Gemmell's

4.2
484 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary French
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.
What 484 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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K
Orange County
41 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice place, our waiter Burton was wonderful. The food was delicious! We live close so we’ll be back.

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F
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place for a quiet, elegant lunch with delicious food at a great value! I only gave 4 stars because it is a little out dated in decor but still ever so charming! Give it a try:)

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M
Orange County
56 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fast efficient service. Good menu choices. Quiet music in background. Delicious food. We will return.

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SM
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and the soufflé was incredible!

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A
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our extravagant meal to celebrate our Anniversary. Wonderful as always. Service was great, food a favorite.

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BH
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a delicious meal. It was a dining experience. Very nice

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CT
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my second time returning to this fabulous restaurant. The food is delicious and well prepared. It's so romantic with wide selection of fine wine. Service is nice and attentive. It's highly recommended for date and a place to enjoy great food and make conversation.

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AH
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Food was good but the service was so slow and the server seemed like he'd rather be anywhere else. We had also ordered the souffle early knowing we needed 25 extra minutes for it and it never came. We waited half an hour for a slice of chocolate cake with no explanation.

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RB
Los Angeles
55 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great hidden spot in Dana Point. Make sure to grab a bite when down in the area.

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OT
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

My wife and I love the food at Gemmell's. It's undoubtedly the best restaurant in South County. But things are a little slow... I'm not sure why. We will be back many times in the future. But taking friends presents is a bit of a problem; because most people don't like to spend two and one half hours on dinner. But the food is fantastic... if you have the time make a reservation.

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LC
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

It was obvious the minute we walked in that the restaurant could not handle regular business while hosting a private party in the back room. No one from the restaurant staff greeted us, someone from the private party told us we could probably sit anywhere in the front room. The hostess FINALLY acknowledged us and let us know we would be given some bread and water. I had to ask for menus. After 10 minutes of waiting, we were served water and butter by the busboy. We did get menus but after 15 minute of being ignored, we left. BTW-we did have reservations.

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GD
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We took some friends who had never been there before. They eat out a lot and have high expectations of food and service. They loved it. They were very impressed with the food and service and loved the look of the restaurant. They remarked they would be back! It was a wonderful evening.

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w
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

If I could, I would have given this a 3.5, but I can't and to give this place a 4 would have been a disservice to other 4* places. Food was very good. Our party of 4 had John Dory, Sand Dab, Pasta, and Crepe with Chicken. All the main dishes, as well as the appetizers were very well prepared with a very traditional french flair (i.e. excellently paired sauces). It wasn't spectacular but I would be happy to come here again for their food. Unfortunately, the staff and the service left a lot to be desired. It took much too long to take our orders and unacceptably too long to bring the main course. This was not a case of intentional slow pace and that of an inattentive service overall. The main hall had 15 to 17 tables which were all occupied and they had two Servers, a busser, a hostess, and a manager(?). And yet, there were too many occasions where I could not see any staff in the dining hall. Considering that the bill comes out to be in the high 40's to low 50's, I expect better service. Finally, the one vig positive is that the portions are surprisingly large. We all arrived really hungry and yet we all struggled to finish our main course.

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C
New England
16 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, flavors, and service.

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a
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

We had high expectations for this restaurant. However, we were highly disappointed.
We asked for some hot water and got charged 1.50 for the cups. We sat for well over 30 minutes before the server took the orders. The duck and sea bass were fair.
After we were done, it was another 30 minutes before the dishes were taken away.
We had to ask the server repeatedly to prepare our bill.
Highly disappointed.

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CC
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this restaurant! Had a wonderful dining experience here and will definitely come again! The service was wonderful and the food was outstanding. I had the French onion soup for my entire and am addicted! My husband ordered the lamb and that is a dish I will order next time. We went on a Friday night and it was moderately quiet, warm and romantic. Can’t wait to go again!

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

My favorite place to eat in Orange County! The food is always amazing and the ambiance is perfect for a date night

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DT
Phoenix
11 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

This is a "go to" spot for us on special occasions but our first New Year's eve dinner. 7PM seating arrived early and seated at 6:50 after a 20 minute wait. Drinks arrived at 7:20 and appetizers at 7:50. Entree at 8:20. I believe the restaurant was overwhelmed and did the best they could. People at the next table had a dog on NYE dinner. Music duo playing in jeans and sandals stating at 8:00+/- . Probably offer a prix fixed menu instead of full menu may help alleviate a similar situation. The food is always excellent and service great so this I believe is a "one off" situation. We will be back. Interesting night with customers dressed from jeans and beanies to suits and dresses.

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NB
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

My wife and I have been going to Gemmell’s for over five years and we’ve never been disappointed until now. We ordered French martinis and instead received regular martinis. The food didn’t taste fresh and we ordered soufflé for desert as we have for years. Our server forgot our order for soufflé for dessert even though we where the only patrons in the entire restaurant at the time. We went to celebrate our anniversary and next year we will continue to go to Ramos House, RAYA at the Ritz and Marche Moderne, but sadly I doubt we will return to Gemmell’s in the future.

