Aquarius - Dream Inn
175 West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060Neighborhood:
SeafoodPrice: $31 to $50
Aquarius - Dream Inn
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.aquariussantacruz.com/
- Phone: (831) 460-5012
- Hours of Operation:
BREAKFAST: Monday - Saturday: 7:00am - 11:30am
LUNCH: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:00pm
Saturday: 11:30am - 3:00pm
BRUNCH: Sunday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
DINNER: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Organic, Seafood, Californian
- Executive Chef: Craig Mattox
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
- Private Party Facilities: We offer a semi Private Dining Room for 10 amidst wine cellar.
- Private Party Contact: Gus Siggins 831 316 5061x
- Entertainment: Live Jazz with The Minus Third Trio, Thursdays form 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Sounds of Brazil with Trio Passarim, Saturdays from 7 pm to 10 pm
- Special Events: For information regarding our banquet rooms, please contact Aurora Smith at (831)460-5008
A word from Aquarius - Dream Inn
Aquarius Restaurant offers spectacular oceanfront dining just off the beach in Santa Cruz, and is locally renowned as one of Santa Cruz's top dining destinations. The restaurant and lounge is truly a "window box on the sea", allowing guests to experience a panoramic views that stretches north to one of the nations top surf spots – Steamer Lane, south to the majestic Monterey Bay and Peninsula and East to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The cool and breezy interior is especially romantic at night when the moon casts its glow onto the sea. Our California Coastal Cuisine is inspired by fresh and local products and produce, including local sustainable seafood, complemented by a regional wine list. Aquarius is a proud supporter of Fish Watch program, promoting sustainable seafood and clean oceans.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Aquarius - Dream Inn - Best Restaurants in Santa Cruz ›
Aquarius - Dream Inn reviews from OpenTable diners
35 reviews since July 23, 2014
- Ambiance4.5Noise LevelModerate
scenic view (32)special occasion (21)romantic (20)fit for foodies (14)good for groups (10)great for brunch (8)neighborhood gem (8)vibrant bar scene (7)great for lunch (6)notable wine list (4)kid-friendly (4)hot spot (3)late-night find (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
- OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 11/8/2014The menu is small, but all of the items we ordered were elegantly presented, well-conceived and were very tasty. Service was very attentive. Very good specialty cocktail selection and better than average wine list.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great view at AquariusBobbiKDined on 11/8/2014We stayed at the Dream Inn and decided to have dinner at the attached restaurant - Aquarius. The service was very good and just the right amount of friendly. It is right on the beach and we had a great view of the Santa Cruz Wharf and Boardwalk. We started dinner with clam chowder - very rich and creamy. I had the hanger steak, which was just okay. I know other reviewers really liked it, but to me it didn't have a lot of flavor. The chimmichurri sauce that came with it tasted like grass. My husband had the scallops and really liked them. I am a dessert person but nothing on their menu thrilled me. Does everyone have to have a creme brûlée, a flourless chocolate cake, and a brownie sundae on their menu? Where is the originality?Special Features:
- Aquarius staff not well informedLuv2socialDined on 10/27/2014I interfaced w Aquarius 3 times...requested a window table for the view 3 times; reservation was for 6P for a party of 7 (down from 8). We are a book club, told the members we could meet 5:30P at the bar, when I arrived at 5:40P the group was already seated, but not by a window. The person that seated the group said that due to restaurant week a group of that size had to be seated by 5:30P. NOt once in my 3 interfaces w Aquarius (I called to reconfirm per their request in the afternoon and was never told about the 5:30P seating ,reiterated again the request for the window table). I am very disappointed. Where we were seated, I could not hear the group discuss the book.Special Features:
- Stunning view!JefraDined on 10/27/2014Early evening was a nice time to come to catch sunset colors on the Boardwalk and Steamer's Lane. The Tuscan Bean soup was pretty good, as was the gnocchi dish. My boyfriend's petite Filet Mignon was pretty good as well. Wine was also pretty good. I think you're really paying for the view. Service was friendly, but people tried to take my unfinished soup dish away about 15 times and that got to be annoying. The red wines by the glass selection could definitely be stepped up.Special Features:
