|301 B Street, next to Sam's Mediterranean|
|*Their website states different hours, but their phone lists the above listed hours.|
|Perhaps someone from the store could make the two consistent and indicate the hours.|
A view from the street, Dec. 2004. Ciocolat is a dessert (pastry, chocolate, etc.) place which also serves coffee and lunch items. Their byline is "Extraordinary Desserts". Ciocolat is perhaps the least "academic" of the coffee shops in Davis — in so far as academic implies a sort of pulling out of books and papers to rustle through. Gone are the countless students with OChem books and powerpoint slides — instead we find a quaint little house on the corner, a patio filled with people enjoying each other's company, and innumerable delicate dessert items. Most of the servers are female, but there is at least one male server.
Ciocolat at night. They have lovely trees at night
In addition to desserts, Ciocolat also has a wide selection of coffee and beverages including wine, port and beer. Unknown to many, Ciocolat offers a few California cuisine lunch items. Notable are their salads, the wild mushroom lasagna, and the salmon Croque Monsieur, all of which are cheaper than analogous items at Mustard Seed or Cafe Bernardo. They also serve breakfasts: french toast and omelets. The breakfasts are not generally highly regarded, other than their excellent pastries.
On the weekends you can take high tea at Ciocolat. High tea goes from 11-3, and a reservation is required. The tea consists of basically a four course meal. It starts with savory items—Croissant Sandwiches, Croque Monsieur, Focaccia with Brie and Sun-dried tomato spread, Banana Bread and Blueberry spice bread. After that, white chocolate and cranberry scones with lemon curd and raspberry spreads are served. The third course is dessert, where they serve 5 small desserts per person. Finally, the meal ends with fresh berries and Chantilly (similar to whipped) cream. This was the menu during Mother's Day, so it may change with the seasons. Budget at least 2 and a half hours for the entire meal. The cost is 25 dollars per person.
One of the chocolate cakes is essentially a giant truffle — it's completely breathtaking. The Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake is something everyone should try. It's a single serving cake that is perfect for two to share, especially for dessert after a romantic dinner date. The Chocolate Decadence Cake has chocolate everywhere and is a really moist cake with mousse and more.
Ciocolat also offers beautifully designed custom cakes and desserts. Go to them if you ever need a special fancy cake for a special fancy occasion. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of cash, but every bite will be well worth it.
Free wireless internet is offered.
Ciocolat is located in the former home of William H. Scott, who was one of the most influential figures in early Davis history. This Craftsman-style bungalow house was originally built for him in 1922. In 2008, the City Council voted unanimously to grant the building landmark status in order to limit the landlord's ability to develop the property.
On January 4th, 2011 the California Aggie reported that Ciocolat had been found in violation of various health codes.
Served 8am to 11am Monday-Friday
Served 8am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday
Each served with your choice of two: 2 slices of whole wheat or organic walnut toast, 4 slices of bacon, rosemary potatoes, sauteed apples or a bowl of fresh fruit
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Fritatta
Lunch and Dinner Menu
Each served with a side of spring of Caesar salad
Smoked Salmon, Gruyere cheese, buttermilk bread served warm
Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Wild mushrooms, fresh thyme, Italian parsley with Béchamel sauce
Ultimate Vegetable Frittata
Eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and basil
Ultimate Quiche Lorraine
Smoked ham, spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, and Provencal herbs
A choice of Black Forest ham with Swiss cheese, or smoked turkey with Provolone cheese Gourmet Vegetarian Muffaletta
Sun-dried tomato spread on Focaccia bread filled with Brie cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, and greens
Hickory-smoked bacon, tomatoes, red onion, and basil mayo, served on Focaccia bread
Chopped romaine lettuce tossed with croutons, Parmesan cheese, and dressing
Seasonal Green Salad
Mixed greens, goat cheese, cranberries, candied walnuts, and sliced pears
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2009-01-21 13:39:30 Clearly mixed reviews for Ciocolat, and this will be no different. Pros: great deck and indoor vibe, out-of-this-world currant and cream scones, delicious french toast, excellent happy hour prices. Cons: not the greatest coffee (weak), some things are more expensive than they ought to be, slow staff (though they're usually friendly enough). Biggest con, however, is the fact that the music is generally quite loud and quite repetitive. Mix things up, Ciocolat! Play more than the one or two salsa CDs currently in rotation, and try something more chill sometimes. Then I might become a regular. —Kay
2009-01-24 17:21:23 I agree about the music. I'm a salsa dancer, so I don't mind salsa music. But I have heard them play that same CD a zillion times, and I recognize every break, accent, and phrase in every song! They'd do well to keep the volume lower and play much more of a mix of music. —jsg718
2009-02-23 16:18:12 Accidentally dropped my cake on the floor without having taken a bite. I informed the girl at the counter and she gave me a new slice free of charge. Thumbs up from me for that alone. —bunchies
2009-02-23 20:24:49 These guys make the tastiest BLT I've ever tried. —WilliamLewis
2009-03-05 20:24:58 I'm addicted to their white chocolate/cranberry scones and berry danishes. I have to say, however, that their cakes are not worth it.. taste + price. —renee415
2009-03-13 07:17:19 so i am not very picky about where i eat, but i went here with my mom the other day. some sorority looking girl was working the counter in a tank top which apart from looking unprofessional might actually be illegal when working around food. we asked her to show us various things and she leaned over the counter with her armpits touching the food on top. i admit the food was good, but customer service is key in small places like this. —fakeplastictrees
2009-03-31 22:38:18 HIGH TEA was a wonderful experience! I definitely recommend it if you want to spend a couple hours chatting away with a good friend. The waitress was super attentive and friendly. I loved all the little dishes. The lemon tart was perhaps the best one I've ever had. The homemade jam and lemon curd that came with the white chocolate and raspberry scones were AMAZING. I asked to have the leftover tablespoon of jam to go because I just couldn't let it go to waste. My favorite dishes were the brie, salmon and gruyere sandwich, lemon tart, and chantilly cream on berries. YUMMY! I just saw a post that said high tea was Friday-Sat only - but I just went last Sunday! —Hyungmi
2009-04-04 21:20:57 cook was here at 7:30 great croissant sandwich, the sauteed apples were fricken amazing. My partner had a benedict and enjoyed it immensely. We also shared some pastry type fare that was delicious, we will return —StevenDaubert
2009-04-15 11:46:04 So much to say . .. The food can be good, esp the Muffaleta, Carrot Cake, Scones, Chocolate Decadence, Truffle Cake and the Cookies. Stick to these.
