Gemmell's

Gemmell's

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.gemmellsrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: (949) 234-0063
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch: Sunday: 10:00am - 3:30pm; Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:30pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 3:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 3:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: French, Contemporary French
  • Executive Chef: Byron Gemmell
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, High Tea, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Catering events such as: Sales Meetings, Corporate Events, Group Luncheons, Graduations, Cocktail & Receptions, Weddings, Holiday Parties, Rehearsal Dinners, Anniversaries, Birthday Events, Baby Showers, Business and Social occasions. Call us, no matter what the occasion, our chef has a selection of creative menus or we can customize one for your occasion.
  • Private Party Facilities: We have a private banquet room that seats a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 80. The room has it own private facilities, as well as it's own full bar. It has a partial view of the Marina and lots of windows.
  • Private Party Contact: Barbara 9492340063
  • Entertainment: Thursday nights.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Dana Point Harbor Drive
  • Public Transit: Public transit stops in front of the Harbor of Dana Point.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking lot holds anywhere from 50 - 250 cars. It has handicap parking as well. On weekends there is Valet Parking (Friday, Saturday and Holidays) We also have access to Marina Parking (please inquire within).
A word from Gemmell's
An oasis by the sea, where dining is romantic cozy, comfortable, and highlighted with personal service. Like dining out should be - Gemmell’s is a Dana Point Harbor dining destination, an experience for the palate not to be forgotten.
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Gemmell's reviews from OpenTable diners
35 reviews since July 28, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (21)romantic (19)fit for foodies (18)special occasion (18)notable wine list (11)great for lunch (9)great for outdoor dining (4)great for brunch (4)good for groups (3)late-night find (1)Show More
  • Zagat rated 10 years!
    7beachie11
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    We've passed the restaurant several times but never dined there until last month. Some friends invited me for lunch and I was amazed how good the food is. I'm not much of a salmon eater but I tried it on the recommendation of my host. It was fabulous!! Impressed, I took my husband to lunch the other day. He ordered the sand dabs which are difficult to find. On a scale of 1-5, he gave it a 5! I had the chicken piccata and it was good. The French onion soup and lobster bisque were as good as it gets. Our server Ben could not have been more accommodating and made our experience delightful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food was amazing but one issue
    localfoodie
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    First time to Gemmel's- the service was great and the food was amazing! One small issue put a damper on a high rating overall- the server was a smoker and every time he came to our table from the back, he brought with him a very strong smell of cigarettes-like old ones that had been in an ashtray for a while- really was a turn off while we where trying to enjoy a great meal-
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious french food with ample portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    We had an excellent meal and good service. Kir Royal and house bordeaux were good. Ricard (anisette) was a very large serving (careful). For food, we had mushroom soup (cream), hearts of romaine salad, whitefish with sauce meuniere, filet mignon with sauce bordelaise with wild mushrooms, and Harlequin soufflé with Creme Anglaise for dessert. It was a sumptuous meal (and leftovers). Good strong coffee, too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific Lunch
    LikesfoodVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    We ate lunch here on a recommendation and were not disappointed. The food was expertly prepared: perfectly poached salmon with a delicious, balanced sauce, perfectly cooked fresh veggies with a little crunch and good fresh flavor. Nicely chilled rose, and yummy lemony and very tart perfectly french lemon tart for desert. Service was maybe a tad clunky, not sophisticated, but server took are of all our needs. Lunch was utterly delightful. Would love to go back and would recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always consistent and terrific!
    DJazzMan
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    My wife and I live locally and have dined here a dozen time's. I've brought out of town colleagues here. I've recommend this place to numerous people. Everyone has been extremely pleased with the food, service and ambience! 5 stars from me!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    Brunch4Two
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We got there early for brunch and had the place to ourselves. Started filling up after we were done. Great food. Exceptional for a brunch. Ben waited on us and was attentive but not overly so. Already planning our next visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE
    Dinedaily7VIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    THIS IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE LOCAL PLACES. ALWAYS FRESH, GOOD FOOD. ALWAYS QUITE WITH GREAT SERVICE. WHEN YOU WANT TO EAT AND BE ABLE TO HEAR A CONVERSATION, THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO. YOU DO NOT HEAR LOTS OF VOICES AND DISHES. THE KITCHEN IS IN THE BACK, WHERE IT SHOULD BE. THEY EVEN HAVE A PRIVATE TABLE FOR TWO FOR AN INTIMATE EVENING
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    The food great and unique with lots of help with the wine selection.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great restaurant
    retired2dine
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We had reservations and were seated immediately. The food was all outstanding, and we had four people--each one tried a different dish-all were more than satisfied. I had the lemon tart, and ordered a second one to go. The waitress had the perfect french accent and was very thorough in explaining the menu. We dined for over two hours. The parking is very easy-right in front of Gemmells.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Find
    pjklutz
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Service was excellent and dinner was divine! Ou wine pairing was also great. Wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Super dining
    Sally
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Wonderful dining experience, excellent food, exceptional service, I think the nice lady that served us wine is the owner and she is wonderful and makes you feel as though you are the most important customers in the restaurant. We all loved her.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice classy Resturant...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Service, ambiance is A+, location is a B, food is somewhere between B+ and A-... Overall, a great French cuisine in Orange County... We will be back... Pretty pricey, we had a groupon, which did not make it as bad...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 14me
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We loved everything about the evening starting with the ambience followed by perfect service with remarkable food. Loved-loved-loved
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • ALWAYS GOOD FOOD
    Dinedaily7VIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    WE WERE A PARTY OF SIX. THE RESTAURANT WAS NOT BUSY, IT WAS A WEEK NIGHT. THE FOOD IS ALWAYS GOOD, AS IS THE SERVICE. WE WERE SURPRISED TO SEE AN $8, SERVICE FEE FOR SHARING. THAT BEING SAID, THEY DID HAVE EACH PLATE SEPARATE AND IT INCLUDED THE SIDE DISHES. ALWAYS A QUITE GOOD RESTAURANT.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfect for Anniversary!
    stuffed62VIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    We took my parents for their 62nd wedding anniversary. It was a perfect night. Our server Jeffrey made it complete. There were six of us and we all loved our food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • restaurant with special touch
    GreatLunchVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    It is one of our favorite restaurants They always hace a great eine by the glass. Their house made smoked salmon and pate are unique
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely!
    Luvtoeat
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    The groupon gave us the Opportunity to try Gemmels, a long time wish. The food was very good, especially the crepe Suzette. Everything was delicious and the service was friendly and knowledgeable. Go!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    We had a great meal. Even using a groupon, the service was fantastic!(thank you, Jeffrey). Our waiter knew wines and made it fun for us by giving us tips on tasting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Restaurant in Dana Point
    Mac1VIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    This excellent restaurant is tucked away between a liquor store and a road in the Dana Point Harbor on the same side as Harpoon Henrys. It may not be flashy from the outside but it is a quaint little restaurant with excellent food. The sand dabs are the best we've ever tasted and they make an excellent martini. When in season the halibut is a delicacy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Like Being in Paris
    CC60VIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Enjoyed a marvelous fixed price dinner for 2 (available for 4 as well). Well crafted appetizers, salad and soup plus quality entrees accompanied by generous sides of vegetables and potatoes. Dessert selections were so good that it was hard to choose. The food is very rich but oh so tasty! For us it capped off a memorable vacation so it was perfect for our last night's dinner!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 15 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 28, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.1
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 300 reviews are from the Gemmell's reviews archive.
  • Disappointment
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    This review is mixed. Our waiter was very friendly, but the manager of the store was extremely DISRESPECTFUL. We asked the waiter if we were "checked in" to open table because we did not receive an email confirmation. The manager accused us of calling in to make a reservation as opposed to making a reservation through open table, which is why she could not check us in. We never called. When we showed her the email confirmation that proved we made the reservations through open table, she did not apologize for her rude behavior and sent the waiter to tell us that we were now "Checked in." The food was mediocre. The ambience was nice, but the manager's unprofessional attitude sadly ruined our dining experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice Dining Experience
    SpikermikeVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Very nice French restaurant. Salad and duck were very good.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food is wonderful!
    roostahktchnVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    We had a prefix 4 courses. The food was very good but the highlight is definitely the crepes suzette!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Gemmells
    Love2eat
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Service and food were excellent! Our waitress taught us how to pronounce the dishes which was fun. Also great artwork and ambiance in the main dining room!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Nice Dinner on Weekend Getaway
    OpticsGuyVIP
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We had a Groupon offer for the four course dinner for two. My wife and I were on our annual weekend getaway to see the Pageant of the Masters. Reservations were easy to make on Open Table and I even had to edit the time twice to adjust for our changing schedule. We started with the Pate which was excellent. Their french bread is also fantastic. It is served hot out of the oven and the outside is flaky and the inside perfectly baked. We each had the Ceasar Salad which was also very good. We both don't care for creamy soups, so we didn't get the lobster bisque which was also offered. I ordered the chicken entree and my wife had the salmon. Her's was great and mine was average. Dessert of the crepes and also the puff pastry.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Greatasusual
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    If there is a better salmon with dill sauce in Orange County, I do not know where it is!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our Anniversary
    Perfect
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    We arrived early for our 7PM reservation, but they were very accommodating & we were seated at a very nice table. Our waitress was great, very friendly. We ordered our wine, A Hess Cab., which they did not have & poor Vickie felt so bad. We picked another one & again she could not locate. With head between her shoulders & feeling so bad we can looked at the menu & did find another one from Beitz Cellars, St. Helena. Our food was excellent, the Veal recommendation was over the top good & my NY Steak was cooked to perfection. This is a no rush restaurant, the perfect date place. We relaxed & enjoyed each others company from the food, to the wine & dessert almost 3 hours! The evening was perfect, thank you Vickie & Gemmell's!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Find
    luv2dineVIP
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    I love buying deals on Travelzoo to try out new places. This was a great discovery. Food was delicious. I had Feuillette for an appetizer - A French specialty, Puff Pastry Pillow in a Creamy Herb White Wine sauce, with the chef’s daily preparation Choice of Asparagus spears or sautéed Mushrooms and the poached salmon for dinner. They were both really delicious. My husband had pate and New York steak. My husband didn't like the lobster bisque, but the restaurant happily gave him Cream of Mushroom soup instead. The salad was nothing spectacular and could be made a bit more interesting, thus the 4 star rating on the food. Service was a bit slow, but that could be good if you want a very leisurely meal. Overall, we enjoyed it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 1st Time Here
    TeacherVIP
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    My date and I came this past Sunday to have something different.I was impressed when I started to walk through the front gate and door. Although it is small, it is a beautiful place with all the paintings hanging up. We had 2 of the specials. He had the halibut with the rice and veggies and I had the sea bass with the same sides.They were good sized portions and both fishes were pan seared with a sauce over the fish. It was very delicious. I chose the white wine by the glass, that is from the Carneros region of Napa Valley for $12. It was so smooth, a little oaky which is what I like and I drank it very slowly to enjoy every sip. For dessert we both had ice cream.I highly recommend going here. Our waiter was very attentive.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Exceptional
    KSdines
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    I took my boyfriend here for his birthday. The food was exceptional. The ambiance and service were superb. Gemmells made his birthday dinner a wonderful remembrance for a terrific birthday...and we got 3 desserts as well!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Nice Food
    None
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Terrific service and the food was exceptional; even though my wife and I were there on a Groupon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing French Onion Soup
    GeorgeLAVIP
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    What better way to start your meal than to order their French Onion soup. This is a starter I regularly order all over the World and to my surprise the serving in San Diego was one of the best I have had.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great evening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    The food was wonderful only surpassed by the best waitress ever A lovely French lady who handled all the tables with ease! But back to the food- tastes were so delicate & wonderful. Thank You for a great dining experience .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food, great atmosphere
    Mac1VIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    We eat at Gemmell's often. Food is great, service is great and nice atmosphere. One of our favorite restaurants in the area. Try the halibut which is currently in season and the sand dabs are always delicious!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not fit for a foodie
    FourSeasonsFoodie
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    If you are a fine-diner and have enjoyed authentic french cuisine, your pallet/tastebuds will be angry with you, lol. Your wallet will also be none-to-pleased with you after getting the bill and the unsavory, dinner report from your tastebuds. There are many better, tastier options in Dana Point...You are forewarned; dine at your own faux-French peril.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delightful Father's Day Dinner.
    yumyum
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Haven't been to Gemmel's for quite a while but had a wonderful evening and will be back soon. Everything was perfect.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice french restaurant
    GreatLunchVIP
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    We being visiting this restaurant at least for 10 years, we love the somked salmon, pate, French onion soup, some of the dishes we like the best. They will accommodate your needs , great wine, martinis,etc.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious as always!
    GEMMELS
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    Our friends we brought said it was just like wearing in France! The food was so delicious!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local foodie spot, talented chef
    BeachCitiesFoodieVIP
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    The sand dabs were amazing and the filet mignon was cooked perfectly. There is a puff pastry appetizer which we highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodie88VIP
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    I loved the service. Chantelle was excellent and so friendly and accommodating. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. The ambiance is quite romantic and authentically French.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.