- Great Choicemms1Dined on 10/26/2014This was our first visit, taking advantage of Restaurant Week, and we were very happy about our experience. The atmosphere was cozy, and the food, service, and view were all great. Definitely a keeper for special occasions.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Amazing experiencehulawahine05Dined on 10/25/2014This is the second time we dined at Aquarius, both during restaurant week. The first time was the year it opened and the food was not good. We decided to try it again this year and were very impressed. The cocktails were good though too expensive. All of the food was amazing, especially the dense peanut butter mousse. We will return again, though will not drink.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Really good food and fabulous viewEricVIPDined on 9/6/2014I was a little concerned about the restaurant when I saw it was in a hotel; thinking it might be overblown and not great. I was wrong. The food was really good and the view outstanding. I loved that it was so close to the Boardwalk; we took a stroll there after dinner. My only issues were that our table wasn't ready when we got there for our reservation (but it was a Saturday night and they had a large party) and it was pretty loud-particularly in the bar. If you are sensitive to noise, you may be uncomfortable. I would go back again because the view and food outweighed the noise.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A real find....BoxcarDined on 9/2/2014The view is perfect. The pier, the boardwalk and the coast. Stunning. The service great, and the wine selection outstanding. I am however saddened the menu is not a bit more varied. I had the Ribs, and they were great, but I ordered then because nothing else appealed to me on the Dinner Menu. In addition, the appetizer menu was short, and needed a bit more tradition fare.....like a great shrimp cocktail or a hot bowl of fondue. Still, the view is to die for and the service including valet parking top notch.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DisappointedPuchDined on 8/30/2014Found reservations for four last minute on labor day. We had a great table with a view of the beach/ocean. Our server was very attentive and helpful with menu explanations. After diner we left, disappointed with our meals. The Salmon was not fresh and very dry and hard, the crab risotto had an over whelming crab taste, the ahi tuna was nicely cooked and tasty, the four small scallops and corn was fine. None of the diners left us with "that was a great diner" feeling sorry to say. For the price we all thought it would be a great place to catch a drink and have an over priced appetizer, and enjoy the view.Special Features:
- I am impressed!!franKVIPDined on 8/21/2014And I do not impress easily!! I had been here several times a few years ago and it was a bit tired, so-so food, hit/miss kitchen but at the request of the Birthday Boy, I used my OpenTable account and got a table for 4. Just about everything we ordered, from a burger to scallops and salmon and steak was really good!! Polenta 'fries' yummy, scallops tender and tasty...my not-so little burger was spot on!! The servers were wonderful, we brought a cake and they helped right out plating it. Very nice!! Congratulations for pulling a D+ kitchen into the A and B+ range!! Live music was a bit strange with the amps bouncing sound in the wrong places but I'm sure they'll take care of that little problem. We will be back!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Amazing view with good foodOpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 8/18/2014This is a hotel restaurant with great ambiance and amazing beach/pier view. The food is good, but not amazing. As one previous reviewer noted they don't know how to serve Burrata (which I love). It was say too cold and therefore solid in the middle- not at all what you love Burrata for that liquid creamy middle. I had scallops which were very good and my husband had salmon which he like but did not love. We are from the Bay Area so spoiled when it comes to great food at fair prices.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Aquarius continues to pleasesnewwithyouVIPDined on 8/17/2014My husband and I had a delicious and satisfying dinner at Aquarius, where the staff were friendly and attentive, the view and ambience relaxing, and our overall experience the perfect end to our weekend. We were happy with the menu changes that had occurred since the last time we'd dined there, and enjoyed the new choices we made, my husband the crab risotto and me the scallops with corn and pea shoots. The hummus with basil was a perfect appetizer, my dirty martini just the start to take the edge off my hectic day. My husband enjoyed the beet salad, and I actually liked my black kale salad. Kale is often a challenge for me. My hat's off to the kitchen at Aquarius. Keep up the good work!Special Features:
- AmigoDined on 8/16/2014So nice, friendly, super food. The manager is awesome and all the staff were very nice!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- tremendous serviceSCruzlocalgalDined on 8/2/2014I have been to this restaurant a few times now and each time I have had excellent service. This is hard to come by in Santa cruz. Staff is friendly and truly accommodating. This last time I brought my friends for a bb shower. It was lovely. Shout out to Emma and Peggy. I left one star off food because of bony fish taco.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great view!csufsteveDined on 7/26/2014Fun and energetic decor. Food was good, though Mom felt her burger was bland. Server was great about being responsive and accommodating of requests. But honestly, who can beat that view!Special Features:
- Eat with a Sand and Sea ViewOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 7/25/2014The restaurant was really nice, great views and friendly wait staff. We ordered quite a bit of food to taste everything. The big hit was the octopus appetizer and truffle risotto. Our swordfish and salmon were thinly cut and a bit overcooked for our taste because we like it rare in the center. The fried oyster appetizer was not to our liking and the waiter took it off our tab.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The following 459 reviews are from the Aquarius - Dream Inn reviews archive.
