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About 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 panoramic views that stretch 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.

175 West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Contemporary American, Organic, Californian

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

Cross Street:
Bay Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 740-8138

Website:
http://www.dreaminnsantacruz.com/santa-cruz-restaurants

Entertainment:
Live Jazz with The Minus Third Trio, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Parking Details:
Hotel parking lot across the street from The Dream Inn, or complimentary valet parking.

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
For information regarding our banquet rooms, please contact Aurora Smith at (831)460-5008

Aquarius - Dream Inn Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

3.9

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

3.7

service

3.9

ambience

4.5

value

3.4

Noise

Quiet

78% would recommend it to a friend

Scenic View (12)
Waterfront (10)
Special Occasion (9)
See All
Good for a Date (8)
Good for Birthdays (6)
Great for Brunch (6)
Sunday Lunch (6)
Live Music (5)
Local Ingredients (5)
Great for Lunch (5)
Romantic (5)
Good for Anniversaries (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Fit for Foodies (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
People Watching (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Business Meals (2)
Healthy (2)
Neighborhood Gem (2)
Organic (2)
Worth the Drive (2)
Casual (2)
Kid-friendly (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Fun (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Notable Wine List (1)
Spicy (1)
Cozy (1)
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761 reviews
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vip
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 2, 2012

Beautiful views. The new chef changed the menu a bit since our last visit...adding fish tacos! Yum! The service was friendly, informative and engaged. Everyone really seemed to care about making our experience a good one...very nice. The food was fresh, the flavor excellent and the view was perfect.

Tags: Good for Groups, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 1, 2012

Acoustics are terrible. Could not hold a conversation. Service was clumsy. Course dishes piled up. Room was very cold.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience3
service3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on September 30, 2012

Service overall here is poor, with this being the worst of several visits. Wait person forgot parts of order, did not offer coffee or anything after the meal among others. Hostess was rude when I was leaving and needed to get change for Valet and have them called. At least the bartender was good, he overheard it and stepped in to help. Final was overhearing the wait staff making a rude comment about a gratuity, clearly audible inteh bar.
Despite enjoying the view and atmosphere, think this one is off the repeat list.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Scenic View
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food3
ambience4
service1

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 29, 2012

Third meal here overall, we love it. The design of the restaurant maximizes the stellar view, and makes you feel like you're sitting right on the beach (without freezing, as is too often the case in Santa Cruz.) Food was excellent, I highly recommend the Dungeness Crab won-tons in ginger coulis. Mmmmm!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 22, 2012

I ate here for dinner and lunch. Honestly last time I was here it was really great. I had halibut that was overcooked, instead of flaky it was tough.The fennel in the dish was tough and inedible, (undercooked?) I cook this a lot and know how lovely it can be. They did take it back and comp me for the dish, but it all felt not so great overall.
The lunch was just okay...not great, not bad. I had fish tacos and the fish in them was a tiny portion (one ounce?!) with some runny black beans. It also was not that crowed for dinner and service was really slow.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Scenic View
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food2
ambience4
service3

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on September 22, 2012

I have been to Aquarius twice now and really enjoyed both meals. Great ocean and boardwalk views, friendly and efficient service and really good food. The atmosphere is comfortably casual, unpretentious but not sloppy. The staff and servers are welcoming and helpful. (Water glasses refilled attentively; thank you!) I have had fish entrees both times, and the fish was cooked perfectly, with tasty sauces and side dishes. My dining companions had steak; the NY steak formerly on the menu was tender and delicious; the hangar steak was also said to be very good (although a slightly small-ish portion for a guy). A great spot on the water in Santa Cruz.

Tags: Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on September 20, 2012

Nothing was bad, but nothing was great. Overall the experience was lackluster for the price. The burrata salad was the exception, it was very good. We mentioned to the waiter that our fish was dry and over cooked to which he just stood there looking kind if sad and shrugged he shoulder before just kind if walking away. He wasn't rude but he also didn't take the opportunity to improve our dinner. Also we first came in and were seated, they put us at a table away from the window. I asked if we could have one if the two available tables by the window. We were told those were reserved. By the time we finished our meal and were leaving, one if those tables was yet to have anyone seated at it.

Tags: Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food3
ambience4
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 16, 2012

After a late night in Great America I wanted to take my wife to a nice place to eat for our first year anniversary. We looked into dream inn-Aquarius and had a open reservation on a SUNDAY NIGHT 9:30pm come on who does that, and their staff were really polite, that night couldn't turned any better. BEST DINNER EVER. thank you for open late Aquarius.

