Iva Lee's

4.6
798 reviews
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$30 and under
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Creole / Cajun / Southern
Welcome to Iva Lee's Southern and Creole Cuisine. Iva Lee was born and raised in the South and came from a long line of Southern women who passed down recipes since their arrival in America in I640. Iva Lee was my beloved grandmother. She took pride in preparing a wide variety of Southern meals and classic dishes from New Orleans for family and welcomed friends.

~ Lisa Wagoner

Specials

Mother's Day Menus & Specials

Show Mom how much you care!!! Iva Lee's is hosting a Southern Buffet for Mother's Day from 9:30-2:00. We will be featuring favorites like Smoked Salmon Cakes, Filet Mignon Eggs Benedict and Fried Chicken and Waffles. Adults $32.95 Kids under 12 $15.95 Make your reservations today!!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

What 798 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is a hidden gem in the heart of San Clemente. The staff is very welcoming and management was amazing as well. To top it all off their food was top notch. I highly recommend checking out Iva Lee's and their modern spin on some cereal/southern classics.

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JS
Orange County
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We love dining at Iva Lee’s

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PL
Palm Springs
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and great food!

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We stop by here to eat when we are in town and it is always wonderful. Being from Southern Louisiana, it reminds me of having supper at home with my family.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

We love Iva Lees. Sitting in the bar is great if you like loud music. It’s not the place to eat( in the bar) if you need conversation.
I like they explore with their menu. We tried the fried Okra. Good but I prefer no cheese. There is something for everyone on the menu. My go too has become the French Onion Soup. Spinach salad. I love sharing the steak. Shrimp and girls are good, but I like my own better. Cheese platter a good value for an appetizer.
Service in the bar on weekends are great. Bartenders are pro- skill. Best martini in town!! Server JC is the best server ever. Always on rack. Not pushy, always on the ball. Music is so great. An older crowd but younger adults if they appreciate the music will have a great time too. Overall we love Iva Lees. Just don’t expect the food to be the absolute highlight. They use good ingredients and potions are big. Just not my fav spot but doesn’t keep us from returning.

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CW
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I tried this restaurant 5+ years ago and swore I'd never go back - primarily because my vodka martini had a strong taste of daiquiri and then, after I sent it back, margarita. It was obvious the bartender was not adequately rinsing out his containers between cocktails. My wife and I decided to try it again. The drinks were okay, food fair. But for the price, there are better locations. To bad. In a good location for those living in San Clemente. Easy access and good parking.

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D
1 review
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Maybe. Gymnastics by children occurring during the music. Music was great. Macaroni not so. Wine was wonderful but left early due to gym like atmosphere .

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

We had the blackened salmon, the filet mignon, and the catfish, all very good! Unique crust on the catfish -yummy. Music band in the bar area livened things up, Definitely would go back!

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MD
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Great Band. Very loud.

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m
San Diego
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great table, amazing service, great food. We were in the very back table in the bar. Perfect table but did not realize we could have been in the farthest table in the dining room and still heard the band. 🤣It was the best “people watcher” place to set and we really enjoyed it👍🏼 Loved the Peach Martini👍🏼But we ordered White Russians and we sent them back, not good but our server was very accommodating. He was amazing....5 stars plus for Iva Lee’s 😍 (celebration was a retirement dinner for our friends)

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EV
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

We loved the food and the ambiance, cool place cocktails were pretty good, the only bad part of it was the service, we don't know if it was because they were having a big party going on in the patio area, but our food took approximately 45 minutes, and our waitress was never around, we only saw her 3 times, first time when she took our order, second (45 minutes later) when she asked if the food was good, and third when she brought the check, which she threw it at our table and said thanks while walking away, which it was pretty rude, so service wise it was pretty bad, hopefully next time we get a better waiter/waitress.

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P
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Always enjoy our meal at Iva Lee’s. The filet mignon and ribeye steak are as good as the best steak houses.

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CM
Orange County
33 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always a fantastic experience! Very good food, great band, fun dancing, plus reasonably priced quality wines.

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DE
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Iva Lee's is a local treasure that vacationers love as well. Ambiance is very New Orleans velvet texture and the service invokes Southern hospitality.

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D
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Iva Lee's was such a fun discovery! I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a lively fun evening.
I had the Jambalaya and friends both tried the Chicken Etouffee. Both were delicious and a very welcome reminder of down home for a New Orleans girl.
They have an extensive drink menu which we also enjoyed.
Next time well go on Tuesday evening as I hear that's a special night!
Thsnk you for a wonderful evening!

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CL
San Diego
15 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always great food, music and service

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We loved the ambiance. The portions were good sized. The food was average.

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JB
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This was a family dinner for my wife’s birthday. We prefer to dine earlier than later. That worked out as a number of reviewers commented on how loud it can get when the band cranks up. No surprise as it is the same in any similar dining spot in New Orleans. The menu is varied with something for everyone including my vegetarian wife. We sampled the catfish, fried chicken, blackened salmon and meatloaf. No complaints from anyone and clean plates all around.

