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Magic Castle - Review

Hey guys,

I went to the Magic Castle tonight for the first time and earlier this evening, I read the previous comments on their food. I wanted to add a review for future guests at Magic Castle. Obviously, one is going to the Magic Castle for the magic, not the food. Since my husband's company had made dinner reservations, we ate there. It really wasn't as bad as I expected. I ordered the filet mignon and it was tender and perfectly cooked. It definitely wasn't the best I ever had, but better than a chain restaurant, which was good. The mashed potatoes were mushy, but I have very high standards from my Irish mother and grandmother...The chocolate cake was pretty dreadful...I think it may have been frozen?? I should have went with the cheesecake, which my friends liked. The wine list was decent and we ordered a medium priced cabernet from sonoma county, which we all enjoyed.

Otherwise, the drinks were reasonably priced at the bars - $8 for a martini, which isn't bad. The shows were just great and the architecture, decorations, and "ghost" piano bar are priceless. I definitely recommend going to the Magic Castle, if you can. It was wonderful to get dressed up and experience a Hollywood landmark! It isn't necessary to eat there, but if you have to with your reservation/guest pass, the filet mignon was decent...enjoy!

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  1. Wow, it's been a long time since I ordered a Martini anywhere.

    is $8 considered "not bad"?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Diana

      I was actually going to say that $8 sounded like a really good deal. (I fear that this is solid evidence that I have been hanging out in classy bars, which is most certainly not something I ever intended to do. This is a wake up call...)

      Your review is dead-on -- the Magic Castle is about the magic and the castle, not the food. It's a good time. I thought they really could have soaked us on the food because we're a captive audience, but they didn't and I respect that.

      1. re: glutton

        Can't remember the last time I paid $8 for a martini. It's been a solid $14 for a while, now.

        Frozen cake? Yikes. Question: what was it per person? I get this question all the time over on tripadvisor, everyone wants to eat at Magic Castle. How much for the steak?

        1. re: yogachik

          hey yoga,

          It was $32 for the filet mignon, served just with mashed potatoes. It was about $7 for each veggie side dish, which easily could be shared by 2 people. I think the salads were about $9 or so each. I can't vouch for anything besides the filet mignon though, since that was all I ordered. My husband had the NY strip, which I thought was a tad overcooked, but decent as well. They serve bread at the table, which really was only so-so. It was warm and I was starving at that point after a couple of drinks, so I was eating it up.

          There is also a $20 entry fee to get into the Magic Castle, even if you have an invitation from a member. BUT, there is a photographer who takes pictures of your group and for $20 you get an 8 x 10 photo, PLUS another invitation to the Castle good until the end of the year. You can bring up to 8 guests without a member, but you need to have dinner there. I will definitely be coming back with my parents and sister and having the filet mignon again. :)

          Overall, the food is overpriced. For $32, I have had much better steak, hands down. But, I still will be returning because the ambiance, service, and magic are just worth it.

          1. re: erintoc

            It's true, the castle is such a great experience, overpriced underwhelming food is just part of the admission price for non-members.

            And $8 martinis? Sounds like a fire(water) sale.

            1. re: wutzizname

              just tell em you only eat kosher or halal or raw food, and you're home free, though maybe not.

              that way you keep skip the overpriced overlybad food.

              drinks are not bad, and soak up the dreadfully cheesy though endearing atmosphere, i've been there many many many many times and not once did i have to have dinner there. (but that's another story altoghether.)

            2. re: erintoc

              I don't think the entry fee applies if you have dinner reservations. At least, it didn't in my case.

              1. re: PlatypusJ

                Just for reference, I went about 9 months ago with a dinner reservation, and we all did have to pay the $20 cover. I'm not sure who decides, but it could go either way. Maybe it depends on who you are a guest of?

                1. re: PlatypusJ

                  The entry fee applies if you go in without a Castle member. If you go in without a Castle member, you also have to have dinner.
                  If you go in with a Castle member, then no entry fee, and you don't have to have dinner there. But you do get priority entrance to the Palace show immediately following your dinner reservation time, if you have dinner there.

        2. You hit it right on the head -- the Magic Castle is not about food. Members don't have to dine at the Castle to see the shows (one of the benefits) and often eat elsewhere, then head to the Castle for entertainment and drinks. (The drink prices are actually very reasonable, considering the gouging that goes on at most entertainment venues.) I have been going for over 25 years and every time a new chef takes over the members always swear (and under their breath pray) the food will be better. I had brunch there a few months ago and it was solid, if not exceptional, but the Castle and the entertainment were, as always, plenty of fun. Stick with basic beef at dinner, or take in the Sunday brunch and you'll be fine food wise.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BHAppeal

            and sunday brunch is sometimes gratis if you have the right connections, if not it's not that expensive like about 20 per, all you can eat.

          2. Has anyone been recently?

            Looking for dinner menu recommendations; not a member so I have to eat at the restaurant.

            2 Replies
            1. re: vinosnob

              As others have mentioned the food is neither great or terrible... I liken it to the Palm Steakhouse chain... very similar menu too... order what ever you would order there.

              1. re: vinosnob

                Just in case...http://www.magiccastle.com/visiting/m...
                Also, they often have daily specials, so see what is offered. Those are usually ok as well. Have fun!

              2. Thanks for the review. I was planning to take my boyfriend to dinner at the Magic Castle for his birthday (he's obsessed with it and has never been) but have been thwarted by the fact that it's a PRIVATE CLUB. I don't know anyone who might be able to invite us. Does anyone know of any sneaky ways to get in here?

                2 Replies
                1. re: littledumpling

                  I have not tried this, but I have heard that if you go to the Magic Castle schedule and follow links to different magicians, you can email the magician privately to see if they can add you to a "guest list" for their performance. You will still likely have to pay the $20 cover and other expenses, but it's one way to get a foot in the door.

                  1. re: littledumpling

                    I was there a couples years back. That was one of the worst meals I've ever had in my life. I was looking for sneaky ways to get out of there at the time. Best of luck to you though.

                  2. Went to a 4-year-old's birthday party for a few magic shows and lunch buffet last month and actually thought the buffet was pretty good. The shows were awesome and the service was good; great time had by all. But it was covered by the mom, so I have no idea how much it was, and free meals tend to taste better.

                    1. I love going to the castle. I've never had dinner there, but order plenty of barfood and enjoyed it just fine. The drinks are pretty reasonable for a tourist attraction.

                      1. I'm a long time member. A few years ago, the kitchen was completely redone and a new team came in to manage the restaurant part of the Castle. It's the same group that operates Yamashiro up the hill. The food got a little pricier and much better. I usually have (and enjoy) the garlic chicken but I've also enjoyed the steaks.

                        Yes, the food can be pricey but it subsidizes all the entertainment.