Tags: Late-night Find, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 15, 2012

Best salmon I have ever eaten!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 14, 2012

outstanding service, beautiful interior, good distance between tables, terrific views
small but diverse menu, would definitely recommend

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 1, 2012

The food was pretty good, but some odd outcomes like Halibut on a bed of cold grains. The waiter assured us that is what the kitchen intended, but it didn't work and the fish cooled down fast. Otherwise, nice ambience and amazing view.

Tags: Special Occasion, Scenic View, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience4
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 29, 2012

Too many noisy kids made our anniversary not special. Mbut it is a vacation destination so comes with the territory.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Scenic View
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food4
ambience5
service5

 
 (Denver)·Dined on August 24, 2012

Would have been nice to turn the table so both of us could have the view. Although we didn't ask, there seemed to be enough room to offer. Even with guests on both sides of our table.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Hot Spot
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food3
ambience5
service3

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 20, 2012

Went for anniversary dinner. The staff was incredibly kind and welcoming. The food was very good. Maybe just a few more options in the seafood section would be helpful. My wife had the scallops and I had the halibut. Clam chowder was delicious. Get a glass of the Beauregard Pinot Noir and you're set.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Scenic View
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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (Austin)·Dined on August 18, 2012

We ate here numerous times during our stay at The Dream Inn in Santa Cruz. The corn and clam chowders were especially good, and their breakfasts were great, as were their lunches. One caveat, however: Their Caesar Salad with white anchovies might have been one of the most bland I've ever tasted. I'm no connoisseur, so I couldn't quite put my finger on what was missing. Lemon? Croutons? Not sure, but it was prepared with the freshest of lettuce I've ever tasted, so all was not lost. Saturday night was hectic, to say the very least, so I would recommend reservations, and if you're fortunate enough to be staying at The Dream Inn, you might consider room service so you can dine on your balcony where you can enjoy the roar of the surf.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience3
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 17, 2012

A gem of a restaurant in the Santa Cruz area with a spectacular view and very good food.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 14, 2012

The view of the Santa Cruz coastline matched the spectacular drinks and food. While this upscale restaurant is definitely geared towards adults, my children enjoyed their time there too. Overall, two thumbs up. If you want something different (and healthier) from the typical bar-and-grill scene in Santa Cruz, this is the place to go.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food4
ambience3
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 3, 2012

Great view. Food was good overall - my seared salmon was fantastic. The appetizers (crab wonton & calamari) weren't as good as entree, but they were fine. But I'd order salmon again, and try different apps. I recommend serving calamari with two sauces (add a cocktail one), not just the one white creamy one (that you'd probably call aioli).
The service was good until after dinner - then the waiter disappeared. We could see him helping a large group, then at a computer probably entering their order - but still, it was inappropriate how long he went without checking on us. I tried to flag down a bus person to no avail. Luckily, the manager saw this and came over and we explained we'd like our bill, which he promptly got.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food4
ambience5
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 2, 2012

The breathtaking views, is what this place is all about! Unfortunately, we did not enjoy the food, as it in lacked in flavor! I found myself salting everything and I NEVER add salt. If there were more spices on the table, I would have loved to add those as well! We ordered 2 appitizers, 2 salads, and 2 entrees, so I think we covered a good portion of the menu, and we were not happy with anything that we had ordered. I will say that our fish was cooked to perfection though, just needed a flavor boost to make me happy! I was most disapointed that we had to ask for bread 5 times, and it finally came at the end of the meal. Not a huge request, and at the end of my meal, no thank you, too late! Very disapointed for the price I paid!

Tags: Romantic, Scenic View
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food2
ambience5
service1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 25, 2012

Great spot to enjoy a relaxing meal!

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 21, 2012

Service can be improved...we had to literaaly call or look for waitress when we needed
her service.
Very limited parking space.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food4
ambience3
service3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on July 19, 2012

Daniel was our waiter and he was awesome. GREAT VIEW from all seats. Yummy food.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 13, 2012

The view is amazing, however how the tables are set up only half are able to see the view. I wish the tables were rotated 90°.

Tags: Scenic View
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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on July 8, 2012

We ate breakfast here. Best part of meal was the view and service from the food-server. The beverage guy did not realize that when he observed us pouring the cream in our coffee we lacked spoons. We had to ask for spoons and sugar. Food was average.

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food2
ambience4
service3

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on July 4, 2012

Clam Chowder soup was the best ever. Overall meal was absolutely delicious, but for $27 I did expect a better quality steak.

