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“Great steaks and atmosphere”
Review of Pacific Dining Car

Pacific Dining Car
Ranked #933 of 9,944 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Price range: $20 - $25
Cuisines: American, Steakhouse
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Central L.A
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
250 reviews
128 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Great steaks and atmosphere”
Reviewed November 1, 2013

This is in a run down part of town, with required valet parking. However, the atmosphere (particularly if you can sit in the actual dining car) is great, the food was great, and the service solicitous. It is very expensive for a restaurant in this neighborhood, which is a definite negative.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NYCJulieB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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147 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    48
    41
    36
    15
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Del Mar
Level Contributor
81 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“It was on my LA Bucket List - Now Its Crossed Off And No Need to Return”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

I have wanted to dine at Pacific Dining Car for years, but I seldom get to Los Angeles. I also wonder if places like this - which promote their history - are worth the steep prices they are charging today. PDF is not worth its prices, though it was a mostly pleasant evening.

We had reservations for a party of three for 6:30 last Saturday night (10-26-2013). The restaurant was 80% empty when we arrived and 90% per cent empty when we left two hours later. In retrospect that was very telling.

We were seated immediately by a very nice Maitre D' who could have worked there since the place opened. He must have been in his 80s or even 90s. No problem with that but you don't often see people working at that age.

After being seated we noticed we were across from the women's restroom and had an excellent view of its interior every time the door opened. We asked to be relocated and we were. However, the restaurant should not be seating anyone at the three tables that shared this view. They should be out of service, especially in a mostly empty restaurant. But after we were relocated I noticed that new guests had been seated at this table.

Service was very good at the outset. Water, wine and bread were brought promptly. And the orders were taken promptly. Water and wine were promptly refilled. Service became less attentive thereafter. Salad plates were not promptly removed. Bread was not refilled. Dinner plates were painfully slow to be removed. The tablecloth was not brushed before dessert and coffee. I wonder what the service would have been like if more than 10 tables were occupied?

We ordered several wines by the glass, all of excellent quality. I was very pleased that they had quality wines by the glass.

My wife and daughter were reluctant to order salad and sides with their filet mignon - no doubt because they were in sticker shock over the steak prices. When I asked them in front of the waiter if they were sure they did not want to order additional items, the waiter offered to split their orders of salads and sides. This was well received and they ended up splitting - at no plate charges - both a caesar salad and a baked potato.

They were both pleased with the filets. I had a taste and can confirm that their were perfectly cooked and the highest quality prime beef. But they were not worth the $65 per.
I had sand dabs. They were very good, not excellent. Compared to the price of the steaks, they were quite a value. A very large portion and only $30. However, the sauce served with them was supermarket tartar sauce and the highlight of the plate was not the fish but the mixed shoestring vegetables. The vegetables were outstanding.

I ordered a chocolate souffle when placing the dinner order. It was ready at the appropriate time and was quite good, outstanding in fact. Souffles are old school steakhouse and it is nice to find them on the menu. I also ordered their pecan pie after being told it was housemade. It was pathetic. It may have been housemade, but the crust was pre-fab and the custard was dried out. It tasted liked it had been reheated in a microwave. To top if off, it was served a full 10 minutes after the other dessert.

I would lean toward giving this place 3.5 stars, but since I can't, I bumped it up to 4. The wine, the initial service, the steaks, the vegetables and the souffle warrant high marks. The initial seating, the deterioration in service, less than stellar salads and sides (other than the vegetables) and the pecan pie seriously hinder a high rating - no way could you call Pacific Dining Car a five star restaurant. Quite frankly, the steaks and service at Ruth Chris or Mortons are just as good and the meals there will cost you about 40% less.

I mentioned earlier in this review that the lack of guests on a Saturday night was telling. I think the PDC has to charge so much to make up for the fact they they have so few customers and/or that many of their customers only order sides and avoid the entrees all together. I noticed two tables near us where only soup, bread and wine were ordered.

I am glad that I went. I can cross it off my bucket list. But I would not return and I would not recommend it to others.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank catatthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
45 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“So much fun!”
Reviewed October 13, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

We had the best time at the PDC. A group of 8 friends and we had great drinks, a very good bartender!, sand dabs were perfect, roast beef wonderful, someone had the cheese plate and declared it great, someone had the pecan pie and said it was delicious. Fabulous food, drink, desserts and open 24 hours!!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank juanini2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“gotta break open a CD to eat here!”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

Eeekkkk!!!! Boy was this expensive! Imagine paying for one shrimp cocktail app (which consisted of only 4 shrimp) one crab cake app (which consisted of two small crab cakes) and two glasses of house wine for a total of $150!!! Yikes! Granted, it was one of the best shrimp cocktails I've ever had but geez! The restaurant was very nice, older looking. The servers were very polite and professional as well. It's a good thing they severed bread because I think that's the only thing that filled us up so we didn't have to go to another restaurant afterwards! Nice quality food but extremely small portions and insanely overpriced!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Ashley C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
324 reviews
192 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Very Good Food and Atmosphere But Who are They Kidding With These Prices?”
Reviewed August 12, 2013

I'm two things, a foodie and a train buff so when I was staying in LA my Dad took me here. First of all, it's a fun atmosphere, nice and intimate and cozy with dimmed lighting, old style seating and good service. There is some railroad memorabilia but not enough to write home about. Now, everything I ate was excellent, the cocktails were mixed right and the wine list superb, however, the prices are utterly outrageous. I know the importance of paying top dollar for quality (hell, I grew up in New York and love eating at a fancy steakhouse in Chicago) but this is a restaurant in a bad part of LA next to a hospital, not in Beverly Hills. Just to give you an idea, the shrimp cocktail (four shrimp) is $21. The cowboy ribeye is $70. The rack of lamb pictured was $48. Also, the waiter brought my Dad the wrong food.

I enjoyed eating here and will recommend it, but be prepared to pay a lot. Take note: the only entrance is through the parking lot, so if you get dropped off, don't try walking around to the front...there isn't one.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Sal_Paradise767
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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