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“View-licious. Bar is overlooked gem. But American cheese? Seriously?”

Aquarius - Dream Inn
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Ranked #24 of 369 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Price range: US$30 - US$60
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene, Romantic, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, View, Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, Brunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Bay Street
Level Contributor
86 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“View-licious. Bar is overlooked gem. But American cheese? Seriously?”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2014

The whole O'Neill Bar thing is super-cool. Love the new sign and surf history art. The style is clean and modern. And, of course, the view is amazing. Now, about the meal...

It is possibly worth the experience of seeing your kids relive the anachronistic classic icky fav of the t.v. dinner generation: American Cheese grilled sandwich to the backdrop of 70's hits like The Captian and Tannile hit "Love will Keep Us Together" and Village People doing YMCA. (Seriously, what self-respecting graduate of the 70's roller rink can restrain from doing the YMCA w their arms when it comes on?) -Maybe THAT's what kept the server away?

The waitress looked at me like I was visiting from Mars when I requested the salmon dish hold the fish, but vegetarian options were few. After checking with the chef they made it and it was delicious: hot garbanzo beans in a lightly spicy tomato sauce w flecks of spinach and dabs of yogurt. In the end, everyone at our table was happy with their food and that's saying something.

The bar drinks are good- (bartenders, however, are hit and miss). I highly recommend the house made Bloody Mary (spicy!!) and the 209 Martini w Point Reyes blue cheese stuffed olives. It is one of the best cocktails in Santa Cruz. Sophisticated, classy, simple, smooth. Umm...

Basically, Aquarius menu is a fresh if safe entry point to the Monterey Bay local food scene. There is something for almost everyone- including pasta with "absolutely nothing green" for the munchkins, though the menu definitely leans toward the middle of the road.

Service: Locals and visitors alike will appreciate rarely having to wait for a table. Once seated, however, you can sit for long periods over empty plates with no server to collect dishes or bring the check for no apparent reason ( one other table in the place). That shouldn't happen. Getting food service in the bar can also be a painful experience.

Playing it safe with the menu isn't so surprising considering It IS a hotel restaurant. Being able to valet park (for free w validated ticket) and not having to wait 30min. before being seated is a huge plus in Santa Cruz. I've been many times and will keep coming back. But I do always wish the menu were a bit more interesting.

Personally, I would like to see them bring back the cotton candy finish.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MonarchX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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273 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“wonderful dinner(s)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

Have had 3 mouth watering dinners @ Aquarius - the menu had varied choices, the flavors blend wel, the meal was nicely plated and the staff was professional - friendly (they anticipate vs. having to ask). Its not inexpensive. Thre was not any noise factor. Valet service was a +: they borught the car to the exit door.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank patti b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hayward, California, Usa
Level Contributor
158 reviews
114 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Anniversary Weekend”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2014

I started to rate this place very Good and adjusted the rating to Average. The valet parking was a plus. The noisy cocktail lounge was a negitive. In the bar it was hard to hear the singer over the din. We were far enough away in the restaurant to not be greatly impactied by the noise. The only real highlight on the Prix Fixe Valentine's Day menu was the lobster bisque. Our waiter was excellent. The wide view of the Santa Cruz wharf, the Boardwalk and the beach was very nice and made the night special. We took the desserts home and enjoyed them immensely the next morning for breakfast. Are we bad or what?

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Robert O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Staff!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2014

We attended a Memorial Service there recently. I was taken by the friendliness of one wait staff. I believe her name was Ana. She was so gracious with humoring me and finding out what was in that sauce :-)

Visited January 2014
1 Thank Wyisa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Monterey, California
Level Contributor
148 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Just not good”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2014

My husband & I went here for a Christmas evening drink & light meal. First we ordered cocktails, I ordered a premium cocktail, from their special cocktail menu, because one of my favorite rums was featured in it, & the bartender made it with his well rum and did not say anything about it, I refused the drink. My husband ordered a Brandy Sidecar, the bartender went around asking people how to make it, then came back to us to ask what was in it (in case you don't know it's Brandy, Lemon Juice, & Cointreau, easy enough & something anyone with a smartphone could find out.) Once we realized the bartender was struggling we ordered the most basic cocktails we could, they were served to us in glasses that were not full & had no garnish, it really was just sub-par for any lounge/bar. We ordered food from their "Special Thanksgiving Day Menu" no that is not a typo, that was what the menu read. We ordered a Caesar Salad & a Burger to share, they both came out at different times, the salad was tiny for the $10 price, not an entree, more like a starter salad. When the burger came out it had no condiments and was cooked until there was absolutely no juice left in it, the outside was chard and unseasoned. If it had not been Christmas we would have sent back the burger & asked to speak to a manager about our experience, something we almost never do.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank AEreviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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