I would give six stars for Aquarius if I could.
My wife and I have dined at the Aquarius many times over the past 10 years and generally enjoyed it. It's been fairly consistent, although two years ago, the food quality seemed to have suffered a bit.
Fortunately that's changed and I must say that the cuisine and dining experience at Aquarius has reached a new high! The new chef, Craig Mattox has reinvigorated the menu. And the service was most friendly and attentive.
The cocktails were outstanding -- the bar has been rechristened the Jack O'Neil lounge, honoring the local surf shop and wetsuit pioneer, now in his 90s. Surfboards and photos of the crustily bearded and patch-eyed O'Neil add to the ambience.
My wife and I started with the cornmeal-fried oysters. The light batter, with watermelon, radish, carrot and celery root garnish, added the perfect texture, allowing the full fresh flavor of the delectable oysters to stand out. My kale salad was very delicate, with a parmesan vinaigrette and pickled vegetables. For the main course, I had the swordfish and polenta. Swordfish can often be dry, but Aquarius makes it savory and moist. My wife had the perfectly done sea scallops, with herb roasted mushrooms and peas.
The following morning, after an invigorating beach run and dip in the ocean, we had our favorite brunch at Aquarius -- the huevos rancheros. With their crisp tortillas, savory black beans and freshly sliced avocado topping, nobody in Northern California does them better.
The food alone merits five stars, but the incomparable view of the ocean, beach and cliffs calls for a sixth.
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