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 21, 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
  • Wonderful view, good food & service
    pretzel
    Dined on 6/30/2013
    Met for a 'reunion' brunch with several friends. Had mimosas and omelettes. One friend had fish tacos. Food was good, servers were nice and the view was divine.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great find
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/23/2013
    Fantastic location adjacent to wharf and boardwalk. Beautiful ocean views. Clam chowder was excellent as was the rib eye steak and seafood pasta. Service was attentive and friendly. We will go back the next time that we are in Santa Cruz.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Inconsistent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/21/2013
    This is a mixed review because we had several meals at Aquarius. The first night we had dinner and it was very disappointing. We ordered a rib eye steak medium rare and it came out medium well. This is not some hole in the wall restaurant and the chef should certainly know the difference between medium rare and medium well. The server was friendly but inattentive. They have a very limited wine list and charge a $25 corkage fee. The server opened the bottle and poured the first glass and that was it. The food and service at breakfast and at the bar however, was good. We ordered the same steak through room service and it was great. Zagat gave this place a 24. They must have come on a good night.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Father's Day Brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/16/2013
    We went there for Father's Day Brunch. Although we were seated right away, we did not get any service for at least 15 minutes. No water, coffee, etc. I had to ask the hostess to get us a server. When she finally assisted our table, she was very friendly, but disappeared a lot. The restaurant was not very busy so it surprised us. The food was very good, as was the ocean view. We would go back to give it another try. Maybe dinner.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Second visit in a row, staff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/24/2013
    Second visit in a row, staff had changed and fell short compared to the night before. The food that night was ok, but not more.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We appreciated the very attentive
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/23/2013
    We appreciated the very attentive and friendly staff, especially Lauren. Also the various dishes are evidence of an innovative Chef.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • No Cotton Candy???
    Cookiep77
    Dined on 4/21/2013
    I love this place! But what happened to the cotton candy at the end? Nevertheless, the food was impeccable and the cocktails were superb! Definitely recommend this place!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, kid-friendly, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Met business associate for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/14/2013
    Met business associate for dinner. Very good choice. Helpful friendly service, quiet, great location and conveniently located at their hotel.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food and location are
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 4/7/2013
    The food and location are fantastic. Sadly, the phrase "well, this is Santa Cruz" came up 10+ times as the servers -- bless their hearts -- were not up to the task. And the task was simply a basic brunch. That being said, I'd go back for the bloody mary and the view -- and I'd allow a lot of time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This is fourth time at Aquarius
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 3/31/2013
    This is fourth time at Aquarius Restaurant. It has always been one of my favorite restaurants and the view in beautiful. I was terribly disappointed this time. Last year, we had Easter Brunch at the Aquarius and there was a special menu and the meal was outstanding and delicious. I still remember the salmon. This year, we returned for Easter Brunch. The usual Sunday brunch menu was served and although would have been good on any Sunday, it was terribly disappointing for Easter. I had called the restaurant earlier in the week and was assured that the chef was preparing some special dishes for Easter, however this was not the case. I should have known as the website did not reflect any special menu for Easter (as it did last year)
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We visited the Aquarius on
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/29/2013
    We visited the Aquarius on a Friday night. Very expensive for mediocre food. Our server only had a few tables yet we rarely saw her. We asked for more bread twice and never received it. It took 15 minutes and 2 requests to get more lemons. Not a big deal if you are at Applebee's, you expect more when you pay $165 for 4 people.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Wine, Great Service,
    24HourHappyHour
    Dined on 3/28/2013
    GREAT Service. The food was very good. Not creative, but very good. The views canNOT be beat--and again, the service was fantastic. So all in all. I think this is a must-visit restaurant. The wine list is superb!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Tourist trap for folks with cash
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/24/2013
    Service was slow, not terribly responsive and not real friendly...food was average and over priced...view was awesome...another tourist trap in SC...but at least this one has more than fried calamari...next time we'll get real food somewhere else then go for a walk on the wharf and skip Aquarius
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Matt was our server and he
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/21/2013
    Matt was our server and he was very nice and helpful. The strip steak was a little tough even though I ordered it medium however it had a good flavor. It came with mashed potatoes and carrots which were very good. We also ordered the Cesar salad which was awful and the Mac n cheese was very bland, salt and pepper didn't help much. For dessert we had the apple tartlet with vanilla ice cream which was very tasty. We had a window table which made our view spectacular. Everyone was very nice I just wished our food was better especially spending $70
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice job Acquarius
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/17/2013
