Aquarius - Dream Inn
Aquarius - Dream Inn

Aquarius - Dream Inn

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.aquariussantacruz.com/
  • Phone: 8314605012
  • 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
53 reviews since May 19, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.1
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
scenic view (49)special occasion (27)romantic (26)fit for foodies (18)good for groups (14)great for brunch (12)neighborhood gem (10)vibrant bar scene (10)great for lunch (9)kid-friendly (7)notable wine list (6)hot spot (4)late-night find (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Birthday celebration
    Jill
    Dined on 4/3/2014
    A beautiful setting viewing the beach and pier. Excellent food and good service. We had to ask for a dessert menu and we enjoyed a chocolate delight.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food! Gorgeous views!
    Rachela2010
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    I've come to Santa Cruz every year in July for the past 20 years and had never been to Aquatius. I am so happy we finally found this gem. The service was outstanding, food was amazing (I ordered the King Salmon), and the views are to die for. Such a fun atmosphere. I will be back. I have a feeling this is going to be a new tradition for myself and my family.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, wonderful service,
    Nickname
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    Great food, wonderful service, but scant selec tion of vegeatarian dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A romantic view in Santa Cruz
    SantaCruz1stTimer
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    I went off Yelp reviews about this place mostly because I wanted a romantic vibe with a view. And this place delivered. I timed my reservation for sunset, so that the sun was setting and the sky turned with beautiful blue-gray clouds. I didn't actually see the sun on the ocean though, that may not be viewable from the restaurant. I requested a romantic table by the window on my reservation request, and I'm not sure if they really read it, but we got seated at a nice corner table. There is a large square pillar in the corner, so it wasn't a full panoramic view, but still good nonetheless. The food itself was decent. Calamari was delicious, pacific albacore was dry though, and scallops were good too. Service was good and friendly!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The food was excellent. While
    JasonSFRN
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    The food was excellent. While the chowder was the best I've ever had, I can not recommend the calamari. It was dry and bland. Other than that everything else was amazing. Great wine selection. The view was amazing and completely romantic.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding experience...food,
    Susan
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Outstanding experience...food, wine, service, ambiance.... every time! A favorite!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice night out!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/8/2014
    We went out with another couple. Everyone enjoyed their meal (the veggie pasta, hangar steaks and rib eye steaks), the service was good and we had a lovely table by the window overlooking Steamers Lane. A very delightful evening with good friend, good food and service.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good food, but...
    kathyv
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    I recently had family members gathering for out of town guests, and the dining staff was extremely accomodating. I thought the food was really good. But, (and this is my fault) I neglected to ask the corkage fee for the two bottles of wine that we brought with us. The fee for EACH was TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS, making a total charge of $50.00. I was stunned. I understand charging to open a bottle, maybe even $25 for the first (which is still off-the-charts high) but the second? No extra glasses, no extra effort except to pull a cork. SC is in the heart of some of the best wine growers and regions that California has to offer. Do we have to get scalped for carrying in wine, when 10 people are ordering other drinks and food? Unfair!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great View--Great Food
    Mikemarcia
    Dined on 12/28/2013
    We were given a corner table with a superb view of the beach, wharf & boardwalk. The food was wonderful except that I ordered shrimp Louis with Louis dressing & was given French or viniagrette dressing. (The waitress was young & didn't know the difference.) She graciously returned my salad with Louis dressing. Really enjoyed the appetizers--clams. All & all, this was a wonderful restaurant that wasn't noisy & offered a great selection of food, an awesome view & a wonderful ambience. A hidden gem we never would have found were it not for our cell phones.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wanted to love it! But couldn't.