- Great view and excellent eatsJoeDinerDined on 7/20/2014This hotel restaurant was a nice surprise as it was not too large, nice and quiet, had a beautiful view of the wharf and beach, attentive service and 5 star food. The server was pleasantly accommodating to dietary restrictions and our seafood dishes were perfectly prepared and portions were just right. Prices were in line with the location and quality of the food. I really have no complaints, and that is rare.Special Features:
- Exceptional ExperiencelovethebeachDined on 7/20/2014We went on an early Sunday evening to celebrate our 51st anniversary. We have been to Aquarius many times. This time was the best ever. We had the best table for 2, looking out to the entire beach area. Our waiter was very caring. The food that I had was one of my best meals ever. The albacore was cooked perfectly and the cilantro risotto was outstanding. I came home and started looking for cilantro risotto recipes. The creme brulee was perfect. They comped us one of the desserts for our anniversary. The free valet parking is also a fine feature.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Awesome location, great foodJohnDined on 7/4/2014Awesome location, great food, service was also good. Unfortunately also really loud yelling kids! I should have known on a holiday weekend. Still a good experience.Special Features:
- Aquarius reviewFleenorVIPDined on 6/27/2014Beautiful place, great view, great service but food not so good. Combinations were weird ex, garbanzo beans with salmon, cilantro risotto, fish should have been much better, salmon ok tasting, albacore tuna was cooked medium rare, which I think is perfect, but even though it was cooked properly, it was dry, not tasty. We had a group of 8 who r world travelers & we all agreed that the food was just not very good. The best dish was the risotto with truffle.Special Features:
- Great placePrdarmywife03Dined on 6/21/2014The service and food was excellent. Very scenic and can't wait to go back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DelightfulOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/19/2014We both enjoyed our meals very much - especially the local, fresh additions - and Matt's service was fantastic. We appreciated, too, the consideration given to the gluten-free requests. Celiacs makes dining out a hazard; here we felt confident in the quality and tastiness of both meals.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/15/2014We really enjoyed spending Father's Day here, great food and service!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Aquarius-Santa CruzGraduationPartyDined on 6/15/2014Major complaint is host/hostess lost control of guests with and without reservations---some guests without reservations seated before those with reservations---confusion.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sea StunnerOuiniVIPDined on 6/9/2014Benefits include getting out of the sweltering Valley heat to the cool sea breezes and add a very friendly and competent wait staff serving interesting selections with an emphasis on the bounty of the sea that is just outside the panoramic windows of the restaurant. Dinner was well prepared and served and even breakfast was noteworthySpecial Features:
- EALoDined on 5/31/2014Great service as always....I had the King Salmon, it was excellent. My husbands fish was not, however the waiter handled it very tactfully. The ceviche appetizer was great, I had not had that one before. I have been to this restaurant on many occasions and very much enjoy it.Special Features:
- BeautifulhenneballDined on 5/31/2014Very beautiful scene of the ocean. Nice little place. Very friendly experience. Though intended to be more of an high end, romantic, adult place, my kids were not left out or starred at. Especially my little autistic child. He normal catches some stares from others. None at all though he was laying down, feet on the wall, etc... Overall, it was a very welcoming experience. Best of all, we did not feel any tensions though we were the only Asians in the entire restaurant, which is a definite plus. Definitely will recommend to all my friends that will visit Santa Cruz.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Beautiful views...OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIPDined on 5/30/2014... but the food was pretty uninspired. More uncle ben's than gourmet.