There Moose Cakes can be good but you must make sure they are newer, otherwise they are hard and the cake is to moist, almost wet.
The dessert cake needs to be cleaned and they need to maintain which desserts should still be there.
The coffee is okay. Mild, and never warm enough. I wouldn't recommend it. The croissants are not very good, you can tell they can from the freezer. Don't order any chocolate drink! THey are never blended well and are not worth the three dollars you have to shell out for them. Avoid the breakfasts all together. Overpriced and not good. Lunches are also a little iffy with poor presentation and spoiled supplies. Ciocolate should stick to making just desserts everything else is just not worth it.
Overall. . . Way overpriced and way overrated —LotsofThoughts
2009-05-27 14:02:43 Owner is rude and sexually harasses female employees (pulling hair, eyes focused on certain part.., petting). I've seen it first hand. —love2dancewild
That's a pretty serious accusation coming from an anonymous account.
2009-06-12 14:18:50 One of the small coffeehouses in Davis that serves GOOD chai. Not watered down or ridiculously expensive chai like other places. The place itself is tranquil and nice. Only negative aspect of Ciocolat is that there is NO WI-FI. A cafe with no internet access, what? —strawberry
2009-06-21 11:29:14 I had breakfast on Father's Day. Didn't have a reservation, but they found me a table. The Eggs Benedict and Fruit Bowl were very good. The six female servers gave new meaning to
the term eye candy. All were college-age and really attractive. Service was good, too.
2009-07-02 16:55:42 This place has amazing desserts, whenever I go home my parents always make me pick up a mango mousse cake and bring it back. I also like to study here. The deck is really nice and I usually end up seeing friends riding their bikes down 3rd. Its fun! I also like their sandwiches on croissants and their salads are good too. I ask for the dressing on the side though, so I can put less of it on than comes standard. But its all soo yummy! —Audrey13
2009-07-03 00:39:19 I used to work here and there are a few things wrong on this page. First, you can make reservations for High Tea anytime that you want. The scones are actually served first, their in store menu is incorrect. It is a pretty popular place for college students to come and study. I've also seen my share of professors there. Internet can be mooched from Crepeville or Sam's. If you encounter slow or substandard service, just remember the manager is continually hiring people so they are new and they are paid minimum wage and can't get a raise so it's not like they have incentives to give good service. The training system is pretty crappy, too. It's pretty much word of mouth from one employee to the next. Plus, the employees don't get breaks. I know they should still work better, but that's how it is.
You're pretty damn lucky if you get waited on by Kate, the owner. Her customer service is fantastic and she's incredibly nice. Easy to recognize, she's the only non teenager there.
In my opinion, the desserts are the best thing there, but a piece of cake costs you five bucks.
The manager has a habit of turning up the volume on the tunes and playing the same stuff over and over. It gets annoying for the employees, too. Once in awhile someone will get away with playing their own music.
Wearing a tank top isn't illegal, it is against dress code, however.
As far as desserts, order a cake that isn't cut or is almost whole. They will be more fresh. Things sell pretty quickly, but once in awhile something stays in the case too long.
As far as coffee goes, I wouldn't order a mocha iced, it just doesn't mix well, no fault of the employees.
I'm not sure what policy is on getting rid of old food, but they do seem to try and use things as long as they can.
Also, when there are rushes, you can bet that there are not enough people to handle it. Plus the kitchen (and the entire store) is small for it's hard for them to handle a massive group of people. There can pretty much be one to two people effectively working on the food. Which, by the way, tends to run out, especially breakfast items.
The quiche and lasagna are made ahead of time and microwaved when you order it, but people still seem to be impressed with it's quality.
