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“Elegant décor - Disappointing Food & Service”

Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's
Ranked #145 of 510 Restaurants in Costa Mesa
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Drinks, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Anton Blvd.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Elegant décor - Disappointing Food & Service”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2010

My husband and I are well traveled and often look for good restaurants "in our own backyard". When Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's opened in 2008, it was the reviews about their Moulton Chocolate Cake that led us to our first visit - if you're a chocloate lover, I recommend not passing this up. Our second visit in 2009 was not as impressive as our first. Most recently we returned for lunch and was extremely disappointed with the food and the service. The reservations we made did not guarantee good seating. If we wanted to be seated elsewhere, there was a wait. With each visit we ordered from the lunch prix fixe menu which offers first course, main course and dessert for $26. Maybe that was where we went wrong. It sounded good on the menu, but once we tasted what we ordered it was not what we expected. The prix fixe menu changes. If you decide to go, first check out the menu on their website to see what is being served for that particular week. Perhaps you may see something that you want to try. Personally, I recommend saving your money and trying another restaurant in the area...Roman Cucina on Newport Blvd in Costa Mesa. (dinner only).

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 1coolnana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Tustin, CA
Level Contributor
57 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“I was shocked and dissapointed by the food and the service”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2009

My wife and I recently had dinner with a good friend at Charlie Palmer's. We had been there on Mother's Day and had a good meal and a nice time. Unfortunately that was not the case on the Saturday dinner we had there. I asked the waiter about the steak and he told me it was good and well worth the price but he proffered another dish. I ordered the steak and I expected something very good. I got a tasteless, tough, stringy steak. I complained to the waiter and his response was ... "Well its just a steak".

Sorry to complain but for $35.00 I expect something better or as good as a Costco steak! Too much attitude and no sensitivity to their guests. A definite lack of caring and in these times that is UNACCEPTABLE!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Alan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Beach, California
Level Contributor
328 reviews
165 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1,118 helpful votes
“Overpriced, poor service, OK food, great decor”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2009

My partner and I dined last night at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's with some friends last night. It was their first time and our second, but this is my first (and only) review. The restaurant has beautiful decor and looks far more like it belongs in Los Angeles or New York, so it's certainly an exciting change of pace for Orange County in that regard. On the other hand, the food and service do not measure up in the same way.

On our last visit, we had to depart early because of circumstances not related to the restaurant. However, we were underwhelmed by the service and quality of food up to that point. Thinking that it might have been a fluke or that we might have not given the restaurant a fair shake, we decided to return.

That was a mistake. The service and the food are average, and for a $600 bill for the 4 of us (including tax and tip, as well as a $160 bottle of wine), the experience left us all displeased.

Service on our first visit was problematic in that people constantly appeared in the middle of conversation and then were nowhere to be found when you really needed attention. Service on this second visit was problematic in that EVERY server, from the waiter to the sommelier to the other servers bringing bread and/or filling your water appeared at the most inopportune moments at every point during our conversations. Instead of appearing and waiting for a lull in conversation or for us to give them an invitation to interrupt, as you would expect at any serious fine dining establishment, the servers consistently interrupted us as if to say that their presence was far more important than whatever conversation we might be having. Had this happened but once or twice, we might have dismissed it. But it really did happen ALL THE TIME, both during last night's dinner and our previous dinner, as well. Not good. Of course, everyone was friendly and certainly trying hard to please, but it was frustrating to try and eat and converse with our friends while constantly being interrupted. Unbelievable.

The other problem was the food. Uninspired is the best I can manage to describe it. We all had appetizers/salads which we all found to be OK. We all had steaks, and they were all just adequate. To be frank, a steak at either Fleming's or the Bungalow or Basilic would destroy the steaks at Charlie Palmer.

We didn't order dessert, and I think that the service staff may have noticed that we seemed less than thrilled. It was notable then, that, they brought us a sampling of their desserts on the house. Very nice touch. The problem was that after tasting all of the dessert samples, we were just as disappointed with them as we were with the rest of our meals.

So for a whopping $600, certainly including a $160 bottle of wine, to be sure, but still a whopping $440 for the 4 of us, the service was annoying and the food was merely adequate. Way too much for an average dining experience, at best. I'd prefer to pay less and get better food and service in more adequate decor, personally!

In short, the restaurant looks amazing, but fails to deliver where it counts. We won't be coming back. And based upon the number of other diners during both experiences, we wouldn't be surprised if the restaurant didn't last long, either.

1 Thank Bill R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Beautiful decor, impressive menu, and equally excellent service.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2008

Beautiful decor, impressive menu, and equally excellent service.

1 Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“New OC Gem.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2008

New OC Gem.

1 Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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