    Shaun
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    Had reservations Christmas Day at 7, got seated at 6:30. Prix fixe menu and by 6:30 they were already out of one main entree, substitution was offered but took forever. By desert, they were out of one choice, we had the sticky date pudding which was a stale, dry date muffin with a scoop of ice cream. By the time we left they were out of two appetizers, one entree and two deserts. We were at the beginning of the evening and there were a steady stream of people being sat after us. Really poor planning for a prix fixe menu and a hotel restaurant!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Christmas Dinner
    CTM1
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    Went for Christmas dinner and they were out of 3 of the 9 items on the prix fine menu. They were good at substitutions, and made up best as possible. Nice looking restaurant overlooking the water. Probably much better not on holiday.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing Christmas Dinner
    AnneVIP
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    Service was adequate but had to wait a lot in between courses. Restaurant had a pre fixe menu as to be expected for a holiday. Their regular chef must have had the night off though as food was very mediocre. Ordered prime rib at medium rare but no pink to be found. Desert could have been used for hockey puck. We were never even offered coffee. Then we watched another couple each make three attempts at a different dinner but finally left without eating.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Holiday Find
    MichelleH
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    Aquarius was open on Christmas Day, so what better way to celebrate and not cook? Met a friend who had a baby in tow and were treated wonderfully, the food was good, the Bloody Mary excellent. My only complaint was that the service was a wee bit slow, but then again it may have been due to less staff since it was Christmas Day.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Would go back for drinks only
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 12/19/2013
    Beautiful restaurant with an amazing view. Limited selection for vegetarians at lunch. I had the farmer's market vegetable wrap and it was just ok, nothing special. It came wrapped in a tortilla, which surprised me. The fries were really good, though. My table ordered a couple of dishes without cheese and the kitchen had to remake both. They weren't that busy, there was only one other party so I was surprised they screwed it up. Our drink order wasn't taken, we had to ask for drinks after our food came. I was expecting a little more from this place and that is why I took my department there for our annual Holiday lunch.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Feels like sitting on the beach
    EALo
    Dined on 12/16/2013
    Such a great ambiance and View....love to have lunch here with girlfriends. Took a friend out for her birthday and the staff was great. Let us take forever to chat and decide what to order. You can take your time here and not feel pressured to hurry. The food is always good, even though the menu is small. On this occasion, the staff comp'd our sodas in lieu of a dessert for the birthday girl, very nice of them! Love the pastrami sandwich, I usually go for the fish and chips or the chicken sandwich, yum!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, scenic view, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good Santa Cruz restaurant
    kathyv
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    I dined during the weeks before Christmas, and there were two large parties very close to us, so I'm sure the noise level is usually not that high. But the ambiance was lovely, views of the ocean and boardwark at night all combined to make it very special. The staff was exceptional; in fact, my dining companion got into a very long discussion (2 hrs) after dinner, and there was absolutely no pressure from the staff to move from our table, or to needlessly interrupt our very private discussion. We were checked on, but not intrusively. Very good experience there. The food was good-to-very good. The polenta fries were a bit on the oily side, but everything else was well prepared and tasty. I would deffinitely recommend.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Although the view is magnificent,
    Beachwoman
    Dined on 12/11/2013
    Although the view is magnificent, and the service great - the food was horrible. I had the grilled vege wrap, which was folded lettuce and hardly cooked zuchinni - yuck. My friend had a kale salad, which was raw. It should at least be wilted. Another friend had the calamari, which again, was not tenderized, and not well cooked. Food was so bad I only ate 1/2 the wrap --- didn't have any desire for the terrible food there.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service dissapointment
    Familyof7
    Dined on 11/10/2013
    The service was not good. I don't think the server smiled once. Also we had ricotta pancakes with torches bananas and candied walnuts. There were three small alices of bananas!!! Really for the price it wasn't worth it at all. It's a beautiful spot and lovely atmosphere, but the service and food were horrible.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Surprisely good food and reasonable
    KhatonVIP
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    I am usually skeptical of hotel food. However, the restaurants at Joie de Vivre have yet to disappoint and Aquarius was no exception. I loved the crab fritters. Instead of mayo, the crab was held together with the perfect amount of creme fraiche and the salsa to go along with deliciously spicy eventhough I thought it might not be a good combo. Plus you got 4 of them. The scallops with yogurt was yet another unusual combo that was better than expected. They came with a tasty little lemony salad. The brussel sprouts were good just not exceptional. This is a wonderful place for small plates that actually are not too pricey for their sized and very yummy. Right on the water, lovely live music in the background, eat here. It is a treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fresh quality
    CVgirlVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2013
    The calamari, mixed seafood pasta and the black truffle risotto were delicious! The seafood was so fresh, and cooked perfectly, the cream sauce was lite, and a real compliment to dish.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • View is spectacular, decor
    NotHard2PleaseVIP
    Dined on 10/20/2013
    View is spectacular, decor is attractive, service is so so, food was not good.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always wonderful
    Carolynweiss
    Dined on 10/15/2013
    You can count on Aquarius for delicious, fresh and sustainable ingredients. Also a very fun menu with lots of twists on the usuals. For the excellent food and beautiful scenery without a stuffy feel this place is worth every penny.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best SC restaurants
    Mariu
    Dined on 10/9/2013
    Great menu for the santa cruz week restaurant. Spectacular view and good service. Very good mango mojito.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, scenic view, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We had a very enjoyable evening
    Becky
    Dined on 10/8/2013
    We had a very enjoyable evening with friends. Food was delicious and plentiful. It seemed like the evening went by in a flash. Beautiful ocean views.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A wonderful experience
    Mamacita
    Dined on 10/8/2013
    What a fabulous meal at Aquarius! Roasted pears on arugula to start, pan seared scallops that melted in my mouth along with truffle infused risotto and crispy parsnip chips, ended with a creamy and delicious cheesecake. The servers were all friendly and genuine and the view of the beach and ocean was wonderful. While I didn't sit in the bar, passing through I found it also to be a beautiful setting and very vibrant. I highly recommend a visit!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Santa Cruz restaurant week
    FrancoiseVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2013
    We went to Aquarius during the SC restaurant week to try a new spot close to home. Friendly and professional staff,spectacular views from our table,we ordered the fixed menu. Fresh ,inventive, well presented dishes, we enjoyed our meal! The dessert was so good that we wish we had a second!! We brought our bottle of wine because we could not find a wine list online...corking fee of $25.00 Walking out, we talked to a couple ,sharing the good time we had and great food this restaurant offered during that week!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, scenic view, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • first time at restaurant
    localfirsttime
    Dined on 10/7/2013
    We chose to go to aquarius during Open Table week because none of us had dined there before. We were pleasantly surprised. We had heard that it was expensive, but had not heard anything about the quality of the food. The choices presented on the restaurant week union were all presented in a very pleasing way and all were delicious.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant week.