Puff pastries are made on premises and are fresh everyday, but a bit pricey. Croissants and cinnamon rolls are frozen and then baked in the morning. Scones are mostly fresh, but can be carried over from the previous day. —pheobe
2009-07-04 08:49:15 Not speaking at all about the food or service, I'd like to mention how shabby I found the outside upkeep on the morning of 2 July. The south-facing eaves were festooned with cobwebs, there were leaves all over the lawn and shrub beds, one of the two pots of plants at the top of the entry steps was un-watered and half dead, and there was litter strewn around as well on the tables out front. The litter on the tables included food scraps, which was especially unattractive. This lack of attention to simple housekeeping is unfortunate. —DavidRobinson
2009-07-24 15:57:00 Their chocolate and cherry scones are amazing! Their BLT is good, but I won't each lunch their anymore because the food quality is not consistent. They put raw (seriously undercooked) bacon on my BLT the last time I ate there and I was 2 months pregnant—undercooked/raw meats can be very dangerous to a developing baby. That's just one example of their mess-ups with my food. I won't go there anymore because of this incident, even though their scones are good. I'm fed up with not knowing if my experience and food will be good or bad. —ces139
2009-07-30 11:20:44 Does anyone know if lasagna or ravioli is worth ordering? —Kiran
2009-07-30 13:14:31 I've been here twice now. It's a very nice little place and the food all looks/sounds delectable HOWEVER I find that it is outrageously overpriced for the quality I got rather than expected. Most people seem to love the desserts but I was a bit let down by them so it maybe high quality for Davis but not overall. I was especially disappointed by their cheesecake because the cinnamon in the crust totally overpowered the cheesecake itself so all I got flavorwise was cinnamon and graham cracker. —OliviaY
2009-08-25 15:57:08 I don't understand why Ciocolat, like 3rd and U, refuses to take advantage of it's location and provide decent customer service or cater to the habits of the clientele. (In the case of 3rd and U I feel they really just want to be a lunch place, but they could get so much more business if they consistently opened at the same time every morning and had the same items available.) In the case of Ciocolat, I usually avoid going there because if I am going to take a 20 or 30 minute break from work, I don't want to spend it standing in line. I always feel bad for the employees there, because it isn't their fault they seem to be the only one scheduled to take orders, make drinks, and serve drinks and food. I like the food and drinks here and the unique atmosphere, but they've become a joke to my co-workers and I and we don't come here anymore even on our personal time due to the painfully poor service. How hard would it be to have a second person around to help from morning through lunch? The amount of business that they would keep or re-gain I think would pay for it. —Butterfly
2009-09-14 08:50:22 When this place opened years ago, it was spectacular. Always a full dessert case, and all the desserts were fabulous. Lunch entrees, too, were good, especially the vegetarian options. I used to eat at Ciocolat at least once a week. That said, the quality of the food selection, the flavor of the food, and the service (there are never enough people working, it seems) have declined so much over the years that I only now go to this restaurant when a colleague insists on a meeting there. I miss the old Ciocolat and its delicacies, as there are so few *really* good desserts to be had in this town. —LeslieMadsenBrooks
2009-11-08 20:44:56 We used to like this place, always had delish, rich mochas...however, a couple times ago we ordered a chicken caesar salad..the dressing was watery, and the chicken was dry, stale, and had bones in it. last time we went there, we ordered 6 chocolate covered strawberries ( for $2.50 each, way over priced), and they were horribly rotten. We peeled back some of the chocolate to find green and black MOLD growing on them. And the mocha that I got there was also bitter, flavorless, and just plain GROSS.
If you want good quality food, do not go here, if you want a cake or some desert (less likely to go bad) then you could probably still go here if your willing to pay alot. always check your food before you eat it...you never know what your really getting. —mrandmrs
2009-11-18 14:09:33 Their individual cake are nothing great. The lunch/dinner/meals, I've never had. The white chocolate/cranberry scone is amazing! The service depends on whose working. Sometimes they can be great, sometimes they ignore you, and sometimes they get your order wrong and are rude. Today, an Asian girl with short hair and glasses helped me and I asked her for a raspberry danish and she gave me a cherry one instead (I hate hate hate cherries, hate! I didn't realize she gave me the wrong one until I was in class....). When I said, "Thank you," she had no response. And I'm positive she heard me because she was looking right at me. Oh well. —ElizabethLee
2010-02-08 09:10:34 The comments below about the in-house staff are right on. I've had good interactions and good service with the young women (mostly) the few times I've eaten here.
However, I strongly discourage anyone from doing special orders for Ciocolat's cakes. I called on Thursday afternoon (about 2:00), and the young woman who took my call said they'd be able to have a cake ready for me mid-afternoon on Saturday. After a couple more calls around, I went back to Ciocolat. This time (it's now 2:30 on Thursday), the owner answered. He said that the cake (a 6" German Chocolate) would not be ready until after 6:00 pm on Saturday; I needed it for my father-in-law's birthday on Sunday. He also said that the 6" cake would cost $26, or about three times what it would be anywhere else.
Well, Saturday at 6:00 pm, my family and in-laws are out for dinner. So we go by Ciocolat on Sunday morning. There's no cake. The owner tells me that "you should have picked it up the day you ordered it." He put it out in the display case, and in the six working hours between 6 pm Saturday and 11 am Sunday had cut it into pieces and sold over half of it. He offered to sell me the rest, already cut into pieces, at the per-price piece to total about $20.