    The service and food was one of the best we have experienced in the 8 years we have lived in Santa Cruz. This was our second visit, so I know it wasn't a fluke. Last time was great too. Our server was of the ilk of "professional waitor", and was personable as well. The bartender knew what they were doing too! Every staff member acknowledged us and smiled -- that was awesome!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 3/16/2013
    The view is beautiful, the service was friendly, the room is very pretty. These do not make up for poor food at the prices they are charging.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Calamari was not crispy enough,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 3/10/2013
    Calamari was not crispy enough, however, when mentioned at the meal end, cost for same deleted from our bill. Great service, both by dining crew and by house policy
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A lovely view but our server
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/10/2013
    A lovely view but our server was inattentive. Another server came to ask if we were being served and offered to bring us drinks while we waited for our server. We asked to take our time and ordered a first course but she removed our menus to make that difficult. Our bread came after my guest had finished his soup and the server quipped "well better late than never". The food was only fair.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The entire experience was
    Shels
    Dined on 3/9/2013
    The entire experience was fabulous. I requested a bottle of sparkling wine at the table upon arrival and let them know it was our anniversary. They had a nicely selected bottle of Mumm waiting for us and sat us at the window overlooking the beach. The service was excellent and food delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were a party of four and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/23/2013
    We were a party of four and everyone thoroughly enjoyed our meals. We started with a shared appetizer of fried calamari which was accompanied with a luscious lemon aioli sauce. Next course was cesar salad with plump white anchovies (my favorite), tomato soup (smooth and fresh flavored) and clam chowder (delicious). Followed by Shrimp and Clam pasta (bowls were licked), Mahi Mahi and seared Scallops. The fish and scallop dishes were accompanied by unique sides that were both colorful and delicious. The basket of hot fresh bread was from a local bakery and was served with butter and/or olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The portions were just right not too large, so one person had a lovely creme brûlée
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • service outstanding.
    dortsVIP
    Dined on 2/23/2013
    Service was wonderful, love it when servers are smiling all the time! food is good. Our friends really enjoy the beet salad. We enjoyed ourselves, were not rushed. Plenty of choices,everything prepared perfect. Will go back when we can see the ocean.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Honestly wonderful food. I
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/17/2013
    Honestly wonderful food. I had the chicken and it was delightful. The ambiance and the atmosphere wa excellent.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The restaurant is very nice
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/16/2013
    The restaurant is very nice and has a gorgeous view. The staff was friendly and the food was delivered on time. Great atmosphere and the live music was a definite plus. Loved the pillows. It was a really really nice place. The food on the other hand was a bit flavorless except for the bisque. Bisque was great. Personally, I would not recommend the restaurant because I believe that you should be paying for the food instead of the ambiance.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My boyfriend and I came here
    dineaholic
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    My boyfriend and I came here the day after Valentine's Day and although it was a slow day, the service was great and the food was very good. My mashed potatoes were the best I've ever had, too! Hopefully I'll be returning soon.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Aquarius, lovely dining experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2000VIP
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    We always enjoy our visits to Aquarius and our Friday night dining experience was no exception. Our server Lauren was terrific! Very personable and professional, with great recommendations on the menu. Our dinners were outstanding, beginning with the Dungeness Crab Wontons and then enjoyed the Sweet Gem Caesar Salad and Grilled Hangar Steak. My husband especially enjoyed the Ceviche and the chocolate cake for dessert. Since we were celebrating a belated birthday and belated Valentine's Day and as requested, we were seated at a table along the window overlooking the beach and ocean. All in all a fabulous evening at Aquarius!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Friendly staff, nice views
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Friendly staff, nice views and very good meal. Service was very good, with slightly more attention needed to get to outstanding level, but better than many Santa Cruz restaurants. All food dishes were outstanding, fresh and well presented. Couldn't give it 5 stars until I go back and try other items. Then, if the same quality of food is delivered again, they'll definitely get the 5 stars. Very happy to have another quality location nearby. Will make reservations again and go back to try the bar and another meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great remodel done from the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Great remodel done from the old Dream Inn! Went on Valentine's Day at 9:30 and the place was packed with couples. This is a great place to take your significant other for a nice dinner and your whole family/crew for lunch overlooking the bay. Service was a little slow at first, but I attribute that to it being a full house. The chowder is excellent, the rib eye was cooked perfectly, and the shrimp and clam pasta was OK. The wine list was a little small, but she still found a glass she enjoyed. The gin and tonic came in the smallest glass I've ever seen and filled to the brim with ice, so it took a couple to do the trick. All in all, great place to try day or night.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I took my date here for Valentine's
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    I took my date here for Valentine's day... left a special note to give us a table by the ocean view, and we got one! The food was outstanding. I can see why their clam chowder is award winning, you MUST TRY IT!! Me and my girlfriend were amazed! They gave all ladies a free rose too!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food was uneven. I had