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GC
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

This is our second time taking friends from out of town to Iva Lees. We had a server named JC and he was great. Though it took a long time for our food to be brought out to us. Last time we recommended Iva Lees to friends coming from out of town. It also took a very long time for our food to be served to our table. This time the restaurant was not busy. Please please address this issue with your chef/ cooks.

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KK
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and attentive service and the band was a bonus

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MD
Calgary
7 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Service was slow and food was mediocre at best

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PL
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful great food great service. I will definitely be going there again.

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RC
Cleveland
5 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Iva Lee's was memorably good. The Waldorf salad was exceptional. Waldorfs I've had in the past tend to be heavy, lot's of mayo. Not this one. It was light and flavorful. The catfish was outstanding, the breading light and perfectly seasoned. We'll be back.

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DD
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had a great time celebrating Mardi Gras. Music was great. Food was great (wish you had some King Cake) We will definitely be back.

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TC
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good, actual Southern cooking. I appreciated that it was spicy and not watered down for Orange County tastebuds. If you want Southern cooking, this is probably as close as you'll come in these parts. Loved the atmosphere. Very NOLA. Great date place. Band was a distraction/not totally appropriate for the atmosphere.

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s
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to hear the band Paper Moon Gypsys play and to celebrate my friend’s 60 th birthday. We had excellent service all night, we danced and stayed from 7-11! Great place!

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MI
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

my reservation was perfect for a date night, food and music was awesome!

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IB
4 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

First time there. Food great and music was good. Will go again

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JL
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Iva Lees. Have been coming to the restaurant for years. The owner is very personable and remembers you by name. You don’t get that many 5 star restaurants. The food is always great. The drinks are always extra strong.

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OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first visit to Iva Lee’s, and a wonderful experience. Me and my date was highly impressed with the entire evening. The food was outstanding, as was the service. We loved the decor and ambience. I plan to return to Iva Lees again and again.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great ambience and live music. Good food and drinks too.

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OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I alternate picking out date night and last Saturday night the pressure was on me.

After searching through open table, I chose Iva Lee's. Mainly, because I am a fan of catfish and they have live music on Saturday nights.
I was not disappointed with Ivy Lee's. We had a great booth, near the lounge. I ordered the catfish and my husband ordered the pork chops. They were both worthy of plate-licking, which we reframed from. The band was so good that the dance floor was packed when we left hours later. I'm sure we will be back again!

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SB
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely ambiance, good music, great service, good food, plenty of parking. Loud for a conversation but that usually happens with live music. Reserved a table for dinner and thought the band would be visible, it’s visible from the lounge where you can also reserve a table but not for dinner.

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JG
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambiance, Service and food were all excellent. We had the cornmeal crusted catfish ... crisp, flavorful and delicious. My son had the pork chop which was juicy and well-seasoned. Fabulous key-lime pie for dessert!

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BS
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Iva Lee’s catered our wedding in 2013, so it was a good spot for a belated Valentine’s dinner. Our server Sam and the food-runner young man were very personable. We chanced upon some very good deals with the “Fat Tuesday” specials that happened to be on offer that night. The New Orleans flavor to the food and décor is very fun and enjoyable. We love coming down to San Clemente from Los Angeles, and will always have a spot in our hearts for Iva Lee’s.

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TE
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious! Perfectly seasoned and served at the right temperature. I loved the décor - takes you back to the days of "lounges". This was a vacation trip to the area and wanted to find a great place to take my Boo for his birthday. I am so very pleased with my choice and he felt special. I wanted to sit closer to the dance floor to put in a couple of moves; but that wasn't a deal breaker. I am sure they would have accommodated if I had asked but loved where they placed us.

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j
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

WE enjoyed our meal and the service was great. It is always a pleasure to return the Iva Lee's

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GC
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Usually when we dine at Iva Lee's the food and service is phenomenal. Though on this night even with making reservations way in advance for a special event... a 65th birthday with family who drove out with our recommendation. I got a last minute call to inform me that they can only put us out on the patio. With the amount of time, there was no way to make other arrangements. The person who called me, Eric also made it sound like a take or leave it scenario even when I brought up to him that I made reservations a week and a half ago. Our reservations was at 7:30pm and our food was not served to us until 9:00pm. I was gravely disappointed with how the situation was handled because I always recommend the place. After this experience... I don't know. It stinks, I can tell you that!

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JO
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. I highly recommend this eatery.

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SB
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 4

I had made reservations for Valentine’s Day several weeks out, I didn’t find out it was a preselected menu a day before Valentine’s Day. I don’t where the blame should fall on this matter, I used open table to make my reservation and there was no mention on the site about the preselected menu. But it was open table that informed me a day before my reservation that there was a preselected menu. Yes I could’ve called but then what is the purpose of using open table. Our service was blah. My date for the night had some questions and the answer we got was very one word answer with bit of annoyance we asked the question. I asked for a glass of ice and never got it. Had to look around to get my water filled. Yes I understand this is the two top holiday and it was busy. Our food was very good but the service made it not taste as good as we would have wanted. I look forward to coming back and checking out Iva Lee’s and order off their regular menu and hoping we don’t get the same service

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