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food4
ambience5
service5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on June 18, 2012

Great food. My scallops and my husband's steak were both cooked perfectly.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on June 18, 2012

Our first time here, decided to try it for our anniversary dinner. Great location and view, but in an odd, sterile hotel building. Decor a bit dated and uninteresting. The food was worth the trip. We both enjoyed a very tasty and flavorful sea bass entree, which was memorable. The lobster roll appetizers were less so, and rather bland. The creme brûlée was over chilled and not the best I can recall. Our very pleasant waiter was either poorly trained or very inexperienced as he neglected to mention specials, and neglected to offer bread, or their signature cotton candy. Santa Cruz lacks any seriously fine dining experiences, and Aquarius is about the best you can expect. Patrons were dressed from sloppy to casual elegant. Many kids.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food5
ambience3
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 16, 2012

a fantastic view, comfortable setting and interesting but limited menu. We enjoyed our time there.

Tags: Scenic View
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food4
ambience5
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 3, 2012

great view, delicious and fresh seafood dishes, super cocktails, good wine list

Tags: Scenic View
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food3
ambience4
service3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on June 3, 2012

Service was weak, forgotten items, a bit I attentive, etc. Food was good, but not great, and at the prices could be better. On the service side, valet and hostess were excellent, on Jaime and very friendly, wish it had carried through dinner service.

Tags: Scenic View
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food3
ambience4
service2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 2, 2012

Being a local in a small town it's nice to be able to enjoy a nice dinner coupled with more than adequate ambiance while absorbing an incredible view.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Scenic View
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food4
ambience5
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on June 1, 2012

We were very happy with the food and service - everything was great. Highly recommend this is a great place to eat, if you can afford it. Although, there are plenty of places in town whose prices are similar but their food is not nearly as good.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food4
ambience3
service5

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined on May 31, 2012

We were looking for a special place to dine and celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary...
We found it at the Aquarius - Dream Inn. The setting above the beach with a view of West cliff drive, the wharf and the board walk was very nice, all the service we received from the hostess that seated us, the waitress to the bus boy was polite friendly and well timed. Even though they were in between chefs the cook did a fantastic job. My wife’s Sea Bass and my Pasta with clams and shrimp was way above average. Wine list is not extensive but the selections of California wines were well chosen. Knowing it was our anniversary they chomped us desert which was very much appreciated. We will be back.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Late-night Find, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
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vip
 (Sacramento)·Dined on May 27, 2012

Nice restaurant sitting just outside the Santa Cruz Boardwalk with a large parking area just across the street. Windows along one side of the restaurant makes for a wonderful view of the the beach and Boardwalk. Great for people watching. Went for brunch the eggs benedict and vegitarian omelette was good. The atmosphere is a throw back to the seventies, very quaint and fun for the beach scene. I would definetly return on our next trip.

Tags: Scenic View, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 26, 2012

The food was a real disappointment. The steak was covered with a white sauce that tasted like mayonnaise. The "world famous" chowder was like starch and room temperature. Even the peppers were almost bland. The view was great. The service was fine. Just don't expect much of a meal.

Tags: Scenic View
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food1
ambience4
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 26, 2012

This is my favorite SC restaurant. The food is great for dinner, drinks, brunch, whatever. The view is great with a relaxed atmosphere.
I've been coming to this restaurant since the early 1970's!

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food4
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service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 25, 2012

The view was exceptional and the waiter made excellent beer pairing suggestions with our food. We started with the Mac n cheese which was a perfect rich soother for our starved bellies. There was an asparagus soup that night which was phenomenal. I know for fact that the chefs there gets very good ingredients daily so the specials are always a good bet. All in all it is a great venue with top of the line execution and service for Santa Cruz' standards.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 20, 2012

We were celebrating our 34th anniversary...Aquarius proved to be everything we had hoped for in a memorable experience!! From the service through the entire dining experience, it was wonderful.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View, Hot Spot
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food4
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service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 15, 2012

The Ocean view is spectacular, and the waiting staff wonderful. The food was not up to par with the restaurant.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food2
ambience4
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 13, 2012

The view is phenomenal, the service is leisurely - don't be in a rush here. Interesting food - who ever thought of a nutty mint-fava-pesto on wide noodles? The mushroom risotto had at least four species of tasty wild mushrooms, for a broad palate of flavors. Nothing spicy or overwhelming here - this is all about the subtle flavors and textures of real food. But be careful with the drinks - they don't spare the alcohol. You might be better off with the wine list, which has some real regional hits by the glass, that are usually only available by the bottle. We'll be back.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Brunch, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Scenic View
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food4
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service4

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