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California Dreaming-Columbia

4.4
813 Reviews
$30 and under
American
California Dreaming is located in Union Station, a historic train station in Columbia, SC.

The restaurant serves a mix of hearty American classics in a large family-friendly atmosphere. What sets them apart from the rest is that every dish is fresh and prepared from scratch daily, including notable favorites, like the California Dreaming Salad, honey-butter Croissants and fall-off-the-bone Baby Back Ribs. Additional features: online ordering with curbside pick-up.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 813 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Food and service were both good. Music was very loud.

DP
vipDavidP
Charleston
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

This time, we sat in the lower area behind the hostess stand - this is my new favorite area - it's not too loud, and you get a nice view of the building interior.

The food was very good - the pork chop was just a little drier than I like, but not really anything to complain about. Still can't beat their salad. I did order an old fashioned, and this time it was made with Makers Mark, and was very watery and only filled about half the glass. I asked the waiter to ask the bartender to try again, as I've had this here many times before, and this wasn't it. He then brought back what they usually make, using Woodford Reserve, and it was great.

The best part of the evening was the waiter, whose name I can't remember. HE was attentive, but not intrusive. He was also very good with recommendations and suggestions, without being obnoxious with the upsell. Couldn't have been better, and he was rewarded accordingly. Overall, he made it better than it usually is.

MA
MikeA
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience2

Really dark, cannot read menus or see your food. Chicken burnt and dry.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

California Dreaming has become our go to spot for lunch before heading back home after visiting our son at USC. It’s conveniently located for him to meet us, reservations are easy to make, and our table is always ready on time. Our son always leaves with the leftovers. Our server was very attentive, constantly keeping our water filled. I always get the Knob Hill Chicken with mashed potatoes because it is so good. Chicken tenders are a hit with my guys as well. Definitely recommend!

J
Jack
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food1service2ambience2

The steak wasn’t how I thought the salmon was not dry

S
Stew
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Just came in town for the game and it was great! So glad it has not lost the deliciousness I knew since being here for college! We will be back next time we’re in Columbia!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Little Rock
7 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food..had warm honey butter croissant, salmon salad, she crab soup, and perfect white sangria! Definitely recommend!

SR
StephenR
1 review
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The professionalism shown by the waitress was nothing less than outstanding. The food was excellent. Thanks to all the cooks and staff.

KB
KimB
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Great service and very prompt seating. Food was great although a bit cool. Could tell they had been plated and sitting since it was a limited menu for Thanksgiving. Overall good experience out and nice restaurant.

S
Saundric
Charleston
13 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall2food1service4ambience3

Thanksgiving dinner was a bust. Food was ordinary and came out barely warm.
The placed was oversubscribed, however, and they may do better with their regular menu.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience3

I will never go here for thanksgiving again. No cranberry sauce, meat was liked sliced deli meat, amd service was non existent. They were just getting people in and out as fast as possible.

JN
vipJacquelineN
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience1

We decided to go here for thanksgiving dinner. The server was barely attentive to questions we had and barely came to our table or remembered the questions we asked. More importantly for 25 dollars a plate they ran out of two sides and pie. Also my mother in law was forced to sit at dinner with a drink that tasted terrible and by the time we finished is when the server came to address. Not a place ill come back to for the holidays.

RB
RayB
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The meal was outstanding. We’ll definitely go back in the future.

B
Brett
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience5

A wonderful venue that made for an enjoyable Thanksgiving experience. I would return to experience the full set of menu options.

LM
vipLeslieM
West Palm Beach
125 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

We had Thanksgiving dinner, which overall was very good. Ham and green beans were overcooked, but all else was excellent and a very good value as well. We will return.

G
Gayle
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I thought everything went well They were very busy. But the food was excellent as well as the portions. Our server was very good and brought us every thing we asked for. All in all we were happy with our meal and the price was excellent. I have eated at Californi a Dreaming in the past and also been satisfied.

TC
ToddC
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at California Dreaming. Everything was delicious except for the Pumpkin Pie. It tasted freezer burnt and they had no whip cream for it. The Filet and Fried Shrimp were awesome. Cooked to perfection! The house salad with Croissants ate always the best salad to be had anywhere. We certainly appreciate all of the staff that gave up their Thanksgiving day with their family and worked so hard to provide such a great experience for others!
We will certainly consider California Dreaming again for holiday dinners!

TD
TeriD
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent Thanksgiving dinner. Although California Dreaming always serves a great and varied menu, it was exceptionally well planned to provide a Thanksgiving plate along with some of their favorite menu items such as fried shrimp and she crab soup.
My friend dining with me even ordered a second Thanksgiving plate to take home so he could enjoy leftovers! The wait staff was attentive and accommodating. We'll be back there soon.

N
Nancyc
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely wonderful!! The thanksgiving dinner was delicious and our waitress was so pleasant! Thank you for offering this for the folks who don’t want to cook!! Thank you to your staff who gave their their time to work

S
Scouser
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience3

The ham had a lot of rind on it and was dry. The turkey was shredded pieces. We would have liked the good hotter. Sweet potatoes were good. We asked for rolld but just got mini corn muffins. Other tables were served croissant rolls with their turkey dinner. We have always enjoyed eating here but thanksgiving day this week was a bit disappointing.

BL
BunnyL
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waitress was awesome, brought food out and was very attentive. I would come again.