Rude and unpleasant, acting like it was my fault, when he had not said anything about "you must pick the cake up the same day" on the phone. No apology, no nothing. If you need any kind of cake or pastry without cocoanut, call Konditorei instead — their quality is at least as good, and they actually understand customer service. If you have to have something with cocoanut, try Nugget; they may not be as high quality, but they're 1/3 the price and infinitely more pleasant. —kelseymh
2010-03-08 12:05:02 There is a smell inside of Ciocolat sometimes, it's like they have a sewage problem. Has anyone else noticed this? I ALWAYS sit outside. Their happy hours are nice though. —FloridianPlywood
2010-03-23 10:25:37 The first time I visited this little place was with a boy my freshman year of college. We had the raspberry mousse which I'm still pretty obsessed with till this day. Anytime I need a place to just unwind and satisfy my sweet tooth, I come here. You can't have their cakes without a glass of milk. :) The setting at night is super cute and reminds me of a scene in my favorite romantic comedy, Serendipity! I'm a regular whenever friends have birthdays as this is my go-to place for birthday cakes for friends! Looove them! —AnniieRose
2010-04-03 23:51:43 I used to come to this place often with my girlfriend for the first half of my freshman year. i stopped going after i received the thinnest slice of pumpkin pie imaginable for the price of a whole pumpkin pie at safeway (which taste the same.) i have to admit though, the ungenerous portions was the fault of the employee at the time. —kiddmit3
2010-05-01 13:16:13 My roommate and I finally went to Ciocolat a couple of days ago. She had a croissant and chai tea. I had a Caesar salad with hot chocolate. Both of our meals were excellent and our drinks were amazing! The woman at the counter was very friendly and service was good (it wasn't busy). A lot of people came in and out buying desserts (but we didn't splurge). We will definitely be returning soon and bringing friends/family when they visit! —jsjames
2010-06-27 13:16:29 Reading the comments here I can say I am not surprised. I used to work for Ciocolat and for the most part I enjoyed my time there. The owners are very professional and the food is good. I will, however, note for clatiry that the owner's son is a Tool. Noticed I used a capital T. If you would like good coffee or a tasty pastry I would try Ciocolat! But if you are looking to work here ask the owners if their Tool sibling is still around. Over the years decisions to make Tools into some form of management decay the business. Keep them in school and out of decision making. —peppermintpattie
2010-07-01 23:52:33 My girlfriend and I arrived 45 minutes prior to a movie we were going to, in order to enjoy a bite to eat. After ordering, we sat patiently for our food to arrive... after 30 minutes, we went inside to discover that they had forgot about our order, and no one else was even ordering! At this point, we had 10 minutes before our movie started, and our only option was to get our money back :(. The girl at the counter was very apologetic and offered us a free pastry and all, but I am still not sure how they forgot about our order considering how slow they were. Also, I noticed the "organic" burgers have almost doubled in price ($7 and some change compared to $3.75) since they first offered them about 8 months ago. While they used to be, I'm not sure the burgers are worth their current price. —ibirdie
It is possible their vendor for the organic burgers had changed or increased their own prices. I'll ask if I remember next time I'm there. —SunjeetBaadkar
2010-07-02 19:23:21 I'm a lifelong foodie but I've only recently (and very tentatively) dipped my toes into the world of pastry and baking. As such, good cake is a true commodity for which I am willing to reward the gifter handsomely. In this case, you might spot me in Ciocolat moaning in ecstasy over a slice of strawberry mousse or chocolate truffle cake. And don't get me started on gianduja. It's bad for my heart. My point being that in most cases you should always see that you get what you pay for. It may be a $5 slice of cake but you should not be eating it so fast that it disappears like a slice of Duncan Hines cake-from-a-box. This isn't junk food and should not be treated as such nor have the same expectations. If you don't want to pay $5 for a slice then make your own for about $2.
Aside from the food, of which I obviously approve at least as far as desserts go, the service I've received has always been quick and polite. I'm usually around somewhat late at night, near closing, so I've never had to wait in line. Tables are clean and the deck is a pleasant place to sit and chat with friends at the end of an evening. Overall it's a nice little hangout, would make for a fun date night stop. —KBathory
2010-07-05 19:05:24 A chalk board outside advertised organic hamburgers and french fries... decided to see what else was available for dinner. I have purchased desserts that looked like gateaux from here before which remind me of the desserts KLM airways serves... sort of jello-like in their bland mousse texture. This is a pay-at-the-counter and deal with absent-minded staff (i.e. repeat yourself, rephrase questions) place. One of us wanted the meatloaf which is $12.75 with vegetables. Asking for mashed potatoes meant an extra charge, no substitutions (suppose it's healthier)... A grilled chicken sandwich with side salad was $10.00 and a cheeseburger and fries was $7.50 (relative bargain). Lovely focaccia and condiments on the chicken sandwich. The side salad tasted heavily of olive oil. The chicken was served in pieces that were cooked from frozen. The burger was a flat frisbee thing that was cooked from frozen, and the cheese was not melted on the burger because both were not very warm. The bun used for the burger was excellent. The burger was already swimming in some sort of champagne mustard ... and ketchup. The fries were very thin and crispy with some sort of coating. They tasted good, but not really like potatoes. Beer was served after waiting what seemed to be a long time for the meal, after we reminded the server. This place is a few minor adjustments away from being phenomenal. Lower the cake prices by a dollar. Use fresh meat that goes with the rest of the fresh ingredients. I have seen no males working at this place. It's fine, but hopefully not a discrimination issue. The seriousness with which work is approached at this restaurants makes me want to yawn, with the exception of the detail the kitchen puts into sprucing up the frozen meat. —seesharp
