California Dreaming Restaurant at 1 Ashley Point Drive brings you right to the mouth of the Ashley River where the eastern coast meets the Charleston Harbor so the views from this restaurant give the illusion that luncheon is being served on a yacht or cruise ship as gulls drift by and an occasional dolphin travels the briny waters upriver to say hello. This waterfront view can be enjoyed from within the restaurant through the gigantic floor to ceiling windows or on a mild day, tables are available outside to sit, have a drink or glass of wine and enjoy a meal in the sunshine.
One of the many popular, individually owned restaurants to be managed by the CentraArchy Restaurant Management Company, and one of nine California Dreaming Restaurants, the Charleston site has the hallmark of the experience offered by such a company: very large and family friendly dining room with well designed seating arrangements so that all customers have a waterfront view, couples to very large groups can be smoothly accommodated, fun and tasty meals from a wide range of food groups, upbeat and fun music creating an atmosphere of a continuous good time, full service bar and extensive wine list, well trained staff and a finely tuned kitchen operation.
The menu at California Dreaming offers a seemingly endless selection of appetizers, nachos, salads, salad entrees, sandwiches, seafood, steaks, ribs and chicken. The service is like a well-oiled machine but not so mechanized that special orders are a problem. On my last visit to California Dreaming, I ordered the Caesar salad, ordinarily served with fried shrimp or oysters, replacing these fried items with my favorite fish dish, broiled salmon. "Not a problem," was our waiter's response, and I received my meal in a timely fashion with perfectly cooked salmon atop my fresh and crispy salad. This restaurant offers has some unusual combinations of food that must have been tasted for crowd-pleasing qualities. Who would think of seafood nachos? But there they are on the menu and served up with shrimp, salmon, capers and a lobster cream sauce for a coastal twist on an appetizer favorite. The menu remains consistent throughout the day so a light sandwich can be ordered at dinnertime and a full sized 16 oz. prime rib can be had for lunch. The menu seems to be designed to please as many people as it can for every meal, all day long. Desserts are decadent offerings complete with drizzles, swirls and toppings, and just about any kind of chocolaty, cheesy, sweet, whipped creamy or ice creamy treat one could desire.
Food quality, atmosphere, staff efficiency and cleanliness earn this bustling establishment, California Dreaming Restaurant in Charleston, a 3-diamond rating.
The prices are as wide-ranging as the menu selections, as one would expect from a menu offering everything from a club sandwich to a filet mignon. Depending on what is ordered, luncheon could run into the high end of the ratings but if one ordered typical luncheon fare for two, price ratings will fall into the 4 $$$$ rating. Catering menu is also available. For more information or to view a menu, go to California Dreaming