Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  How much are tickets to the show?
A:  Individual tickets (for parties of 1-9 guests) are $69-$79 per person (varies by venue) and they include dinner, show and tax.

A ticket fee of $1.50 per ticket is added by our reservation processor, Purplepass, at checkout.  

Gratuities are at your discretion on the night of the show (look for the little yellow envelopes on the tables).  There is also an option to prepay a gratuity of $12 per person (select Add Gratuity when purchasing tickets). 

Group tickets (for parties of 10 or more) are $65-$75 per person (varies by venue) and they include dinner, show, tax and ticket fee.  A 15% gratuity is added to all group reservations.

Age Requirements

Q: Is there any age restriction?
A: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys… all children.  In deference to these youthful sleuths, we enforce no minimum age restriction. That said, please keep in mind our show is rated PG to PG-13.  In addition to murder, we also serve a healthy portion of romance and sexual innuendo.  If you're comfortable with the rating, all we ask is that your child be ready and willing to sit back and enjoy a three act play and a three course dinner.


Q: What beverages are included?
A: Water service is provided throughout; coffee and hot tea are served with dessert. If your taste runs to something more mysterious and intriguing, we've got you covered with bar and cocktail service ranging from sodas to cocktails.  Beverages are ordered and paid separately through the venue cocktail servers.


Q: Can I bring a cake, to celebrate a birthday?
A: Certainly! Just let one of our staff know when you check in, and they’ll be happy to keep it in the cooler (with everything else on ice, if you get the drift) until the time for birthday celebrations. Take note, your ticket price includes dessert and remains as is even though you are bringing a cake.

Children’s Menu

Q: Is there a separate menu for children?
A: Our caterer does not offer a child's meal, so please choose from the regular selection for your budding sleuths.

Cocktails, Beer, Wine and other Libations

Q: What kind of drinks are available?
A: Bar options vary by venue. Most venues offer a full bar and cocktail service.  Pick your poison. Tom Collins is the traditional choice among gumshoes. Cocktail bill and cocktail server tips are separate from murder mystery tickets and gratuities.

Gift Certificates

Q: Do you sell Gift Certificates?
A: Yes! You can purchase those from our ticket office via phone, or by clicking here:  Gift Certificates


Q: What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
A: Got a vintage tux? How about a feather boa? Break out that Jackie-O dress and your Princess Grace tiara! From the 1920's flappers in Darling, You Slay Me to the sleek 1960's jet setters in Get Cartier, our cast welcomes guests in costume. We love it when people dress up so feel free to use the evening as an excuse to have fun and dress to the nines! Our official dress code is business casual to formal wear, retro chic to elegant. (Please, we prefer no sweat shirts, shorts, t-shirts, or tennis shoes).  


Q: How long has the Gourmet Detective been in business?
A: We’ve been in the food and murder business since 1990. We opened November 2nd, 1990 as The Mystery Café. In 1998 we changed our name to the Gourmet Detective, in honor of our proprietary and favorite sleuth, the brilliant and charming Mr. Anthony Badger. We celebrated our 25th birthday on November 2, 2015!

Interactive Theater / Audience Participation

Q: Does the audience get involved?
A: Yes.  We have a unique style of audience friendly improvisation that always makes the audience look good. Stay on top of the clues, interrogate the suspects as they serve your meal, or just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  Your choice!

New Shows

Q: How often do you change shows?
A: Not often enough. We generally produce a new show once each year or every other year. Our next production is now being discussed among our writers, but that’s TOP SECRET.

Number of Guests

Q: How many people does the restaurant accommodate?
A: We seat up to 130 guests in Newport Beach and 50-100 in Riverside. We also provide a traveling show that can perform at larger venues. The show can be staged for audiences up to 250 guests.


Q: How do I get the best seats? Are some seats better than others?
A: The show is designed for optimal viewing from any area of the room. Our motto is “watch your back,” because you never know where the action will come from.

Show Schedule

Q: When do you perform?
A: We perform every Saturday evening throughout the year, with seating at 7:30 and curtain at 8:00. During the month of December, we perform Thursday through Sunday. We also have a special performances scheduled on New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and other major holidays. And, if you have a group or private party of 40 guests or more, we’ll open our doors any day of the week.

Shows Off Site

Q: Do you perform your show at other locations?
A: Yes, we are always available on a “Murder for Hire” basis for private and corporate events.  Click here for more information.

Special Occasions

Q: What do you do for special occasions?
A: We celebrate!!  The cast pays special attention to celebrants of birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, you name it!  At the end of our show we bring everyone on board with our own brand of singing and dancing … very fun. Every night is a special occasion at The Gourmet Detective.

Extra Special Occasions

Q: What else can I do that is extra special?
A: In addition to our regular acknowledgment of birthdays and anniversaries, we offer our Celebration Package, which includes:
- A Gourmet Detective t-shirt or signature coffee mug (signature champagne glasses available on a limited basis)
- One Free Drink
- A Gourmet Detective chocolate bar
You can add as many as you’d like during the online reservation process or give us a ring at the box office:  (949) 423-5311. 

Purchase a Key Player option for a special guest or guests at $15 per guest. Our actors will single out your special guest or guests for one-on-one interaction during the show.


Q: Is there a stage?
A: The performers work between, throughout (and sometimes on top of) the tables, using the entire restaurant as the stage – we keep both audience and performers on their toes, tracking action and clues "in the round".


Q: How far in advance do I need to purchase tickets?
A: Provided we have seats available, you can purchase tickets right up until check-in (usually 7:30 for Saturday shows). We recommend you call at least one to three weeks in advance to assure availability.


Q: Where do I pick up my tickets?
A: No paper ticket is required. You’ll receive an email confirmation with the details of your reservation and the maitre d' will be ready with your seating and entree choices at the door.  Just give your name, and you'll be swept into the crime scene itself.


Q: What time does the evening start? end?
A: The entire experience is about 2-3 hours... For our regularly scheduled general public performances, seating and check-in is at 7:30, followed immediately by salad and cocktail service, and the first scene starts at 8pm. Murder’s solved, the guilty are carted away and the innocent are free to go roughly between 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.. Timing varies with size of group and specifics of interaction and improv on any given night.