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Iva Lee's - 32 Reviews - 555 N El Camino Real Ste E, San Clemente, CA - Southern Restaurants Reviews - Phone (949) 361-2855
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Iva Lee's

555 N El Camino Real Ste E (at East Marquita)
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 361-2855
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Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA
Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA
Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA
Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA
Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA
Iva Lee's - San Clemente, CA


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Everything was amazing here. I'm going to have them cater my wedding! Pros: Food, Drinks Pricing, Environment, Music Cons: nothing


I've been to Iva's about 5 times now and always seem to get sh-tty service, and it is to bad because the food (which is not cheap) is very good. Saturday night I went in with ...

Sh-tty servce 11/14/2011

I've been to Iva's about 5 times now and always seem to get sh-tty service, and it is to bad because the food (which is not cheap) is very good. Saturday night I went in with my date and I think it was the host who greeted us from his seat at the bar, and told us the kitchen was closed, the band was on break, and would be back in ten for there last set, but we could still get drinks. We said that was great that was what we were interested in. We took a seat as at a table in the middle of the half empty lounge. After ten minutes of no service, and being ignored, we got up and left. There were a male and a female bartender on and servers were walking in out of the dinning room because there were still tables in the dinning room and the Host had a seat at the bar with his back to the door and tables visiting with the individuals on each side of him. I will say I thought the place would improve when I stopped seeing the chick with the toothpick hanging out of her mouth. IVA WOULD BE ROLLING OVER IN HER GRAVE more

AMAZING 5/6/2010

Everything was amazing here. I'm going to have them cater my wedding! Pros: Food, Drinks Pricing, Environment, Music Cons: nothing more

Great Southern Food in San Clemente 1/19/2010

My wife and I are new to town and have tried all the local restaurants and Iva Lee's is the best by far! The chef actually went to culinary school in New York and his training shows in his creative southern dishes. The staff is well trained and the bar with it's live music is the funnest scene in town. Great food, fun atmosphere and very friendly staff. Pros: Great Food and Live Blues Cons: not open for lunch more

Good Food, Great Service, Great Fun. 6/9/2009

My friends and I had dinner at Iva Lees a few weeks ago and had a wonderful experience. Our server was very helpful and seemed to go out of her way to help us decide what to order since most of us wanted to share. We started with the shrimp and grits appetizer and it was delicious. We then shared the spinach salad and the brie salad which our server had split for us in the kitchen. When it was time to order entrees we were getting a bit full so she suggested we split a couple entrees. There was a plate charge but it was cheaper than most places I have dined at, I think around $5 or $6. We ordered the scallops with grits and southern vegetables and the meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes. Even though the entrees were split the portions were huge and very yummy. We finished the evening in the bar where we listened to live music and shared a bread pudding and their signature coffee drink. I can't wait to go back and would highly recommend this restaurant to my friends. Pros: Everything more

Finally a place to have some fun & enjoy great food! 2/19/2008

My husband and I have lived in San Clemente for 17 years and I have to say that Iva Lee's is one of our favorite places to go. I agree that Thursday nights are the best. They have a lively blues band in the bar area that gets everyone in a good mood. We like to start out with dinner in the dining room and then finish with a cocktail (or two!) in the bar so we can listen to the music. We have never been dissapointed by a meal at Iva Lee's (we love the pork chop) and the service is exceptional. It's so nice to finally have a place to go locally where we can enjoy wonderful food and still have a fun time! more

Thursday is the best. 1/26/2008

Thursday night cannot be beat at Iva Lees on Thursday night. the band and atmosphere is amazing. No matter how busy it gets, the service does not suffer. The food is beyond belief, and drinks are too hard to beat. For my money, it gets no better. more