- DinnerBDdinerDined on 5/26/2014Great food, beautiful presentation and flavor. Service was perfect, our server provided just the right attention without being a botherSpecial Features:
- Not much on ambiancejoaneousVIPDined on 5/25/2014...but the food was good. The fish was cooked perfectly.Special Features:
- Beautiful View!OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIPDined on 5/25/2014We picked this restaurant to dine right on the water, so made sure to get a table near the window. You feel like you're right on the beach. We went light on the food, but made sure to get their clam chowder. It was tasty. I didn't feel their brunch menu had a ton of options, but I would go back.Special Features:
- Overpriced, but a nice spotRevSuzDined on 5/25/2014Went with friends for br/lunch. Menu was nice. Service was good. But I do think for what you get, it was too overpriced ($70+ for 3 of us with no alcohol.)Special Features:
- wonderful Sundaykt1710Dined on 5/18/2014we went for brunch and asked for the far windows which give a beautiful view of the cliffs and beach. The food was excellent and service was attentive but not intrusive. there was no rushing and overall a delightful experience.Special Features:
- Good food…beautiful restaurant...JulieDined on 5/11/2014We had dinner there for Mother's Day, and the food was excellent. The restaurant, very modern, stylish and clean. We had a beautiful view of the ocean. My husband said, "This is the best clam chowder I've ever tasted."Special Features:
- Nice ocean and beach views...SVMomof2Dined on 5/11/2014First and foremost, we had a nice family Mother's Day Brunch. Not a buffet brunch. The children's menu was perfect and the overall menu had some varied options so that everyone got something they wanted at reasonable prices. Nothing beats their view....But with that said, there were some exceptions that were "disappointing". First, they were not serving clam chowder soup, which is a staple on their regular menu and I was looking forward to having it...second, their inflexibility to rearrange seating so that we could have a different table and thirdly, the table we were seated at wasn't "finished" as it was lacking pieces of silverware. Overall, you can't beat their view and the food was good!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Needs more food optionsOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 5/9/2014Would love to see more vegetarian food on the menuSpecial Features:
- Lovely locale & Friendly ServiceSCFoodieVIPDined on 5/1/2014Aquarius is a lovely local Santa Cruz restaurant with a fabulous view, friendly & efficient service and good food. The appetizers we ordered were great including the beet salad, fried oysters, ceviche and calamari. The entrees were good but not great. The fish was overcooked and the pasta had a watery sauce. That said, the ambiance, service and great appetizers are enough to bring us back!Special Features:
- Nice placenightowlDined on 4/26/2014Great service and food. Our whole experience was positive from beginning to end. The hostess was nice and sat us right away. Our waitress was attentive and personable. The food was great and they had some really good options. The apple dessert is very good. We will be coming back again for sure.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lunch at AquariusfoodyDined on 4/18/2014I had not been to the Dream Inn for a long time when friends from Santa Cruz suggested we meet for lunch at Aquarius. I arrived to find the hotel much upgraded and the Aquarius a lovely, inviting space with gorgeous views of the beach and ocean. With so much change, I was sorry to see a menu that looked like it had passed through too many hands. I ordered the Buratta salad. It was disappointing. The Buratta had a nice olive oil and Balsamic vinegar dressing but the cheese was so cold it had little flavor. The arugula was perfect, but the Roma tomatoes were hard and flavorless. The service was good and the views, on this lovely day, were fabulous. I wish the food had matched the rest of the experience. JanetSpecial Features:
- GoodReenersVIPDined on 4/15/2014I love Aquarius. Usually the service is very good & it was this time. As a local, I love to bring friends because most don't even know it exists (!) & it's so beautiful. This time, I was disappointed in two things. (1) Fish tacos - were marginal at best. Blah.Nothing special. Salsa was bad. Chef, try the fish tacos at Johnny's @ the Harbor-much more interesting. (2) Two in party didn't want fry's w/sandwiches & asked for a sub. One had a side salad, one fruit. Both were fine BUT THE SERVER DID NOT MENTION ADDITIONAL COST. Come on. Seriously? I have to commend the server though,saw that we were celebrating a BD &offered a free dessert which we declined, & ordered coffee instead. Coffee was complimentary, which was VERY generous. Thank you.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.