2010-08-08 21:02:21 After nearly 2 years of boycotting this place (See earlier review from 2008), I thought I'd give them another chance. Man, what a disappointment. The quality of the deserts have really fallen off. The coconut mousse was stale to the point of being unpalatable. At least the mango mousse was ok, but the inconsistency between their products is what bothers me the most. I'll give them a couple more years and check them out again. —Aaron.Curtin
2010-10-01 13:02:36 I went here a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to write a feedback. This place is awful. UGH. Never again am, I going to come here. This was my 2nd time at Ciocolat. My first time wasn't a good experience either, but I didn't have a Daviswiki account. Anyway, I told the girl, who was working at the counter, that I wanted a good dessert to give to a friend. She said they ran out of small boxes and so she gave me a huge a$$ box (kind of like the dozen donut boxes). I asked her for the chocolate cheesecake and that I just wanted one and that it was for a friend. She put it in a box and and gave it to me. I didn't look in the box and I also didn't ask for the price. I just paid. I later realized when I went back to the car that she gave me two slices... but I also was charged for two. If I had known those slices looked like how they looked like in the box. I would not have paid that much. AND IT LOOKED SO FUGLY. How can she expect me to give this to my friend? —anonymon
Didn't you see the cake in the case before you asked for it? I think this is your fault if you're not happy. -NickSchmalenberger
** I did see the cake in the case before I asked for it.... And it looked fine. But she does not know how to cut the cake. So it's not my fault. - anonymon
2010-10-15 15:58:01 I have been a loyal Ciocolat customer for 4 years, but the quality of the desserts and the service has seriously gone down. The customer service, as many have noted, has always been bad, but the desserts held a special place in my heart—until recently. The portions of the desserts used to justify their extreme cost but in my last four visits the cakes have have appallingly small. Employees used to put a lot of effort into cutting fair slices and laying them on the plates in an esthetically-pleasing manner—not anymore, who cares about chocolate smears on the plate or if theres a thumb-print in the mousse. Additionally, today I ordered a glass of milk—huge mistake. Instead of getting a full glass of milk like I could have last year, I got a wine-glass of milk...it's a good thing the cake was so small or else I would have been really thirsty. I'm really disappointed, and have decided that I would rather save my money for much better dessert-restaurants in Sacramento. —ArianeMetz
2010-10-20 00:44:01 Went here and made the mistake of not getting a dessert; I ordered the Caprese salad. It was $9 dollars for a few pieces of mixed leaf lettuce, 3 olives, and vinaigrette that wasn't mixed well enough.
I could have done a better job myself at home in my kitchen and for much cheaper. Well, atleast I learned my lesson.
Just because it's expensive and looks nice doesn't mean that you're gonna get you're money's worth. —rootmeansquare
2010-10-22 00:09:09 I have a mixed review, unfortunately. I've been going to Ciocolat since 2002. The customer service has always been hit and miss, but I never cared because the quality of the desserts was so amazing. Recently the quality has been going downhill. My roommate and I ate here last week and the desserts were frozen - hers was solid to the point where she had to wait for it unfreeze for at least a half hour. My chocolate decadence cake (my personal fav) was not solid, but it was frozen to the point where the texture was really mealy and that detracted from the taste. The cake part was also dry and the mouse part was blander than normal - no more of that very deep chocolate taste. I'm very disappointed and I hope Ciocolat can ramp up their desserts again to make them worth buying. —RachelPeters
2010-10-22 14:01:01 I have to agree with the previous comment that the quality of the desserts has gone way downhill. Last time I went, which wasn't too long ago, my cake was stale and it took forever for them to cut it and plate it. Its too bad because I remember when this place first opened under the original owner- it was incredible. Now its just overpriced stale/old desserts. —jsbmeb
2010-11-29 12:57:23 I have been here before (a long while ago) and had their desserts, but the most recent visit was on a Monday at lunch. I'm sorry to say that this restaurant falls fall short of its potential; service is very slow. One guy even went up to the counter angrily and said he had been waiting a while (and he had definitely been there before I got there), but was not served right away. The waitress was dressed unprofessionally, with bra straps showing, hair not tied back, and generally looked like she did not belong working at a food establishment. I also saw her put her fingers all over the rim of the glass, a concern if she had not been conscientious about washing her hands after handling money and food. The cook, when he came out to bring out people's dishes, was covered in crumbs all over his apron and wearing some kind of pajamas pants material and Crocs. I have worked in food service before, and it really does create a negative impression if the staff cannot be bothered to be neat or clean. It also worried me that my burger was very very pink inside and not very warm (no one asked me how I wanted it but if there is a default, I assume it should not be rare) and I ate very little of it. I was in a hurry but will be calling to speak to the manager. I am slightly worried about the cleanliness of the establishment and will not return unless I hear things have changed.
To the manager if you are reading this: please train your servers in proper food and plate handling, and if you need to hire someone to keep up with the demand, please do so. People were getting disgruntled waiting in line. Also, if you are going to offer internet, it would be nice if it worked. —bluebird
2011-01-04 13:21:31 Ran across this article in the Aggie today: http://theaggie.org/article/2011/01/04/ciocolat-found-in-violation-of-health-code —DavisGradStudent99
2011-01-07 11:05:24 In addition to the article from several days ago about Ciocolat's health code violations in the UC Davis Aggie newspaper, there is a Letter to the Editor in today's issue of the Aggie about Ciocolat's treatment of workers and how the management handles problems. I'm quoting it below:
" 'Ciocolat has problematic History'
I am an ex-employee from the Ciocolat cafe. Wow, you sure hit the nail on the head with Monday’s article! What a terrible place to work. But one thing the employee failed to tell you about was the constant gas leak there.
