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“The pinnacle of dining experiences”

Aquarius - Dream Inn
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Ranked #21 of 377 Restaurants in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$30 - US$60
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Bay Street
Reviewed 4 July 2014

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.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Todd1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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176 - 180 of 306 reviews

Reviewed 27 June 2014 via mobile

This restaurant is connected to a luxurious hotel what is right on the beach. Aquarius has a wonderful atmosphere that exudes class, its calming and soothing which fits right in to the beach side atmosphere. Large picture windows with tables seated next to them allows you to eat and also watch the waves roll in and out across the ocean. The staff was very friendly, attentive , respectful and kind. I found my experience here to be very pleasant and I would definitely recommend this to any of my friends or family for having a nice evening meal. I I had the wild local salmon laid on a bed of greens chickpeas and other vegetables I also had the vanilla bean creme brulee with a ice wine it was absolutely decadent and delicious which was a wonderful finish of my day in a perfect way.

1  Thank Nina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014 via mobile

ok service and good food.
Only issue was my steak: The order was saignant (also medium/rare). The waiter (matt) confirmed that. When I received my steak I received it WELL DONE. I showed the steak to the waiter and he confirmed my perception.

Everybody else was happy with their food. The steak was not bad, but not nearly the way I like it.

What I didn't like that we god fully charged for the steak - I would assume that a restaurant with style would apologies in one way or the other. Anyhow a cozy place!!

Thank sirius324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014

We were so impressed with this restaurant. The service was impeccable and the decor was modern and upbeat. It didn't hurt that we had a great view of the ocean. We were there to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday, with a small group. The salmon was memorable and their art in plating is incredible. After dinner, we walked along the beach, footsteps away. We will definitely be back.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Debbiedisneyfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

We only had breakfast there the 2 days we were staying at the hotel. They had a nice selection and everything was very good. Presentation was great. Staff was super friendly. Try to get a window table (beach side).

Thank jennifero55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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