CF
CFDiner
Orlando
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Our table was ready on time, service was fast and friendly, and all of the food was delicious! What a great value, and a beautiful restaurant!

PB
PaulB
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Could not have asked for a better Thanksgiving meal

NL
NancyL
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We were quickly seated and our waitress was prompt, helpful and friendly. The Thanksgiving dinner was plentiful and delicious. Overall, everything was perfect.

BM
BaretM
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall2food2service1ambience3

Service was terrible!!! We’ve dined at CD several times and after last night’s experience, it might be our last. Our server was not tentative at all. It took her forever to bring anything back to the table. Other servers saw us looking for her and helped with our refills and other things. She spent a lot of time on the computer but did not check on us to see if we needed anything. When I realized we had been waiting a very long time just for the soup/salad I asked the server if the soup/salad would be coming out prior to our meal and she said it would be. The soup and salad was delivered and then immediately afterwards, so was our meals. We had one of our meals that was ordered to go, and the server was supposed to put it in when our food got to the table. When I asked about the to go meal, she said she would go “check on it” but in reality she never put it in. She went right to the computer after leaving our table. We spent $150 and left feeling unsatisfied. I have recommended CD to several people and after last night’s experience, I will not be doing that anymore. I under being understaffed but when we sat there and witnessed other tables be taken care of properly, it didn’t seem like a staffing issue. It was just a server issue.

California Dreaming-Columbia
Responded on November 24, 2021

Dear Baret, My name is Rasheika Robinson and I am the Senior Manager for California Dreaming, Columbia. I am very sorry to hear that your last visit was not pleasant. We strive to uphold quality service standards and I am regretful that we fell short for you and your party. I would love the opportunity to make this right. We appreciate the honest feedback from our loyal patrons to help improve our service and hospitality standards. Please provide your address if you will give us a 2nd chance.

Report
BG
BethanyG
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waitress was amazing! We were in and out within an hour.

California Dreaming-Columbia
Responded on November 24, 2021

Bethany, thank you so much for giving us a visit. We greatly appreciate your patronage. I am very delighted to hear that your server did an outstanding job. We strive to provide a wonderful dining experience for our guest and I am happy to hear that our team was successful with you and your party. We look forward to seeing you again in the near future. Sincerely, Rasheika Robinson

Report
KB
KennethB
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and the service were great. I would not hesitate to eat there again.

AM
ArleneM
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, my California Dreaming Salad was fresh, tasty and just what I needed. Of course, you can never go wrong with the Tijuana Wings with Danish Blue cheese. They have the crispiest wings ever!!! It's worth making the trip to Columbia every single time as long as I make a pit stop at California Dreaming.

B
Brii
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My server was very polite, kind, patient, and helpful! It didn’t even feel like he was there throughout the night because he was so flawless and seamless at removing plates and drinks and bringing refills so quickly! Before I could notice I needed a refill, it was already another glass waiting and I didn’t even remember him bringing it! That’s fly! I never experienced that on a busy Friday night. I’ll definitely be back!

N
vipNancy
Wilmington
4 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall1food2service2ambience2

The bar service was very slow. A while after we ordered we were told two orders (pork chop meals) were unavailable so other dinners were ordered. We ordered three salmon salads and one salad with chicken. Four salads with chicken were brought to our table. The waitress put in the wrong order and it took forever for the salads with salmon to arrive. The others at the table were already finished by the time these salads arrived. The manager gave us a complimentary bottle of wine to apologize. After we paid the bill we were told we had been charged for the pork chop dinners as well as the other dinners and we could not get a refund to our credit card. She gave us two gift certificates instead. Are you kidding me? No refund when grossly in overcharged for a disastrous experience?

RC
RichardC
Jacksonville
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Was promptly seated after checking in about five minutes service was excellent food was good served in a timely manner at a nice table in the corner

CS
CarlottaS
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Great time!.... get an i line reservation bf going..

JN
JenniferN
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Noisy restaurant. Service wasn't bad, but wasn't great. Server never told us her name or checked back to see if we needed anything. Had a reservation and still had to wait over 20 minutes for a table. Food was alright, but nothing special. Expensive for an underwhelming experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience4

Flounder filet full of bones. Asked to sub shrimp for oysters. Ultimately paid 7 or 8 extra dollars for “shrimp add on” but they weren’t “added on” to anything. Was suppose to be a substitute for the oysters. If they were “added on” I puked have expected to get the oysters as well. Ultimately it was 5-6 extra shrimp. They got me once. Never again. Won’t go back. Ultimately paid more for a fried shrimp and flounder meal than the 8oz filet.

SW
SheilaW
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic service and food and served in a timely manner.

JS
JohnS
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always my favorite restaurant in Columbia - great menu and food, super service, and very friendly. But make reservations, some nights have an hour wait due to crowds/

GE
GottaEat2020
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was just fabulous I love this restaurant always nice , clean and the staff is always on point , follow Gottaeat2020foodblogger on Instagram

J
Julsey
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was fantastic, and mostly the food was terrific!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Croissants were amazing. Food was good, not great. Price was reasonable.

C
Cbjns3
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Great food; service was okay our server left without properly switching us to a different server.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from California Dreaming-Columbia using the Order Online button. California Dreaming-Columbia also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (803) 254-6767.

California Dreaming-Columbia is rated 4.4 stars by 813 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.