Lived in the area for over 20 years and never tried Gemmell's. Maybe the white table cloth tables, fancy (faux-French) interior or the menu kept me from going inside. Being at the harbor I was usually dressed in shorts and tee-shirt - so did not seem appropriately attired to partake. A Groupon offer prompted us to try it at last. Gemmell's is located at the end of a row of shop in Dana Point Harbor. Its a little nondescript, has some outside seating but no view of the harbor or ocean. Our reservations were for Tuesday at 5:30pm - we were the only customers at that time. So we were seated promptly and had attentive service. Our server was Briana and was very knowledgeable and helpful. The Groupon offered us a 4 course dinner and we started with the shared appetizer - we chose the mushrooms - Mixed wild mushrooms sautéed with an herb butter drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. But the mushrooms seemed to come from a can, but the sauce was good. The salads were excellent. I had the romaine with walnuts and blue cheese dressing while my partner had the fresh green salad. By this time a few more customers entered the restaurant and did not feel so alone. The ambiance is low key, old french decor, red cloth upholstered chairs, white linen table cloths. For the main course I choose the Sand Dabs - a mild white fish, lightly breaded, fried and covered with a rich sauce, served with rice and steamed veggies. My partner ordered the pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes and steamed veggies. Both tasted good and were full portions. We ended with desserts of meyer lemon tart and a Grand Marnier Souffle'. Both were good.
We had a glass of wine each and the total bill was $140.00 (without tax/tip) but with Groupon we paid $60 plus $25 for drinks for a total of $85.00 (without tax/tip).
Bottom line: Unique eating experience but not a price/performer. If the food had a little more 'zing' or special flavor it might be worth the price. But if you want to pay for faux-fine dining at the harbor, this might be your place.
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