Aquarius - Dream Inn
Aquarius - Dream Inn

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

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Bay Street
  • Parking: Hotel Parking
  • Parking Details: Hotel parking lot across the street from The Dream Inn, or complimentary valet parking.
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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Aquarius - Dream Inn reviews from OpenTable diners
35 reviews since July 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.2
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
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 2005VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great view at Aquarius
    BobbiK
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We 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:
    great for brunch, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Aquarius staff not well informed
    Luv2social
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Stunning view!
    Jefra
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    Early 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:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Choice
    mms1
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing experience
    hulawahine05
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Really good food and fabulous view
    EricVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A real find....
    Boxcar
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    The 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:
    late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Puch
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Found 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:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I am impressed!!
    franKVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    And 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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing view with good food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    This 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:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Aquarius continues to please
    snewwithyouVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    My 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amigo
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    So nice, friendly, super food. The manager is awesome and all the staff were very nice!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • tremendous service
    SCruzlocalgal
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    I 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:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great view!
    csufsteve
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Fun 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:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Eat with a Sand and Sea View
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    The 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 19 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 23, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 459 reviews are from the Aquarius - Dream Inn reviews archive.
  • Great view and excellent eats
    JoeDiner
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    This 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Exceptional Experience
    lovethebeach
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    We 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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome location, great food
    John
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    Awesome 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:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Aquarius review
    FleenorVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Beautiful 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:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great place
    Prdarmywife03
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    The service and food was excellent. Very scenic and can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delightful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    We 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    We really enjoyed spending Father's Day here, great food and service!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Aquarius-Santa Cruz
    GraduationParty
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Major complaint is host/hostess lost control of guests with and without reservations---some guests without reservations seated before those with reservations---confusion.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sea Stunner
    OuiniVIP
    Dined on 6/9/2014
    Benefits 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 noteworthy
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • EALo
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Great 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:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Beautiful
    henneball
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Very 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:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful views...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    ... but the food was pretty uninspired. More uncle ben's than gourmet.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dinner
    BDdiner
    Dined on 5/26/2014
    Great food, beautiful presentation and flavor. Service was perfect, our server provided just the right attention without being a bother
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not much on ambiance
    joaneousVIP
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    ...but the food was good. The fish was cooked perfectly.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Beautiful View!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    We 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:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Overpriced, but a nice spot
    RevSuz
    Dined on 5/25/2014
    Went 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:
    great for brunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • wonderful Sunday
    kt1710
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    we 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:
    great for brunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food…beautiful restaurant...
    Julie
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    We 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:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice ocean and beach views...
    SVMomof2
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    First 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:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Needs more food options
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Would love to see more vegetarian food on the menu
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely locale & Friendly Service
    SCFoodieVIP
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Aquarius 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:
    Scenic View
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice place
    nightowl
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Great 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:
    Romantic, special occasion, Scenic View, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lunch at Aquarius
    foody
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    I 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. Janet
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Scenic View
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good
    ReenersVIP
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    I 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:
    Scenic View
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.