Most authentic and delicious Southern restaurant in Orange County! 1/24/2008

My husband and I had a terrific experience at Iva Lee?s for our 18th wedding anniversary. Although we were about 20 minutes early for our reservation, the hostess accommodated us to the fullest, despite them hardly having a seat in the house. The jazz music playing lightly in the background really set the tone and added true authenticity to our experience at Iva Lee?s. The ambiance was indescribable. We received fantastic service from our waitress Candice, who also served quite a few laughs. I ordered the grilled Pork Chop by recommendation and it was genuinely the best thing I have ever tasted. My husband ordered the Short Ribs, which almost melted in his mouth. To top of our enjoyment, Candice brought out a celebratory heart-shaped pumpkin cheesecake for our occasion. It was rich and creamy with a lot of flavor. If you want to recreate a New Orleans experience, jazz music and all, Iva Lee?s is definitely the place to go! more

Never Going Back 11/24/2007

Based on the reviews I made reservations to meet our son-in-law for dinner. We were all extremely disappointed. This place is terrible, the service was OK and the drinks were OK but that?s it. The food was horrible, the three of us all had different dishes plus an appetizer and all were bad. The appetizer was green tomatoes they were hard to choke down. Never going back. Cons: Thumbs Down more

Why me with all these good ratings? 6/24/2007

The decor is great. I started with a warm Amber Light...I stress the ""warm"". I told the waitress the beer was warm and she in essence, said ""So?"" and did nothing about it and charged me for it. I can get over a warm beer, but then I asked for ice tea. A bottle of the extremely weak tea was delivered to the table...could hardly tell it from water. I drank my tap water as it tasted better. I quickly got over the terrible tea expereince.\r \r I split an order of crab cakes as the appetizer, and they were standard Trader Joe issue. Heavy crust, very fishy (not a good sign of freshness), but the sauce was not bad. Would not order them again. The soup was a Jambalya SOUP. And ""soup"" it was. It tasted like a meek Jamblya with half a quart of water added to it to ""water it down"" to make a soup. . Pretty bad! The person I was with orderd the cat fish which came so thickly crusted that she had to use her strenght to cut the crust OFF in order to get to any fish. By now, I was going with ""safety"" and I had the Tennessee Meatloaf and it was very good. My friend ordered a bread pudding for desert and it was so over-cooked that we COULD NOT BREAK IT OPEN! It was hard as a rock and if you threw it at someone you could knock them out. Finally with some grace, they took this rock off the bill.\r \r I had heard good reviews about this place, and I had many great weekend breakfasts at the Ramos House in San Juan Capistrano, which was operated by the people who operate Iva Lee's. So I thought this should be a terrific dining experience. more

Best Rib-eye and martini's anywhere in OC, sevice is always friendly and prompt, romantic atmosphere 7/31/2006

Lisa and Eric welcome you into their romantic little restaurant as if they were welcoming you into their own home. The food is consistently delicious-my husband and i visit Iva Lee's at least once a week to get our fix of N'Awlins style food. This restaurant is clearly one of the best Orange County has to offer. more

The BEST!!! 7/16/2006

It is hard to find restaurants these days that have a great ambiance without overdoing it, have incredibly good food without being pretentious about it (or charge an arm and a leg over), and have that downhome warmth and feel that we all love. Especially in South Orange County. Well, Iva Lee's is all of that and so much more. The food is what makes this place... So yummy! But the atmosphere and the nicest owners ever doesn't hurt either. The peach martini's and fried green tomatoes are to die for!!! My husband and I love this place so much, we had them cater our wedding!!! This is just an all around wonderful restaurant! Pros: food, service, owners more

Food ... people .... music .... as good as it gets 7/16/2006

Born and raised in the deep south, Iva Lee's brings back the the sounds, smells, taste, and service that I grew up with. The food is Southern; a little Cajun, a little Creole, and all prepared ""down home"". The live music takes you back to a more carefree time we all can benefit from in our current times of crisis. \r \r The menu allows you to span the extremes of Southern Cusine. My wife loves the Lobster bisque followed by Fried Catfish with cheesy grits. I prefer the gumbo with jambalaya. Deserts are exquisit and the wine and bar are wonderful. People have said that this is not a place to bring kids. I beg to differ. We take our grandkids there (starting at just over a year old and up) and they love it; both food and music.\r \r Having lived it Europe, Asia, and most geographies in the US, I can honestly say there are many resturants that can claim the above for food and ambiance; there are not so many that can claim Iva Lee's real advantage. Eric, Lisa, and their entire staff make the ultimate difference. They honestly and openly care about the people who visit their establishment. That and that alone make Iva Lee's a must visit on my list and should on yours as well. more