I, personally, along with many other employees, including one who was pregnant, got sick from gas leaks there. The first leak was in the basement, which was so bad they had to shut the kitchen down because there were open flames upstairs above the gas leak. That was fixed by a rinkey- dink handyman who didn’t know what he was doing. We were told either we had the flu or to open windows or doors when it got bad.
PG&E came to the restaurant to fix a second leak and found it to be coming from the heater outside. It was pumping out 1,500 parts per million of CO2 straight into the kitchen, parking lot and dining area! But I was let go shortly after that because they thought I called PG&E. I did complain about it all the time and at one point refused to come to work because I was afraid of getting brain damage.
Also, I was injured on the job in August and had to go to the ER for stitches. I was opening a window and my whole hand went through the old glass and I cut my wrist. The window is still broken upstairs. I had to wait half an hour for an owner to come and relieve me of my kitchen duty so I could go to the ER. Once I was there I was told the owners, Kate and Tony, would not provide proof of worker’s compensation. I was out for five days with no pay due to my injuries.
When I returned to work I returned to a hostile work environment. Tony pulled me aside and said they would not be reporting my injury to workman’s comp and they would be paying out of pocket. Over the next few months I kept receiving harassing phone calls and letters from Sutter Davis Hospital emergency room saying the bill was never paid. I’ve been laid off for a month now and I was informed yesterday that the bill was to be sent to collections in 30 days because neither Tony nor Kate could be reached to pay the bill.
I just wanted to add to what was written. Thank you for finally shining some light on that horrible place!
STACIE CASTILLO" —natalie0927
2011-01-27 07:00:34 Its too bad to see all this negativity. Ciocolat has such a good location and great potential. If only stayed the way it was when it first opened...I may wait awhile to use my gift certificate I just received. Health code violations don't make this place sound yummy. Sounds like this place needs new management! —jsbmeb
2011-02-02 21:06:01 I tried to dine there this chilly Wednesday evening, with a group of four. All the tables inside were taken. More than half looked like the occupants were there for the long haul. One guy was settled in at a double table for his coffee mug and laptop. We ended up going to Burgers and Brew. Perhaps they need a different meal time etiquette if they'd like more business. —BrianNeal
2011-02-17 18:44:30 My wife and I had lunch in late January and were disappointed with the food and service. I had the advertised "gourmet hamburger" where the only item gourmet was the bun- Village Bakery, we were told. The burger was crispy like bacon and the "cheddar cheese" was nothing more than processed American Cheese—there is a difference, you know. To advertise "cheddar" and use processed American is illegal. They were not busy but it took 25 minuted to deliver the hamburger; a nearby couple waited 45 minutes for their order and had to check several times to "see where their order was". When the order was delivered, the kitchen forgot the fries. Our meal-ending cookies, were stale. Betty Crocker makes better. The outside seating area where we waited was dirty, chairs and one table needed repairs, and the ramp—I'm a senior with mobility issues— was a mass of ground-up leaves and debris- does anyone ever sweep? Their sign base needs paint. Overall, this a big disappointment and it once was so good! JCB and CMB —Johnbruhn
2011-03-08 16:45:01 It's a shame that my last visit to Ciocolat was a huge disappointment. I remember my first visit 6 years ago to Ciocolat was so satisfying with the service but my most recent experience with the establishment was definitely different. We came in to dine and was told the kitchen was closed. We ordered dessert and some drinks anyway and while I was paying at the register, I curiously asked what time their kitchen closes. The person said "9pm". We looked at our watches and it wasn't even 8:45pm. The cashier saw the confused look on our faces and asked for the time - when we told him that it wasn't 9pm yet, he was apologetic for his mistake and said that he had already started cleaning up the kitchen. Having worked in a restaurant before, I understand the frustrations that come with having cleaned up and then having to start up again for a late customer - except this time, we weren't even late! But again, being understanding of what its like working in a restaurant, we were polite and told him it was alright. When he was done making my Chai tea latte - my favorite drink on the menu - it was wrong. He gave me a plain latte - now I wonder if I had paid more for the Chai tea latte or if he just charged me for a regular latte. I bit my lip and didn't go back to get it re-made. Anyway, the service was horrid - for denying us a food order and then getting my simple drink order wrong. It'd pay off to get some employees who actually abided by the kitchen times and listened to customer orders a little more. Sorry Ciocolat, I don't know if I'll be coming back... —AnniieRose
2011-03-29 It is a shame this place has gone downhill. I went there a month ago and was served a day old pastry. I tried again this morning, there were very few pastries out and no one to wait on me so I left. Will not go back again. —SusanDileanis
2011-04-18 18:19:05 so basically I was incredibly pissed off the entire time I was here. the line wasn't very long, but took me 10 minutes to finally get to the cash register and I ordered French toast which was incredibly pricey considering I could easily make it myself, almost 9$. As I was looking for a table on the porch, I found one that had just opened, fortunately, and when the manager walked outside I politely asked him to remove the plates and silverware from the table and he literally waved his hand in my face and walked away. Completely rudely ignored I asked one of the college workers to remove the dirty dishes 5 minutes later when finally one of the workers came out to deliver another customer's food. Then I sat at that table for about a half an hour before I went inside to make sure they got my order because the wait seemed ridiculous and the response I got from a different college worker was "Workin on it". I waited another 25 minutes and was honestly considered leaving. Finally my food came out and my French toast was burnt, my fruit on the side was warm, and my side of bacon was stale. I asked a worker for syrup and he came back with silverware. I said "Oh sorry for the misunderstanding, but I had asked for syrup.." and the boy never came back. I went inside and asked the girl at the cash register for syrup and she comes out with a plastic to-go container of it. Worst experience of my life and I will never come back. Also to add, I overheard two other customers complaining about how that was "the longest breakfast of their life". I would only recommend this place for coffee or pastries that they give you as you pay.
