We arrived in Mariposa late evening around 9 p.m. in early October 2013. After a long drive from San Fransisco's airport and after dumping our belongings in the hotel we started looking for a place to eat. We stumbled into Charles Street Dinner by sheer luck, after being turned away by other restaurants, which were either closed or closing. We were greeted at the door by Rachel who proved to be the most gracious hostesses we have ever met. We immediately felt not only welcomed but also appreciated. To be honest, we did not have too high expectations with regards to this place and just wanted to eat something quick but ended having one of the most memorable dinners in our two weeks trip to California. The menu choices looked tempting but we ended skipping the highlights of the menu and ended up ordering just few appetizers and one dinner dish to share (due to the late hour and our morning plans). I ended up with a clam chowder and a salad with honey cream dressing and my wife with a grilled trout. The day before I had a clam chowder in Seattle's famed Pike Market's diner, famous for its chowder with 100 years of history behind it, and it did not come even close to this great creation. Spiked by curiosity I engaged Rachel again for some insight of this dish and its creator. Interesting story, which I encourage you to hear your self.
The food proved to be absolutely delicious and the atmosphere amplified by the great service was just phenomenal. We were unanimous in a decision to come back the next day to try the lobster and filet Mignon dish for 2, strongly recommended by Rachel.
We did come back to have another most rewarding dinner in our travels. The beef steak derived, as per Rachel's giving, from a local farmer was unbelievably tender and soft; probably the best I have ever had. The lobster even for us Canadians, well familiar with the dish, was also scrumptious and delightful. To my disappointment the chowder was gone and I felt like crying, honestly. On top of this, the whole dinner felt like a good bargain, considering the quality of food, service and overall experience.
Do not miss this place if you are visiting this small, sleepy town. Make sure you dine at this great restaurant and enjoy its chef's great creations and a lovely, rustic, country atmosphere. I strongly encourage you to meet Rachel who with years of European experience, multitude of languages at her disposal and a great passion (the size of Manhattan) proved to be not only a great ambassador for her restaurant but the epitome of the American hospitality (Yes she did warn us about the size of the dishes). We have traveled extensively through Europe and other parts of the world and dined in many great places, including Micheline starred restaurants but we will always look back at this restaurant as a favorite diner, a place like home. We just loved it. Thank you; hoping to visit again. Frank and Grace.
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