    Patrick
    Dined on 10/6/2013
    We went for the prix fix special for restaurant week. I got a petite filet and the 3 others in my party got the scallops. My steak was fine, though the potatoes on the side were dry and seemed almost like leftovers. All three of my friends thought their scallops were bland and had to ask for lemon wedges to add some acidity. The service was mediocre at best. It was difficult to get our servers attention even though it was only moderately busy, and he brought us a warm bottle of white wine. This is not a cheap restaurant and I would not go back unless I thought these hitches had been addressed.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Messed up reservation
    Birthday
    Dined on 10/6/2013
    The view is spectacular. (So is the noise level!) The menu is exciting and the food quite wonderful. There is a nice wine list and a friendly serving staff. However, it was my husbands 75th birthday and when we made our reservation we specifically asked for a window table and were assured it could be done. (We came for an early dinner to be sure the restaurant wouldn't be too packed to accommodate our request.). When we arrived the hostess quite breezily told us she was sorry, but "all the tables are good" . She also said we could wait (for over an hour) and they could "probably" give us a window then. We were disappointed and a little appalled that they didn't honor our prior conversation.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant Week Treasure
    3yrannvsry
    Dined on 10/5/2013
    I took my girlfriend to Aquarius as we had never been and heard that restaurant week invoked a $25 a person, 3 course meal. It was worth every penny. I will be back to try more of this delicious food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, late-night find, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable evening
    pamark
    Dined on 10/4/2013
    We had been meaning to try this restaurant and took advantage of the restaurant week offering to go. The food and cocktails were very good and the service was excellent. We had smoked salmon and a poached pear salad w/arugula and ricotta cheese, both very good. I think bleu cheese would have been a better choice that the ricotta but it was still good. Main course was one filet and one order of scallops, both good... although the medium rare filet was more on the medium well side. Dessert of chocolate brownie with ice cream was excellent. We would return to this restaurant again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant Week
    Nana
    Dined on 10/2/2013
    Fabulous selections, absolutely something for everyone!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome tourist
    Peter
    Dined on 8/18/2013
    Food was good waiter was nice but service was very very very slow They were not attentive
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Aquarius review
    NapaValleyWino
    Dined on 7/24/2013
    Great location, great scenery, great food. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful View
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/20/2013
    There isn't a bad seat in the entire restaurant. Parking can be a bit of a challenge if its busy.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, scenic view, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Hotel restaurant experience - ocean
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/20/2013
    Moderately good menu, but actual food better than average. Good hotel restaurant.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great experience
    SlowRunner
    Dined on 7/19/2013
    Service was outstanding, food was very good, a very enjoyable experience.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Average food
    Smc9
    Dined on 7/18/2013
    The service by Matt was great, but busboy needed help. The yellowtail entree, caesar's salad and bread were delicious, but my pork chop was overcooked and dried out. Disappointing dessert because the pastry was light and flaky and the apples cooked to perfection but it was ruined by the smothering of caramel and ice cream. Very good wine-generous pour. Overall good but a bit overpriced. Because it's in a hotel that caters to families I wouldn't choose this as a romantic spot unless you go later- we were there a 6:30. The views are beautiful. A jazz band was playing in the background which gave it a nice ambiance. Our meal was $96 with tip (2 entrees, 1 salad, 1 glass wine, 1 dessert).
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • will be back
    klb09
    Dined on 7/17/2013
    Parker was great. We want him to be our waiter again. Had fun sitting on the patio watching people go by.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect Lunch
    Clover12VIP
    Dined on 7/11/2013
    The food was great! service was excellent and the view was spectacular.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.