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    The food was uneven. I had a beet salad with pistachios and goat cheese, which had 2 pistachios on it and way too much cheese. Also had seared scallops and they were slightly undercooked. My husband had fried Calamari which was average and a bean salad that he really liked. The ambiance is very nice. I would go back for lunch or brunch because the view is one of the best in Santa Cruz and the service is excellent.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent food, a bit pricey
    Larry
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Excellent food, a bit pricey but worth it. Go before sunset so you can see the wonderful ocean before it gets dark. Otherwise you'll just see everyone's reflection in the windows.Service was prompt, efficient, and courteous. Good drinks and good wine selection, although a bit over priced. We opted to bring a bottle of our own good wine and paid the $15 corkage fee. If you choose to bring your own wine, check out the menu ahead of time so you can bring the right bottle of wine. The web site has a link to their wine menu but there is no list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Valentine's Day Prix Fixe, Aquarius
    snewwithyouVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Aquarius is going for the elegant dining experience and delivers on ambience and beach/seashore/Santa Cruz wharf view. The food, while good, was not outstanding, however. My husband's crab cake appetizer was so-so. My dishes were excellent until dessert. The creme brulee was served in a lumpy, unappetizing heap on the plate and was as tasty as it looked. My husband's very small cupcake was a tad dry. The hefty prices also did not match the very skimpy portions of every course. If charging this much and serving this little, the taste experience better be exceptional. Alas, it was not.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful Dinner With Ocean View
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/9/2013
    A beautiful venue on the Santa Cruz beach. Beautiful room with big windows with view of the wharf and ocean. Good selection of food - we had salmon and chicken - both excellent. Price was reasonable
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Terrible service, blah food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/7/2013
    Given the immense great feedback on this restaurant, I really can't agree. While it does have a great view by day, at nite it's nothing. I went on a Thursday evening. Service was not only terrible but also unapologetic. I was just served 1 glass of wine in the 90 minutes there (which sat empty half the time), and empty plates on our table went unattended for more than 20 minutes. The manager walked by 3 times and ignored us until finally the 3rd time when he met my partner's stare of death. But no apology, and certainly none from the server either who never came back to offer us desert. We were given the wrong check and then were told that WE were wrong!!! Will not come back for dinner until there's new management.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We always return!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    Greeted with smiles and a special view table for my husband's birthday, this spot always pleases us. Surprising him with their signature wonton crab cakes was an unexpected treat. Always accommodating, an imaginative chef, creative dishes you can count on, and a service staff extraordinaire means we LOVE it!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I felt the server was a little
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/4/2013
    I felt the server was a little out of place and did not know what he was doing. He seemed like he was new as he did not even ask what we would like to drink and forgot to bring my drink until i reminded him. After which he seemed extremely everwhelmed. The food was great but the meat was cooked under what i asked and my wifes was overcooked. Not sure if it was a communication error with the server and kitchen. Other than those things i did like the food. The scallops were amazing and my wife and I both loved the Clam Chowder.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Worth staying at the beach to dine
    GlenVIP
    Dined on 2/2/2013
    Tremendous remodel of the Dream Inn by Joi de Vivre and the Aquarius restaurant is a nice to finish it off. Wall of glass for watching the ocean and the pier. Very romantic and the food was excellent, fresh and creative. Strongly recommend. So much better than the average waterfront tourist trap.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Although the prices are on
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 1/31/2013
    Although the prices are on the high end. The food was excellent, as was the service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Was pleasantly surprised to
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 1/27/2013
    Was pleasantly surprised to find that although it is an upscale, elegant restaurant for Santa Cruz, Aquarius is welcoming to small children (20 month old). They had a kids menu, drawing paper, crayons, appropriate drinking cups, booster seats, and high-chairs. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Food delicious was as usual and the winter prix fixe menu on Sunday and Wednesday nights makes dining here a real bargain. The view is spectacular. My guests were impressed.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I found out about Aquarius
    SRVlocal
    Dined on 1/26/2013
    I found out about Aquarius on Yelp when I was looking for a romantic dinner in Santa Cruz, and I am very glad I found out about it. It's right on Cowells beach next to the boardwalk, but is a lot classier then anything else you will find around the area. It's not full of tourists in flipflops. At night they light the beach so you can watch the waves crash as you enjoy dinner which I really enjoyed. The food/service was great. I highly recommend the ceviche to start. La Costanera in Montera has had my favorite ceviche, but Aquarius have my new favorite. Their waiting staff is also quite enjoyable. They were very pleasant and friendly and not stuck up at all. We enjoyed a few laughs. I highly recommend Aquarius
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service was friendly, food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 1/24/2013
    Service was friendly, food was bland. They brought my wife a wine glass with lipstick from the previous guest still on it. Restaurant was too cold.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic