Iva Lee's
Iva Lee's

Iva Lee's

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.ivalees.com/
  • Phone: (949) 361-2855
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: 7 Nights Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
    Live Music Tuesday - Sunday
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Creole / Cajun / Southern
  • Executive Chef: Christopher Starr
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Iva Lee's offers full-service catering.



    Food, labor, bar & rentals.



    Our chefs can create any type of cuisine. We would be happy to create a custom menu for your event. Please contact our catering director, Lisa Wagoner at (949) 291-4269, for more details.



    If you would like to receive a copy of our catering catalog, please email us at ivalees@cox.net.
  • Private Party Facilities: We have a private heated and covered outdoor patio that can seat up to 32 guests.

    Our back dining room can accommodate up to 42 guests. Our front dining room can accommodate up to 24 guest.

    The restaurant is available for private events from 7:00am - 4:00pm Tuesday - Saturday. It's capacity is 98 guests (66 dining room/32 patio).

    The restaurant is available anytime on Sunday's or Monday's.
  • Private Party Contact: Eric Wagoner 9492914859
  • Entertainment: Iva Lee's has live music Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.



    We have a variety of great Blues, Jazz & Zydeco Artists.



    Check out our website to see who's playing.
  • Special Events: Weekly Specials
    Blues Mondays-1/2 off all food
    Fat Tuesdays- Southern Food and Drink Specials all Night
    Wednesdays- 1/2 Off Selected Wines by the Bottle
    Thursdays- 1/2 Specialty Martinis
    Sunday Funday- Live Music and Drink Specials all Night

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Avenida Palizada
  • Public Transit: Bus stop nearby
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Private lot on side of the building with plenty of parking and street frontage parking available as well.
A word from Iva Lee's
Come on in, have a sit, and set a spell.



Welcome to Iva Lee's.



Iva Lee's is a southern style dinner house featuring Southern cuisine, live music & full bar.



Iva Lee's offers great specialty drinks like Hurricane's, Mint Julep's and the famous Georgia Peach Martini. It also has a great wine list.



Chef Christopher Starr creates dishes from various regions of the South and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He creates great dishes such as grilled pork chop with a brown sugar pecan glaze & pan seared scallops over Anson Mills cheesy grits with sautéed Southern vegetables.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
Iva Lee's reviews from OpenTable diners
53 reviews since July 23, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food3.9
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
76% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (28)vibrant bar scene (22)special occasion (21)good for groups (19)fit for foodies (18)romantic (17)late-night find (11)hot spot (10)great for outdoor dining (8)great for brunch (5)notable wine list (4)kid-friendly (4)great for lunch (3)scenic view (2)Show More
  • Lively and Fun
    MarnJer
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    I was introducing people who I thought could become great friends. The restaurant was perfect. It was lively and the food is excellent. Service was great.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love this place
    abeautifulview
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    We always enjoy eating here. You really have to enjoy the southern type of food served here. The staff is always friendly. It is best to go on the nights when there is entertainment. The bands we have seen have always been a lot of fun, washboards and all.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Southern charm down in South County
    Lawill65
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    After living in Louisiana for 5 years and missing the food and the people.... I come across Iva Lees .... The food was most tasty.... I had the Shrimp and Grits and my date had the Pork Chop. The Grits were cooked perfect! The Collard Greens were tender. The restaurant has great seating and booths for intimate talking and cozy dating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • iva lees
    dimepiece
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Very cool hip southern blues with classic Creole flare. A delicious take on gourmet Creole favorites. The food is delicious, great vibe. Perfect for bar scene, supper club or romantic dinner.The waitress' uniforms are so cute.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Delightful find. Would recommend to everyone. Will go back ! Service is prompt, friendly, helpful & attentive. We did a couple of substitutions....no hassle. Salmon with sweet potato fries instead of grits. Scallops sans bacon (I know...my girl is vegetarian)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Will not come back.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    I have been to Iva Lees a couple of times.I have lived in San Clemente for over twenty years. My wife and I are worldwide luxury hotel inspectors. We understand whatl expectations can be. we are also gourmet cooks. This was a birthday dinner which we let them know ahead of time. We had to inform them again at the end. We had the French onion soup. Could be called the French salt soup. Give me an email and I can tell the chef how to cook it, it is not that tough.The bread was so salty it could be used as a salt lick for the upcoming deer hunting season. Where were the caramelized onions, beef broth and Sherry. Give me an email and I can tell the chef how to cook it, it is not that tough. I had a ribeye steak. no flavor.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • San Clemente Dining
    happybirthday
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We had a large party that trickled in, which is a nightmare for restaurant staff, and we were cordially welcomed and well taken care of. The food is amazing and the music by Jumpin' Jack Flash was exactly what we wanted to hear after dining. We come back whenever we're in the area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Night Ever!
    Joyous
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Went to Iva Lee's for their incredible menu expected to stay there an hour, stayed until closing!!! Billy Watson rocked the house with his lively, entertaining, and talented musical ability. Danced the night away sipping' on Moscow Mules and their delicious Burning Thyme drinks. Friendliest waiter who was easy on the eyes as well : )The Duck is TO DIE FOR! Iva Lee's is a must go!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • FoodfoodyumyumVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The scallops were amazing! Great wine selection for reasonable prices. However, I'm pretty sure whoever ran out drinks switched our wines.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We had so much fun celebrating a birthday at Iva Lee's. The food was delicious and the wine fine. We particularly appreciated our waiter, the music, and the dancing. Thank you for a great atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfect!!
    Silvia
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    I took my boyfriend for his birthday dinner, I got the table I requested, he was very surprise, we had great time!!! We'll absolutely come back
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great deal
    nekko
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    monday notes - half price food, an amazing deal! great service, friendly
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unique service/quality has declined
    Sceating
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We have been here before and it was very nice. This time I was not impressed. The quality and service has declined. Just in appearance of the staff and of photo copied menus it is a Nice reataurant and pricey if you are going to continue charging high prices and claim to be nice then you should keep up on everything. The food was good the menu for right now not so good and the drinks were horrible honestly its a different southern food you cannot get anywhere else in town but I won't be going back, felt like a waste of money very dissappointed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great family dinner place
    Grumblingtum
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We dined with a group of 7 including 2 children. Food options were fabulous and the servers were very accommodating to our requests for small changes to menu items. The kids played at the table...pretty much unnoticed! The live music kept them entertained and covered up their noise! We all enjoyed a great meal and catch up with our friends.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not impressed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The place was filled with the smell of smoke from the kitchen. Food was ok. Not worth the price. San Clemente has alot other better spots for the price.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Monday nights offer many specials
    bfjetsetterVIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    Because good value is offered on MondaY nights, business can be brisk. We love having this place nearby, but I would make a special trip even if I were 20 miles away. The food is unique for the area, which makes it appealing to us. Often there is live music, which is always fun, jazzy, Cajun, but not overwhelmingly loud. If you are in the bar area, conversation is a bit more limited. We prefer the dining room which allows us to talk and enjoy the music. Service is always very good. Great staff.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Visit to The Quarter
    pablo
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    I have long been a fan of Iva Lee's. I have spent a lot of time in New Orleans and Iva's really does remind me of some of the places in "The Quarter." The dishes are both authentic and delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sunday special
    BeachEats
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Great Sunday dinner specials. Live music. Very pleased.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner
    Josephine
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    -The veggie stack was completely soggy and a lifeless -The snapper was pretty good -The apps seemed like they were just taken out of the freezer and heated up in the microwave. We were glad that it was half off night or we would have been pretty bummed.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Iva Lee Dining Experience
    DP3disappointed
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Went there for dinner for the first time with friends on a Sunday night. We were disappointed that the interior seemed old and not kept up. Waiter was attentive but did not have his long hair pulled back [too much product and appeared greasy]. Appetizers and cocktails were good but the main courses were just okay and not great. Mashed potatoes were bland and watery. Even though the prices were very reasonable, we would not return nor recommend to others.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Just ok...
    FoodFiendVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Everything we had was just ok. All of the food needed salt. I also felt that none of the food was very hot when it arrived at our table. My boyfriends red wine "reduction" was more of a broth texture. The service was fairly average, there wasn't any one thing that stood out (good nor bad). I would maybe come back just for drinks in the bar, it seemed pretty lively and with the music.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not so good Cajun
    beachbaby
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We really didn't like it here. The food lacked flavor and authenticity. We had the gumbo, shrimp and grits, and jambalaya. I would not recommend it. The decor was a little dark and gloomy, but at least the service was good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great food, southern cooking, liked
    Leo13hearted
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    If you are celebrating a birthday, not a great spot to be recognized. I had heard the Kalama brothers were entertaining but we must have seemed too old for the "help." I had mentioned that the day we reserved (08-13) was my 70th birthday. I forgot to ask to be seated to see and hear the entertainment. The hostess tried to sit us right next to the band which wasn't ideal. We sat in the restaurant part while we ate and then moved up to hear them at a cocktail bar afterwards. I wasn't impressed with the service but the food was good. I kinda felt that nobody really cared about us "ol folks" being there even though we are pretty hip folks!
    Special Features:
    late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The music and food were great!
    boomergraymatters
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    The bar has been expanded to accommodate the band and create a dance floor. The Cajun food was delicious. The band, Rhumboogie was awesome. Eric Lieberman and Alicia Aragon are always great! Perfect place to celebrate our 46th anniversary.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of My Favorites
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    My husband and I have been coming here for years. We absolutely love the ambiance and service. We brought some friends for the first time and they had a blast. The steaks were cooked perfectly and my Martini was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Iva Lee's the Neighborhood Gem
    BigMike
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Always, Outstanding Food & Service, & priced reasonable... Tremendous live entertainment that keep you going all night, & some of the best blues bands on the planet... I was served by a young man by the Name of JC & he went above & beyond the call of duty with his polite & cordial ways of conducting business, & he definitely deserves a Service Compliment for a job well done... Sincerely !! Iva Lee's is one of San Clemente's Best kept secret's & my all-time favorite place for Good Food, Fantastic Specialty Drinks, & outstanding entertainment...!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Taste of The Big Easy
    pablo
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    I have spent a fair amount of time in New Orleans and Iva Lee's does an excellent job of recreating the typical atmosphere in the French Quarter. The food and bar are excellent. The dishes quite authentic. I always walk away from Iva's very pleased with my visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dissapointing
    lagunafoodie
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    I was very disappointed with the food at Iva Lee's. I went on a Sunday night and the menu was very limited. It was a very warm day and the air conditioning did not cool the restaurant even when it was empty. Once the number of people increased, the temperature was entirely to warm. I do not plan on returning.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Evening Out
    ABC1
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Great venue, music an drinks were fine..overall, the food was lacking for the price. Fried chicken is better at Ralph's supermarket, but the meatloaf remains unsurpassed. Always good bands there, but I suggest ordering from the bar menu...more reliable.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 24 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 23, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food4
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 365 reviews are from the Iva Lee's reviews archive.
  • Weak...at best
    WeakatbestNOT4me
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Both dinners served cold/undercooked & side-dishes were bland. Servers overworked for crowd. My complaints were taken to manager and I was told..."how about a free desert to compensate". "Are you kidding me"....NEVER again....don't waste you money.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We just keep coming back!
    Highway
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We first dined at Iva Lee's when they opened many years ago (I say "many" 'cause at my age, time just flies by!). We have begun using this restaurant as a great spot to meet our many friends who live in Orange County (Irvine-Tustin and south) as we journey up from Carlsbad in North San Diego County. It's a perfect spot; the dining is outstanding; the bartenders make a great water old fashion (using simple syrup) and the ambiance is mindful of New Orleans comfort. I will gladly recommend this restaurant to anyone within what they consider comfortable driving range.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mighty Iva in SC
    LaSirenaGorda
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Once again, another great dinner with my special bro that did not disappoint! Service was excellent... with just the right amount of attention when needed and helpful suggestions when trying to decide what to pick! Reserved a High Top with a back in the bar in advance, that allowed us to see the entertainment after finishing out smack lickin' good meal. Yes!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • LongLines
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    I brought a new local to the restaurant and she loved it. We were seated right away and our service was great. The food did not disappoint, it was delicious. The live music started at the end of our meal.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Saturday Nite Fun
    funfinder
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Great music. Loved the group Missy!! This group really rocks. They made the evening. They have added a sax player. WOW! What a difference. Great food, great music = great time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dinner on Monday nite
    Debs
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    I recommend you go on Monday nite and have order from their special menu. Great food at a great price and enjoyed the night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Cygnet
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Sunday Supper surprised and delighted us. We came early, worrying about the crowd of bargain hunters seeking the $18 prix fixe dinner. The restaurant was quiet and welcoming. While there are no performers on Sunday nights, our server, JC, showered us with virtuoso attention which created its own harmonies. He and his colleagues accommodated us in all ways. The spinach salad, blackened snapper, and bread pudding highlighted the menu's offerings.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • not what I expected
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The food at the restaurant was stale and poorly prepared service was lacking
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outside the OC box
    TahoeGal
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Good food, cozy setting. Needed to be seasoned better but I am picky with that. Took great care of us and my 3 yr old was happy he got a bunch of New Orleans beads to wear home. Got there before the music/bands played so it was perfect for a conversation.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ALways good times
    Marzracergirl
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    Every time we come to Iva Lee's whether it just be my husband and I for a date night or with friends and family, we always have a great time. Food, drinks, service is all top notch. Monday half off food and Tuesdays Fat Tuesday specials are always great times to go but weekends have live music so anytime you go, you will never be dissapointed!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mardi Gras in San Clemente
    TimR
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Iva Lee's is our favorite restaurant! The menu is filled with entrees and appetizers that I thought you could only get if you were sitting in a restaurant in the French Quarter down in Nawlins. The shrimp and grits is outstanding. The jambalya is filled with scallops and shrimp and has just the right amount of heat. Even the beer is authentic. Try the Abita Turbo Dog. I wish they would bring in the Abita Andy Gator though. The bar is fun and lively. Iva Lee's has live music too!!! Whether it's a band that plays the blues, classic rock or even zydeco the music is always great and brings the bar area to life. I love everything about this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.