perfect. It is a lovely relaxing environment and we also enjoyed the large white bird who landed in the march right outside our window and entertained us throughout our meal. our server was attentive and competent. I remember on past visits, we sometimes would see dolphins.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 26, 2022

We have visted California Dreaming very many times over the past 10+ years and greatly appreciated the food and service. Went again on 20th May 2022 and standards have dropped significantly. Food and services well below par. While others in the group were also disappointed,...I will just relate to my experience... steak was butterflied and burnt to a crisp (asked for med-well). Taste was "strange", blue. Salad was large, but that is just becasue it was mostly lettuce. Services was slow and without detailed attention to needs... had to ask for silverware, coffee/water refills. This is not the California Dreaming experience of old. With so many good restaurants in Charleston, time/effort and money might be better spent elsewhere.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 23, 2022 via mobile

Excellent waterside restaurant with delicious seafood! Fried and steamed spiced shrimp were particularly good. Staff are personable and friendly, particularly our severs Lito and Billy!

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 22, 2022 via mobile

Staying at the nearby La Quinta dump this is the only restaurant within walking distance so I thought I'd give it a try. Asked for a table outside and was refused, they said it was first come first served but there were tables free, plus...they said it was a limited menu outside so I was too tired to argue and was rushed to an inside table. The food was expensive for what it was - I had a far, far better steak at a run-of-the-mill Holiday Inn hotel in Cincinnati the night before for half the price. Got to say though, apart from the initial encounter with indifferent staff at the entry point, the service was first class with the waitress quickly seeing when I needed another drink. Busy place though so maybe folk in Charleston are easily pleased.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 22, 2022 via mobile

In short - Nothing special, except the view. Everything else is exactly what you would expect from a mid grade American fare restaurant. Calling at a steakhouse is a big stretch! We picked it because it was one of the only water views in the...city. The view was great, and the outside tables looked fantastic if you’re there with good weather. The only problem was that they were a full hour behind on reservations, and never even offered a free app or desert.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 20, 2022 via mobile

This was the worst experience. After making a reservation, we still had to wait for our table. The waiter was not attentive. We had to ask for refills on our drinks through our dinner. We ordered appetizers, but our entrees took a very long time...to come out to the point where the kitchen closed. Unfortunately, my seafood platter came out with the taste of old, burnt grease. The manager wasn’t pleased with our complaint. It was horrible. I would never recommend this place to anyone.More

Date of visit: May 2022
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Reviewed May 3, 2022

If you are looking for a place to go to by boat, you can't go wrong by stopping here. 6 of us were on a cocktail cruise and stopped in to live music and 3 bar areas.

Date of visit: April 2022
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Questions & Answers
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yoyowynn
August 22, 2020|
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Response from blackwidowinsc | Reviewed this property |
Yes, there is free on-site parking.
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Kimberly H
December 5, 2019|
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Response from Safari704544 | Reviewed this property |
Yes!
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1Tbaird
July 26, 2019|
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Response from Rebecca S | Reviewed this property |
Hello Fellow traveler: We did not have reservations, but we were there on a Tuesday nite. This is a great restaurant and I woud probably get reservations if you are going to be in Charleston for the weekend.
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CALIFORNIA DREAMING RESTAURANT & BAR, Charleston - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about California Dreaming Restaurant & Bar

Yes, California Dreaming Restaurant & Bar offers takeout services.

California Dreaming Restaurant & Bar is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 3.5
  • Atmosphere: 4.5