Come on, worst experience of your life? But yes I agree, that is really bad. Too bad you didn't leave. I know I've said it before, I really used to like this place. I think the only thing that keeps it in business is its location. —jsbmeb
2011-05-05 14:08:51 my friend worked at Ciocolat when she was 17 years old, and she confessed to me that they let her serve alcohol. not only that, but on top of an expired alcohol license. she also added that when she got a piercing, her boss requested that she take it out, and she was understanding, but he continued to add how pretty she was and how she's naturally beautiful and doesn't need piercings and so forth. I had always heard these stories through people, and always felt skeptical about believing them, until I heard them from my friends personal experience. —SarahReneeJohnson
2011-05-10 10:16:30 Gotta say this place has really gone down the drain. My friend and I recently went there and did not have a good experience. I paid almost $5 for a tiny piece of cake that wasn't even that good. My friend ordered a piece from a different cake which had not been cut yet and while she was paying for it, they went and sold the whole damn cake to someone else. They also gave her a regular chai tea latte instead of an iced one. The food is quite overpriced for the quality level of it. And they don't even sell blended coffee drinks anymore. Sad to say, unless this place gets their ish together, I'm definitely not going back. Not impressed at all. —KathrynAzarvand
2011-05-27 11:19:04 Food is decent. But make sure you tally up your total. They have a tendency to overcharge. Happened to me twice and a friend once. —Darrylwalter
2011-06-05 21:59:39 I have been going to Ciocolat off and on for some years now, and most all the reviews are mostly true. However lately there is a new female chef and when you get a plate or dish when she is there it is amazing! hot fresh and she is pleasent and smiles alot! she is africian amercian and has what loks like a diamond mole on her lip. Take it from me there is a change in the food (when she is there) don't give up on ciocolat yet! Or atleast her! —neacarmel
2011-06-23 16:52:30 I too have been going there for years and have noticed a decline. I will always order the 1st slice of something whole, that way I think it will be fresh, Or something I know they sell a lot of, like the chocolate decadence cake.I think that's what they call it?
What a shame! They have a great location for students, visitors, and anyone down town for that matter. They have the concept. It is so sad they are acquiring such a bad rep. The owner has always been a jerk! I think that is the core problem. What they need is a strong manager to get their "health code violations" and all other business taken care of, train a good staff, and how about throwing in a bit of customer service! —ashleyinthemist
2011-07-25 11:05:51 I ordered the limone cake for my father's birthday this past weekend and it was horrendous. The vanilla buttercream frosting tasted like some sort of unsalted butter concoction. It was completely tasteless and left an oily film in your mouth.
The cake itself was dried out and tasted like it had been sitting in a refrigerator for days.
I wasted $40 on this crappy cake. —Dreas
2011-07-25 15:55:18 Ciocolat is one of the friendliest caterers in town. They're very easy to work with, friendly and prompt, and more than willing to suit the needs of your event. We recently had a string of events and used four caterers total. Along with Pluto's, Ciocolat was outstanding. A few others in town, whom I won't mention here, act as if they're doing you a favor by taking your money. —MupDup
2011-08-11 23:10:27 Went here with friends last Sunday - the friends were in town for a series of kids sports events, and wanted to catch lunch between games. We made our orders, and then sat waiting OVER AND HOUR for food to arrive! Not clear what was going on, but they definitely seemed understaffed and incompetent. In the end they had to get it to go to make it to the next game in time. I have to say that the selection of pastries was also pretty sad - perhaps that was a function of it being 11am on Sunday, but in general it was just a miserable experience. Will never go back for anything that isn't instantly ready (pastries or cake), if even that. —markspiller
2011-09-06 17:49:57 WHAT!!!!!Happened to this place!!!!I was in today to grab a dessert and I was shocked!...They did not have ANYTHING that was fresh! I have been a regular customer for years. I will not go back until changes are made! So Sad. —Sherri
2011-10-24 14:20:45 DISASTER!! Just made my LAST visit, used to be a regular. Dirty, slow service, poor selection, coffee was BARELY warm, falling tiles, peeling paint....I really felt sorry for the staff who have to work there. Doesn't look like management gives a crap, walked over to the new Mishka's (sp?)and it was a completely different experience. Save your money, take your date somewhere else. —JohnRoyse
2011-10-31 14:19:35 I wrote a glowing comment on high tea two years ago, but maybe that's because I didn't have to talk with the manager. This was an experience I had a few months ago:
I called Ciocolat twice in order to schedule a reservation for high tea for two. Oddly enough, mailbox was full both times - so I couldn't even try and make a reservation. So, I drove over to Ciocolat in order to make the reservation in PERSON. I spoke with the manager and explained the situation. He asked me if was regular high tea - I said yes (slightly confused by the question). He started to write down my reservation for Tuesday, and then I let him know it was through Living Social. Then, he informed me that this was not "regular" high tea and that I could not have high tea through Living Social on Mon-Thurs. I looked on the voucher and saw that Fridays and Saturdays are off-limit, but he said I couldn't schedule it on Sunday either! I can't do weekday mornings, a woman's gotta work - but Sunday I could do. He proceeded to give me a bullshit explanation of why Ciocolat cannot accommodate Living Social vouchers on Sundays. Then I told him that I called twice and their mailbox was full - that they should probably clear it. His response? Yeah, we know, people are calling a lot. What a slimey way of getting people to come for high tea!
TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE. AND THE PLACE SMELLED LIKE BATHROOM. —Hyungmi
2012-02-14 14:35:05 My most recent experience included a lady ignoring me while I was at the counter. When I was ready to order, I asked to see the difference between a small and a large cup for an Iced Mocha. For a small, she showed me a cup the size of a pee cup at the hospital (I thought she was joking!) and for the large she showed me the normal large cup so I opted for the large. My Iced Mocha tasted like chocolate milk. I questioned whether or not they even had espresso in there. That was my 2nd horrible experience with getting a drink and with so many dessert and coffee places around town, I doubt I'll be back. —BingL
2012-02-23 08:41:49 Great desserts, which would be perfect with a nice cup of coffee. But after numerous visits, I have learned not to order their coffee in the evenings. It is almost always cold, and it's hard to believe a dessert place couldn't brew a new batch and keep it hot for the after-dinner crowd. —UCDPhD
2012-03-15 20:07:02 Slow and inefficient staff. Very disappointed.will not go back.expected better service —davisresidentnew
2012-04-16 17:29:30 Good luck if you want to try to use the LivingSocial voucher for high tea here. I called and called and got a message to leave a voicemail but then the mailbox was always full so it was impossible to redeem my voucher. Finally I called Livingsocial and filed a complaint with them. They have amazing customer service and said they would elevate my complaint to their merchant relations department and refunded the purchase price of the voucher. If you are having the same trouble, give them a call. Clearly they care more about customer service than the owners of Ciocolat. —NikiClayton
2012-05-30 15:35:41 High tea was pretty disappointing. I bought the Groupon, which was supposed to be a "deal" at $36 (for a "$74 value"). I don't know who would pay $74 for that. You can have dinner for two at an upscale restaurant in Davis for less than that. High tea at Tea List is about $15 per person, normally, which is reasonable. So I would say $36 is a normal price not a Groupon "deal". Anyway...it took me forever to get a reservation because they don't seem to ever answer their phone or return their voice mails, so I had to actually go in to make a reservation. When we got there, the table was nicely set outside on a nice day (a plus). The waitress (who was very nice and helpful) said she would bring us the list of teas, which turns out was a plate with about 5 different kinds of Stash teabags. "High tea" for a "$74 value", and we get teabags? Again, compare that to high tea at Tea List, where you get to choose from a wide variety of good quality loose leaf teas. For the price I paid, I expected a similar, or even greater quality. The food was OK. Small bites, as expected for high tea, but again, not remotely worth $74, and it was questionable if it was even worth $36, honestly. The desserts were nice, as one would hope to expect from Ciocolat, and the plate of berries with the whipped cream was very good.
Incidentally, when I went in to make my reservation 2 weeks prior, I bought a $2 macaron, and it was stale. —lumali
2012-06-10 16:25:28 Great food, but gosh the service has gone downhill since the change in ownership. Some (though not all) of the individual staff members are great, but overall things seem terribly disorganized. I've waited several times for anyone to show up at the counter, and there seems to be a disconnect between the counter/wait staff and the kitchen. But most of all, the owner's brusque treatment of customers (especially those not eating a full meal and thus not eligible for the special tablecloth tables) and verbal criticism of his staff in front of patrons makes for a distasteful atmosphere. I really used to love this place and hope that things improve! —ellenjoyce
2012-07-01 15:39:06 I've had good experiences in the past but have noticed a change. This morning I asked for eggs with toast and sauteed apples at the counter and was told by Susan to find a table and wait for her to come by and take my order. After the order was taken Susan returned to my table and said they only had enough sauteed apples left for about half the normal aide and wanted me to order something else. I like the apples and asked if they could give me a half side of apples and half of potatoes or whatever. Susan insisted that I had to order a full side of something else. After being presented with a bill for about $17, I asked for a refill on coffee. Susan said they charged extra for refills. In the past, refills were free. The other thing I noticed was a lack of teamwork. Susan served me initially but disappeared. Another server, Derek, passed by me several times with a water pitcher even though my glass was empty. He seemed focused on just his tables. The fact that other nearby restaurants were packed and Ciocolat only had a few customers doesn't surprise me. —nowhereman
2012-07-01 15:57:58 I feel like this place should be nominated for one of those restaurant makeover shows. —jsbmeb
2012-10-01 15:19:00 High tea was very disappointing, especially the service. Sandwiches were stale. Some of the desserts were excellent, some just ok. Very overpriced and they need an update/cleanup to the property. Bathroom was yucky too. —jwendt