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“Wonderful food, eclectic Asian menu, VERY slow!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wild Ginger Cafe

Wild Ginger Cafe
Ranked #27 of 47 Restaurants in Cambria
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Asian, Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Wonderful food, eclectic Asian menu, VERY slow!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2014

This would be a five star choice if the service were not so slow. It's tiny, with two chefs (one is the owner) in the kitchen, a bus boy and one overworked server who also served as cashier. Three of us ordered very small dishes: two bowls of delicious soup, a curried chicken puff, a plate of steamed vegetables and a bowl of brown rice, and an appetizer of salt and pepper squid strips. We got the soup fairly quickly, then waited quite a while and got the chicken puff (for one). Finally, after sitting what seemed like forever, the rice and vegetables appeared along with squid that didn't look or taste like squid! In the meantime, the couple next to us were sitting with no food at all.

This was (with the exception perhaps of the strange squid) excellent food, beautifully prepared and served. And the squid wasn't bad -- just very strange and not at all like squid! At first, we thought it was a steak salad. It was served with slices of blood orange and a very tasty, very large slice of strawberry on a bed of lettuce, along with a chili dipping sauce.

The traditional coconut milk soup was spicy and tasty. The curried chicken puff was unusual and the crust was flaky and tender -- a nice treat of something new. My sister liked her fresh steamed vegetables and rice. The selection of vegetables was excellent.

They make everything at this restaurant from scratch, and I decided to get their freshly made meyer lemon sorbet. It was wonderfully tart and just what I wanted -- a great end to a very nice small supper.

The decor was very interesting and pleasant. We weren't that comfortable in the high stool-type chairs, but that was undoubtedly done to save space in such a small restaurant. The service was good, but the server was obviously embarrassed by the long wait for the food.

We would obviously add another star to this review if the chefs were a bit more efficient in their food preparation. We understand the burdens of cooking everything from scratch, but surely steamed brown rice and vegetables should not have taken so long.

We read the newspaper articles about the chef and her ideas, and we certainly agree in her decision not to offer Asian-American "fusion" food. All her dishes are authentic dishes, but the restaurant is "Pan-Asian." There were dishes offered from India, Thailand, China, Japan and Viet Nam. Maybe there was a Korean dish, but we didn't notice one. What a feast of choices!

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank SharonToji
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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195 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    103
    45
    21
    11
    15
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
California
Level Contributor
128 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Dinner”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2014 via mobile

Walked to the Wild Ginger Cafe from our motel on the recommendation of the desk clerk. Small cafe and rather full so we sat outside under a propane heater and enjoyed the fresh air. Food was very good, service was a bit slow.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Yellow Bee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wilmington, Vermont
Level Contributor
181 reviews
154 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
“Great Little Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

This place is a high end high class nook in Cambria which offers an eclectic mix of cuisines, all wonderfully prepared.
We hapened to stop in one day after looking through an array of menus at our Cambria hotel.
While the restaurant has physical limitations (a small seating area with a larger kitchen area) the owners put out great food.
For our lunch, our orders varied from the prawns, to a tofu entre to which loads of chile pepers had been added, to the chicken, to a large salad. Everyone expressed oohs and ahs over they're selections with tastes being shred, with the exception of the spicey tofu. Service was by the owners who also was one of the cooks, Prices were reasonable.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank chap914
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Clarita, California, United States
Level Contributor
212 reviews
141 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Robin's Sister”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2014

We started with the soup a little spicy but good. I would skip the samosa but the main dishes were great. This small 7 table restaurant is a must try while your in town. If your not into comfort food at the pub or the sow's ear you need to come here the flavors are fresh the place is fun service is great. I want to come back again.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Steven A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
93 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Decent food but too cramped for comfort”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2014

We visited for dinner on a holiday weekend when every restaurant in Cambria was teeming with visitors. Wild Ginger has indoor seating for 20 and space for maybe 12. My chair was actually part way across the front door! The Pan-Asian menu is small, but everything except desserts was cooked to order. The vegetarian entree was a butternut curry that looked very good. Prices were reasonable by Cambria standards but pricey for what was actually on offer. In Cambria you're paying partly for ambiance, but the cramped conditions in Wild a Ginger really did detract from enjoying the food.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Trudyscrumptious_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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