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K
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I would comment on the service, but there was none. Got dressed up for Friday night with my husband , braved the holiday traffic and was appalled by how blatantly we were ignored. Came in for my 7:30 reservation and the restaurant was mostly empty, should have been an obvious red flag but we were already there so why not just try it. It took close to 10 min to even get seated, and it was the bartender that sat us since no one else came up to help. We were then passed by over and over again by multiple staff members, repeatedly. No greeting, no water, nothing. The table next to us received a lot of attention, but not us. After 15 minutes we had enough, and walked out. Leaving only three occupied tables in the whole restaurant, in hindsight I understand why and I'm glad I didn't waste my money. If you wish for the same experience then by all means come here. If you'd like efficient, friendly service and perfectly cooked seafood, do yourself a favor and go next door to The Harbor Grill. I also wrote this on Yelp, I'm so appalled I felt the need to review here as well when I received the email.

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S
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fabulous! Thank you to everyone who wrote a review that helped us find this restaurant. The food was excellent. Everything was cooked perfectly and they honored every special request and dietary restriction we had. My favorite was the special of the day sea bass in an herb champagne dressing. It's a beautiful setting so licking the plate wasn't an option but I was tempted to. We were celebrating birthdays and they went out of their way with hospitality. It's not a large restaurant but we didn't feel crowded. There's a cute booth in the back for two and a covered patio in front. The food and service will draw me back.

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OT
Los Angeles
25 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great salmon and very good service

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AS
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2017
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

The food was very good. The mushroom appetizer was superb; flaky, crusty and outstanding.
The waitstaff was courteous but obviously understaff. We waited an extraordinary time between courses others around us were also complaining.

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d
Orange County
28 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2017
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

The ambiance is very good. The place is clean and comfortable. But the food has no flavor

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D
Orange County
55 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best places in town. Always great food, always quiet. You can actually have a conversation without yelling. You can hear each other. Nice for a change!

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R
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2017
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Food was very good except for mustard sauce on fish way to salty. A table of 6 came in and way to noisey. Service was outstanding!!

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S
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2017
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

My wife and I were sooo shocked at how bad the food was. We went for valentine date. We returned both our meals and asked for something different. We had a chicken and veal dish that tasted like it was cooked in the microwave. We are not demanding people and I never write reviews, but I feel like I should let everyone know. This place is a Scam!!!!! Do not eat here!!!!

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LL
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2017
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Nothing special ; used a groupon; the food was just satisfactory

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G
Orange County
53 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

This place has been here for years and could use a face lift. That being said, the food was very good. We had the 4 course meal on a Groupon. We started with the duck pate. A very generous serving for 2 people, nicely plated and delightful. Our entrees were the Pork Tenderloin and the Sea dabs. The pork came with a nice variety of vegetables and some roasted red potatoes . The sand dabs came with the same vegetables and rice. Everything tasted as expected and was very warm. We also tried both the Lobster bisque and the Mushroom soup. I recommend them both. This is a place you come to eat slowly & relax. There was only 1 server for the entire restaurant . We were told someone called in sick. But I have read this same complaint in other reviews. I wonder . . . We have no complaints about the food. It was delicious and for having only one server, the service was actually pretty good. We may come back for lunch in the near future.

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OT
Orange County
85 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Consistently good food and service,
Menu has many selections to please everyone. Business Lunch menu is a great deal.

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OT
Phoenix
4 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great French cuisine at Dana Point Harbor! Recommend trying it!

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WD
Tampa
50 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service, food, ambiance, and staff were amazing. This was our first time here, so I used a Groupon for the 4-course meal - an amazing bargain! Everything was perfect. The staff was very helpful and friendly. I will definitely be back to eat there again. It is very quiet there, as the waiter said they usually get busy a bit earlier than 830pm, and they close at 9pm, which I didn't realize. Either way, I will definitely be back! Thanks again for the great food and overall experience.

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g
Orange County
21 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've dined here many times, and the food is always delicious and well presented. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone.

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f
Orange County
22 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service. The Living Social Deal is the best.

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WF
Orange County
38 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were celebrating a very special birthday. Luigi was excellent in providing service. He was helpful in suggesting French wines and local wines. The menu was totally delicious from Feuillette mushroom asparagus appetizers, onion soup, lobster Bisque, delicate fresh John Dory fish, savory crepes, perfectly prepared rack of lamb to their famous amazing Harlequin Soufflé Dessert. Thank you Gemmell's for a wonderful evening and memorable celebration. We will be coming back.

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SD
Orange County
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a pleasant experience. While there were others in the restaurant it was quiet, which is unusual these days for a restaurant. We could actually carry on a conversation.

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t
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We we enjoyed the French cuisine and thought the dessert souffle was fabulous. The interior of the restaurant is getting shabby and could use an update.

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p
Orange County
190 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for NewYearsEve. 2 great choice of 3 or 4 course meals. Wines are very reasonable. I had duck pâté. Excellent. Lobster bisque was a little bland. Needed sherry. Rack of lamb was excellent. Nice choc soufflé. Friend had tenderloin oscar( crab& asparagus) bernaise . Very good. Onion soup was good. Friend had shrimp & pasta in sauce.
All very good.
They decorated very nicely for the holidays too.
I highly recommend this restaurant.

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t
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

While I understand gratuity is based on the original value it was not appreciated that the waiter automatically added a 20% tip and presented this with the assumption this was what we intended to pay. After several bottoms of wine which brought the bill up considerably. I would prefer having a choice especially for a small party. I would not recommend for this reason.

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N
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

We waited 45 min for our reservation. Food so so. Probably won't go back.

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