Fabulous Southern Fare with Outstanding Southern Hospitality 7/15/2006

Our favorite restaurant in San Clemente. From the warm greeting at the door through to the uniquely delicious dessert variations, Iva Lee's is a step back into the old South. There are two scenes here, with a small bar serving a wide variety of appetizers along with standard and house coctails, and the main dining area with tables, very comfortable booths, and an inviting outside dining space. \r \r We love the Peach Martini to start, along with outstanding fried green tomatoes. The main fare is varied with a Southern flair, but not too exotic or spicy for picky eaters. Actually, you could apply the term ""Cajun"" to only a few dishes. No matter what we choose, we're always delighted. \r \r The service deserves a mention of its own: We are very picky, and the staff are obviously well trained by Eric and Lisa. To top off the event of an Iva Lee's visit, the varied live music in the bar is always entertaining without overpowering conversation in the dining room. As you can tell, we're sold on Iva Lee's, and we couldn't be happier that Lisa and Eric chose San Clemente for this jewel.\r \r Jim and Marcia Chase Pros: Outstanding food with a uniquely delicious fare more

All Good But Love The Fried Green Tomatoes 7/15/2006

Very yummy. Nice atmosphere. I love the fried green tomatoes. Also like the fried catfish... My husband loves the pork sliders appetizer. We've brought different people to dinner there and everyone has liked it. I wouldn't bring my kids (they are 3 and 6) just because I would prefer to take my time and savor. Pros: Great food and drinks. Cons: None- all good. more

Outstanding food 7/14/2006

Excellent ambiance. I am told the Hurricanes are great. Need reservation. Blues/Jazz entertainment. This restaurant deserves to be supported. Pros: Outstanding parking for a beach city like San Clemente Cons: Not cheap more

Great Southern food with flair 7/14/2006

IvaLee's is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. The food is wonderful and my wife and I love the jazz and blues that make the atmosphere perfect. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great meal in south OC> more

Charming, entertaining, and delicious! 7/13/2006

This is the best restaurant to come to San Clemente in ages. It is a perfect place to get a fantastic taste of southern cooking (the fried green tomatoes and the pan-seared scallops are my favorite) while enjoying a great atmosphere. Eric, Lisa, and the staff are so helpful and accomodating, they really make you feel like family. Whether you're looking for a great meal or you'd just like to hang out in the bar and listen to some fantastic blues musicians, Iva Lee's is where it's at. Don't forget to finish with some of their chickory coffee creme brulee. yum! more

Fantastic Cajun Food 7/13/2006

all their food and drinks are excellent, great music, not for kids, romantic dinning..great atmosphere.... RESERVATIONS A MUST Pros: THE FOOD & DRINKS ARE DELISH Cons: NOT FOR KIDS more

Friendly service, great food! 7/13/2006

From the time you walk through the door, you are made to feel welcome. Eric always acknowledges our arrival and exchanges latest golf exploits with my husband. The food is excellently prepared and unique-scallops, spinach salad and bread pudding are among my favorites. It tends to be rather noisy and the bar area is small, but the quality of the food and service always makes it worth the trip. Pros: Food, service, entertainment Cons: Tends to be noisy, bar area is small more

Sooooooo Yummy! 7/13/2006

I have never been disappointed in the meals that I have ordered here - off the menu or the chef's specials. Always tasty and just a 'twist' different. LOVE the Bellini's at the bar - Eric's smiling face and mixmaster expertise! Give it a whirl - you won't be sorry. more
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Menu for Iva Lee's

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  • In Short
    Named for and inspired by owner Lisa Wagoner's Southern grandmother, Wagoner already has soul-food lineage with her other famed O.C. restaurant, Ramos House, in San Juan...

  • 9/8/2004 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Daily 5pm-10pm
  • Payments:

    Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express